Smith Machine Vs The Barbell

Hello fellow bloggers,

Today’s fun topic of discussion for all my fit crazed people is: smith machine vs barbell. Now for many of you; you have a preference and some of you choose to only one use or the other depending on your fitness level. 

If you are not aware of what a “smith machine” is, here is a link: Smith machine article , the particular article highlights why they enjoy using the smith machine. If you aren’t aware of what a barbell is, look at the image above. 

 

I’ll begin by expressing that I have used both the smith machine and the barbell and I have a  preference depending on the exercise I am doing at the time. I believe both can be useful for different reasons and depending on the person; so I am going to do a separate list of both with the pros and cons of each 🙂 

 

Smith Machine:

 
  • Good for de-conditioned persons
  • don’t have to use a spotter
  • light weight
  • typically found at commercial gyms
  • wide variety of exercises can be done
  • not recommended for deadlifts & Squats
  • plane of motion is fixed
  • not recommended for olympic lifts 
  • harder to develop stabilizer muscles
  • not functional – meaning because of the movement being “fixed” you aren’t using the same ROM you normally would have to during everyday activities
  • Good for safety
  • good for hypertrophy training
  • good for when someone has an injury
 

The Barbell:

  • Found in a lot of powerlifting, athletic and some commercial gyms
  • goes through full ROM
  • heavier bar
  • advanced athletes and intermediate athletes
  • need a spotter for the heavier weights
  • used for olympic weights, squats, deadlifts, etc
  • functional
  • non fixed plane of motion
  • strength,hyperstrophy and endurance training
  • allows you to use your stabilizer muscles
  • beginners should use with caution 
  • variety of exercises can be done using the barbell
  • can give you calluses on your hands 

Basically both list have their pros and cons. I find that the smith machine does well with my vertical leg presses — whereas I wouldn’t use the barbell for it because it wouldn’t be able to go through the plane of motion without hurting myself. The barbell is awesome for olympic lifts and deadlifts, whereas it is MUCH MUCH harder to perform these exercises on a smith machine because of the fixed motion. Now, there is another HUGE important factor to consider when utilizing the smith machine – Your strength from the smith machine does not transfer over to the barbell. This basically means those of you who are lifting 300 lb squats on the smith machine, most likely will end up lifting lighter on the barbell because the smith machine is lighter and offers less resistance than the barbell. Many times athletes will use the smith machine for a while and then when they decide to hop on the barbell, they realize they aren’t as strong as they originally thought. Keep this in mind while training. Otherwise, choose what works best for you, I think it is a good idea to implement both into a workout or to have a least one that is a preference but to know how to use the other as back up. 

 

Let me know which you prefer . 

 

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