Most people who enter the gym encounter the standard 20 kg (45 lb) barbell (Smith machine bar), also known as an Olympic barbell. While it's easier to use the barbell to add free weight and progress, the Smith machine is essential for beginners and advanced athletes alike.
Beginners may use the Smith machine to learn movement patterns and build up accessory muscles. Advanced athletes, including pro-bodybuilders, regularly use the machine to focus on time under tension and, more importantly, to avoid or rehab from injuries. Bench Press Plates
The Smith machine is also comfortable and safe to use in the absence of a spotter,and can be adjusted to focus on specific body parts.
However, one question a gym-goer may wonder about is the weight of a Smith Machine bar. While the answer may seem as simple as two words - a number followed by lb or kg - the actual explanation can be a bit complex.
There is no standardized weight for Smith machine bars, which can vary anywhere from 6-45 lbs, based on various factors. That's largely due to the different types of Smith machines available and their varying weights and benefits.
The Smith machine is a piece of equipment used for strength training that has a barbell fixed inside a series of steel rails, allowing it to only move vertically up and down.
They can be of various types:
Residential Smith machines generally have bars weighing above 25 lbs. They generally have a perfectly linear movement path with no counterbalance, and the bar used is of lesser quality than high-end commercial models.
They also use nylon bushing glide systems instead of ball bearings, and are usually not as smooth as commercial smith machines. The bar is often between 1-2" inches in diameter and may not be suited for Olympic weight plates.
Unless you're an IFBB pro or ridiculously strong powerlifter, residential machines will do, as they generally have a weight-bearing capacity of 400 lbs. They are also quite affordable and can cost anywhere between $1000 -$2000.
These are generally found in larger gyms. They usually have a slightly angled (7-12 degree) movement path with a counterbalance. Due to this counterbalance, the commercial Smith machine bars are generally lighter compared to residential Smith machine bars and typically weigh under 30 lbs.
The bar material is of high-grade quality and can bear significant weight, usually between 600-1000 lbs. They also use ball bearings and have a smoother range of motion.
The bar is generally 2" in diameter and perfectly suited for Olympic plates. As the equipment is made from higher quality materials, the cost may range anywhere between $3000-4000.
You may be surprised to learn that many residential Smith machine bars weigh more than commercial ones due to a concept called counterbalance.
The Smith machine counterbalance operates like a balancing scale. The equipment has a bar on one side and weights on the other (generally hidden).
The Smith machine bar always weighs more than the counterbalance weight. This makes the bar feel lighter during the concentric part of the movement. In the absence of a counterbalance, the weight of the bar feels significantly heavier.
1) LA Fitness Smith Machine - 15-25 lbs
2) Planet Fitness Smith Machine - 15-35 lbs
3) Nautilus Smith Machine - 15 lbs
4) Hammer Strength Smith Machine - 30 lbs
5) Legend Smith Machine - 25 lbs
6) Body-Solid Commercial Smith Machine - 6 lbs
7) Body-Solid Residential Smith Machine - 32 lbs
8) Matrix Smith Machine - 25-44 lbs
9) Tuff Stuff Smith Machine - 10 lbs
To surmise, Smith machine bars weigh between 15-30 lbs on average. Counterbalanced bars weigh lesser, typically under 25-30 lbs. Bar weight may vary depending on build quality and material used. Residential Smith Machines are sufficient for daily use and can withstand upto 400 lbs weight.
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