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Indigo Fitness: Why gym owners should pay close attention to these British-made Smith machines

By James Jackson
Last Updated on 8th July 2020

Indigo Fitness is based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, and the company has over 20 years of experience in designing strength training equipment [1].

Unlike the slew of other companies that outsource production to cut costs, Indigo Fitness manufacturers their own product line right here in the UK [2].

Naturally, this makes them highly sought-after among British fitness facilities who're seeking a quality strength training space for their athletes or members. Their long list of clients includes Middlesbrough FC, London Irish RFC, Leeds Rhinos and Bangor University.

That's an impressive resumé, to say the least.

But today, I'm going to focus on Indigo Fitness's three types of Smith machines—3D Smith machine, counterbalanced Smith machine and regular Smith machine—so that you can decide which is right for your facility.

Indigo Fitness 3D Smith Machine

  • Dimensions: 224cm L x 198cm W x 170cm H
  • Unit weight: 200kg
  • Weight capacity: unspecified
  • Type of bearings: linear
  • Warranty: lifetime on frame, 2 years on parts
  • Price: £3,895.48
indigo 3d

The Indigo 3D Smith Machine takes the versatility of free weights and the safety of machines and then combines them both into one versatile workout station. This 3D Smith Machine increases core activation by allowing both vertical and horizontal movement, making it the ideal stepping stone between traditional gym machines and free weight training.

Since this Smith machine doesn't allow lateral, side-to-side movement, you essentially get most of the benefits of free weights but without the associated risks. Of course, this makes it a good choice for rehabilitation and for beginners who're learning the ropes because the bar can't slide off to one side, which could otherwise cause serious injury from a sudden imbalance in the weight.

Similarly, the Indigo 3D Smith Machine is useful for training alone because it includes 10 steel bar hooks that enable you to re-rack the barbell with a simple turn of the wrist—regardless of where you are in a rep.

But even if you're too fatigued to perform a simple wrist manoeuvre, Indigo Fitness has you covered. They include full-length, power rack-style safety catches that prevent the bar from travelling below a predetermined point.

Naturally, this inherent safety encourages users to push themselves harder because they know that, should they fail on a rep, the safety catches will always have their back.

Additionally, Indigo equips their 3D Smith machine with a 30mm linear bearing transmission so that the bar can glide smoothly up and down the guide rods—even under the pressure of intense, aggressive workouts.

Obviously, this fluid bar path is excellent for building muscle and strength because there are no annoying sticking points that obstruct your reps. However, it's equally useful for sparing your joints because linear bearings are incredibly effective at eliminating jarring friction.

This 3D Smith machine also comes with 8 storage pegs for Olympic discs, which encourages users to put their weights away and keep the floor free from unnecessary trip hazards.

Overall, I much prefer this product to Halo Smith machines.

Indigo Fitness Counterbalanced Smith Machine

  • Dimensions: 130cm L x 200cm W x 220cm H
  • Unit weight: 190kg
  • Weight capacity: unspecified
  • Type of bearings: linear
  • Warranty: lifetime on frame, 2 years on parts
  • Price: £2,712.92
indigo counterbalance

The Indigo Counterbalanced Smith Machine is very similar to their 3D Smith machine, but with a few key differences.

For one, it's much taller (170cm vs 220cm). So it might not be the best option if your facility has low ceilings.

More notably, however, is the counterbalance system, which reduces the starting weight to a beginner-friendly 5kg. This ease of use enables novice lifters to learn the proper form without lifting too much weight too soon, and potentially injuring themselves.

The Indigo Counterbalanced Smith Machine has four fewer lockout points (10 vs 6) than their 3D Smith machine. However, this isn't because the counterbalance Smith machine is lacking. It's simply because 3D Smith machines have more racking points by design. That is, they enable you to re-rack the barbell on both the front and back of the frame.

Similarly, Indigo Fitness retains the heavy-duty safety catches from their 3D Smith machine to enable you to test your strength without worrying about the potential consequences of failing a rep. Naturally, this built-in safety means that you can train without a spotter because the bar catches will prevent you from getting pinned underneath the barbell.

That said, there's still plenty of space for a training partner to stand behind the bar, which is handy for those of us who like to have some extra motivation while we work out.

In terms of storage, Indigo Fitness once again equips their Smith machine with 8 weight plate pins so that you can keep your fitness facility tidy by encouraging users to put their weights away. However, this is doubly beneficial because having quick access to weight plates enables users to take advantage of high-intensity training techniques, such as supersets and drop sets.

Besides being time-efficient, these training techniques can lead to improved work capacity and increased muscle mass.

You might also like: Impulse Fitness

Indigo Fitness Smith Machine

  • Dimensions: 130cm L x 200cm W x 220cm H
  • Unit weight: 190kg
  • Weight capacity: unspecified
  • Type of bearings: linear
  • Warranty: lifetime on frame, 2 years on parts
  • Price: £2,063.68
indigo smith machine

As the name suggests, this is the standard Indigo Fitness Smith machine with no counterbalance or horizontal movement. However, when compared to the wider commercial Smith machine market, it's far from a standard piece of gym equipment.

Despite being one of the most affordable commercial Smith stations on the British market, this Indigo Fitness Smith Machine is still packed with features. It comes with a 30mm close tolerance linear bearing tracking system that enables the bar to move smoothly up and down the guide rods.

This user-friendly design naturally provides people with a more effective workout because they can achieve higher levels of muscle activation while simultaneously reducing the stress on their joints now that they're using a Smith machine that's free from uncomfortable sticking points.

On the safety side of things, the Indigo Fitness Smith Machine holds onto the sturdy safety catches provided by the previous two models while also supplying 7 lockout point for easy barbell re-racking.

Additionally, since this particular model doesn't have the bells and whistles of a counterbalance system or the cage-like design of a 3D Smith machine, it's remarkably compact, and even more open in design than Indigo's other two machines. You can also check out Gym Gear for some more Smith machine inspiration.

However, as their entry-level model, this Indigo Smith Machine has only 6 storage pegs rather than the usual 8. It's a small difference, I know. But it's still something to consider if your facility needs a lot of weight plate storage.

Related product: BodyCraft Jones Platinum Smith Machine

Which Indigo Fitness Smith Machine is right for your commercial gym?

Indigo Fitness UK is one of the only gym equipment companies in Britain that actually manufacturers their own products [3]. As a result, they can offer much more customised workout stations and training spaces because they fully control their production. If you're thinking of kitting out your training space and need a reliable British company to simplify the process, then I highly recommend checking out Indigo Fitness.

As for their Smith machines, I personally recommend their Counterbalanced Smith Machine the most because it has excellent durability and first-class safety features that enable advanced lifters to their strength. Yet at the same time, the counterbalance system reduces the starting resistance to just 5kg, making the machine remarkably beginner-friendly.

If your facility is geared more towards functional training, then the Indigo Fitness 3D Smith machine is also a good choice because it offers the highest core activation and provides the most similarity to free weight training.

Read next: full Star Trac Max Rack review

James Jackson
I'm a former academy rugby union player who specialises in strength and conditioning for competitive athletes. I split my time between coaching the next generation of British talent and creating hands-on gym equipment case studies at Smith Machine UK.
At Smith Machine UK, we create in-depth tests of the latest and greatest gym equipment on the British market so that you can create your dream home gym.
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