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Smith machine for Bench Press?

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    Smith machine for Bench Press?


    Was working on the barbell flat bench today and a guy told me I should use the smith instead; reason being I could load on more weight and do my reps safely. I was using a spotter.

    I've never even considered the smith. Don't use machines in general.

    Is this a viable alternative? Am I giving anything up by using the machine? I like the idea of not having to ask people to spot me on the bench...but other than that I am leery of this idea.

    Any experience out there?

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    The smith machine is a significant tool to utilize. However, in the land of Bodybuilding and Powerlifting free weights are king. For your particular situation you should try using the smith machine when you are unable to find a spotter so you can train heavy without risking an injury. Incorporate smith machine bench press in your routine but do not neglect free weight bench press. You can alternate how ever you would like just make sure you do not just stick to smith machine for a long period of time or you will most likely lose strength when attempting to use the free weight bench from the lack of using your stabilizer muscles.
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    My opinion:

    I love the smith machine, for AFTER you burn out on free weights, or for bursting through plateaus.

    For example: You can absolutely brutalize your triceps and work on some good bench strength by doing half reps on a smith machine

    It is something to play with, to use strategically, but not something you make the staple in your routine.

    if you would like me to outline some things we use the Smith for I would be happy to do so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Est1969 View Post
    Was working on the barbell flat bench today and a guy told me I should use the smith instead; reason being I could load on more weight and do my reps safely. I was using a spotter.

    I've never even considered the smith. Don't use machines in general.

    Is this a viable alternative? Am I giving anything up by using the machine? I like the idea of not having to ask people to spot me on the bench...but other than that I am leery of this idea.

    Any experience out there?
    I wouldn't use a smith machine in place of a spotter. In fact I've tried that and I think it's actually unsafe. In theory, a person only *needs* a spot when their muscles are failing, and in that condition, it's pretty hard to even work the smith. It doesn't work itself, so IMO it's not a viable safety tool. Better to use a barbell and just not go to failure. If you're not sure what that feels like give it a go, the worst that can happen is you'll get the weight on your chest and be unable to lift it. Lots of wiggling will follow. I think it's probably happened to everyone. As long as the weight is under 300 lb or so you should be ok. OTOH, it the weight is over 300 lb then it's might be a different story, but if that were the case I doubt you'd be asking, if I'm wrong I apologise. Personally I use a barbell, and I only ask for a spot when I'm going for a new max.
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    Smith machine is good:

    when you have shoulder and arm injuries
    when you do not have a spotter
    when you need to have a change in your routine
    when you need to consider multiple angles on incline and decline movements (not just 45*)
    when you want to do super-wide-grip presses to isolate outer chest muscles
    when you want to impress a chick that doesn't know any better (you can lift 5-10% more on the smith vs. free weights)

    In regard the spotting comments, while I can see your point in spotting and very much agree on what a spotter accomplishes...if I had to max out on incline bench presses w/o a spotter - I'd choose to do 315lbs on the smith machine over the 295lbs on the free weights every time. Turninig a bar inward is much more likely a thing to happen when I fail the press than to actually hold 300lbs on my chest, rest, then attempt to lift or call for help. Just saying...
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    Thanks so much for the great input. I think I will experiment with mixing in the Smith a little.

    kBrown: I am interested in seeing what you guys use the Smith for. Thanks.
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    The smith machine is terrible if you have shoulder issues. The movement pattern of the bar during a bench press or squat is not in a straight line. The smith works in a straight line. The movement pattern is not natural and takes the joints out of alignment increasing wear and tear.

    The force placed on the bar is in unnatural angles as well during smith machine lifting. You can push horizontally on the bar and it will move during a smith press..whereas if you push horizontally during a bench press it will fall onto your crotch. For those who use the bench press to develop the pecs, this means more emphasis is put on the front delts and triceps. For those that use it to increase their bench press or horizontal push...then it means you are ingraining motor mechanics that are unnatural.

    Next, a super wide grip on the bar is just a poor idea. It does not increase pectoral recruitment (the pec fibers run laterally, and thus you really can't isolate inner vs. outter), it places more emphasis on the anterior delts, it results in greater impingement, and over time can lead to some serious shoulder injuries.

    If you don't have a spot, don't use collars, and just dump the weight to the side if you are going to failure.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    The smith machine is terrible if you have shoulder issues. The movement pattern of the bar during a bench press or squat is not in a straight line. The smith works in a straight line. The movement pattern is not natural and takes the joints out of alignment increasing wear and tear.

    The force placed on the bar is in unnatural angles as well during smith machine lifting. You can push horizontally on the bar and it will move during a smith press..whereas if you push horizontally during a bench press it will fall onto your crotch. For those who use the bench press to develop the pecs, this means more emphasis is put on the front delts and triceps. For those that use it to increase their bench press or horizontal push...then it means you are ingraining motor mechanics that are unnatural.

    Next, a super wide grip on the bar is just a poor idea. It does not increase pectoral recruitment (the pec fibers run laterally, and thus you really can't isolate inner vs. outter), it places more emphasis on the anterior delts, it results in greater impingement, and over time can lead to some serious shoulder injuries.

    If you don't have a spot, don't use collars, and just dump the weight to the side if you are going to failure.


    Br
    Not that this is the topic but I have seen EMG work on the guillotine press having a higher activation threshold so a wider grip isn't necessarily a bad idea based on this alone.

    On topic the smith machine is excellent for people who can't do push ups on the floor and need to use a less demanding angle. It is also great for leaning on when you are feeling tired between sets and a fantastic meeting place for young and ignorant alpha males on a Monday who all turn up to train chest together.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    If you don't have a spot, don't use collars, and just dump the weight to the side if you are going to failure.


    Br
    Exactly. Also, on the smith if you end up with the bar on your chest you can be in a real pickle, since you *can't* dump the weights, nor can you wiggle out from under them, at least, not easily. Something to consider for those who think the smith machine is safer with heavy weights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    The smith machine is terrible if you have shoulder issues. The movement pattern of the bar during a bench press or squat is not in a straight line. The smith works in a straight line. The movement pattern is not natural and takes the joints out of alignment increasing wear and tear.

    The force placed on the bar is in unnatural angles as well during smith machine lifting. You can push horizontally on the bar and it will move during a smith press..whereas if you push horizontally during a bench press it will fall onto your crotch. For those who use the bench press to develop the pecs, this means more emphasis is put on the front delts and triceps. For those that use it to increase their bench press or horizontal push...then it means you are ingraining motor mechanics that are unnatural.

    Next, a super wide grip on the bar is just a poor idea. It does not increase pectoral recruitment (the pec fibers run laterally, and thus you really can't isolate inner vs. outter), it places more emphasis on the anterior delts, it results in greater impingement, and over time can lead to some serious shoulder injuries.

    If you don't have a spot, don't use collars, and just dump the weight to the side if you are going to failure.


    Br
    ^ This.

    Machines are unnatural movement pattern. When you lift weights, the peripheral system sends impulses to the the CNS (through the spine) to change its movement pattern accordingly. This phenomenon is called "motor pattern". Using a smith machine you are teaching your body to move unnaturally and improperly. You also take emphasis off the must deserved stabilizer muscles. Do not use the smith machine just because you can do more reps or more weight. The reason for that fact is not good. If you need a spotter, use a power rack. If you don't have a power rack, then do what red recommended and dump the plates.
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    Listen when it comes to powerlifting it's more respectable to use Free Weights since powerlifting comps use nothing but that. In terms of bodybuilding and training for HYPERTROPHY and not much on strength gains than Smith Machine and other machines like Hammer Strength are perfectly fine. Ppl say "oh you can lift more on Smith." Ok than, don't do the same weight you normally would do on free weights and load more weight; get your reps! I personally stopped Military pressing w/ free weight barbells and use the smith machine and my shoulders got bigger from it. I don't care what ppl think all I care about is what I see in the mirror
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    You guys are smith machine haters. Change up the routine and stop being a sissy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    You guys are smith machine haters. Change up the routine and stop being a sissy!
    So i hope this settles it. Get your ass off the couch and into the gym. The smith machine will love you for it
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    Smith machine; in respect to every other workout equipment in your gym - if it didn't work than it wouldn't be around!
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    I've benched for years without a spot but generally do it in the squat rack with the pins set slightly below the bottom position. If you were to fail, you can drop your chest down a bit, let the bar rest on the pins, and slide out easily. Seems much better than benching with a Smith machine to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VS91588 View Post
    Smith machine; in respect to every other workout equipment in your gym - if it didn't work than it wouldn't be around!
    Hehe...the advice was pretty consistent, and then it seemed to reverse in favor of staying away from the Smith. I've been a barbell-only lifter for 20 years, so I will stay faithful. However I think that I will still experiment with rotating in the smith on heavy days from time to time to see what happens. I've never benched heavy w/o a spotter and have zero experience dumping a barbell...no real desire to try it either.

    The dude that suggested the smith had a huge chest...the machine couldn't be totally worthless.
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    We use smith machine for:
    1) Shoulder press, after doing standing presses and seated dumbbells. Good way to feel some heavy weight.
    2) 'extra negative inclines' Basically we take a fairly heavy weight and as we are bringing the weight down someone pushes the bar downwards, you in turn have to resist the added pressure and bring it down very slowly--making the eccentric motion much more difficult.
    3) put the stoppers up so the bar is a few inches above your chest and doesn't go lower. Secure a fairly close grip and use very heavy weight. Push out a few sets of 5-8 reps. Make sure you position it so mostly the tricep is being worked. These will blow the hell out of your triceps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VS91588 View Post
    Smith machine; in respect to every other workout equipment in your gym - if it didn't work than it wouldn't be around!
    Hehe...the advice was pretty consistent, and then it seemed to reverse in favor of staying away from the Smith. I've been a free weight only lifter for 20 years, so I will stay faithful. However I think that I will still experiment with rotating in the smith on heavy days from time to time to see what happens. I've never benched heavy w/o a spotter and have zero experience dumping a barbell...no real desire to try it either.

    The dude that suggested the smith had a huge chest...the machine couldn't be totally worthless.
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    I'd never use it. Ever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VS91588 View Post
    Smith machine; in respect to every other workout equipment in your gym - if it didn't work than it wouldn't be around!
    And so are women who walk on the treadmills for 2 hours a day and lose absolutely no weight. So is a ton of supplements that don't do a damn thing but people continue to buy. That's just another way of saying "This is the way its always been", which is perhaps the most damaging statement ever.

    Br
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED

    And so are women who walk on the treadmills for 2 hours a day and lose absolutely no weight. So is a ton of supplements that don't do a damn thing but people continue to buy. That's just another way of saying "This is the way its always been", which is perhaps the most damaging statement ever.

    Br
    Toosche' ...all I know is I switched from free weight barbell to smith machine shoulder presses and my shoulders increased in size. That's what my goals are so I'm gonna stick with what is working for me
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    And so are women who walk on the treadmills for 2 hours a day and lose absolutely no weight. So is a ton of supplements that don't do a damn thing but people continue to buy. That's just another way of saying "This is the way its always been", which is perhaps the most damaging statement ever.

    Br

    I'm not challenging you for the sake of challenging you, but..aren't you really doing the same thing? Smith Machine is then new guy on the block, not free weights. When I see all of your posts above, I don't see medical and scientific explanations of why Smith Machine sucks, but what I do see is someone who is resisting an idea - namely the idea of using a smith machine as a supplemental aspect of chest and shoulder development. You sound a lot like the naysayers regarding the Lean Gains diet, lol. People still smashing IF diets yet all the guys that do it are walking around sub 10% BF and enjoying the sport of bodybuilding to a much greater degree. Its as if the results don't matter to naysayers. Are you one of these guys?

    For what its worth, I've switched over to Smith Machine for a few weeks at a time after a 10-12 week routine and I've always gotten extremely sore from the workout. I personally have found that the smith is more versatile in the angle at which you train the chest and shoulders and I have also noticed that it does a much better job of isolating the chest muscles alone. I consider it an iso workout personally. And since I can pack on a ton of weight, that makes the smith machine unique to all other exercises. Isolated + heavy! It's also a good option for core and tear drop training when you do front squats.

    On a third note, I can attest to a fella that regularly uses the Smith Machine at my gym. His name is Jeff. Jeff is 215lbs and can also bench press 515lbs free weights...so I can walk away knowing one of two things: they either helped him get to that strength level OR they help him maintain that strength level. Either way, the Smith Machine has it's place.

    Nonetheless, I know you are smarter than I am in the books. You probably have a degree in this subject or something to that effect and I salute you for it. But for what it's worth, not everything in the books works out in real life. With proper care and positioning, I see the Smith Machine as a pretty good asset to a well-developed set of chest and shoulder muscles. Thing is, most of us that do support the smith machine have viable, physiological evidence to prove it - kinda goes back to that thing about the books not always equating to reality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    I'm not challenging you for the sake of challenging you, but..aren't you really doing the same thing? Smith Machine is then new guy on the block, not free weights. When I see all of your posts above, I don't see medical and scientific explanations of why Smith Machine sucks, but what I do see is someone who is resisting an idea - namely the idea of using a smith machine as a supplemental aspect of chest and shoulder development. You sound a lot like the naysayers regarding the Lean Gains diet, lol. People still smashing IF diets yet all the guys that do it are walking around sub 10% BF and enjoying the sport of bodybuilding to a much greater degree. Its as if the results don't matter to naysayers. Are you one of these guys?
    First, lets look at the common trends in resistance exercise. There was a mass swing from free weights to machine emphasis beginning in the late 80s and spanning about 15+ years. Its only been recently that we are seeing this swing start to level out.

    Next I actually did provide a scientific explanation. Not so much saying that its useless, but rather that the idea that it is "safer" "carries less risk of injury" or is good to use if you have shoulder joint issues is false.
    The smith machine is especially deleterious to use if you have shoulder injuries for several reasons.
    A. The ROM is not natural, and as such it puts the joint angle out of alignment. This results in increased impingement and friction in the joints and can lead to tendonitis in the shoulder joint, especially of the biceps tendon and infraspinatus tendon.
    B. The movement of the bar is fixed. During normal movement the bar does not move in straight line as it does on the smith machine. This is particularly trouble some when performing squats where instead of the bar moving horizontally as the body ascends, the spine must compensate for this fixed movement and go through an unnatural plane. The result is abnormal disc compression.

    Now, your reference to IF is quite random, and obviously you haven't seen some of my posts regarding IF. I've both supported IF and provided scientific evidence to support it.



    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    For what its worth, I've switched over to Smith Machine for a few weeks at a time after a 10-12 week routine and I've always gotten extremely sore from the workout. I personally have found that the smith is more versatile in the angle at which you train the chest and shoulders and I have also noticed that it does a much better job of isolating the chest muscles alone. I consider it an iso workout personally. And since I can pack on a ton of weight, that makes the smith machine unique to all other exercises. Isolated + heavy! It's also a good option for core and tear drop training when you do front squats.
    I'm not sure how the smith machine is a good option to train the core. If anything, there is less core involvement when performing exercises on the smith machine.



    Is the smith superior for developing the quads, according to this research, you get LESS quad recruitment during smith squats:

    J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Dec;23(9):2588-91.
    A comparison of free weight squat to Smith machine squat using electromyography.

    Schwanbeck S, Chilibeck PD, Binsted G.
    Source

    College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

    Abstract

    The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether free weight or Smith machine squats were optimal for activating the prime movers of the legs and the stabilizers of the legs and the trunk. Six healthy participants performed 1 set of 8 repetitions (using a weight they could lift 8 times, i.e., 8RM, or 8 repetition maximum) for each of the free weight squat and Smith machine squat in a randomized order with a minimum of 3 days between sessions, while electromyographic (EMG) activity of the tibialis anterior, gastrocnemius, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, lumbar erector spinae, and rectus abdominus were simultaneously measured. Electromyographic activity was significantly higher by 34, 26, and 49 in the gastrocnemius, biceps femoris, and vastus medialis, respectively, during the free weight squat compared to the Smith machine squat (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between free weight and Smith machine squat for any of the other muscles; however, the EMG averaged over all muscles during the free weight squat was 43% higher when compared to the Smith machine squat (p < 0.05). The free weight squat may be more beneficial than the Smith machine squat for individuals who are looking to strengthen plantar flexors, knee flexors, and knee extensors.


    PMID:19855308 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    As for squats on the smith machine..I'll repeat what I wrote about safety concerns.

    The smith machine locks the spine into its fixed movement since the bar cannot move horizontally. As a result, the spine must bend according to this trajectory versus remaining natural during a normal squat. The result is unsymetrical disc compression, and can lead to disc degeneration or rupture.

    Now, can you squat safely on the smith machine...according to this research..yes; HOWEVER, joint angle must be properly aligned, and the risk of ACL strain or other injury is greater when joint angle are not aligned on the smith vs. the free weight.

    J Sports Sci. 2011 Mar;29(5):457-69.
    Modelling the joint torques and loadings during squatting at the Smith machine.

    Biscarini A, Benvenuti P, Botti F, Mastrandrea F, Zanuso S.
    Source

    Department of Surgical, Radiological and Odontostomatologic Sciences, Medical Physics Section, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy. biscarini@fisica.unipg.it

    Abstract

    An analytical biomechanical model was developed to establish the relevant properties of the Smith squat exercise, and the main differences from the free barbell squat. The Smith squat may be largely patterned to modulate the distributions of muscle activities and joint loadings. For a given value of the included knee angle (θ(knee)), bending the trunk forward, moving the feet forward in front of the knees, and displacing the weight distribution towards the forefoot emphasizes hip and lumbosacral torques, while also reducing knee torque and compressive tibiofemoral and patellofemoral forces (and vice versa). The tibiofemoral shear force φ(t) displays more complex trends that strongly depend on θ(knee). Notably, for 180 ≥ θ(knee) ≥ 130, φ(t) and cruciate ligament strain forces can be suppressed by selecting proper pairs of ankle and hip angles. Loading of the posterior cruciate ligament increases (decreases) in the range 180 ≥ θ(knee) ≥ 150 (θ(knee) ≤ 130) with knee extension, bending the trunk forward, and moving the feet forward in front of the knees. In the range 150 > θ(knee) > 130, the behaviour changes depending on the foot weight distribution. The conditions for the development of anterior cruciate ligament strain forces are explained. This work enables careful use of the Smith squat in strengthening and rehabilitation programmes.


    PMID:21225486 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    The part in bold above also shows an increase strain on the lower back when performing smith squats the way most do in the gym.

    Br
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    Zir red, good info. Once my journals fill out some more on here you should take a look and see if you can't provide any constructive criticism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    Nonetheless, I'm sure you are smarter than I am in the books. You probably have a degree in this crap or something to that effect and I salute you for it. But for what it's worth, not everything in the books works out in real life. With proper care and positioning, I see the Smith Machine as a pretty good asset to a well-developed set of chest and shoulder muscles. Thing is, most of us that do support the smith machine have viable, physiological evidence to prove it - kinda goes back to that thing about the books not always equating to reality.
    I want to tackle this in a separate thread...since it just rubs me the wrong way.

    Yes, I do have a degree in exercise physiology. In fact, I'm finishing up a PhD.

    However, I've also been working out for over 16 years. I've competed and placed in bodybuilding shows. But thats n=1...which I don't hold in very high weight.

    I've been personal training for nearly 6 years: everyone from house moms, to fitness/bodybuilders, to pro and semi pro athletes. My clients have won power lifting competitions, placed in bodybuilding competitions, gone from DII to DI, and one who I wrote a summer programs for was actually awarded rookie of the year in women's professional basketball in Greece recently (kaili mclaren).

    Further, I coach a collegiate bodybuilding team, and one of the athletes I coach was just awarded amateur of the week.

    So don't attack me with any of this "you're book smart and that's it" BS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kBrown View Post
    Zir red, good info. Once my journals fill out some more on here you should take a look and see if you can't provide any constructive criticism.
    Absolutely, would love to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    I want to tackle this in a separate thread...since it just rubs me the wrong way.

    Yes, I do have a degree in exercise physiology. In fact, I'm finishing up a PhD.

    However, I've also been working out for over 16 years. I've competed and placed in bodybuilding shows. But thats n=1...which I don't hold in very high weight.

    I've been personal training for nearly 6 years: everyone from house moms, to fitness/bodybuilders, to pro and semi pro athletes. My clients have won power lifting competitions, placed in bodybuilding competitions, gone from DII to DI, and one who I wrote a summer programs for was actually awarded rookie of the year in women's professional basketball in Greece recently (kaili mclaren).

    Further, I coach a collegiate bodybuilding team, and one of the athletes I coach was just awarded amateur of the week.

    So don't attack me with any of this "you're book smart and that's it" BS.

    Br
    This isn't an attack. An attack would be littered with controversial references to your standing on smith machines as well as some name calling - neither of which I included in my previous post.

    As for training the core with smith machine: Deep Front squats with no belt, narrow stance and toes forward. 75% of one rep max range...

    I really meant no disrespect. Just pointing out the fact that it seems to work regardless what your studies indicate. I knew you were going to school in this area of study just by the way you presented your opinions/comments. They were fairly assertive and demeaning to every one else who didn't agree with you. That reeks of arrogance and frankly, anyone who has become somewhat of an expert in anything will have some level of arrogance. I do. Others do as well...everybody has their area of arrogance. But expertise doesn't lead to absolutism in the subject. If that were the case, then we'd never have this "continuous improvement" or continual learning thing in society.

    And as usual, anyone who gets challenged around here gets offended. I truly congratulate you for the education you've accomplished. I really do and if I think if others made an attempt to get similar levels of education this country and especially this industry would change quite significantly.

    Again, I meant no harm other than to challenge you to take the explanation deeper. I know plenty of PhD'rs that know very little about very many topics. Challenging stimulates improvement. BTW, could you give some pointers to me for a pre-contest diet? So many mixed opinions out there regarding technique.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    This isn't an attack. An attack would be littered with controversial references to your standing on smith machines as well as some name calling - neither of which I included in my previous post.

    As for training the core with smith machine: Deep Front squats with no belt, narrow stance and toes forward. 75% of one rep max range...

    I really meant no disrespect. Just pointing out the fact that it seems to work regardless what your studies indicate. I knew you were going to school in this area of study just by the way you presented your opinions/comments. They were fairly assertive and demeaning to every one else who didn't agree with you. That reeks of arrogance and frankly, anyone who has become somewhat of an expert in anything will have some level of arrogance. I do. Others do as well...everybody has their area of arrogance. But expertise doesn't lead to absolutism in the subject. If that were the case, then we'd never have this "continuous improvement" or continual learning thing in society.

    And as usual, anyone who gets challenged around here gets offended. I truly congratulate you for the education you've accomplished. I really do and if I think if others made an attempt to get similar levels of education this country and especially this industry would change quite significantly.

    Again, I meant no harm other than to challenge you to take the explanation deeper. I know plenty of PhD'rs that know very little about very many topics. Challenging stimulates improvement. BTW, could you give some pointers to me for a pre-contest diet? So many mixed opinions out there regarding technique.
    I definitely took your statement the wrong way, and I apologize. Perhaps I over reacted a bit as well

    And, I still caution against the use of the smith for squatting due to the way it loads the spine. To say its ineffective..that's a mistake on my part. It can be effective, but IMO, the effects on the spine outweigh the benefits.

    I'd be happy to look over/give you some pointers on precontest.

    Br
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    I definitely took your statement the wrong way, and I apologize. Perhaps I over reacted a bit as well

    And, I still caution against the use of the smith for squatting due to the way it loads the spine. To say its ineffective..that's a mistake on my part. It can be effective, but IMO, the effects on the spine outweigh the benefits.

    I'd be happy to look over/give you some pointers on precontest.

    Br
    10-4, I'll PM about the pre-contest diet
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    Personally I'm not impressed on ppl going on google and copy and pasting 5 paragraphs on a forum topic and expect me to read it. Its a forum, get to the point; short and sweet. All I'm saying is I was not ignorant in trying smith machine out for shoulder press and it actually worked out in my favor. My shoulders grew more in size by switching from freeweight barbell to smith. That's my opinion on what it has done for me and my shoulder development.
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    Bench


    Free bench is King! As long as u have a spot for heavy set and only heavy set cuz i see way to many dudes gettin way to much elbow help! Smiths have there place i guess, but they take away from the stabilizing muscles and core areas in general. I do like smiths for shoulder presses though, cuz i have rotator cuff issues. Giver!!!
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    Yes, based on scientific research we know that freeweights is better than machines because you are using more muscle to balance and perform the exercise at task. But not everybody is the same. Some people respond better to certain exercises and some don't. I use smith machine for Shoulder Press, Shrugs and Close Grip Bench. Ever since I switched those 3 muscles grew. All I am saying is do what works for you BUT don't just say that you are only gonna build muscle based on free weights alone because you sound prehistoric and ignorant. My training philosophy is whatever you do just make sure it's intense
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    Only thing I occasionally use the smith for is military press when my shoulders aren't feeling %100 from my shoulder injuries or fatigue. Still feels odd though.

    As far as benching goes I never use smith. I'd rather do 20lbs less and more reps If I can't grab a spot. And if the gym is that empty I feel comfortable dumping the weight if I get stuck.
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    I use machines for nearly every muscle group, also use free weights. They all have there place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VS91588 View Post
    Yes, based on scientific research we know that freeweights is better than machines because you are using more muscle to balance and perform the exercise at task. But not everybody is the same. Some people respond better to certain exercises and some don't. I use smith machine for Shoulder Press, Shrugs and Close Grip Bench. Ever since I switched those 3 muscles grew. All I am saying is do what works for you BUT don't just say that you are only gonna build muscle based on free weights alone because you sound prehistoric and ignorant. My training philosophy is whatever you do just make sure it's intense
    Hey easy there bud, Im not that old..dont start slingin ****, dont like being called ignorant, what the hell? I didnt tell him to just use free weights, just for bench if he wants. Read my bio, been doing this a while. I respect everyones opinion, so no more dissin me.
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    I use smith machines for my bar shoulder presses. I am tall with lanky arms....most shoulder press racks are too far back or in some way akward for me. I usually do db shoulder press more though. Smith machines are also usefull for drop sets. Also use for inverted rows. Good equiptment for spesific things.

    As for bench... Db flat bench is king if you have a spotter .
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrobatt
    I use smith machines for my bar shoulder presses. I am tall with lanky arms....most shoulder press racks are too far back or in some way akward for me. I usually do db shoulder press more though. Smith machines are also usefull for drop sets. Also use for inverted rows. Good equiptment for spesific things.
    Yeah the power racks have these attachments that stick out too far and i constantly hit the bar on them doing military press without a spot to give you a lift off far away enough not to hit em. Ugh I miss my old gym
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeg313

    Yeah the power racks have these attachments that stick out too far and i constantly hit the bar on them doing military press without a spot to give you a lift off far away enough not to hit em. Ugh I miss my old gym
    I have removed dropsets for now but have you ever done a drop set military press on a smith machine? My shoulders were explodeing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeg313 View Post
    Yeah the power racks have these attachments that stick out too far and i constantly hit the bar on them doing military press without a spot to give you a lift off far away enough not to hit em. Ugh I miss my old gym
    That's why you do them standing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja

    That's why you do them standing.
    I don't like standing military press. Ive tried but it looks like an easy way to get hurt when you get strong enough and I dont trust my form enough to say no momentum would be used. Same reasons I dont do standing calf raises if I dont have to.
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