Smith machines are pieces of equipment with a bar fixed to steel rails to fix the movement in a near-vertical plane. “How much weight is the bar on a Smith machine?” is a common question for people new to this piece of equipment.
So, how much does a Smith Machine bar weigh? The Smith machine bar weight is most commonly 15 to 25 lbs. But it can range from 6 to 45 lbs. There are no standardized Smith machine specifications, so the weight will depend on the model/brand, type of material used, and size of the bar.
Without knowing the weight of the bar you are using, it will be difficult to do your workouts if you switch to a different type of bar.
For example, an Olympic barbell weighs 45 lbs. If you switch from a lighter Smith machine bar to a heavier barbell and load the same number of plates on the barbell, you may not be ready for the extra weight and injure yourself.
In this article, I’ll discuss:
- The factors affecting the weight of a Smith machine bar
- The average weight of different Smith machine bars
- How to determine the weight of your Smith machine bar
- The importance of using the correct weight in weightlifting
Factors That Affect the Weight of a Smith Machine Bar
Material Used in Manufacturing
Smith machine bars are typically made of steel. However, the type of steel used with a Smith machine is much lighter than an Olympic barbell. Smith machines have a hook on either side of the bar to latch onto the steel beams. Because the bar has support from the outer steel beams, there is less bending stress on the bar compared to an Olympic barbell. With less bending stress, the bar does not need to withstand as much force.
Length and Diameter of the Bar
Most Smith machine bars are 1” in diameter, while an Olympic barbell is 2” in diameter. Smith machines cannot fit full-size Olympic plates on the bar unless you have an adapter like this one from Amazon because of the smaller diameter.
Angle of the Rails
The angle of the steel rails changes how much the bar will weigh. Most residential Smith machine rails are vertical, while most commercial machines have a slight incline of 7-12 degrees. The more vertical the bar path is on the rails, the more you will feel the full weight of the bar.
That is one reason why many residential Smith machine bars feel heavier than commercial ones.
A counterbalanced bar acts as a balancing scale. There is a set of weights on one side of the Smith machine, and the bar is on the other side of the machine. This is intended to make the bar weigh less. If the bar weighs 20 lbs and the weights on the other side of the machine are 10 lbs, the bar will then feel like and weigh 10 lbs.
Brand and Model
Commercial Smith machines are made from cheaper materials and typically have a smaller-sized bar compared to residential machines. Most residential Smith machines will typically have many pulleys and cable attachments to allow for many different workouts.
One of the key differences between residential and commercial Smith machines is that most commercial-grade Smith machines, like those at gyms like Planet Fitness or LA Fitness, have a counterbalance.
How Much Do Smith Machine Bars Weigh?
Here are the weights of smith machine bars at the most popular gyms.
|Planet Fitness||15-20 lbs||Commercial|
|LA Fitness||15-25 lbs||Commercial|
|Gold’s Gym||20 lbs||Commercial|
|Anytime Fitness||45 lbs||Commercial|
|Crunch Fitness||12 lbs||Commercial|
|Hammer Strength||20 lbs||Commercial|
|Marcy||16-36 lbs, depending on the model||Residential|
|Force USA||45 lbs||Residential|
A drawback of a Smith Machine bar is it will weigh differently depending on what gym you go to. Each brand and model has its own weight.
Below, I will go over the weight of the bar for different Smith Machine brands and the weights of the bar of Smith Machines you’ll find at the most popular commercial gyms.
Planet Fitness Smith Machine
Because Planet Fitness is so well-known, many people ask, “How much does the bar weigh at Planet Fitness?”
The Smith machine bar weight at each Planet Fitness location is written on the side of the machine, but it ranges from 15-20 lbs.
LA Fitness Smith Machine
The Smith machine bars at LA Fitness range from 15-25 lbs.
All Gold’s Gyms use the same model of Smith Machine. Their bars weigh 20 lbs.
I spoke to staff members at a few Anytime Fitness locations. Smith machines are not available at every location. At the locations that do have Smith machines, staff members said the bar weighs 45 lbs.
The Crunch Fitness Smith Machine bars weigh 12 lbs.
Hammer Strength Smith Machine
Hammer Strength is a popular brand many commercial gyms use. The Hammer Strength Smith machine bar weight is 20 lbs.
Marcy Smith Machine
Marcy creates all-in-one Smith machines with the bar, pulleys, and other attachments. Most of its bars weigh 16 lbs, but the bar on the SM-4033 model weighs 36 lbs, and the bar on the Diamond Elite MD-9010G model weighs 25 lbs.
Force USA Smith Machine
This is a popular at-home Smith machine that uses an Olympic barbell of 45 lbs.
How to Determine the Weight of Your Smith Machine Bar
Weighing the Bar Using a Scale
Place a tall, hard box underneath the bar path. Place your scale on top of the box and release the bar off the supports. Carefully rest the bar on the scale, and that reading will be the bar weight.
You can also stand on a scale with the bar on your back. Subtract your body weight from that reading, and that will be the bar weight.
Checking the Manufacturer’s Specifications
The brand of Smith machine you are using will be somewhere on the machine. The manufacturer will have details online about the dimensions of the machine, specifically the weight of the bar.
Most commercial gyms will also have the weight listed on the machine. For example, the Planet Fitness Smith machine bar weight will be on the side of the machine.
Asking a Gym Staff Member
This is the quickest and easiest way to find out the weight of a Smith machine bar. A gym staff member should know how much their equipment weighs. If they don’t know the weight, you have the previous two options to know how heavy the Smith machine bar is.
Importance of Using the Correct Weight in Weightlifting
There are safety concerns for you and the equipment itself if you are not training properly. For example, the Hammer Strength Smith Machine has a maximum weight of 650 lbs. If you exceed that weight doing a Smith machine squat variation, you could put yourself at risk of injury and damage to the machine.
Achieving Desired Results in Training
Knowing the weight of the bar you are using will help you pick more accurate weight to use for your workouts. If you do a seated overhead press with 95 lbs with an Olympic bar and want to do it on a Smith Machine bar, you would have to add more weight to the bar since Smith Machine bars are lighter.
Check out some Arnold press alternatives you can use on a Smith Machine.
Avoiding Injury and Promoting Longevity in Weightlifting
Weight training can lead to injury if done incorrectly. Lifting too heavy weight with poor form can lead to strains, sprains, or tears. Using weight that is not appropriate for you could also be holding you back from achieving muscular development.
Your body will thank you if you use the correct weight in weightlifting. Knowing the weight of gym equipment will promote long-term muscle growth because you can correctly and safely progressively overload your lifts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Do Hip Thrusts on a Smith Machine?
You can do hip thrusts on a Smith machine. Smith Machine hip thrusts are a great alternative to barbell or dumbbell hip thrusts. Perform the exercise just as you would with the bar across your lap.
If you want to learn about the best variations of a barbell hip thrust, check out this article 9 Best Barbell Hip Thrust Alternatives (With Pictures).
What is the Best Smith Machine to Use?
The best Smith machine is the Force USA G9 All-In-One-Trainer. For its price point, it has everything you need in a Smith machine. The bar weighs 45 lbs, so it will be the most accurate bar to an Olympic bar. There are many cable attachments and pulleys, so you can do many exercises on this machine.
Final Thoughts: How Heavy is a Smith Machine Bar?
So, to wrap up, how much does a Smith machine bar weigh?
Smith machine bar weights will vary, but you should expect the average weight of your Smith machine bar to be 15 lbs to 25 lbs. Asking a gym staff member or checking the manufacturing details will be the easiest way to find out the weight of the bar.
About the Author
Jake Woodruff has an MS in Sports Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh. His research area explored how an exercise intervention affected runners with knee pain measured by a movement screening. He is currently a strength and conditioning sports performance coach at a private Pittsburgh facility. He is a former college athlete and currently plays semi-pro soccer.