Looking to find out how much a smith machine bar weighs? Well the answer depends on a few factors which we look at below, but if you want a quick answer then read on.
The Quick Answer
A Smith machine bar can weigh between 5 to 45 lbs (2.5kg to 20kg) depending on the manufacturer and type of Smith machine.
There are a number of factors that influence a Smith machine's bar weight such as the type of Smith machine, materials used and even how well the machine has been maintained.
Some machines can feel very heavy, while others feel effortless to use without any weight added.
But calculating how much weight you are lifting is important if you are tracking your progress, especially if you train at different gyms where you might use a different Smith machine that provides a different resistance.
You can then adjust how much weight you add to the machine to make sure you hit your goal weight.
Let’s get right to it and figure out everything there is to know about the Smith machine, including what exactly it is, what the different types are, how much that bar weighs, whether or not you should count the weight of the bar, and much more.
What Is a Smith Machine?
A smith machine is a large and complex piece of weight training equipment that is characterized by a large barbell that is affixed inside a set of vertical rails, therefore allowing you to move up and down on a fixed vertical path.
This is unlike a free-weight barbell which is not fixed to any kind of rails and is controlled 100% by the operator.
Related: Barbell vs Dumbbell
With a Smith machine, the barbell has two hooks, one on each side, which can rotate so you can place the bar on any one of many lockout points, which is a very important safety feature.
If you can't hold the weight up anymore, you can turn the bar and lock it into place so that you can then let go. There are also safety catches that limit how low the bar can travel just in case you fail a rep.
This is also really convenient because it means that you can keep the bar at a certain level and start at different height levels for various exercises. Not only is this great in terms of safety, but it also allows you to perform a wide variety of exercises with one machine.
The biggest benefit of using a Smith machine is that you don't have to stabilize or balance the bar, which admittedly makes things a bit easier.
This is why lifting 100 pounds on a Smith machine is different from lifting 100 pounds using a free-weight barbell. On the other hand, the big benefit here is that you can really focus on individual muscles because you don't have to balance.
Related: How Much Does a Barbell Weigh?
We mentioned that there is a bar that slides up and down a track, and a big question that many people have is how much that bar weighs.
Depending on how much the bar weighs, it can make a pretty big difference in terms of your overall lifting routine and progress.
All Smith machines have that fixed barbell, but their design and mechanisms can vary depending on the brand that manufactured the machine, resulting in different bar weights.
4 Types of Smith Machines
As mentioned above, one of the big difference makers here is the type of Smith machine in question.
Generally speaking, there are four main types of smith machines readily available. These include the counterbalanced, linear bearing, all-in-one, and selectorized Smith machines. Let’s take a quick look at each one.
Counterbalanced Smith Machine
First, we have the counterbalanced Smith machine. This is a special type of Smith machine that has a pulley system built in to assist the bar. This pulley system can make the bar feel as light as 5 pounds depending on the size of the counterweight.
Although the barbell built into the machine is very similar to regular Olympic barbells and weighs roughly the same without any assistance. Because of the assistance provided by the pulley system, makes the bar feel much lighter.
In the grand scheme of things, if you’re using a counterbalanced model, that bar will usually feel like it weighs under 10 pounds but may weigh up to 20.
All of that said, because those pulleys make the starting bar weight lower which can be great for people just getting started in the gym and is why this is the most common type of Smith machine in commercial gyms.
Linear Bearing Smith Machine
Here we have the linear bearing Smith machine, which is much more difficult to use than the counterbalanced Smith machine. The reason for this is that there is no set of pulleys holding the bar and assisting the lifter.
Instead, there is only the track which the barbell is affixed and slides along.
This is very useful for providing you with some help in terms of balancing and with your specific movements, but it doesn't really take any weight away from the bar.
Therefore, the bar on a linear bearing Smith machine can feel quite heavy. This can be especially true if the Smith machine hasn't been properly maintained making the bearings not roll as smooth as they should.
Keep in mind that this is a type of smith machine usually found in home gyms, mainly because they're a lot cheaper due to a lack of that pulley system.
If you're looking to lift a whole lot of weight without any added assistance, then the linear bearing Smith machine is a great way to go.
All-in-One Smith Machine
Next is the all-in-one Smith machine, which is usually something that is found in home gyms or personal training studios.
This is by far the most complex-looking machine, mainly because it is loaded to the brim with different weight stacks, cable systems, and so much more.
Within an all-in-one trainer, the Smith machine is just one part of the overall machine and can vary with some units counterbalanced and some not.
But as these machines are intended to work quite literally every single muscle in your body, they often come with extra attachments such as a leg press option for your Smith machine.
Related: Leg Press vs Squat
Selectorized Smith Machines
This type of Smith machine features a central rod that is hooked up to a stack of weights along with dual guide rods on both sides.
It also features an adjustable bar height, along with the ability to increase or decrease the resistance using the pin on the weight stack.
Admittedly, this type is much less common, so we won't focus as much on it. One brand that often uses this style of Smith machine is Inspire Fitness which produces some great quality gym equipment.
Average Weight for Smith Machine Bars
As you'll quickly find out if you do some reading, most Smith machine bars typically weigh anywhere between 5 pounds and 45 pounds (2.5kg to 20kg).
However, it depends on the type of Smith machine you are using. As we've seen, the barbell on a counterbalanced Smith machine feels much lighter than the barbell on a linear-bearing Smith machine.
The barbell on a linear bearing Smith machine can easily feel like it weighs 45 pounds, whereas the barbell on a counterbalanced Smith machine may feel as light as 5 pounds.
Even though the barbell in Smith machines are likely made of very similar materials and weigh roughly the same, understanding the type of Smith machine will help you gauge the weight you will actually be lifting as you workout.
Differences Between Smith Machine Types
Something important to keep in mind here is that although different types of smith machines make the bar feel like it weighs more or less, in reality, most of the bars are fairly similar in weight.
It really comes down to the angle of the rails, counterbalance features, and yes, the bar material too. Let's take a look at some of the major differences between various Smith machines and how they may affect the weight of the bar, or at least how you perceive the weight of the bar.
OK, so as mentioned above, the counterbalance Smith machine uses a set of pulleys to assist the lifter. In general, this makes the barbell feel much lighter, usually no more than 20 pounds at the very most. Exactly how much it feels like will depend on the exact Smith machine in question, as well as the brand.
However, as far as difference makers in terms of barbell weight perception go, this is perhaps the biggest one of all. The addition of a counterbalanced system can make a difference of anywhere up to 30 pounds in terms of how heavy the bar feels.
For those who don't know, the rails on a Smith machine are the vertical bars that guide the barbell up and down as you exercise. If you take a look at different Smith machines, you might notice that those rails are angled differently.
Some have a relatively pronounced angle, whereas others may be totally vertical. Those that have angles tend to feel easier and lighter than those that are totally vertical. If the rail is totally vertical, 100% of the weight is coming down on you, which is particularly the case if there is no counterbalance feature.
The exact type of steel or metal used to fashion the Smith machine barbell can also make a difference. Although, the barbells need to be exceedingly strong so they can hold up potentially hundreds of pounds.
This means that they all need to be made out of very high-quality steel or similar materials. Most Smith machine bars are generally made with virtually the same materials.
Therefore, it's not necessarily the material that makes the biggest difference in terms of the weight, but the design of the rest of the machine.
In other words, smith machine bars generally all weigh very similar amounts, but it is other features, such as the counterbalance, rail angles, and more, which make the bars feel like they weigh more or less than others.
Why Is it Important to Know the Weight of a Smith Machine Bar?
Let's take a quick look at why it's so important for you to know the weight of a Smith machine bar.
Knowing the Facts as a Beginner
The reason why it's so important for you to know the weight of a Smith machine bar is so you know how much you're actually lifting.
As a beginner, it's easy to either over or underestimate yourself, and if you have no idea how much that bar weighs, then you are essentially in the dark.
A few pounds can make a big difference in terms of your overall training regimen, especially as a beginner.
Perhaps the most important reason why knowing how much a barbell on the Smith machine weighs is so important is so you can continuously engage in what is known as progressive overload.
Progressive overload is when you keep adding just a little bit more weight through your workout routine every single time you go.
Generally speaking, this is often considered one of the best ways to build muscle quickly, efficiently, and safely. For instance, each time you go to do some bench presses on your Smith machine, you might add one or two pounds to the equation.
However, this becomes very difficult when you have no idea how much the bar initially weighs. If you don't know what your starting point is, how are you supposed to know how much you're actually lifting?
Also, if you went to another gym where they have a different Smith machine you want to be able to gauge how much weight you should be aiming to lift.
Smith Machine Bar Weight By Brand
How much a barbell on a Smith machine weighs doesn't only depend on the type of machine, but also on the brand name.
We often get asked for the bar weight for specific brands so we have answered the most common brand specific questions in the FAQs at the end of this post.
Should You Count the Weight of a Smith Machine Bar?
Some hardcore gym fanatics will tell you that the initial starting weight of the machine doesn't count.
For instance, if someone loads up six plates onto a leg press, they might say that they're only lifting 270 pounds, when in fact the leg press machine itself could already weigh 60 pounds or more.
Related: Leg Workout Machines at the Gym
This is not unlike a smith machine with a barbell. Just because you only load 90 plates onto eight when you go to do your bench press doesn't mean that you're only lifting 90 pounds, because the bar adds some weight to the equation.
Once again, depending on the specific type of machine you're using, the bar could add anywhere between 5 and 45 pounds.
Whether you're lifting 90 pounds or 135 on your bench press is a pretty big difference, and it's something that is worth knowing, especially if you have a set of goals you wish to achieve.
The bottom line here is that different Smith machine barbells weigh different amounts.
Whether different barbells on smith machines actually have significantly different weights or whether they just feel like they're different due to various factors such as pulleys and rail angles is something worth considering.
Although when it comes to what you feel when you lift weight, it's actually kind of irrelevant. If it feels heavier, realistically, it is. When all has been said and done, the barbell on Smith machine may add anywhere between 5 and 45 pounds to the equation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Planet Fitness Smith Machine Bar Weight?
Planet Fitness currently have a deal with Life Fitness whose Smith machine is counterbalanced with a bar weight of 20lbs (9kg).
LA Fitness Smith Machine Bar Weight?
LA Fitness also often have the Life Fitness Smith machine with a bar weight of 20lbs (9kg) but they do sometimes have other brands such as Hoist or Hammer Strength.
Hammer Strength Smith Machine Bar Weight?
The Hammer Strength Smith Machine bar weight is 30lbs (13.6kg).
Life Fitness Smith Machine Bar Weight?
The Life Fitness Signature Smith Machine bar weight is 20lbs (9kg) and is counterbalanced on an angle of 7 degrees.
Hoist Smith Machine Bar Weight?
Hoist have a coupe of Smith machine models available, but their most popular commercial machine (CF3753) comes with a 7 degree angle and counterbalanced bar weight of 25lbs (11kg).
Cybex Smith Machine Bar Weight?
The Cybex Smith Machine comes with a starting bar weight of 15lbs (7kg).
Precor Smith Machine Bar Weight?
The Precor Icarian Smith Machine comes with a starting bar weight of 15lbs (7kg).
Matrix Smith Machine Bar Weight?
The Matix Magnum Smith machine has a starting bar weight of 25lbs (11.3kg).
Nautilus Smith Machine Bar Weight?
Naulitlis are another popular gym brand and their most common machine has a starting bar weight of 15lbs (7kg).
Technogym Smith Machine Bar Weight?
The Technohgym Multipower Smith Machine has a starting weight of 8kg (17.6lbs).