The Smith Machine has been one of the most criticized pieces of equipment in the gym for the past 7 or 8 decades. Oddly enough, it is still one of the most popular machines. You will never go into a gym that does not have at least one Smith Machine.
The Smith Machine was created by a man named Rudy Smith back in the 1950s. By the 70s, mostly every major gym in the country had one, and many famous bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane were using them as a part of their routines.
So how has a machine that has been openly criticized for decades still remain one of the most popular?
Because it has a big purpose in every gym.
The Smith Machine from a exercise and physiological standpoint might seem as a waste of time, if you are looking at it from a “go hard or go home” standpoint. Smith Machines are extremely guided and offer a lot of support like a regular exercise machine does at them gym. With support and guidance, not all the muscle fibers that could be engaged are because the range of motion is limited. This will of course take away from an overall assault on the muscles.
On the plus side though, like other machines, the Smith Machine is safe and allows the user to have a spotter. With safety pins and hooks, this machine allows a person to “test the waters” on weight and movement before they give the real deal a try. Also, the Smith Machine does awesome with isolating the muscles as well. If you are benching or squatting, it is much easier and safer to switch up grip and stance with a Smith Machine to hit different parts of the muscles you are working.
If a person is hesitant to squat or bench, the Smith Machine serves a big purpose once again in providing a sense of safety and security, all while still being able to get a good workout in.
Many can bash the Smith Machine and say it is useless, but when you are limited to what you can do or just starting out in the world of lifting, the Smith Machine helps take someone who was maybe a couch potato and gives them the confidence and gumption to get under a bar and move some weight.
You can never go wrong with that.