Smith Machines for Strength Training

The Smith Machine is the perfect home gym equipment piece. Because they allow you to perform strength training exercises without dropping the weights, Smith Machines are incredible if work out alone at home! Whether you use for squats only or add in military press and other bench exercises, any home strebngth gym should have one.

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The Smith Machine

All well designed Smith machines are great for squats and lunges, in fact for full body workouts. If you are wondering what they look like they are those giant racks with a barbell fixed to a set of rails.

How Do They Work?

The smith machine is a frame with two poles either side which the barbell is attached to. Weight plates are then attached either end of the barbell. And here’s where the safety feature come in, two hooks attached to the bar catch onto a series of pegs and lock the bar in position.

What to Look for When Buying

First off, check you have the room and a strong enough floor to take a Smith Machine. Not only are they reasonably tall, they are also pretty heavy - especially when you then add the Olympic Bar and weights to it.

Equipment-wise, check that the bearings allow for a smooth range of motion and won’t catch on the guide rods. Also look for several different stops and settings so you have more workouts. A really good machine will give you 15 or 16 different positions. Check that the equipment is stable and that the frame is strong and durable.

Which Smith Machine Shall I Buy?

There are so many smiths on the market it can be confusing where to start but we think that the following features are important to look for;

  • Heavy gauge tubing
  • Built in weight stacks
  • Gunrack front lift-off points for free weight training
  • Multiplle bar catches, minimum of 13
  • Linear bearings
  • High and low pulley cables
  • 7 degree cage track
  • Built in weight tree on frame
  • Maximum system weight limit of 600 pounds minimum

What Can You use a Smith Machine For?

Inverted rows, which are a great alternative to bent over barbell rows. The classic shoulder press is a good one for the smith machine, the shrug is great to work your trapezius muscles,  incline bench press and use the smiths machine bar at its highest setting and do pull ups.


You may want to consider purchasing a bench, chin up bar and dipping station. This gives you even more flexibility on what exercises you can do.