This full-body workout is perfect for beginners through advanced lifters. It's a great alternative for barbell work if your gym is often crowded or if you aren't ready for free weights.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
    Full Body
  • Training Level
    Beginner
  • Program Duration8 weeks
  • Days Per Week
    3
  • Time Per Workout60 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Machines
  • Target Gender Female
  • Recommended Supps
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

When someone walks into a gym for the first time, it may be intimidating to see all the machines and weights. Here’s the good news – all the machines are simply options for you. You don’t have to use them all.

You can easily pick a couple of items to work with and be well on your way to achieving personal fitness success. You can even focus on just the Smith Machine and an adjustable bench and see yourself transform into a better version of yourself.

Don’t believe me? Then take this workout on and see the results for yourself. We put together a full-body, eight-week program that you can perform three days a week, all centered on the Smith Machine. No workout should take longer than 60 minutes, and you will see yourself get stronger and leaner.

Fit woman doing shoulder presses on a smith machine at the gym.

What is a Smith Machine?

The original concept of the Smith Machine came from the late, great Jack LaLanne, but it was popularized and commercialized by Rudy Smith, thus the name we know now. 

The machine includes a barbell that's in a fixed path of travel like a standard weight machine. It can be loaded with weight plates as a barbell would be, but it can be set in a fixed starting position by the safety stoppers or the hooks connecting the bar to the machine's pins.

Benefits of the Smith Machine

First, it can hold more weight than most weight machines, which allows greater strength potential. Second, the fixed path of travel allows the lifter to isolate a muscle group and lift safely since stability isn’t much of a necessity. Third, it can be a great tool to help beginners learn the ropes of training until they are ready to use free weights.

About the Workouts

There are three workouts here that are all focused on the Smith Machine. Some movements will also call for an adjustable bench. However, if you have access to a Smith Machine, there’s a good chance an adjustable bench is close by. If one doesn’t happen to be available, you can perform alternatives either seated or lying on the floor.

All three workouts are full-body sessions, but each has an emphasis on a certain area. One workout focuses more on push muscles, one workout works pull muscles, and one workout has a little bit of everything. By the end of the third workout, you will have trained the entire body effectively.

Related: Complete Guide To Increasing Workout Recovery

I suggest using this program in one of two ways.

Beginners can train every other day, so they have a day of rest between workouts to recover and prepare for the next session. A sample split for them may look like this:

  • Monday: Day 1
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: Day 2
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Day 3
  • Saturday and Sunday: Rest

Intermediate and advanced folks may feel like they can train every day on a program like this. You can train all three days in a row but I suggest taking two days off for recovery before getting back after it. So, instead of a traditional weekly calendar, your split may look like this:

  • Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Off, Off, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Off, Off, Repeat

Related: Rest Day Strategies: Active Recovery vs. Passive Recovery

Lean woman doing a smith machine chest press with her trainer at the gym.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the Smith Machine bar weigh?

There is not a universal weight for Smith Machine bars, but they can typically vary between 6lb and 45lb. However, in most commercialized gym settings, a standard Smith Machine bar will weigh between 15-25lb. 

Where is the ab work?

You can train abs anywhere anytime with or without a Smith Machine. So, you can choose your favorite ab exercises and perform them in conjunction with this workout routine. I would suggest training them twice or even three times a week with those sessions coming after each of these workouts. We have a lot of simple and effective ab workouts you can choose from here on M&S.

Related: Core Destroyer: 8 Week At Home Ab Workout

Can I use this to build muscle or lose weight?

Yes, is the short answer. As long as your cardio, diet, supplementation, and recovery routines all support your primary goal then this workout can be beneficial to you. If your goal is to build muscle, you will need to make sure you're in a caloric surplus. If your goal is to lose weight, you will need to be in a caloric deficit. Just remember that your entire fitness plan should be coordinated to the same goal.

Related: A Beginner's Guide to Zone 2 Cardio

What weights should I use?

Each person doing this will have their own level of strength. That is why specific weights aren’t suggested. However, you can train in one of two ways. You can either start with light to moderate weight and add weight to each set until you get to a top weight for the final set, or you can simply use the same weight for all the sets of that exercise. As long as you feel challenged by the end, the program served its purpose.

Can I change the order or substitute exercises?

You can change the order of the exercises. Variety can be a great thing in training. So, if you like a certain exercise more and want to do it when you feel your strongest, be my guest.

As for subbing exercises in, it depends on the reason. If it’s because of an injury or health-related issue, you should speak to your doctor about that before making the move. If it’s simply because you feel the muscles working better with a different exercise then that is fine. 

How much rest should I take between sets?

If you’re new to training or looking to build muscle, take 90-120 seconds between sets and exercises. If fat loss or endurance is your priority, then keep the rest to 60 seconds. Either way, you should be done with these workouts within an hour at most.

How long can I do this before I have to do a new workout?

We suggest doing this for at least eight weeks if you take it on. You can certainly do it longer if you like, but once you feel you maxed out your potential or progress stalls, then take on any of our other great programs here on M&S to help you keep the results coming.

Related: How To Choose Your Next Training Program (Plus Program Recommendations)

Fit woman doing a smith machine squat in the gym.

The Workouts

Full Body Smith Machine Workout: Day 1

Exercise Sets Reps
Wide Smith Machine Squat 3 10
Smith Machine Lunge 3 12
Smith Machine Incline Bench Press 3 12
Smith Machine Bent-Over Row 3 12
Smith Machine Upright Row 3 12
Smith Machine Bicep Curl 3 15

Full Body Smith Machine Workout: Day 2

Exercise Sets Reps
Good Mornings Off Pins 3 10
Smith Machine Front Squat 3 12
Smith Machine Deadlift 3 12
Inverted Row 3 12
Smith Machine Bench Press 3 12
Smith Machine Calf Raise 3 15

Full Body Smith Machine Workout: Day 3

Exercise Sets Reps
Smith Machine Hip Thrust 3 10
Smith Machine Leg Press 3 12
Smith Machine Shoulder Press 3 12
Smith Machine Close Grip Bench Press 3 12
Smith Machine Incline Tricep Extension 3 12
Smith Machine Shrug 3 15

Conclusion

This program will be an effective way for lifters of all levels to be challenged and progress toward their personal fitness goals. If you have any questions that we didn’t cover earlier, or if you want to share your feedback about the routine, hit us up in the comments section below. 

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