We typically focus on Smith machine reviews of home-based products. But today, we have something a bit different on our hands.
It goes by the name of Cybex Smith press, and it's a full-commercial, plate loaded Smith machine.
Considering Cybex's poor track record in the Smith machine department, I didn't have high hopes for their newest fitness invention. After all, their 5340 and 5341 models received 27 injury reports .
Careless users or poor manufacturing? We'll never know the entire truth. In all likelihood, it was probably a bit of both. But who knows?
Thankfully, manufacturing practices have improved a lot since 2009, which is when the last of their old Smith machines were sold . Their newest addition to the Smith machine market looks much improved. But let's take a look at it in more detail to be sure.
The Cybex plate loaded Smith machine is a popular product among commercial gym owners because of it's adaptability to both beginners and advanced lifters. It features a sturdy 251kg (555lb) weight capacity which enables veteran lifters to test the limits of their strength in a safe environment.
On the other hand, the 7kg (15lb) take-off weight creates a manageable starting resistance. This setup is helpful for beginners since they can learn the correct form before adding heavy loads.
The frame features an open, walk-through design so that you can easily wheel a bench inside and get to work. This design eliminates the claustrophobic feeling that you get with lower quality Smith machines while also giving larger users plenty of space to work out in comfort.
Additionally, there are 18 lockout points ascending in 4" increments so that re-racking the bar is always a straightforward task. Having so many bar hooks means that, should you get stuck, you can easily re-rack the weight at any point during the rep. Naturally, this dramatically reduces your injury risk.
The benefits of using an angled Smith machine are hotly debated. However, one thing's for sure. Traditional 90-degree Smith machines work. And they have done for decades, ever since Jack LaLanne invented them in the 1950s.
The predicable, vertical motion enables you to focus on the working muscles without worrying about stabilising the barbell. Like a seasoned spotter, the machine-based assistance allows beginners to learn the correct technique without risking injuries. This ease of use makes novices more likely to stick to their workout routine and thus reap the rewards of resistance training.
As mentioned, the open design provides easy access for benches and spotters. Although the Smith Press doesn't require a spotter, some people simply feel more comfortable when they train with a partner.
Both the bar and the safety catches can connect to any one of the 18 lockout points. Spead four inches apart; these steel hooks enable you to build more muscle by training close to failure because you know that you can re-rack the bar at any point with a simple turn of the wrist.
There are also 8 storage pegs to keep the gym floor tidy and free of trip hazards. I like that Cybex includes specific pins for both large and small weight discs. This way, you can position the heavier plates at the bottom of the machine to prevent them from falling from dangerous heights—and potentially causing severe injury.
Related review: York Barbell Smith Machine
Like most of the equipment in their product line, Cybex has designed the Plate Loaded Smith Press specifically for commercial use. Using the latest science, they've managed to develop a machine that can support 251kg—that's more than six 20kg plates on each side.
Aside from being remarkably sturdy and wobble-free, the Smith Press is also incredibly smooth in action (much like the Exigo Smith machine).
There's no annoying friction that makes people talk about the Smith machine as it if were the cause of all the world's problems. There are no sudden sticking points that make each rep feel twice as long. All you get is one fluid motion. And I really like it.
In this regard, it's similar to the popular Hammer Strength Smith Machine.
User safety is a critical component of all commercial gym equipment—especially true with something like a smith machine, where people typically use it for extra protection.
I can't tell you how many Smith machines I've tried that fall at the first hurdle—no safety catches!
Luckily for us, Cybex has mastered the art of safety catch design if there ever was one. Constructed of heavy-duty steel, these bright yellow safety stoppers make themselves immediately obvious to the user. As a result, they're less likely to engage in unprotects sets, which significantly reduces their injury risk (and your liability as a gym owner).
As mentioned, Cybex has included specific storage pegs for large and small plates. The benefits of this are two-fold. First, the large plates don't obstruct the small ones. And second, users (even meatheads) will know to put their heavy plates on the lower pegs, which are considerably longer.
This might seem insignificant. However, it's a crucial distinction for gym owners because if all the pegs are the same length, then people tend to just load the plates wherever there's space.
When this happens, it's an injury waiting to happen, and a nasty one at that. When I dropped 20kg on my toe from a height of one foot, I almost broke it. Now just imagine the damage if you or a gym member dropped it from 4 feet...
But since the Cybex Smith Press clearly shows gym members where to put which plates, they're far less likely to injure themselves. And, if they do, then they'd have no one to blame but their own carelessness.
Since Cybex equipment is so heavy-duty, you'll need three people to assemble it.
However, this isn't because the setup process is complicated. It's because the parts are heavy. As you may already know, higher quality, commercial-grade machines tend to arrive in larger sections since they don't need fit into restrictive packaging for the mass-market.
The instructions themselves are easy to follow. There's a mix of diagrams and text so that you're always clear on which part needs to go where. You can tell they've put a lot of thought into what the people assembling it would find helpful.
As for the tools, you only need Allen keys and spanners. Here are the specific sizes required:
I also like that Cybex includes extensive safety information on how to use the machine for resistance exercises. There's great peace of mind in knowing that your Smith machine is safe for your paying gym members.
The Cybex Smith Machine bar weight is 15lbs or 6.8kg.
Since this is a commercial-grade machine, the lifting motion is incredibly fluid. The linear bearings eliminate friction and ensure that the resistance is distributed evenly across the whole bar. This naturally ensures a consistent bar path and provides both sides of your body with equal work.
If you're based in the UK or the USA then you can get it from their websie and others who seel Cybex equipment.
Cybex manufactures some of the most durable commercial gym equipment in the industry.
And their Smith Press system is no exception.
Its sturdy frame and excellent safety features enable advanced athletes to test their limits while also allowing beginners to master the correct form in a controlled environment.
If you're a commercial gym owner and want to expand your offerings to people of all ability levels, then the Cybex Smith Press is a sound investment.
Cybex equipment is designed for constant use throughout the day. So if you're training at home, then you probably don't need a machine this heavy-duty. In which case, there are many more affordable products for you to choose from.
All things considered, though, the Smith Press is a machine that will provide your gym members with improved training variety while also keeping them safe. And you'll be hard pushed to find anything more durable.