Since it was invented in the 1950s by the godfather of fitness, Jack LaLanne, the early, simple version of the Smith machine helped countless fitness buffs and serious body builders all over the world reach their health and strength goals. Today, as people face a more hectic schedule, the state-of-the-art Body Solid 7 Series Smith Machine is designed to develop even more muscle mass in a much shorter period of time, while eliminating the inconvenience and expense of a health club or the need for a workout partner. But this machine is no cheap, poorly made fly-by-night product.
The design and construction of the Body Solid Smith Machine is based on the industry standard 2”x 3” steel mainframe – the same commercial strength mainframe found in most health clubs. It features a 7-degree reverse pitch which also allows natural lower and upper body motion during the workout. The ease by which the barbell can be hooked to the vertical frame, along with the spotter arm located on each side insures a much higher degree of safety when working out alone.
Two of the best features of this Smith Machine are its inherent versatility during the workout routine and its heightened level of safety. The simple exercises and the ease in changing positions and equipment provides quick switches from one form of exercise to another without letting the body builder cool down too much or lose the desired heart rate he or she has attained during the workout. The spotter arms found on the this machine insures the safety of the workout.
Of the more than 50 exercises that can be done using the Body Solid Smith Machine, perhaps the most popular exercise is the bench press. Designed to builds pectorals, this exercise is done either on the flat bench or in a decline or an incline position. Many body builders are of the opinion that the fixed motion feature of the machine’s barbell tends to ward off the likelihood of injuries to the rotator cuff.
Another popular exercise, particularly for those who are unable to lift their entire body weight, is the pull-up. This exercise is done with the barbell on the machine located just a couple of inches above the height of the hip. The body builder lies on his or her back, facing the ceiling. The hands are placed on the barbell about shoulder width apart. With the body straight and rigid, keeping the heels on the floor, the body builder pulls up with the hands in what might appear as an upside down push-up.
But the use of weight is not the only function of Body Solid Smith Machines. Mobility is also a key factor in building the body and maintaining a healthy core. Without proper mobility of both the upper and lower body, exercising to build muscle would be difficult at best. Most fitness experts agree on the need for hurdle drills.
Placing the barbell inside the cage and just low enough to clear the groin when straddled, step out and face the bar. Then step high and over the barbell, like a hurdler. Reverse the step, coming back out of the cage area. Then repeat the step again and again. This is known as the anterior-posterior step-over. The purpose of the exercise is to open up the groin area without injury while maintaining good, upright posture in the process. If the torso cannot remain upright or a side bend is necessary to clear the bar with each step – then lower the bar. The purpose is not to work the spine, but to work the hips.
The lateral step-over is a similar exercise to the anterior-posterior step-over. In this exercise the body builder begins by standing beside the bar, rather than standing facing the bar. He or she then high steps laterally over the bar and then back to the starting point – repeating the reps. Again, idea is to work the hips and not the spine, so if the bar is too high it can be lowered somewhat.
The lateral duck-under is designed to improve flexibility in squatting exercises. Placing the bar about waste high, the body builder begins by standing beside the bar. Keeping the spine as straight as possible, he or she squats beneath the bar and shifts under to the other side, rising almost completely upright before squatting beneath the bar and returning to the starting position. Then the exercise is repeated.
There are those who have always felt that the Smith machine, by design, hindered the movement of the body builder during the workout – restricting the perfect execution of exercises. This may have been the case in years past. But the Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine has been designed to offer much more freedom of movement and, therefore, increased unilateral motion of the user seeking to perfect their form as they build muscle and sculpt their body.