The Different Types of Smith Machines You Can Use

A Smith machine is an intriguing fitness device you can use in your home. But what makes it such a useful tool, and what types of smith machines are out there for your home use? Better yet, where did this unusual name come from? You will be impressed with how a home smith machine will work for you.

So what is a smith machine, anyway?

Marcy Combo Smith Machine for Home Gym

         Marcy Combo Smith Machine

The Smith machine was invented by fitness guru Jack LaLanne and was modified by his bathhouse manager Rudy Smith. With a focus on allowing lifting the bar evenly and carefully.

The Smith machine features a barbell affixed within a series of steel rails. You would lift the weight up and down with a perfectly vertical alignment, thus helping you to work on your muscles.

The advantages of this machine are worth spotting:


  • It helps you work on your hamstring and glute muscles quite well.
  • The weight is stable and will not slip off easily.
  • You can quickly add weights to each half of the barbell on a Smith machine without any struggles. Be aware of your limits for what you can lift though.
  • The stable design of the Smith machine reduces your overall risk of injury while using it.

Basic Things To See Out of a Home Smith Machine

You must explore a few points regardless of the type of home machine you use:


  • The frame for your home machine will be lighter than what a commercial frame at a gym offers. You might not have support for as much weight as you might hope.
  • Your machine might come with some extra attachments including support for a squat cage or a butterfly lift.
  • A one or two-inch bar will work on your machine. Sometimes you might get a one-inch model with an adapter sleeve to make it a two-inch unit.
  • You can get up to 300 to 400 pounds loaded to a home machine, thus making it appropriate for mass-building workouts.
  • The bar on the machine should be close to the same seven-foot length as what you would get out of a professional model. Also, the bar will weigh around 40 pounds on average, so factor that into your plans for lifting weights here.

With all that in mind, you should look at how well a Smith machine can work for you. Several types of models are available for use in your home.

Types of  Smith Machines

  • Body-Solid Powerline PSM144X

           BodySolid PSM144X

    Bushing Smith

You have the option to work with one of many home Smith machine choices. The first one to see is a bushing Smith. With this, the bar moves up and down through a series of bushings.

It is the most basic model you can find today.

You can save money with this inexpensive option, but be advised:


  • You must keep the machine lubricated for it to work right.
  • This is not as smooth as other choices.
  • The machine might bind up if you do not lift your bar evenly.
  • Line Ball Bearing Smith

The second type of machine is a linear ball bearing Smith. With this, the bar moves up and down a guide rod with ball bearings attached to the weight bar.

This model includes many points:


  • This does not require as much lubrication as other choices.
  • You can press hard on either side and the machine will not be disrupted.
  • The smooth movements provide you with extra support for a full range of motion. Make sure you use the machine as directed for the best results.
  • This machine is more expensive due to its simplicity.
  • Free Movement Smith

A basic vertical guide rod setup is used on a free movement Smith. Some horizontal rods are also included. You can use this to stimulate muscles used in your natural body movements. The flexibility of the machine gives you extra control over your workout, but you must still be cautious when lifting. The machine is designed to train you to move up and down consistently. The smooth motions produced by the machine provide you with a great setup for getting your workouts completed well and effortlessly.

  • All-In-One Smith

An all-in-one unit incorporates free lifting and free weights into the Smith machine. This may include a tie that links to extra items for lat pulls, pull-ups and more. Some plate storage features may be included on such a design. The main focus of an all-in-one model is that it is convenient and easy to arrange.

Take a look at this model – Marcy Combo Smith machine:

  • Selectorized Smith

The final option you have for home use is a selectorized model. 

This choice uses a distinct setup:


  • Your bar will link to a weight stack. Instead of adding weights to each half of the bar, you will have the weight applied around the middle part. This is like what you would get out of other machines where you would lift plates linked on a larger body.
  • Two guide rods are featured on each side of the machine. These assist in creating an even layout.
  • You can adjust the height of the bar before you lift it. The control feature is made with your comfort in mind.
  • A weight stack pin lets you adjust the resistance level. You will remove the pin from a spot and place it in an appropriate space that supports an amount of weight based on where the pin goes. This is similar to what you would get off of an adjustable dumbbell set.

This is a useful choice for when you need something easy to set up. But this would not allow you to set just any specific weight. You would have to set up the machine based on whatever weight settings it has.

A Final Word

Having a home Smith machine is perfect for your workout demands. You can strengthen your leg muscles quite well when you have this machine in your home. But be aware of the different types of Smith machines that are available today. The choices you have are valuable for how easy they are to use and how they can give you a better overall workout, but watch for what you are getting out of them so you have something that is easy to operate with.

About the Author Dumbbellsgeek

Hey! My name is Paul Sheldon. I live in Nashville, TN and I love all things related to sports. Naturally I love workking out and I do it every day. If you want to talk feel freee to hit me a message or if you happen to be in Nashville we can get a coffee, I know a great place. Peace!