Smith Machine Deadlift – Is It Effective?

The Smith Machine was invented in 1950s by “the godfather of fitness”  Francois Henri “Jack” LaLanne. Today, it’s widely used and pretty much every commercial gym has one. Unfortunately, most people do it completely wrong.

The common mistake is to do the wrong exercises on the smith machine. It’s like putting an Intel processor in AMD socket. It’s not going to work. A more practical example of similar practice would be doing deadlifts in the smith machine.

deadlift-smith-machine

Believe it or not – this is a sin.


Deadlifts were not made for the smith machine the same way concrete wasn’t meant to be a bed. The idea behind deadlifts is that you are developing a basic motor pathway to lift heavy weights from the floor up.

When you use the smith the following problems occur:

1.You get out of position.

The smith machine is like a building – it’s not going to move for you. The user is the one that needs to adjust to it.

This means that when pull the bar during deadlifts the machine may force you to get out of your groove and damage your lower back.

2.You don’t have as much control.

When you are doing deadlifts on the smith machine you are being controlled by the weight instead of the opposite. At the top of the movement you may not even be able to lockout the wight properly. It will feel really weird with heavy weight.

3.You may break the machine.

The deadlift allows you to lift extremely heavy weights. This means that on the way down you may break the machine, if you let the barbell slip out of your control.

If you train at a commercial gym where the lifters wear fanny packs and constantly change their status on Facebook you may also be kicked out for destroying their favorite equipment. After all, when you break the smith where are they going to ‘isolate the upper pecs’.

Don’t be a hypocrite.

Final thoughts:

The smith machine may be useful for some exercises but the deadlift ain’t one of them. You are lifting less weight while risking injuries as well as material damages you may have to pay for.

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