Smith machines are great for what they offer you. They keep your lifts safe and secure and can be all the difference between injury and progress. That's pretty much what they're made for.

That doesn't quite mean you're absolutely in the clear, though. Before you can answer the questions about smith machines being safe, it's a good idea to look at how they can help and what else you need to keep in mind.


Want to move fast? Jump to the right section below.


Safety Features

The smith machine has a unique safety feature that attracts many fitness enthusiasts. More specifically, two twin rods which help to guide the barbell vertically and improve posture.  On those rods? Two safety catches on the smith machine designed to stop the barbell from going lower than needed. That's what is so perfect at making this equipment so safe to use, especially for big exercises.

This is a key advantage of the smith machine and is one of the main reasons this equipment is so popular. If your confidence or your skill level isn't quite where you'd like, it just offers that extra security you need. The bar can't drop or pull you in any way. Even if you are confident, it also means you don't need a spotter either. Win-win!

Image of a marcy smith machine in a home gym

Overuse

As with any exercise, whether it’s a run around the park or lifting weights, you should understand your body well enough to know when to stop. This is to avoid injury and to keep in shape, if nothing else. Over exercise is just as bad as not exercising at all!

If you’re not familiar with using a smith machine, make sure you don't use it the wrong way. I.e., don't overload it too much just because it's safer. This can cause an injury. Choose weights that enable you to lift 12 repetitions but still challenge you. Weight isn't everything!

When performing weight assisted exercises such as squats and lunges, correct foot placement and positioning is essential too. A smith machine is safer, but your technique can still be bad! Although the smith machine can assist with your posture and control, wrong placing can cause an injury and an issue in later life.

Likewise, with upper body exercises, if the weight is too heavy, it can add unnecessary stress and strain on your muscles and joints too. Basically, exercise within your means. Push yourself safely and slowly.

If you feel any pain and unwanted strain on your body when performing exercises, stop. Continuing to exercise can cause a serious injury.

Generally, smith machines are safe to use, but it all comes down to your technique. If you’re unsure or don’t feel confident using home exercise equipment’s such as a smith machine, speak to a fitness professional. There are plenty of ‘how to’ tutorial videos available online that have been created by professional personal trainers. Do your homework, and train like you mean it!


Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.