Full-Body Training on the Smith Machine

Hit all your body parts without a spotter and without changing machines.


Chris Lund


Because you can safely rack and rerack the bar and bail to a safety catch if you fail, the Smith is great for front or behind-the-neck shoulder presses. For your medial, anterior, and posterior delts, do one-arm side laterals (with your arm bent and the bar resting just above your elbow), front raise holds, and wide-grip rows, respectively.


With their vertical ranges of motion, shrugs (front, behind-the-back, and one-arm), as well as upright rows and high pulls, are great Smith machine candidates. 


By pulling your elbows back as you raise the bar straight up against your body, the Smith machine smooths out any hitch in a drag curl. It’s equally effective for underhand inverted rows (feet on the floor) and pullups (feet off the floor).


You can do triceps extensions—overhead or lying—by moving your elbows forward as you lift the bar straight up. Another exercise is the body-weight triceps extension, performed by holding the bar with bent arms overhead and then propelling yourself up and away from the bar by straightening your arms. Three more options: close-grip bench presses, close-grip pushups, and hands-behind-the-back dips gripping the bar and resting your feet on a block or a bench.


Even abs can be blasted on Rudy Smith’s machine. For weighted crunches, hold the bar as if doing a bench press. Set it high, and hold on for hanging leg raises. And stand perpendicular to it and grip it with one hand for side bends.


Click "NEXT PAGE" to continue >>