The Smith machine bar moves on a guided path using a linear bearing or counterbalanced system, making the actual bar weight less effective than the total weight lifted on the free-weight barbell. Hence, it leaves us with a fix on how to calculate weight on Smith machine accurately.
Given that the actual bar weight of the Smith machine is less effective, should it be entirely disregarded, or is there still a need to factor it to some extent? We will negate the myth of counting the bar weight as zero to track your progress on the Smith machine. Let’s get a detailed factual understanding of calculating the weight on the Smith machine.
How To Calculate Weight On Smith Machine?
Smith machine bar weight calculation depends on 2 factors: the manufacturer (everyone offers a different weight of the Smith machine bar) and the assisted weight mechanism used in the machine.
To accurately calculate the weight on the Smith machine, you have to understand the weight reduction in the Smith machine bar first.
What Is Weight Reduction In Smith Machine Bar?
Weight reduction is the difference between the actual weight of the barbell and how much of that weight is effectively lifted due to the assistance provided by the machine’s guiding mechanism.
How much weight a Smith machine bar adds depends on the technology used. There are two most commonly used technologies in the Smith machine weight assisting mechanism.
1- Linear Bearing System
2- Counter Balanced Smith machine
1- Linear Bearing System
A linear bearing system guides barbell movement along a fixed path, enhancing stability and reducing friction. This system ensures controlled, safe, targeted lifting, benefiting users of all experience levels.
The Reasonable Reduction in Perceived Bar Weight In Linear Bearing System is around 15% to 20%.
The percentage range I mentioned (15% to 20%) regarding the perceived weight drop in linear bearing Smith machines is a general estimate based on fitness industry discussions and shared knowledge about the technology and my personal workout experience on a squat rack and Smith machine.
2- Counter Balanced Smith machine
A counterbalance-assisted mechanism in a Smith machine involves a system that partially offsets the weight of the barbell. This assistance makes lifting feel lighter and aids in smoother movements during exercises. It’s designed to accommodate users of different strength levels and enhance safety, particularly for those new to weightlifting or rehabilitating from injuries.
The Counterbalance Magic Shaves of 6-8 kg off Perceived Bar Weight
The counterbalance guiding mechanism has counterweights ranging from 14 lbs to 18 lbs (6.35- 8.1kg), reducing the total bar weight from 6 to 8 kg.
Effective Weight Calculation of Smith Machine Barbell with Example
Now that you deeply understand the effective weight of the Smith machine bar let’s calculate how much weight you’ve lifted on the Atlas Strength (3058) Smith machine.
You need to know 2 things first
Atlas Strength’s bar weight
Atlas Strength Smith machine bar weighs 45 pounds.
The assisting mechanism in Atlas is CounterBalanced. Each bar of counterbalance weight (present inside the tubing of the Smith machine and connected with a cable to the bar) weighs 9 lbs each, so the total counterbalance weight is 18 lbs/ 8kg.
For instance, you’ve loaded four 20-pound plates, two on each side; the calculation would be:
Barbell Weight: 45 pounds
Plate Weight (per side): 40 pounds + 40 pounds = 80 pounds
Total Weight: (Barbell Weight + Plate Weight) – Counter Weights = (45 pounds + 80 pounds) – 18 pounds = 107 pounds
Note: If the technology used in your machine is a linear bearing system, then you would reduce either 15% or 20% weight from the bar weight; 20% is recommended (i.e., the bar is 45 Lbs –> 45 lbs × 20% = 9 Lbs –> Final bar weight 45 lbs – 9 lbs = 36 lbs).
How Much Does the Bar Weigh on a Smith Machine (Across Brands)
Smith machine bar weights are not standardized and can differ from one brand to another. Even within a single brand, various models can have differing bar weights. For instance, the bar weight can span 6 to 32 lbs in Body-Solid Smith machines.
You can comprehensively understand the bar weight specific to your brand by referring to the provided table.
|Brand/Manufacturer||Smith Machine Bar Weight|
|SunHome||25 Lbs – 11 kg|
|Planet Fitness||25 Lbs|
|Life Fitness||20 Lbs – 9kg|
|Sunny Health (SF-XF920020)||15 Lbs|
|Atlas Strength (3058)||45 Pounds|
|Marcy SM-4033||36 Lbs|
|Major Lutie||30 Lbs|
|ER Kang||32 Lbs|
|Inspire Fitness SCS||30 Lbs – 13.6kg|
|Body-Solid (SCB1000)||32 Lbs – 14.5kg|
|Body Solid (SCB1000)||6-32 lbs|
|Deltech Fitness (DF4900)||58 Lbs – 26.3 kg|
|Anything Sports||13.2 Pounds|
|Hammer Strength||20 Lbs – 9kg|
|Valor Fitness||36 Lbs -16.3kg|
|Technogym||18Lbs – 8kg|
|Hoist MISMITH Dual Action||30 Lbs – 13.6kg|
Note: Atlas Strength (3058), Body Solid (SCB1000), and Valor Fitness are equipped with a Counter Balance assisted mechanism.
How Much Do Smith Machine Bars Weigh At Planet Fitness?
After conducting my measurements using a luggage scale at Planet Fitness, The consistent result I obtained was an average weight of approximately 25 pounds for each bar. This practical confirmation solidifies that Smith machine bars at Planet Fitness generally weigh around 25 pounds apiece.
How Much Does A Smith Machine Bar Weigh at Life Fitness?
Signature series Smith machine at Life Fitness weighs 20 lbs/ 9kg. The maximum bar capacity is 7 –45 lbs (6 –25 kg) plates per side of the bar.
Is the Weight You Lift on Assisted Smith Machines the Same as Free Weights?
When you use an assisted Smith machine (with features like counterbalance or linear bearings), the weight you lift isn’t quite the same as traditional free weights. The assistance mechanisms in the Smith machine can make the start of the lift easier, reducing the effort needed to initiate the movement compared to lifting an equivalent weight with free weights.
Smith Machine to Free Weight Conversion
The very common question that bubbles out of every gym athlete is how much we could lift on free weight if we did a smith machine bench press or squat before.
No pertinent formula tells you the weight conversion from the Smith machine to Freeweight, but I could tell you a difference in ballpark range based on my experience.
There are different scenarios for 3 different exercises related to the Smith machine to free weight conversion.
In bench press and squats, you feel a difference when you switch. While in a deadlift, there is not much difference if you want to calculate Smith machine & free weight conversion.
BenchPress & Squats Conversion: In benchpress & squats on Smith machine, assisted support and aligned motion make it easier to lift more weight. To get an estimate, if you do 200lbs benchpress on Smith machine, on freeweight you’ll lift 70% of that, i.e., 140-150lbs (50-70lbs difference can be estimated as you convert to free weight). This formula could also be referred to as smith machine to free weight calculator.
Worth Seeing: Is Smith Machine Benchpress effective?
Deadlift: There is not much difference between Smith machine and free weight conversion in the deadlift scenario. The reason is that you have to lift the weight against gravity in deadlifts, and there is not much worry about alignment. You can do almost same with the difference of only(20-30lbs) in some cases.
How does the Smith Machine Bar Simulate The Free-Weight Bar?
When no plates are on the bar, the counterbalance system applies force in the opposite direction of gravity. This force reduces the effective weight of the bar during the initial lift, making it feel lighter than it truly is.
As you lift the bar further, the counterbalance force gradually decreases, and the effective weight of the bar increases. This change in resistance curve simulates the natural resistance you’d feel when lifting free weights.
The bottom line for calculating weight on a Smith machine involves considering both the bar’s weight and the plates loaded. Assisted technologies like counterbalance make the initial lift feel lighter, but the total resistance is still a factor. The perceived weight reduction of the bar can range from around 15% to 20% in the case of a linear bearing system and 14-18 lbs in a counterbalanced system. Understanding these factors empowers accurate weight calculation and adequate workout progress.
How Much Weight Does a Smith Machine Bar Add?
Based on the bar’s reduced weight (either 20% of your Smith machine’s bar weight or up to 18 lbs, depending on the assisted mechanism), the remaining bar weight adds up to the total weight of the plates loaded onto the bar.
How Much Weight Is a Bench Press Bar on a Smith Machine?
A bench press bar weighs 6-8 kg less on the Smith machine.
This is Safeer Ahmad founder of FitnessGearsHub. I’m an aspirant fitness freak, I commenced my career as a blogger and I opted for “gym and fitness” as my primary domain. As all fitness gears fancy me, I spend considerable time on research before buying one, I believe a health fanatic should be mindful of the product before making buying decision so I’ll try my level best to provide you ample information to buy one or maintain your gym equipment.