STRENGTH TRAINING

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  • Photo for Smith Machine Press
    Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith
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Smith Machine Press

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

Benefits
The Smith machine press is an excellent exercise for isolate your chest muscles, particularly if you are having trouble stabilizing your bench press or doing bench presses using only your chest muscles.

Muscles Worked
Chest, Triceps

Starting Position
Lie on your back on a flat bench with the barbell on the Smith machine rack over your upper body. The barbell should be at a level corresponding to the distance from your elbow to your hand when your elbows are bent at right angles at your sides. Take the barbell in an easy, open-handed grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and your palms facing toward your feet (see Photo 1).

Exercise

  1. From the starting position, and with the barbell still on the rack, contract your shoulder blades together and downward to raise your chest toward the bar. Engage your abdominals by pulling them in toward your spine to create a muscular "weight belt". You will use this technique to keep your back flat throughout the exercise—do not, at any time, permit your back to arch.
  2. Lift the bar off the rack and, keeping it steady, bend and lower your elbows to the side until they are at the level of your back. The bar should not touch or bounce off of your chest at any point (see Photos 2 and 3).
  3. Keeping your head and neck in line with your spine and your back flat on the bench by engaging your abs, slowly press the bar directly toward the ceiling. At the top of the motion, your chest should be fully flexed (see Photo 4).
About Mike Clausen: Clausen is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. He has been actively involved in sports and weightlifting since high school, and continues to use that knowledge when training his clients. Clausen is both A.C.E. and N.A.S.M. certified and has been training clients professionally for six years. He enjoys making his clients stronger, both physically and mentally, giving them the tools to create an efficient body and to do things they thought were not possible.