Welcome to my comprehensive and complete Smith Machine Exercises guide. I get asked a lot about what exactly are the best ways to use a Smith Cage, so here is my ultimate guide along with PDF and eBook download charts. Use the downloads on your phone or tablet as a quick-reference while you are exercising.
Although I focus mainly on the particular smith cage that we reviewed a while back in our Marcy MD-9010G Review, simply because I like it so much, you can, of course, use any similar equipment. One of the important additions to a Smith Cage that you will need is a bench. If you are looking to buy a Home Gym / Smith Machine then be sure to get a bench as not all come with one included.
Performing upper body workouts
Building muscles definition or size requires performing some workout targeted at the upper region with dumbbells, stability balls, and weight plates. A machine similar to the Marcy MD-9010G will have all the bells and whistles you need to strengthen this region.
Dumbbell Bench Press
You can perform the bench press using the Smith machine or free weight rack. This workout trains the pecs, triceps, and shoulders.
- Lie on the weight bench holding a dumbbell in each hand above your chest. Raise your arms above your chest with your palms facing forward.
- Bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells until your upper arms are parallel with the floor.
- Pause, press up and slightly in so that you finish with your arms extended. Repeat the process.
Seated Overhead Triceps Extension
This exercise targets the triceps and shoulders.
- Sit at the end of the workout bench, hold one end of the dumbbell with both hands behind your head. Bend your arms at 90 degrees.
- With your back flat and your elbows tucked, push the weight up slowly and stop just before full extension.
- Pause, lower the weight down slowly and repeat the process.
Lower Pulley Cable Crossover
This workout is targeted at upper and inner pectoral muscles.
- Stand at the center of the crossover station with your knees slightly bent and your focus forward.
- Hold the D handles attached to the lower pulley, keep your palms inward, facing your body. Now turn your elbows a bit as if you are giving a hug.
- Draw the handles inward and upward in front of your upper chest.
- Relax a little and repeat the process.
Incline Cable Fly
This workout targets the upper, inner and outer pectoral muscles. It is performed in the pulley station.
- Set the pulley at the lowest setting and position the workout bench at an inclined position of 20-30 degrees in the center.
- Sit on the bench, keep your feet flat on the floor and hold the D handles attached to the pulley with a neutral grip.
- Keep your arms extended to the sides and your elbows slightly bent.
- With elbows locked, keep your arms together to form an arc above your chest.
- As your hands meet, hold for two seconds, keep your shoulders drawn back as you lower back to the start.
Some other upper body exercises you can perform with the Marcy MD 1090G include:
- Lateral chest fly
- Chest presses
- Close grip chest presses
- Back presses
- Back fly
- Lat pulldowns
- Aerobic rowing
- Prone back fly
- Close grip pulldowns
- Biceps curls
- Triceps press down
- Lateral single-arm triceps extensions
- Shoulder Presses
- Shoulder extensions
- Front deltoids raises with leg curls. And so many more.
Smith Machine Exercises with a Bench
Performing lower body workouts
As you work your upper region, it is crucial that you train your lower body with the same intensity.
Training your lower region will involve performing more heavy mass building exercises such as squats and isolation movements like leg extensions. It is also essential that you work your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes and hip flexors.
The separate workout bench and leg developer proves very useful when it comes to lower body workouts. The leg developer with two sets of padded rollers can be used for lying leg curls and extensions.
Squats can be performed in the Smith machine or with the free weight rack. The low cable pulley comes in handy for isolating hip flexors and working your quads.
This workout is targeted at the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.
- Stand in the Smith machine with your feet shoulder- width apart. With your back straight and shoulders rolled back, keep your core tight.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your side as you lower yourself into a squat by flexing your knees backward.
- Be sure your knees are behind your toes, your butt is inches above the floor, and your back is not bent.
- Push yourself up at the same speed with which you went into the squat.
- Make sure you keep the weight heavy as you repeat the process in 3 sets of 12 reps.
This workout is targeted at the hamstrings, glutes, quads, lower back, adductors, and calves.
- Hold a barbell or a dumbbell with your palms facing down.
- Stand, keep your torso straight, and your legs spaced with shoulder width. Let your knees bend slightly.
- Maintain a stationary position with your knees as you lower the barbell or dumbbell over the top of your feet by bending at your waist while keeping your back straight.
- Move forward as though you want to pick something from the floor until you feel your hamstring stretch. Make sure you inhale as you perform this movement.
- Begin to raise your torso straight by extending your hips until you are back at step 2. Make sure you exhale as you complete this movement.
- Repeat the process in 3 sets of 15 reps.
Some other lower body exercises you can perform with a Smith Cage include:
- Hip adductions
- Leg extensions
- Standing calf raises
- Cable hip adductions
- Single leg kickbacks. And so many others.
Assembling the Marcy fitness system is a straightforward process as an instructional manual is provided, and it contains assembly instructions.
However, putting the machine together takes time and requires at least two people for transporting the boxes and fitting the parts together. It is not a piece of light fitness equipment so, when assembled it becomes heavy and should not be moved around.
The materials used in construction are durable. However, for maintenance, you can grease the linear ball bearings which attach the press bar unto its gliding beams with light oil.
More Smith Machine and Bench Exercises
The Marcy MD-9010G Home Gym Smith Machine with Weight Bench
Ok, so here is the part where I get to explain exactly why this piece of kit is so good.
The MD-9010G home gym Smith machine is a multifunctional and versatile home gym equipment. It contains several workstations that allows you perform as much as 100 exercises which work all major muscles groups effectively.
This fitness system includes a Smith cage, pec-dec station, weight squat rack, a separate workout bench, 6 Olympic weight plates, multifunctional press arms, dual functioning leg developer for leg curls and extensions, triceps rope, row handle, 2 single handles, a lat bar, ankle strap, a shiver bar, cable crossover, and low pulley systems.
This cage is designed with a sturdy off the floor base frame that increases its stability and linear ball bearings that allows for smooth motion. Attached to its frame are safety stoppers and adjustable catches. These attachments are essential for safe solo training and heavy weight lifting.
The separate workout bench is well padded with high-density foam for comfort. This bench can be adjusted with an adjustable pop pin to either incline, horizontal or decline positions.
As a result of its heavy steel frame, the fitness system can withstand up to 600lbs of weight and does not wobble if extra weight is added to it during a workout. The bars are fixed at a 7-degree angle to create enough room for safe exercise performance within the machine.
This machine contains every fitness tool with which to build muscle and strength within your home. It is perfect for beginners, intermediate and even expert fitness trainers and bodybuilders. The MD-9010G is strong enough to support 600lbs (272kg) total weight.
Its separate workout bench has a weight capacity of 300lbs. The dual functioning leg developer has a maximum weight capacity of 100lbs (45kg). The maximum weight of its press bar is 300lbs (136kg). The rack can hold as much as 600lbs (272kg) while the cross over and lat pull have a maximum weight of 200lbs (90.7kg).
The total height of the fitness system is 95” (241cm) long, width 79” ( 201cm) wide and depth 86” (219cm) tall ( including the adjustable workout bench). All these weights put together makes it heavy, stable and difficult to move when assembled.
The pec fly/ low cable pulley behind the frame allows you to isolate your chest, biceps, back and shoulders using various cable attachments. The cables are 200lbs flexible strength steel ropes. They are very durable and use PVC finishing for smoother and more comfortable performance.
The Marcy Pro MD-9010G Smith Cage Combo Promo Video
This Smith Cage fitness system is very versatile, combines different workout stations for developing different muscles group without having to switch gym equipment frequently. Its workout stations include:
- Pec fly station: This station is designed to help users improve their pectoral muscles to develop muscular power and strength. It involves two arms with elbow pads using the rear weight bar.
- Leg developer and preacher curl station: The dual functioning leg development station designed for performing leg extensions and curls. The leg developer and preacher pad help you perform preacher curls. This workout station includes an easily detachable bar with padded handles.
- High crossover station: This station trains the chest, arm flexor, and arm extension muscles. It consists of a set of pulleys (high and low) with a lat bar for easy practice of crossover exercises and lat pulldowns. You can either use both pulleys or one when performing pulldowns while standing.
- Low pulley station: This multiple training unit can be used to train both the upper and lower body. Also used to improve balance, core strength, coordination, and stability. An ankle bar and a shiver bar are required for the activities that performed on this pulley.
With the Marcy MD-1090G, you can perform 100+ exercises targeted at various muscle groups. You can perform upper body workouts and strengthen your abs, arms, chest, shoulders, and back. You can also perform more heavy mass building exercises and isolation movements to improve your lower body.
The pros and cons of Marcy MD-9010G
- Firm, all steel frame design, keeps the machine stable even when lifting heavier weights.
- Smooth action in both the cable and pulley system.
- Versatility of workout stations gives you multiple choices as you plan your workouts.
- Offers over 100 exercises.
- High-quality upholstery and contoured padding to keep you comfortable as you workout.
- Safety stoppers and catches for effective and safe solo training.
- This fitness system is extensive and requires at least 10 x 10 feet space for proper and safe operation. It will not fit into a room with a 7’ ceiling.
- It can take a great deal of time to assemble if you are inexperienced and find it difficult understanding the instructional manual.
Undoubtedly, the Marcy MD-9010G is the best, the safest and most effective machine for performing compound exercises from your home gym.
It incorporates all stations and equipment that you would need to train your muscles and at the same time gives you the freedom to extend the reach of exercises.
In my opinion, it is currently the best Smith Machine on the market. With it, it is almost impossible to skip a workout session.