Smith Machine Bars are one of the most popular training machines for weight lifters, especially while training their backs, legs, or chest.
Wondering why? The machine is versatile, user-friendly, and convenient. However, many people still don’t know the bar’s weight as it differs based on the design, counter-weight, manufacture, etc. Confused about what the Smith Machine bar weight is? Then, read on!
Table of Contents
- Types Of Smith Machines & Their Bar Weight (In LBS & KG)
- Popular Smith Machine Brands: How Much Does The Bar Weigh?
- Factors That Affect Smith Machine Bar Weight
- Why Does The Smith Machine Bar Weight Matter? (Benefits Of Knowing)
- How To Weigh A Smith Machine Bar?
- Frequently Asked Smith Machine Bar Weight Questions
Types Of Smith Machines & Their Bar Weight (In LBS & KG)
The two most common types of Smith Machine Bars are residential Smith Machine and Commercial Smith Machine.
Let’s explore each type separately:
1. Residential Smith Machine (Home Gyms)
Residential Smith Machines are ones people may purchase for home gyms. They're mostly made of cheaper materials and cost between $900 to $2,100.
The residential machine often comes with a regular barbell of 1-inch diameter, unlike the 2-inches diameter of the Olympic plates and bars. However, they also sell adapters so that you can utilize Olympic plates. For more info, read our article on Olympic vs standard barbells.
In addition to that, the bars of residential Smith Machines aren’t counterbalanced, which means you’ll feel the total weight, even though the bars are lighter than the Olympics. So, residential Smith Machine bars can easily have 30 lbs. (13.6 Kg) of starting weight.
Moreover, residential machines often utilize nylon bushings rather than ball bearings, making movements less smooth. Check out our guide to bushing vs ball bearing barbells here!
Here are some of its characteristics:
2. Commercial Smith Machine (Local Gyms)
Unlike residential Smith Machines, commercial Smith Machine bars are those that you usually find in bigger gyms. Made from high-quality materials, these Smith Machines will cost you anywhere between $2,900 and $4,200 easily.
Commercial Smith Machines doesn’t always include Olympic-quality bars; however, it may fit a 2-inch diameter Olympic plate.
In addition, the machines mostly have counterbalances and ball bearings to minimize starting weight. So, it can be 30-lb (13.6 Kg) or less.
Here are a few characteristics of commercial Smith Machines:
Popular Smith Machine Brands: How Much Does The Bar Weigh?
Like all other fitness equipment and gadgets that aren’t standardized, there’s no “universal” weight for the Smith Machine, making it increasingly difficult for people to know starting weights.
Many manufacturers/brands employ counterbalanced Olympic barbells; however, some utilize noncounterbalanced bars. In addition, various brands come with their unique Smith Machine variations having bars weighing around 10-21lbs (4.5-9.5 Kg).
Here’s a list of famous Smith Machine brands and their bar weights:
Body-Solid Smith Machine Bar Weight
Hammer Strength Smith Machine Bar Weight
Marcy Smith Machine Bar Weight
Hoist Smith Machine Bar Weight
Precor Icarian Smith Machine Bar Weight
Precor Smith Machine Bar Weight
Star Trac Smith Machine Bar Weight
Nautilus Smith Machine Bar Weight
Factors That Affect Smith Machine Bar Weight
Smith Machine bars can weigh around between 6lbs and 45lbs. However, the standard Smith Machine Bar weight can easily range from 16 to 25 lbs. at various commercial gyms.
Wondering why there’s such a stark difference in weight? There are many reasons; however, the main ones include bar material construction, counterbalances, and angle of rails.
Let’s delve into knowing each factor independently to get a better picture:
Some Smith Machines bars are slightly lighter than the usual 45 lbs. (20.4 Kg) Olympic bars mainly because they aren’t made of high-resistant steel. With support on either side, the bars don’t experience the bending stress of free-weight bars.
Thus, the bars may weigh around 30-40 lbs. (13.6-18.1 Kg). Mostly, they can weigh even higher than this due to added hooks and bearings.
Here’s the thing: a residential Smith Machine (home gym) doesn’t have a counterbalance, whereas a commercial Smith Machine (local gym) does. So, bars can be counterbalanced if you’ve got high-end commercial Smith Machines.
Due to counter-weights, pulley, and cables, the counterbalance bars will feel lighter. In most cases, the counterbalance is hidden under safety covers. Usually, the Smith Machine bars’ perceived weight can be under 30lb (13.6 Kg) with counterbalances. However, it can be as low as 6lb (2.72 Kg) based on the balancing usage.
Why counterbalance Smith Machine bars at all? The aim is to reduce the bar’s starting weight for exercises that require a lighter weight or for individuals new to the gym or training.
You can’t make it weigh zero pounds, mainly because if the Smith Machine bars are balanced perfectly with equal counter-weights, even a slight touch will send it up instantly. The free-floating bars can damage Smith Machines; thus, the manufacturers counterbalance bars to have some weight, unlike the traditional barbell.
Angle Of The Rails
While many of you may think Smith Machine bars move straight up/down perfectly, a series of machines have rails fixed on the slight incline.
This is because they better meet natural movement paths for workouts like bench press and squats. Apart from providing a more natural path of movement, it also changes bars’ weight slightly. After all, the more vertical a bar, the more you’ll feel its weight.
So, Smith Machines, with a bit of incline, will make bars feel slightly less (not drastically, though). Nevertheless, even though the rail’s angle changes the bar’s weight, its key purpose is to meet natural movement paths.
Note: Commercial Smith Machine bars typically have (8-12˚) incline, while residential machines are completely straight up/down.
Why Does The Smith Machine Bar Weight Matter? (Benefits Of Knowing)
You must be wondering if knowing Smith Machine Bars’ weight really matters. The simple answer would be: yes, it matters.
Understanding the weight of the bar you use is as vital as knowing a regular barbell or dumbbell’s weight. If you aim to achieve progressive overload – make incremental/percentage increase to weights you lift every session or week – you should know on average how much you’re lifting, including the bar.
In addition to that, it helps determine your initial weight for various exercises. For instance, if you could do a 50-lb (22.6 Kg) dumbbell shoulder press, knowing the barbell's weight will assist you in deciding how much extra weight you have to load.
How To Weigh A Smith Machine Bar?
So, how much weight is the smith machine bar? Obviously, since it’s assembled in a machine, you can’t just pull it off and measure it on one of your regular scales.
Here are some compelling ways to determine the weight of the Smith Machine Bar with some precision:
Hanging Scale: The Most Effective And Accurate Method
Often called a luggage or fish scale, the hanging scale is arguably the most accurate way to measure a Smith Machine Bar’s weight.
It’s best for objects you can’t place on a regular postal or bathroom scale.
Any affordable scale with a strap will do the job. Set the machine bar at the knees and hook the scale with it. Rotate the machine bar very carefully to free it from the lock. This way, you’ll get a solid reading.
Rope: The Alternative Method To Hanging Scale
To weigh a Smith Machine Bar accurately, you can also use rope and plates. To achieve it, here’s what you’ll need:
Here’s a step-by-step to figure out how much does the bar weigh on Smith Machine:
Also, fasten the bar at a higher position above the head every time so the counter-weight plates you try to sit on the ground. This will guarantee that you can tie plates as they lay on the ground, avoiding the risk of dropping plates on your feet.
Frequently Asked Smith Machine Bar Weight Questions
How do I adjust the bar on my smith machine?
Here’s how you can adjust the bar on your Smith Machine: Grab the bar and start rotating it counterclockwise. Next, rotate it enough till the safeties are unlocked. Last but not least, adjust it to a starting position you like, and turn it back clockwise.
Can you lift more on a smith machine vs barbell?
Yes, people can lift more loads using residential or commercial Smith Machine bars than the free-weight barbells, mainly because free-weight barbells require increased energy and muscle activation to stabilize.
Does the smith machine add or remove bar weight when lifting?
Smith Machines are meant to make bars glide up/down, and the apparatus on the machine’s sides also help make bars lighter or heavier. You can minimize the bars’ weight by 15 to 20 lbs.
Smith Machine bars vary significantly in weight. Knowing how much they weigh is crucial if you intend to attain your progressive overload.
Though all vary depending on materials, counterbalances, angles of rails, etc., commercial Smith Machines generally weigh up to 30lbs or less.
However, when it comes to residential Smith Machines, they can weigh over 30 lbs or the same as Olympic barbells.
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Last Updated on April 16, 2022