How to Do the Smith Machine Deadlift for Strength, Skill, and Muscle

The Smith machine deadlift is likely one of the best-kept secrets and techniques in weight coaching. Though it could feel and look completely different than your regular deadlift, constructing energy, ability, and muscle are proper at your fingertips. The true promoting level, although, is accessibility: The Smith machine deadlift is accessible in practically each business health club.

The Smith machine itself is a novel however typically misunderstood piece of kit. As a substitute of a freely-moving barbell, the Smith machine is locked right into a predefined vary of movement. This makes studying and executing actions just like the Smith machine deadlift a breeze.

A person in purple sports bra doing a smith machine deadlift.
Credit score: sklyareek / Shutterstock

For those who’re in a jam and might’t get ahold of a barbell, Smith machine deadlifts simply come to the rescue. With that in thoughts, right here’s how one can do the Smith machine deadlift.

How you can Do the Smith Machine Deadlift

The Smith machine deadlift is an effective way to coach the posterior chain, however there are a couple of key steps to getting it proper. Here’s a information to set-up and execute your Smith machine deadlift.

Step 1 — Set Up

A fitness training setting up to do a smith machine deadlift.
Credit score: Korin Sutton Vegan Dwell Match / Youtube

Method the bar together with your ft about shoulder-to-hip width aside and straight over your mid foot. Your ft needs to be going through straight forward or barely flared out to consolation. Be sure to keep up even physique weight distribution from heel to toe.

Coach’s Tip: Your stance ought to really feel sturdy and steady — strive utilizing a standing vertical leap to gauge stance.

Step 2 — Hinge

A person hinging at the hips to do a smith machine deadlift.
Credit score: Korin Sutton Vegan Dwell Match / Youtube

Breathe out your air via pursed lips to stack your ribcage straight on prime of your hips. Brace your abdominals and start sliding your hips backwards. As soon as you’re feeling a stretch throughout your glutes and hamstrings, you’re in your hinge. Seize the bar with a detailed overhand or combined grip, simply outdoors your shins.

Coach’s Tip: As soon as your hips cease shifting again, your hinge is full; any extra and also you’ll begin to bend on the again.

Step 3 — Choose It Up

A fitness trainer doing the smith machine deadlift.
Credit score: Korin Sutton Vegan Dwell Match / Youtube

Reinforce your brace by flexing your abdominals, lats, and tensing your legs. Provoke the Smith machine deadlift by “pushing the earth away,” driving via your quads and pulling together with your hamstrings. Flex the glutes onerous to safe your lockout.

Coach’s Tip: Management the decreasing portion to reset every repetition by shifting again into the hinge place.

Smith Machine Deadlift Variations

The Smith machine deadlift is a improbable train in its personal proper, but it surely additionally has some helpful variations. The Smith machine Romanian deadlift, B-stance deadlift, and single-leg Romanian deadlift additionally supply distinct advantages. 

Smith Machine Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift is a partial vary of movement variation that emphasizes the highest half of your regular deadlift. Carry out the Smith machine Romanian deadlift by hinging at your hips. End the vary of movement as soon as the bar passes your knees or once you really feel a deep stretch within the glutes and hamstrings. 

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Flex your hips and hamstrings to attract the bar again to the standing place. The Smith machine Romanian deadlift is a improbable instrument to excellent your hinge whereas making massive glute and hamstring positive aspects.

Smith Machine B-Stance Deadlift

The Smith machine B-stance deadlift lets you emphasize either side of your physique a bit extra with out going absolutely unilateral. The B-stance is a staggered foot place that ensures your ahead leg is doing the brunt of the work whereas your trailing leg acts like a kickstand. 

Make some massive single-leg energy and muscular steadiness positive aspects with out being restricted by your capacity to steadiness on one foot.

Smith Machine Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

The Smith machine single-leg Romanian deadlift is the last word unilateral instrument. From the standing place, carry out a hinge on the hips with solely your working leg on the bottom. Preserve your trailing leg absolutely locked out floating behind you. 

The Smith machine single-leg Romanian deadlift is an ideal steadiness of unilateral training with assistive stability. Make enormous muscle achieve evenly between every leg and benefit from a steady bar path that will help you deal with effort alone.

Smith Machine Deadlift Options

For those who’re trying to make some related positive aspects with out performing the Smith machine deadlift, strive the Smith machine hip thrust, squat, or cut up squat.

Smith Machine Hip Thrust

The Smith machine hip thrust lets you prepare the glutes onerous and mimic your hinge place whereas mendacity down. Inserting the bar in your hips encourages your hip hinge — all you could do is safe a robust brace. 

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Your foot stress, core engagement, and hip extension mirrors the Smith machine deadlift with much less demand on mobility. For those who’re in search of an easy-mode solution to construct your glutes, the Smith machine hip thrust is a good different.

Smith Machine Squat

The Smith machine squat trains your full physique however is a distinct motion sample than the Smith machine deadlift. Whereas the Smith machine deadlift emphasizes your glutes and hamstrings, the Smith machine squat hits your quads, glutes, and adductors. 

Each take some full physique coordination and bracing, however you’ll map out a barely completely different muscle emphasis primarily based upon your targets.

Smith Machine Break up Squat

The Smith machine cut up squat is an effective way to coach either side of your physique individually. Much like the Smith machine single-leg Romanian deadlift, the Smith machine cut up squat challenges every of your legs in isolation. 

The Smith machine cut up squat additionally advantages from some exterior stability. The place your Smith machine romanian deadlift emphasizes your glutes and hamstrings, the Smith machine cut up squat smokes your quads and glutes.

Smith Machine Deadlift Ideas

The Smith machine deadlift has an extended development potential. To see the perfect outcomes, begin mild, progress slowly, and bear in mind it isn’t the identical as a normal deadlift.

Begin Mild

With any multi-joint train, you wish to begin mild. The Smith machine deadlift calls a ton of muscle mass into motion and requires an excessive amount of coordination. Beginning mild helps you prepare with clear repetitions that reinforce correct execution and construct your physique proportionally. Concentrate on perfecting your approach earlier than including weight.

Progress Slowly

Your progress on the Smith machine deadlift is reliant upon many shifting components. Your glutes and hamstrings are massive elements right here, however much less apparent elements like grip energy are necessary to contemplate as properly. 

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Making the smallest jumps doable permits every of your particular person muscle mass to maintain tempo with the progress of your legs. Add not more than 5 or 10 kilos per week, and provided that you may preserve good kind alongside the best way. 

It’s Not a Commonplace Deadlift

The Smith machine deadlift is a novel movement pattern in comparison with your commonplace deadlift. You actually carry out a hinge and use your full physique, however the Smith machine deadlift is locked in a predefined path. You gained’t be capable to compensate or shift your positioning round such as you would utilizing a free bar. 

Fit young person doing deadlift exercise in the smith machine.
Credit score: Yakov Oskanov / Shutterstock

So as to lock in your Smith machine deadlift approach, you doubtless need to barely modify how you’d usually deadlift on a free bar. For those who arrange too far off the bar, for instance, there will probably be an unfixable hole between your legs and the bar, growing stress in your again and compromising your leverage. 

Advantages of the Smith Machine Deadlift

The Smith machine deadlift is a good instrument to construct energy, muscle, and to study the hinge motion. It additionally positive aspects factors for comfort, which is invaluable in case you hit the health club at its busiest hours. 

Construct Power

Though the Smith machine deadlift is in a predefined path, that doesn’t imply you gained’t construct some severe energy. A Smith machine deadlift works just like how a leg press or hack squat builds your decrease physique energy. The locked-in bar path lets you load your Smith machine deadlift on the heavier aspect, driving some nice full physique energy growth.

Construct Muscle

The Smith machine deadlift and its variations are improbable for rising muscle. Probably the most widespread plateaus you might expertise with barbell exercise is your capacity to stabilize the burden you’re working with. 

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Your legs may nonetheless have extra fuel, however your capacity to regulate the trail of the bar begins to fail. With the Smith machine deadlift you’re in a position to focus a lot tougher on getting your legs near failure with out your pesky stabilizers limiting you.

Be taught to Hinge

One of many tougher abilities to grasp is your hip hinge. The Smith machine places your hinge sample on coaching wheels, permitting you to deal with sending your hips again. With the bar being locked in a predefined path, you gained’t want to fret about controlling the place it strikes as you study to regulate your hinge. 

Muscle mass Labored by the Smith Machine Deadlift

The Smith machine deadlift works an unlimited quantity of muscle mass. The glutes and hamstrings are the main gamers, however your quads, core, and again are additionally chargeable for a ton of labor.


Your glutes are the biggest muscle mass of your decrease physique; they’re made up of your gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. Your gluteus maximus is the biggest of your three glutes and is chargeable for extending your hip. Through the Smith machine deadlift, your glutes are one of many prime movers, that means that they produce a few of the highest forces to truly elevate the burden. 


Your hamstrings additionally assist prolong your hips through the Smith machine deadlift. Your hamstrings are the whole bottom of your higher leg, spanning from just under the knee to simply above the hip. Mixed together with your glutes, the hamstrings are the workhorse of your Smith machine deadlift.


Your quadriceps are chargeable for extending your knees. They’re a gaggle of 4 enormous muscle mass that make up the entrance of your thigh. Primarily based upon your particular person physique proportions, the quantity of quadriceps engagement you get in your Smith machine deadlift may fluctuate. In case your beginning place has extra knee bend, you’ll want to make use of extra quads to begin your elevate.


Your core performs a big position in efficiently performing the Smith machine deadlift. Your legs do the lifting, however your core is ensuring you don’t fold below the load. Your core consists of your abdominals, again musculature, and even a few of the deep muscle mass in your hips. When your core is engaged your backbone and pelvis are stabilized to assist switch drive out of your legs into the barbell.


Your again is closely concerned in a Smith machine deadlift. Your traps and lats hold your again from rounding as you elevate. Together with your core musculature, your again stiffens your torso to successfully switch drive out of your legs into the bar.


Whereas typically neglected, your forearms are crucial within the Smith machine deadlift. Your forearm muscle mass are closely concerned in grip energy. As you load up the Smith machine deadlift, your grip is challenged to maintain you hooked up to the bar. Squeeze tight.

Who Ought to Do the Smith Machine Deadlift

The Smith machine deadlift is beneficial for inexperienced persons, bodybuilders, and lifters in a rush. For those who fall into any of these camps, you may wish to give the transfer a shot. 


You might have a ton of recent abilities to study once you’re simply getting began within the health club. From getting your bearings on all the brand new machines, establishing a routine, and studying how one can coordinate free weights, it’s quite a bit. 

The Smith machine deadlift is a wonderful introduction to your hip hinge sample as a newbie. The stabilized bar path is a big asset once you’re attempting to study to groove your hips, serving to construct a ton of early muscle, too.


One in all your greatest property in bodybuilding is stability. Isolating and coaching your most popular muscle as onerous as doable is the purpose, however there are a ton of stabilizers and coordination in your manner. 

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The Smith machine deadlift focuses extra on strictly contracting the glutes and hamstrings due to the preset vary of movement. You’ll must commit much less power to stabilizing your elevate and extra on torching your legs.

Lifters in a Rush

A free bar model of the deadlift is a good instrument in its personal proper, however you may want extra time to warm-up earlier than it’s efficient. The soundness and coordination necessities of your commonplace deadlift makes a Smith machine model fairly interesting in a rush. 

A person hinging at the hips to do a smith machine deadlift.
Credit score: puhhha / Shutterstock

For those who don’t have a ton of time however nonetheless wish to hit your hips and hamstring actually onerous, the Smith machine deadlift will get you working lightning fast.

Frequent Smith Machine Deadlift Errors

The most typical Smith machine deadlift errors are taking an improper stance, grip, or just squatting the burden.

Improper Stance

Your stance within the Smith machine deadlift needs to be about hip to shoulder width and the bar positioned smack dab over your midfoot. A standard mistake is taking a a lot too large stance or holding the bar too distant out of your physique. 

Improper form in doing deadlifts on the smith machine.
Credit score: Korin Sutton Vegan Dwell Match / Youtube

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For those who’re struggling to seek out your beginning place, an awesome landmark is to put the bar about an inch away out of your shin. Subsequent, strive taking a stance that mimics your standing vertical leap and make small changes from there.

Improper Grip

Grabbing the bar improperly has a huge impact in your Smith machine deadlift. Too large and also you’ll must bend over an excessive amount of. Too slim and also you may wrestle to maintain your again tight. A superb rule of thumb right here is to permit your arms to loosen up and lay comfortably at your sides. It is a great spot to begin on your Smith machine deadlift grip width.

Squatting the Weight

The Smith machine deadlift is a hinge. As such, one of the widespread errors is squatting the burden. Your squat makes use of far more knee bend than you’d discover in your hinge and takes a variety of the emphasis off of your posterior chain. Arrange utilizing as deep of a pure hinge as doable earlier than bending your knees solely as a lot as essential to achieve the bar.

Smithing Up Some Features

The Smith machine is a intelligent coaching instrument that’s typically neglected for its barbell counterpart. Whereas the barbell is improbable in its personal proper, you can not deny the advantages of Smith machine exercise. 

The Smith machine deadlift is an excellent solution to construct your glutes and hamstrings with out being restricted by stability. It’s additionally a strong instrument to learn to hinge. For those who’re a newbie, bodybuilder, or simply plain brief on time, the Smith machine deadlift is clutch. You should definitely begin mild, progress slowly, and respect its distinctive kind and also you’ll be Smithing your solution to positive aspects very quickly.


Nonetheless scratching your head concerning the Smith machine deadlift? No worries. Right here’s what you could know.

Is the Smith machine deadlift secure?

Though all workouts have some inherent danger, the Smith machine deadlift is not any extra dangerous than anything when executed correctly. The Smith machine retains your motion sample tucked into a selected path making it arguably extra predictable and safer to navigate. It additionally has security stoppers in case of emergency.

Is the Smith machine deadlift useful?

A standard argument in opposition to Smith machine work is that the preset bar path makes them not as “useful” as a free weight. Whereas the Smith machine deadlift is actually in a preset bar path, not each train must be utterly free shifting to be beneficial. Operate is as distinctive to you as your particular person targets are — hold a various vary of workouts in your program for probably the most balanced advantages doable.

How ought to I progress my Smith machine deadlift?

It’s best to use progressive overload to see positive aspects in your Smith machine deadlift. Progressive overload is the manipulation of units, repetitions, relaxation intervals, load, or some other coaching variable to progress the problem workout-over-workout. As you get stronger or build muscle, the problem should improve to maintain the stimulus efficient. Slowly improve repetitions, units, and at last load to see nice progress.

Characteristic Picture: sklyareek / Shutterstock

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