The Battle between Power Racks and Smith Machines

Power Rack

Fitness enthusiasts are often seen mulling over the power racks and smith machines. There are varied opinion on these gym machines and their benefits. There are certain individuals in every gym that are seen religiously using one or the other. Everyone has an opinion on the matter and there is logic found in all viewpoints. This piece will discuss the advantages and disadvantages found with power racks and smith machines.

Power Racks

Power racks (or power cages) have certain advantages to them. These are commonly referred to as the ‘right way’ of doing things. There is a debate ongoing about the veracity of such a claim because of the benefits associated with smith machines.

Power racks are advantageous because the movements being completed are natural. There is no assistance along the way and it maximizes your entire core and working muscles. There is a safety precaution in place that will catch the weight.  Power cages help in producing balance and strength like nothing else.

The disadvantages have to be highlighted too. One of the biggest disadvantages with power lifting in power racks comes in the form of having a large learning curve. The movements require being able to handle 45lb right from the beginning. This is often too much for certain beginners and can scare them away.

Smith Machines

The biggest detail in a smith machine vs power rack cage debate revolves around balance. The smith machine is able to provide balance for those working out and the chances of hurting yourself are minimal. It is also easier for beginners to adjust to new movements such as squats because any weight can be used. The actual bar does not weigh much and is certainly lesser than the regular 45lb barbell.

Let’s move onto the disadvantages with a smith machine. There are many people that love to point these out in the gym. The joints can have unnatural stress placed on them during exercises such as the squat. Natural movement is not depicted with a smith machine because it is a straight ‘up and down’ set up. There is no swaying back and forth that is naturally done in the power rack to counteract stress on joints.  It is an expensive machine that tends to do minimal work and is useless for specific exercises. This is a grave concern for many gym owners and regular gym members.

Power Lifting Techniques

Power lifting is different to body building. The goal is not to gain mass, but to gain strength. There are specific techniques in place, while using these machines in order to gain strength. Let’s take a look at them.

Spotters are an excellent idea and can help in maximizing potential when lifting weight. Plus, no one wishes to get hurt while executing these exercises. Some individuals will like wearing knee wraps and/or belts to reduce the stress placed on other muscles.

Explosive movements are required as a power lifter. For squats and bench press, try exploding with the movements. Make sure the movement is being performed correctly; many power lifters will not go low enough during squats.

Give your muscles some needed rest. Do not go for a continuous schedule with power lifting moves. The results will be mediocre and injuries become a serious concern. Three days a week with rests in between is recommended for all power lifters.