Introduction: The Smith Machine has been a popular alternative to free bar exercises because of perceivedsafety advantages. With the advent of the Jones Machine/MaxRack, it is still a viable alternative to freeweight training? Does the Jones Machine/MaxRack have a better combination of free weight resultscombined with enhanced safety? History: The Smith Machine, with a fixed vertical motion, was pioneered in the late 1930s, and was adoptedin response to increased interest in resistance training, while the Jones Machine/MaxRack were invented incombination to the path options of a free bar combined with safety consideration. Bar Path Comparison: The bench press, deadlift and power clean are exercises that do not have acompletely linear path. The squat, in performance, is ideally linear, yet not in learning the exercise. The SmithMachine does not allow the bar path used in major free weight exercises. Strength Testing: Because of inherent friction and bar path limitations, the use of a Smith Machine in testingfor free weight-based strength gains is not valid.Conclusions: The Smith Machine does not match the free bar path of the major exercises, while the JonesMachine/MaxRack allow exercise specific and individual bar path variations and matching.
Journal of Fitness Research / Vol. 5, No. 3, pp.3-14