Are Smith Machines Good for MMA? 🤼

Smith machines are often the subject of debate on fitness forums. From the benefits of the equipment to its impact on the users’ integrity, each point leads to a nuanced argument that does not end well for those who oppose this brilliant invention.

Smith machines are great for MMA fighters as they allow the fighter to work on core strength and stability necessary for learning martial arts. The machine lets the fighters work on their glutes, quads, chest, and arms without worrying about their form’s safety. 

This article discusses the use of Smith machines. It provides an overview of its creation, benefits, and impact on MMA fighters. The debate about the equipment benefits is also discussed to help the reader decide about using the equipment.

What Does a Smith Machine Do?

Smith machines are standard fitness equipment found in most commercial fitness facilities in the United States. Structure wise, the Smith machine is a barbell system with a bar attached to the frame. The attachment of the barbell to the rail allows the device to spot the user during exercise.

Spotting is often considered as the most significant contribution of a Smith machine in the life of bodybuilders. Since many individuals choose to work out alone, they might find it hard to find a spotter. This is the primary reason why the Smith machine remains a massive attraction for gyms.

The machine has a bar attached to its rail mechanism assisted by pegs to keep the bar in its designated spot. That keeps the user free for a full-body movement like bench presses and squats without the fear of getting stuck with the equipment. There are countless video tutorials on the internet about Smith machine workouts and hacks, but one cannot trust the videos created by inexperienced trainers.

Regularly spotting on a Smith machine is a debate for another day. But in general views, it is considered that spotting with a piece of trusty equipment is a lot safer than the regular practice. The availability of motion may be restricted by the bar, but the vertical movement is enough to have a productive workout to build strength and work on your arms.

Innovative designs with forward and backward movement in the railing systems are also available in the hi-tech gyms across the country. Still, the traditional Smith machine is one with vertical motion only. It would help if you kept this in mind before working on a newer model without prior guidance from an instructor or medical professional.

What Is ‘Smith’ in Smith Machines?

A question often raised about Smith machines other than the uses is about its name. The Smith is taken from Rudy Smith, the person who came up with the modified versions of the machine invented by Jack Lalanne in the 1950s. The Godfather of American fitness sketched a few designs for a machine that enabled him to spot independently.

When Rudy Smith came across the designs, he asked for permission to develop a machine that fulfilled Jack Lalanne’s expectations, and the rest is history. By the 1970s, the Smith machine was a popular addition in most gyms operational in the United States. Today, the device is commonly incorporated in home gyms as well due to its affordable pricing.

The Benefits of Smith Machines

The Smith machine has countless benefits. But we have focused on the top reasons why you must invest your time and effort in a smith machine.

Builds the Form-Fit for a Bodybuilder

One can use Smith machines in various ways, but their core function is to focus on the user’s form. It maximizes the results and minimizes risks of injury due to the racks built in the mechanism. The racks allow the user to remain stable during their exercise.

Stability is an imminent need for lifting heavy weights as it saves you from misalignment of your posture. Any unfortunate instance of instability can be crucial to your spine and knees and could lead to perpetually irreversible damage to your body. The upward movement of racks allows the user to remain in control of their movements without fearing a fall’s embarrassment.

Increases Safety for the User

It helps the user avoid the deadly damage associated with free squats. Since the device focuses on form and stability, it ensures that you are less likely to injure your spine, knees, or any other part of your body.

It mainly protects your shoulders and legs while simultaneously allowing you to engage your hamstrings and glutes in the workout. If you are looking for more comfortable chest isolation and shoulder presses, then the Smith machine can prove to be your best friend!

Saves the User From Human-Error During Spotting

Stable barbells assist the spotting function of the Smith machines. The additional balance minimizes the danger of runaway barbells. It allows the user to feel confident in their abilities and often challenge their skill, which is hardly possible when you have another person acting as your spotter. Remember, a human-spotter is far more dangerous than any Smith machine could ever be!

Since the Smith machine is a safer option, you can take advantage of the contraption for better bench-presses. You can gradually build your strength and increase the weight load as you progress. As an experienced weight-lifter, you can add the bad boy to your routine.

It is advised for beginners to maintain their distance from the Smith machine as they are likely to be a little carefree with the equipment. It is best to use it according to the feedback your body gives you.

Smith Machines and MMA Fighters

MMA is not as straightforward as boxing. It is a technical sport that requires the mastery of multiple martial arts to become a champion in the game. Essentially, strength and conditioning are the prerequisites for MMA training.

A fighter must be strong enough to throw powerful punches and kicks while absorbing the opponent’s attacks. They need resistance against force and a depth of endurance to stay put in the ring for each five-minute round. The training requires weight-lifting and conditioning that is similar to a boxing camp.

The Smith machine is a sensible addition to the training regime of the MMA fighters. The fighter can use it to repeat bench presses and squats that allow the fighter to focus on arms and shoulders. Strong shoulders are critical for MMA fighting, and a full-body workout from the Smith machine can be beneficial during weight cutting or whenever the fighter has sore joints.

The smith machine engages larger muscle groups like the glutes, thighs, and abdomen necessary for productive work out in MMA regimes.

What Is the Debate About This Equipment?

Despite the benefits of the Smith machine, the cons of the equipment are often debated. The limited movement of racks in a traditional Smith machine is often criticized as it compromises form during exercise. However, if a user chooses to alter their form, they can easily use the machine without harming their joints, spine, or shoulders.

The use of Smith machines has cut down on the additional efforts required to succeed in weight lifting in the past. The ease and comfort of safety have enraged many bodybuilders used to the outdated approach of hard work and ‘questionable supplements.’ But for athletes with natural recovery rates, a smith machine is an excellent alternative to a power rack. If you are wondering, then a power rack is the same as a Smith machine minus the safe railing mechanism.

Final Thoughts

The Smith machines face much criticism, but is this valid? Definitely not! The Smith machine is an excellent choice for those who intend to work on their strength and lifting abilities over a long period. It suffices for the training standards of an MMA fighter and even boxers. If it is safe and stable enough to be used by professional fighters, imagine what it can do for you?