EOFY 20% off store-wide (Stacks with Club Z) Coupon: EOFY

Weight Training Machines Effect Strength

Testing maximal strength is a great way to get feedback when trying to find out how much strength has improved over a specific training period. There are numerous standard tests which are used by athletes and coaches, and even for leisure purposes by personal trainers to show a client how far they've come. The research put forth by Buddhaden and his team show that some of these max strength tests may be flawed.

Even worse, by training on equipment that elicits unreliable results, a workout may be far less effective. This research team looked at the use of the Smith machine and a powerful exercise called the bench press throw. As the name suggests, the individual lies on a horizontal bench, loads the barbell with weight, and tests for their heaviest single repetition.

Test participants were 24 men, about 23 years of age, and all experienced football athletes at the university level. The smith machine, used to test for upper body strength, uses a counterbalance to offset the weight of the barbell. This way, the actual weight added to the system externally is the only mass accounted for and used as a measure.

According to the results of this study, the readings were inaccurate representations of the power and force of the upper body in study participants. In the past, it has been suggested that the use of a smith machine reduces performance measures, but never established why this is.

This research is important because it puts into question the reliability and the effectiveness of training with weight machines, and machines which use a counterbalance system. Not all weight training systems elicit the same results, even when they are designed to. As a result, there may be a difference between upper body strength measures from one exercise to another, for example, dumbbell bench press versus bench press throws. While at its base it is considered the same exercise, they are inherently different.

The strength results for the participants in the study were inconsistent with values obtained through other, more accurate strength tests. Using an accelerometer and 4 testing conditions, researchers established peak power, peak force, and peak concentric and eccentric speeds, using the help of a force plate.

It was found that overall, a significant underestimation of strength, and concluded that the counterbalance system should not be used to measure explosive movement power.


Buddhadev, H. Vingren, J, Duplanty, A, Hill, D. 2012. Mechanisms underlying the reduced performance measures from using equipment with a counterbalance weight system. Journal of Strength and Conditioning. 26(3)/641-647.

- Don't forget to Bookmark Weight Training Machines Effect Strength

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

GIVE $10 GET $10More info