Smith Press Bashing

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Keith Rowland
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Smith Press Bashing

Post by Keith Rowland » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:41 pm

On another forum, many lifters were taking apart the smith press, piece by piece, each with a different analysis. These things have been around forever, and have been used extensively by competitive athletes. I like them for seated behind-the-neck pressing and close-grip benching. As an older lifter, I don't want to worry about control or injuries sustained while performing certain lifts. Even when I have shoulder snags, returning to the smith can allow me to mend faster. Both the smith and free bar are compound movements, yes, but one post I saw said using the smith could exacerbate shoulder strains because you are locked into one plane of movement. What he meant was that you couldn't employ other muscle groups to assist you when benching with the smith press. Therefore, added stress would be placed on the RC. I don't buy into this because you can't use as much weight on a smith, due to the fact that you are locked into one plane of motion. When I watch most people bench with a free bar, especially unseasoned lifters, I sometimes cringe! How do members of this forum feel about the smith press?
Bio: Age 56; former NPC Masters Champion (1990); teacher; married with kids; heroes: John Grimak and Frank Zane; favorite sport: Steelers Football (worked in TV with R. Blier); hobbies: canoeing, cycling, free weight exercise.

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Stephen Johnson
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Post by Stephen Johnson » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:27 pm

Keith Rowland wrote:On another forum, many lifters were taking apart the smith press, piece by piece, each with a different analysis.

What would a forum be without a controversy? ;-)

For people with short limbs, the Smith machine works like a charm. For longer limbed people, it can be problematic. Sadly, I'm in the latter group.

I use the Smith machine for some leg exercises (feet-forward squats, split squats and rear lunges). But I stay away from it for upper body presses and pulls.

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Post by Ironman » Sat Sep 09, 2006 2:23 am

When there are perfectly good barbells around I see no need to bother with it. I don't like being locked in to any motion or limited in any way. I just like regular barbells better.

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Post by hoosegow » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:57 am

I think the Smith is great for rehab and the injured. I use lifting straps because my thumbs dislocate when I pull heavy - same thing. You have to do what you have to do.

Personally, I'd never use the Smith machine unless I have to. Pride has a little to do with it :)

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Post by Ryan A » Sat Sep 09, 2006 12:37 pm

I agree with the others on not being locked into a plane of motion. I dont think the argument is as much about bring other muscle groups into play as it is your lifting stroke has to go on the path of the smith machine and for most people this is not a natural groove. That is a safety argument.

Now obviously, since the smith involves no stabilization you have to find other ways to work all those muscles so it is inefficient as well.

Finally, as to you saying you can not use as much weight, I am pretty sure I can push just as much if not more on the smith compared to its free weight counter part. You can press a lot more jerky and with poor form/mechanics on a smith because no matter how much you screw it up, the bar isnt really going anywhere.

Those are my thoughts.

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Smith Press

Post by Keith Rowland » Sat Sep 09, 2006 7:46 pm

Thanks for your input, guys. I'll leave it as a matter of personal preference then, for physiological or psychological reasons. I too, am a purist when choosing my iron, but will continue integrating the smith where I seems beneficial. I've added inches to my weary triceps by doing close-grips on the smith and, as a result, 20 lbs. to my bench without the smith. Also, my inner-pecs really filled in, making it necessary to buy new dress shirts, which I haven't done in a long time. Who says you stop growing after your teens!
Bio: Age 56; former NPC Masters Champion (1990); teacher; married with kids; heroes: John Grimak and Frank Zane; favorite sport: Steelers Football (worked in TV with R. Blier); hobbies: canoeing, cycling, free weight exercise.

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Stephen Johnson
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Re: Smith Press

Post by Stephen Johnson » Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:26 pm

Keith Rowland wrote:Thanks for your input, guys. I'll leave it as a matter of personal preference then, for physiological or psychological reasons. I too, am a purist when choosing my iron, but will continue integrating the smith where I seems beneficial.
Whatever floats your boat! ;-)

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Using the Smith and Saving your Pride

Post by Keith Rowland » Sat Sep 09, 2006 10:18 pm

Personally, I'd never use the Smith machine unless I have to. Pride has a little to do with it :)[/quote]

Here's a good way to bench press with the smith: Lock the bar in position and assume a push-up position over the bar, placing your hands in a wide position on the bar and your toes on the bench behind you. Now, have a spotter place four to six 45 lb. plates on your back. Then, play AC/DC's Highway to Hell at full volume. Now, begin doing your "bench presses."
Bio: Age 56; former NPC Masters Champion (1990); teacher; married with kids; heroes: John Grimak and Frank Zane; favorite sport: Steelers Football (worked in TV with R. Blier); hobbies: canoeing, cycling, free weight exercise.

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Post by hoosegow » Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:35 am

Keith, I was just hacking on you a little. I was going to write, "Personally, I wouldn't be caught dead on a Smith machine."

I get pissed off when people make fun of others at the gym. The two a-holes laughing and the 300 pound woman trying desparately to get healthy, etc.

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Post by Keith Rowland » Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:45 pm

[quote="hoosegow"]Keith, I was just hacking on you a little. I was going to write, "Personally, I wouldn't be caught dead on a Smith machine."

I enjoy your jousting and was doing the same. I'm too old to change my mind or my workouts most days. I also share your anger towards those who heckle others and their struggle to survive at the gym. Just getting there is a major victory for many people. For me, it's my 'happy place' where I can focus and prepare for battle. I'm not going down without a fight!
Bio: Age 56; former NPC Masters Champion (1990); teacher; married with kids; heroes: John Grimak and Frank Zane; favorite sport: Steelers Football (worked in TV with R. Blier); hobbies: canoeing, cycling, free weight exercise.

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Post by hoosegow » Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:23 am

Amen brother, Amen.

Though, I agree a little AC/DC is good, you ought to try some Zombie. I would suggest More Human than Human, Dragula, and Thunderkiss '69. My new favorite is The Devil's Rejects.

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Stephen Johnson
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Post by Stephen Johnson » Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:20 pm

My gym just got the Star Trac Max Rack this week, and I played with it after my regular workout today. A whole new wrinkle on the Smith machine. Unlike old-style Smith machines, this allows the rails to move horizontally, rather than stay fixed. I did bicep curls that felt almost like free weights. This is good news for aging boomers like me with creaky joints.

If it comes to your gym, it's worth checking out. And no, I'm not on Star Trac's payroll. ;-)

http://www.startrac.com/products/strength/maxrack/

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Post by Ironman » Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:32 pm

I hear that a lot, but I thought weight lifting was suppose to keep the joints healthy. I was hoping the added muscle mass will keep the stress off my joints. That way I will be in good shape even when I'm an old fart.

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Post by TimD » Sat Sep 23, 2006 8:35 am

Hi Stephen. Guess it's my browser (Webtv) but the text is so small I can't read it, but from the pic, it looks pretty interesting. As I get older, I still like my good old power blocks though. Just set the pins and go.
Ironman-LOL , as an old fart, I feel I am qualified to answer. Weight training can be good for the joints, but at this age (57), I wouldn't advise piling on the muscle mass. Stay flexible, stay strong, but mass for mass sake is, IMHO, not the way to go. If you're younger, and need mass for a certain sport, then go for it. However, I don't think mass is needed for overall well being.
Tim

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Stephen Johnson
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Post by Stephen Johnson » Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:38 pm

Weight training is good for the joints, provided that it emphasizes range of motion, smooth movement and light to moderate weights. The sloppy heavy lifting that one sees in most gyms, on the other hand, is risky to the joints.

Nearly everyone will develop some form or arthritis, if they live long enough. Once it happened to me, I realized that I had to change the emphasis of my workouts away from bulk and strength towards flexibility. I've dropped 25 pounds over the past two years (from 250 to 225 at a height of 6' 6"), and plan to eventually go down to 210 - 215. Since I've dropped the weight, my knee doesn't bother me nearly as much


http://www.bodytrends.com/articles/bene ... hritis.htm

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