Smith Machine Chest Exercise
The Smith Machine is ideal for beginners aiming to work their chest muscles, as the machine will stabilize the lifting angle throughout. This will have a negative effect on the amount of muscle fibres that you actually use, compared to a free weight barbell, and as such you should aim to use a lighter weight than your normal bench press lift - simply because its harder to cheat during the lift.
Always lie on the bench, and adjust the smith machine bar to a suitable position that will enable you to lift the bar off its locking bolts in a controlled manner. Once this position has been set, lock the bar in place, and then add the weights. Always start with your arms in a straightened position, using any drop down restrictions placed at your chest height.
Some benches, especially those with a vinyl covering may become slippery when you lay on them, causing you to slide too far down the bench, if this is the case, place a towel over the bench, and aim to keep your feet in a secure position to prevent you sliding downwards.
Grasp the bar with your arms slightly wider than shoulder width apart, lying on a secure declined bench, with your feet on the floor. You may need to use a step box to place under your feet, as your aim is to use your feet for both stability and correct lifting during the movement.
With your arms locked out in the starting phase, inhale and smoothly lower the bar down towards your chest, just below your nipples, keeping your elbows wide. Aim with each lift to get a full range of movement by actually touching or getting close to the chest – if you can't get close, then your weight is too heavy – focus on good technique with the weight you can lift – let those who do heavier weights with poor technique risk injury.
Exhale as you lift the weight back up to your starting position, pausing for 1 – 2 seconds at both your final lowered phase, and also the upper phase, prior to repeating for desired reps.
Concentrate on keeping your head and hips on the bench, avoiding excessive arching of the back throughout the movement.
Always make sure that you position your hands equally apart from the central part of the bar, taking care that when you initially lift the bar from its locking nuts, you rotate the bar around slightly to prevent the bar locking again as you lower.
Make sure that on your final rep, you fully lock the bar back in place, prior to releasing your hands - its always wise to check the locking device movement without any weight.
You may decide to perform this movement with your hands wide - close - normal or in a reverse grip.