Obstacle Training

Smith Machine

Posted on: January 19th, 2012 by Brian No Comments

Well, we’re in a new year and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to tackling their resolutions. I don’t have any statistics, but I’m sure that getting healthier and losing weight need to be one of the top resolutions people make. The good news is that the holiday season is behind us and we can devote ourselves to being healthy for the next 10 months. With that, I’m going to focus the next few entries on exercise equipment.

About two years ago, I decided to stop going to the gym and outfit my basement with the basics needed for excellent workouts. The great part about working out is that there are a lot of “nice to haves” and not so many “needs” to burning fat and building muscle.

The first piece of equipment I bought was a Smith Machine. The Smith Machine I bought also doubles as a full squat rack. Because of this versatility, you can basically perform any exercise you would need. Machines vary widely in price, so it’s best to come up with a plan ahead of time as to how you’ll go about finding the perfect one for you.

  1. Measure your space – these things are VERY HEAVY. The worst thing in the world would be to get it down to your basement only to find out you have to return it. Trust me. It was tough getting it down the stairs, going against gravity is even tougher.
  2. Develop your budget – no point in looking at equipment you can’t afford.
  3. Decide on Important Features – given your budget and space requirements, the machine that has all the bells and whistles might not fit what you’re able to swing. Come up with what features you absolutely need and fit your requirements and start there.
  4. Research Options – I went to a few local places and searched online. I was concerned about having something so large delivered to my house – I’ve never made a large purchase online before – so I zeroed in on a local retailer. That being said, I’m much more into the Net nowadays and wouldn’t be as hesitant next time.
  5. Make Final Selection and Go!

I just want to take a few seconds to mention some features to consider on a Smith Machine:

  1. Full squat rack on front – this really helps make the machine more useful as it’s two pieces of equipment in one
  2. Depth of inside the machine – after I bought mine, I found out that there is not enough room for me to perform shoulder presses inside the Smith portion. The bench won’t fit in a way for the back support to match up with the bar path.
  3. Are cables truly a feature you’d pay extra for? – looking back, a more basic machine would be just as good. The cable attachments that come in budget machines are nowhere near as smooth as commercial grade. I get better results from bands that I loop around Smith Machine as an anchor
  4. Pull Up Bar – some machines come equipped with a pull-up bar. My ceiling is too low for this to workout. If a cheaper machine came without the above mentioned cable attachments and pull-up bar, I’d be just as satisfied.
  5. Floor Protection – I put down a rubberized mat prior to setting up the machine to help protect my basements finished floors. Unfortunately, I won’t know if it worked out until I move – and even then, the thing is so heavy, I’ll try to include it with the house.

Final thoughts: Lifting weights is a dangerous endeavor. Please don’t lift weights alone, as there are way too many things that can go wrong. Also, clear the start of any program with your physician. The Smith Machine provides no protection against being trapped underneath a weight, unless you use the guards along with them. Even then, you should always lift with a spotter.

Try it for yourself

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