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Smith Machine, Treadmill, ……..

In the early days of my lifting weights in a gym, 17  years, my gym coach had posed a question to me.  He asked, “Which would be the one and only gym equipment that you would take home if I asked you to?  Ha!  I vividly remember my dumbest answer.  I had said to him that I would take home the smith machine.  The reason was that back then we used the smith machine to squat, bench press, shoulder press, pull-up, etc.  In other words, we used the machine extensively.  Even after I operated Ironcult, in the beginning years, I would recommend the use of the smith machine.  We would shoulder press in the machine.

The one and only answer who uses these machines would say that it provides the much needed stability required. How little we know that it is we who have to stabilize the weight.  Although I have repeated several times I will say to you again that machines do not allow us to work with a free range of motion. They injure the soft tissue, weaken the much needed stabilizer muscles, and cause pattern overload.  “Pattern overload is defined as an injury to the soft tissues caused from repetitive motion in one pattern of movement.”  Paul Chek.

A free weight such as dumbbell, bar, kettlebell, and a sand bag allows you to move freely; whereas, a machine restricts and locks you into executing the same movement repeatedly.  Why do you want to shorten your lifting hobby/activity just because of an injury?  Moreover, lifting free weights burns more fat.  However, when you operate a machine you don’t burn as many calories–fat as when you lift free weights.  For example, you burn more calories running outdoors when compared to running on a treadmill.   Likewise, performing a clean and press on an Olympic bar burns more calories than operating the shoulder press on a smith machine.

PS:  Now the smith machine, ironically, is used for racking Olympic plates and to execute body rows at Ironcult.

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