Have you ever wondered how much weight the Smith Machine’s barbell really is?
It’s easy enough to rack weights on a Smith Machine because of the attached barbell. But how much weight are you really lifting? Should you count the bar’s weight when loading up your discs?
Well, we are going to tell you how much the bars on a Smith Machine really weigh. We looked at different Smith Machines and found out what the actual weight of their bar is.
This article will also cover how to measure your own Smith bar so stay tuned and find out how.
First of all, we are going to start with this: there is no standard weight for a Smith Machine bar.
Smith Machine bars can weigh anything from 6 lbs up to 45 lbs. It is different from the free weight olympic bar which is 7 ft. long and 45 lbs in weight, the standard for olympic free weight barbells. This is the weight for mens barbells.
For women’s standard barbells, they weigh 33 lbs and are 6.6 ft long. While there is a difference in length and weight, you can use either barbell for your training.
What is a Smith Machine?
A Smith Machine is an equipment seen mostly in commercial gyms. It is also often bought for a home gym set-up.
A Smith Machine is a total-body workout equipment. It has a barbell attached to two vertical frames with safety hooks attached.
The safety hooks allow you to rotate the bar to release or lock the barbell in place. This feature makes it safer to lift heavy loads.
Depending on the machine, the barbell’s path is mostly in a vertical movement. Some have an incline which is good for feeling the natural movement when lifting.
Most Smith Machines have a lower starting weight than the standard olympic barbell so it is good for those who are just starting out.
What is the starting weight of a Smith Machine bar?
Unlike olympic barbells, there is no standard weight for a Smith Machine bar.
The bar can weigh from 6 lbs up to 45 lbs depending on the machine.
There are a few factors that affect the weight of the Smith Machine bar. We will be looking at:
1. Bar Material
3. The rail angle
We will also be looking at the different kinds and brands of Smith Machine to know more about the bar’s weight.
Importance of knowing the Smith Machine bar weight
Why should you know how much the bar weighs before adding your discs?
No matter your level of fitness, it is important for you to know the starting bar weight before doing your exercises.
Knowing the bar weight will help you determine how much to load. This is especially true if you are a beginner. You would not want to lift heavier weight than you can because you did not account for the bar’s weight.
Factors affecting the Smith Bar’s weight
Most barbells are usually made of high tensile strength steel and it affects the weight of the bars. Tensile strength is the ability of the material to handle the greatest amount of stress before breaking.
So the higher the tensile strength, the higher the durability of the material will be.
Olympic bars usually have higher tensile strength compared to that of a Smith bar. It needs the maximum strength to be able to handle heavier loads.
With the Smith bars, the steel used tends to be lighter since it is supported by frames and hooks.
Most Smith bars tend to be lighter than others because of its counterbalance feature.
What is the purpose of a counterbalance in a Smith machine?
Counterweights are used to lessen the weight of the bar. The counterbalance will allow you to still feel a resistance but with a lighter feel of the bar.
The counterweight will depend on the manufacturer of the Smith machine.
But typically, if the bar weighs 40 lbs the counterweights at the end will weigh about 20 lbs to make the bar feel lighter.
The weight of the bar will always be greater than that of the counterweight. This helps offset the heavier load to make you feel that you are lifting a lighter load than you really are.
The rail angle
Not all Smith Machines are created with a constant vertical path. Most of the Smith machines are actually created with the rails set on an incline.
This inclined path makes it easier to feel a natural lifting movement rather than just the vertical path.
Although very minimal, the incline affects the weight of the Smith machine barbell. The slight incline on a Smith machine makes the bar feel a little lighter compared to the non-angled machines.
You will feel the weight of the bar more on a vertical Smith machine because of the resistance loaded on your body. You are lifting directly up and down, which is heavier than in an inclined one.
Types of Smith Machines
Now let’s talk about the different types of Smith machines.
There are two types: Residential and Commercial Smith machines
You will usually find commercial Smith Machines in commercial gyms but they are also bought for a home gym set-up.
These kinds of machines are made with highly durable materials to handle a lot of daily wear and tear from gym goers. Commercial Smith machines typically cost more because of this.
Most commercial Smith machines are secured in place with bolted down tabs for the safety of the users.
With residential Smith machines, high quality materials are still used so you can rest easy that it will still last long.
Residential Smith machines are usually made with lighter grade materials so it costs less than the commercial ones.
This is perfect for a home gym set-up if you want the workout without breaking the bank.
The bar weight for these two kinds of Smith machine will depend on the manufacturer. The weight capacity also depends on which type the machine is.
The weight capacity for a residential Smith machine is from 300 lbs to 400 lbs while commercial Smith machines can handle up to 1000 lbs.
Different Smith Machines and their bar weight:
Life Fitness Smith Machine
This Smith Machine has an incline of 7 degrees which is optimized for a natural movement for pressing or squatting.
This machine weighs 580 lbs with a maximum training weight of 630 lbs. The bar itself weighs 20 lbs and can have a load of 7 lbs to 45 lbs of plates per side of the bar.
Precor Smith Machine
The 802 Smith Machine is also an inclined Smith machine. It has an 11-degree incline and provides a light starting weight.
While it is in an incline, this machine offers no counterbalance.
The starting weight for the 802 is 25 lbs with a maximum load weight of 600 lbs.
Cybex Smith Machine
The Cybex Smith Press bar weighs 15 lbs.
This machine is mostly used in commercial gyms which is good for both beginners and advanced to use.
It has a 7kg take-off weight so beginners can focus on learning the proper form for the exercises. It also has a load capacity of up to 555 lbs.
Matrix Smith Machine
The Matrix Magnum Smith Machine has a vertical path with a counterbalance system in place.
The bar has a starting weight of 25 lbs which offers low resistance.
Hoist Smith Machine
The Hoist CF-3753 7 Degree Smith Machine has a maximum exercise weight capacity of 612 lbs and has a starting bar weight of 25 lbs.
Marcy Smith Machine
The Marcy SM-4033 smith bar weighs 36 lbs while the other Marcy Smith machine combo bar weighs about 16 lbs. The Marcy SM-4033 Smith bar is heavier than the other Smith bars we talked about so far. This is perfect for people who are more advanced and are comfortable lifting heavy loads.
Hammer Strength Smith Machine
Like the most of the Smith bars we looked at in this article, the Hammer Strength Smith machine bar weighs at 20 lbs.
This Smith machine is perfect for those who want the feeling of the natural path of movement when lifting because of its 7-degree angle.
How to measure the weight of the Smith bar yourself
Now that you have an idea of how much most of the Smith bars weigh, you might be wondering if you could measure a Smith bar yourself.
You might have a Smith machine at home, which is not on our list, and you want to know how much the bar weighs.
We looked at three (3) different options on how to measure a Smith bar yourself – with things you already have at home.
If you have a bathroom scale lying around somewhere, now is the time to put it to use. Think of it as measuring your suitcase when you are going to travel.
1. Get your bathroom scale and put it on the floor under where the Smith bar is.
2. Lift the Smith bar, like how you would when doing a barbell squat – make sure your bar does not have any extra plates at either side
3. Stand on the scale while holding the barbell and record your weight
4. Subtract your weight with the number you recorded in Step 3.
Note: If needed, measure your weight without holding the barbell if you do not know your weight.
You get the weight of the bar by subtracting your total weight including the barbell with your normal weight.
Box and bathroom scale
Another option is if you have a hard box high enough to reach the lowest level when you adjust the bar. A plyobox, or even a side table can be an option for this.
You will need your bathroom scale again for this one.
1. Place the box under where the Smith bar would be
2. Place the bathroom scale on top of the box
3. Adjust the bar so it is on top of the scale – the bar should not have extra plates loaded on it
4. Record the weight of the Smith bar
If you have a hanging scale, then this option would be easier for you.
All you have to do is find a strap and secure it around the machine then hook it to the hanging scale. You then hang the bar from scale so you can get the weight of the bar.
Now that you have an idea of how much a Smith bar weighs, It’s time to grab some plates and start lifting! While lifts with a machine have some limitations, a Smith machine squat (or bench press) can be a great way to get started with lifting. Just remember the same lift will likely feel significantly harder when you try it out with free weights.
Knowing how much the bar weighs is essential to keep you training safe. The next time you go to your local gym, see if you can find out how much their Smith machine bars weigh to maximize your training needs.
If you have a Smith machine at home, the features and specs of your machine are usually found in the user manual. I tried to cover all the most common commercial smith machine brand names in this article, but if I missed a big one please let me know.
We hope you found this blog on Smith bar weights helpful and enjoyable!