Bodybuilding has always been a popular trend among youngsters. Apart from enhancing the appearance, it improves self-confidence and overall personality of an individual. More and more passionate fitness freaks are now taking up professional bodybuilding. This high-stress workout involved in developing various muscles requires specialist training and sophisticated equipment. Smith machines are one such invention which has made weight training much safer and sharper. Some of the popular workouts are deadlift smith machine, smith machine squats, bench press, biceps, etc. As per www.webmd.com, a smith machine is an excellent option for beginners, since it ensures a very controlled movement of body muscles while exercising and therefore reduces the risk of any injury.
Let us first understand the functioning of this equipment and how to be used. There are multiple horizontal bars approximately 8 inches apart, on both the columns at the side of the machine. Then there is a vertical bar with hooks on the side of the bar which rests on the horizontal bar. One needs to add round weight on either side using the pins to hold it. The bar is then rolled away from the horizontal baron which it was resting, up to few inches. The spring in hooks forces the hook to come closer to the horizontal bar, hence creating strain in the body part which restrains it from doing so. Since these bars are attached through spring, there is no risk of weight falling onto the person’s body.
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of using smith machine are:
• It gives an option to do an isolated workout, on your own, without any support or assistance. Since the weight can be re-racked conveniently any time during the workout, the risk of injury is not there.
• It is more controlled. The various horizontal bars on the sides provide stabilization throughout the workout.
• If not used in a systematic manner or with an improper training you are bound to injure your muscles.
• The movement is too much controlled. It limits the body to move just up and down movement, and the backward and forward motion is restrained.
Some of the popular exercise performed on smith machine are:
1. Smith Machine Squats- Barbells in the machine works as resistance. It involves standing in the front of the barbell, with the bar resting on the shoulder. With your foot placed apart wider than your shoulders, unhook the bar and bend down the knees till thighs are parallel to the ground. Stay in that position for few seconds and then return to the old position and place the bar back onto the hook.
2. Smith machine bench press: Place the bench appropriately under the bar. Position the bar at a level that your chest is lower than the bar and is placed at a height little less than your extended arms while lying in that position with knees bent and foot resting on the ground. Add weight on either side. Remove the bar from the hook, extend t upward till your arms are straight, then lower it back to your chest. Hold there for some time and then slowly place it back onto the hook.
There are various other exercises which can be efficiently performed on the Smith machine to strengthen and shape up muscles. Although receiving a mixed reaction among bodybuilding enthusiast, it is definitely a safer option for newcomers.