How To Do A Smith Machine Deadlift

smith machine deadlift

This deadlift is great for building strength but also some serious stability.

The deadlift is one of the big three exercises in powerlifting. It can also be one of the most dangerous to perform, yielding a fairly high risk of injury. That’s why you should consider the smith machine deadlift. With the smith machine, you can perform the deadlift safely and still earn the incredible benefits of this compound exercise.

Smith machines are too often neglected, when in reality they are great tools even for compounds like benching or squatting, and even deadlifting. When done correctly, the smith machine deadlift can be one of the most effective exercises in your workout arsenal. Though people tend to shame the use of the smith machine, it is a great tool to learn and get your form down properly. This article will go into detail about everything you should know to perform the smith machine deadlift.

Deadlifts are an essential part of training, especially for those in powerlifting. As a seriously massive lift, you can grow strength and muscle mass in your back and legs, while also promoting great balance and stability to aid in other big lifts and sport specific movements. Using a smith machine can help keep you safe as well as maximize range of motion, something essential and worthwhile for all your gains in the gym.


What is the Deadlift Exercise?

The deadlift is classic exercise in both bodybuilding and powerlifting alike, used by Mr. Olympia competitors such as Ronnie Coleman and Arnold Schwarzenegger as a way to gain strength and thickness in the back. The deadlift uses mostly the back muscles and the legs but has a relatively high risk of injury. When performing a deadlift, you hold the barbell with your arms straight in front of your body and you bend the knees to bring the weight up as you drive. Most lifters will vary in their amount of completed reps for the deadlift exercise when performing each set

Why use the smith machine? The smith machine deadlift is an exercise where you can put on your workout straps and perform your lift in relative safety, safe from injury and without having to lift large weight in a power rack (1).

How To Perform A Deadlift Safely

The deadlift is an exercise that can get you injured in a variety of ways. The most common and most dangerous is when you overextend your lower back and when you allow your weight to get too far forward. If you have been practicing the deadlift correctly, you will have mastered the basics. But it’s still possible to work your way into a more advanced version.

The smith machine can be a good addition to your training routine, especially if you are doing deadlifts in the gym. Not only will this be a safer way to perform the deadlift, you can use the smith machine to work your glutes and hamstrings without placing your spine at risk. The power rack is one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment in the gym. This is because it is too easy to lose your balance or fall over the barbell.

smith machine deadlift

The Smith Machine Deadlift

This is the main exercise in the Smith machine. It can be performed either with knees or with toes elevated and will mimic both forms of deadlifts. The smith machine will help you to develop a compact, muscled physique while allowing you to lift heavier weights than you could with a barbell.

The smith machine will help you to perform a full range of motion with the lower body. The smith machine deadlift benefits more muscle! You’ll be able to activate more muscle fibers by using the smith machine.

What Is The Difference Between A Smith Machine Deadlift & A Free Weights Deadlift?

The difference between a free weight and a Smith machine deadlift is much like the difference between two barbells: free weight deadlifts require more control. They require you to be fully in control of your body and of the weight you are lifting. On the other hand, in a smith machine deadlift, you can place your body weight on the platform as long as it is just above your hips. This is also why smith machines are easier to do at the gym versus at home. You can also think of a smith machine deadlift like a barbell deadlift but with less weight. You may be surprised how much less weight you can use when using a smith machine. Don’t worry though, it will still be enough to make this exercise a great addition to your training and a viable option for bodybuilding.

smith machine deadlift

Are There Any Risks Or Drawbacks To The Smith Machine Deadlift?

While the smith machine does work a little differently from a standard deadlift, there is still the risk of injury if done improperly (2). The smith machine is a machine, so it can take some getting used to. As such, you should use this machine with caution. If you have any back injuries or weaknesses, you should probably avoid the smith machine altogether.

If you have any arthritic issues in your shoulders, you should probably avoid the smith machine as well. If you have any sore muscles after a workout, you should also consider staying away. Finally, if you have certain fears about performing deadlifts, such as having a loose bar, or having a barbell slip out of your hands, you should probably avoid the smith machine altogether.

Wrap Up

The Smith Machine deadlift is not a new exercise. It has been around for a very long time. However, recently the smith machine deadlift has been receiving a lot of positive attention due to the numerous benefits it offers to the gym and bodybuilders. When done correctly, the smith machine deadlift can be one of the most effective exercises in your workout arsenal.

Give this exercise a try to really see some huge gains that can come when you perform a massive lift like the deadlift. You won’t be disappointed with the results and your strength goals are just around the corner.

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*Images courtesy of Envato

  1. Bird, Stephen; Barrington-Higgs, Benjamin (2010). “Exploring the Deadlift”. (source)
  2. Berglund, Lars; Aasa, Bjorn; Hellqvist, Jonas; Michaelson, Peter; Aasa, Ulrika (2015). “Which Patients With Low Back Pain Benefit From Deadlift Training?”. (source)

Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.