The Deadlift is a great compound exercise that targets all of the major muscles in your legs, back, and core. This is the one of the best strength move for athletes looking to improve their speed and power.
The Smith Machine Deadlift is a great alternative to the traditional free weight Deadlift that allows you to concentrate on your form and technique. It allows you to handle heavier weight because you are using a fixed bar that does not require you to balance the weight. It also allows for better focus on your core muscles.
There are many variations of this exercise depending on your goal. If your goal is to get more explosive, use a lighter load so that you can work on good form and go for multiple reps. Regardless of the method you choose to use, be aware that your grip needs to be strong throughout the lift. Grip strength is important for transferring force from your body, and can help you lift more than if you were doing a barbell Deadlift.
How To Do The Smith Machine Deadlift
Before performing the smith machine deadlift make sure you have a good grip on the bar and load the machine with a comfortable weight.
- Start by setting the smith machine to your preferred height, this is normally just below your hip
- Stand in front of the smith machine with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on the bar about shoulder-width apart
- Now, take a deep breath in and on exhale, roll your shoulder back, chest slightly out and start to bend your knees while pushing your hips back.
- Lift the bar off the supports and hold it at arm’s length, In a controlled manner, lower the bar to thigh level by bending at your knees and hips. Your body should be aligned from head to toe (i.e. upper back and lower back straight).
- Return to starting position by extending your hips and knees to full extension, making sure that you squeeze your glutes as you return to standing.
Note: If you are new to this exercise, use a lighter weight to practice your form.
Smith Machine Deadlift Variations
There are many different methods that can be used for this exercise.
- Smith Machine Sumo Deadlift: This is similar to the Smith Machine Deadlift, the only difference is that you should be standing on your toes instead of your heels.
- Smith Machine Stiff-Legged Deadlift: This is similar to the Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift. The only difference is that you should place your feet slightly out instead of directly under your hips making it easier for you to maintain a straight back. This is best for those who are looking to improve their core strength.
- Smith Machine Romanian Deadlift: This method is similar to the Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift except with this exercise you use a lighter weight with better form. This allows you to concentrate on your core muscles and activates more of your hamstring muscles.
Smith Machine Deadlift Muscles Worked
The Smith Machine Deadlift works almost all of the major muscles in your body .
- Quadriceps: Your quadriceps are necessary for maintaining your knee extension during the exercise. If your quadriceps are not active in this exercise, you will not be in control of the bar and you may start to bend forward in order to move the bar in the lift to complete it.
- Hamstrings: Your hamstrings help you to extend your hips during the movement. It also helps you maintain control of the weight throughout the lifting process. If your hamstrings are not active in this movement, you may start to bend forward in order to move the bar in the lift to complete it.
- Glutes: Your glutes help you extend your hips during the lift. This is done by squeezing your glutes together at the top of movement. Check out this video for more information on the Gluteus Maximus.
- Lower Back: Your lower back helps you to maintain your stability throughout the lift. If your lower back is not strong, you may be forced to bend forward at the hips in order to move the bar in the lift to complete it.
- Calves: Your calves are important for lifting heavy weights. Many people neglect their calves because they think that they are only used for running or running shoes. This is not true, your calves are used throughout your entire body especially during any upper body movement you do.
- Upper Back & Shoulders: Your upper back and shoulders work together to transfer the force from your body to the bar. This is why it is important for you to have a good grip.
- Abs: Your abs are used throughout this exercise in order for you to stay stable during the movement. This exercise also helps you improve your overall core strength.
In addition to the above the Smith Machine Deadlift also works the following muscles.
Smith Machine Deadlift Tips and Tricks:
- Remember to keep your hands in the same position on the bar when you lift, so that you do not have to adjust your grip when starting or stopping.
- Keep your shoulder blades together and use good form throughout the movement.
- Make sure you breathe when lifting. This will help keep your core engaged throughout the exercise which is essential for safety.
- Hold the bar at arm’s length so that it is directly underneath your chin.
- Use a good grip to help control the weight throughout the lift. If you are struggling to maintain good form, remember this exercise is mainly for beginners so use lighter weights until you get to grips with lifting heavy weights.
- Be aware of your lower back arch when lifting (it should not be narrow). Don’t let your back round excessively as this can lead to injury.
The Smith Machine Deadlift is a great overall lift for people who are looking to add or strengthen their core. Similar to other Smith machine exercises, the Smith Machine Deadlift is an excellent choice for beginners because it allows you to maintain proper form while also providing you with full support for your back. With this exercise you can build up your confidence and form so that you can lift heavier weights.