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If you’re a regular gym-goer, or if you have a particularly well decked out home set-up, you’ve probably come across a smith machine.

While these machines can sometimes be a great source of ‘gym fail’ entertainment, they’re actually a highly useful piece of equipment.

Something you may have wondered when using (or watching someone else use) this apparatus is ‘how much does a smith machine bar weigh?’

This is important to know when considering how much weight to add to the bar, both for safety and for those who want to know precisely how much they’re lifting.

Smith machine bars range in their weight from about 6-45lbs (2.7-20kg). 

The weight of a smith machine bar, or at least its perceived weight, depends on many factors.

This article provides a full breakdown of everything to consider when establishing smith machine bar weight.

We’ll cover the different materials and technologies used in smith machines and the barbells that are housed within them.

We’ll also discuss the different types of smith machines, and which machines are found in several larger gym chains.

Next, we’ll give you a list of many of the popular brands of smith machine, providing the starting bar weight for each.

If you don’t see the particular smith machine you use here, don’t worry!

We also explain several methods for how to weigh the bar on a smith machine yourself.

Smith Machine Bar Weight
Smith Machine Bar Weight

How Much Does a Smith Machine Bar Weigh?

Smith machine bars range in their weight from about 6-45lbs (2.7-20kg). 

The load you experience when unracking a smith machine bar depends on multiple factors. These include the size, weight, and type of bar set in the machine, and the technology used by the smith machine to guide the bar.

All of these things combine to give you a starting weight for the bar. 

Related: What Is The Average Bench Press By Age For Men And Women?

Bar Material

Most standard and Olympic barbells are made using steel.

Higher-end bars are commonly created using stainless steel with a range of finishes, including black oxide, zinc, or cerakote.

Standard barbells weigh from 15-25lbs (7-11kg), while Olympic bars come in at 45lbs (20kg).

Weight Counterbalance

Smith Machine Weight Counterbalance

Some smith machines use a counterbalance system to allow users to train with a weight that’s less than the actual barbell carriage.

This feature consists of a pair of counterweights that are attached to the barbell via wires and pulleys.

While this counterbalance works only as long as the movement stays slower than the speed of gravity (9.8m/s squared), it serves as a useful tool.

The counterbalance system also means that the bar will slowly glide down if dropped, making it a good safety feature as well.

Rail Angle

Another variable with certain smith machines is the angle of the rail guide housing.

While some smith machines keep the path of the bar vertical, others have up to a seven-degree angle.

This angle does impact the weight of the bar, as it is no longer traveling straight down with gravity.

These incline angles on the smith machine can be manipulated during training to decrease the load on targeted joint structures, or to target specific muscle groups.

Smith Machine Rail Angles

Variable Weight 

Some lifters have experimented with smith machine bar weight, noting that the bar seems to weigh different amounts depending on its height along the rail.

Interestingly, you’ll notice with a bit of experience that the more heavy-duty smith machines actually tend to make the bar feel lighter with these features.

But why have a heavy bar if the machine just makes it feel lighter anyway?

This is because the heavier the bar, the greater its maximum weight capacity will be.

So even though the 45lb (20kg) bar only feels like 6lbs (2.7kg), it can handle a lot more plates than an actual 6lb bar could.

Types of Smith Machines

The mechanical aspects of a smith machine that affect the bar’s weight are also influenced by the type of machine you use.

If you train in a home gym, small private fitness studio, or a large commercial sports facility, you may come across different types of smith machines.

Residential Smith Machines

Residential Smith Machines

At the entry level of the smith machine market are simple, single-purpose smith machine frames. 

These models typically have vertical guide rails and lock-in hooks, with the bar accommodating standard weight plates.

When you try a machine like this, you may be surprised that the bar actually feels heavier than on some big commercial machines.

This is because these simpler models lack the counterbalance systems of the more sophisticated machines.

Commercial Smith Machines

Commercial Grade Smith Machines

In your classic big-box gym facility, you’re more likely to come across large, heavy-duty commercial smith machines.

These machines normally feature an ergonomic incline rail angle and a counterbalance system.

This means that although these machines house heavier Olympic bars with thicker cuffs, the empty bar can feel quite light for newer lifters to get used to it.

These features also make the machine very safe, as the counterbalance allows the bar to be slowly lowered in the event of rep failure.

All-in-One Smith Machines

https://youtu.be/om68Wq6mSVc
All-in-one Smith Machine Trainer

Another type of smith machine you may come across in a fancy home setup or a gym with less floor space is an all-in-one type machine.

These machines look like a large squat rack or power rack, with the smith machine surrounded by all manner of attachments and accessories.

These additions can include things like pull up bars, cable pulleys, dip handles, or landmine attachments.

All-in-one smith machines will include different characteristics depending on the make and model.

There are smith machines for all budgets and needs, and the weight of the bar will depend on the factors mentioned above.

Jones Machines

Dual Action Smith Machine (Jones Machines)

A unique kind of smith machine variant that you may not have seen is the omni-directional smith machine, also known as the Jones machine.

This three-dimensional machine allows the bar to travel horizontally forward and backward, in addition to up and down.

However, these machines still limit movement to either side. This makes the Jones machine a balance between the smith machine and a free weight barbell rack.

Most Common Smith Machine Bar Weights by Brands and Gyms 

In this section we’ll briefly cover a range of different smith machines you may come across, and the initial weight of the bar on each.

This includes the machines used in different mainstream fitness franchises, as well as different types available for purchase.

Lifetime Fitness Smith Machine Bar Weight

Lifetime Fitness uses a range of equipment from Hammer Strength, Hoist, Cybex, and TechnoGym.

This means that depending on the brand of smith machine used at a given location, the bar weight may range from 15-45lbs (7-20kg).

See below for examples of smith machines from each of these brands.

LA Fitness Smith Machine Bar Weight

From the locations I’ve seen, it seems that LA fitness gyms use the Life Fitness Signature Series smith machine. 

Because LA fitness is not franchised, it may be safe to assume that many of its 600+ locations use similar equipment.

The Signature Series has a bar weight of 20lbs (9kg) and can accommodate a maximum of seven 45lbs (20kg) plates on either side of the bar.

Planet Fitness Smith Machine Bar Weight 

Planet Fitness Smith machine Bar Weight

As you can see in this video, the smith machines at Planet Fitness also have a starting weight of 20lbs (9kg). 

If you go to Planet Fitness, look for the tag on the machines mentioned in the video, and it will tell you the weight of the empty bar.

Hoist Smith Machine Bar Weight

Hoist Fitness produces premium smith machines for commercial and home gyms. 

These models include both options, and you can see the range of bar weights for their different machines.

Model Bar Weight:

  • CF-3753 7-degree smith: 25lbs (11kg)
  • MiSMITH dual action smith: 30lbs (13.6kg)
  • CF-3754 dual action smith: 45lbs (20kg)

Nautilus Smith Machine Bar Weight

Nautilus is one of the foundational brands for modern commercial gym smith machines.

The second smith machine listed here is an example of a multi-directional smith machine.

Model Bar Weight:

  • NP-L8500 plate-loaded smith machine: 12lbs (5.5kg)
  • NP-L8507 plate-loaded freedom rack: 45lbs (20kg)

Hammer Strength Smith Machine Bar Weight

Hammer Strength makes some of the most durable smith machines, built to withstand intense workouts.

The options here show that having an incline or a vertical smith machine doesn’t always result in a different bar weight.

Model Bar Weight:

  • Hammer Strength smith machine: 30lbs (13.6kg)
  • Hammer Strength plate loaded vertical smith machine: 30lbs (13.6kg)

Matrix Smith Machine Bar Weight

Matrix offers a complete line of smith machines for health clubs, as well as commercial-quality smith machines modified for the home setting.

These options show some of the more typical smith machine bar weights for the common styles of smith machine.

Model Bar Weight:

  • Magnum smith machine: 25lbs (11kg)
  • G1 smith machine: 45lbs (20kg)

Cybex Smith Machine Bar Weight

Cybex develops smith machines with a scientific basis, aiming to engineer biomechanically optimal equipment.

Their smith press is one of the lighter-weighted options, for lifters who may find a regular Olympic bar too heavy to start with.

Model Bar Weight:

  • Cybex plate loaded smith press: 15lbs (7kg)
  • Cybex ION series smith rack: 45lbs (20kg)

Body Solid Smith Machine Bar Weight

Body Solid has introduced a great range of economical and practical smith machines and smith gyms, for any home gym or club.

As you can see, their full commercial smith machine here provides the lightest bar weight on this list, despite being one of the most heavy-duty machines.

Model Bar Weight:

  • SCB1000 pro club-line counterbalanced smith machine: 6lbs (2.7kg)
  • GS348Q body-solid series 7 smith machine: 25lbs (11kg)
  • PSM144X powerline smith machine: 32lbs (14.5kg)

True Fitness Smith Machine Bar Weight

True Fitness has great smith machines with modern style and high-quality commercial construction.

The brand Paramount Fitness was acquired by True Fitness, so if you see a paramount brand smith machine, they may have similar bar weights.

Model Bar Weight:

  • XFW-6800 smith machine: 10lbs (4.5kg)

Technogym Smith Machine Bar Weight

Technogym is known for combining fitness equipment with digital technologies, and their futuristic-looking smith machines fit right into their range.

This brand may be one to watch for developing fully digital smith machines in the future, with adjustable hydraulic resistance.

Model Bar Weight:

  • Technogym multipower smith machine: 18lbs (8kg)

Force USA Smith Machine Bar Weight

Force USA has custom-designed a selection of precision-built all-in-one smith racks for the ultimate workout.

Their smith machines use Olympic barbells, but they have a range of guide systems that can alter the weight felt by the user.

Model Bar Weight:

  • Force USA G3, G6, G9, G10, G12, G15, G20 all-in-one trainers: variable

How to Weigh a Smith Machine Bar

How to Weigh a Smith Machine Bar
How to Weigh a Smith Machine Bar

While we tried to cover many different types and brands of smith machine to give you an idea of smith machine bar weight ranges, there are hundreds more out there.

If you use a smith machine at a gym, ask the staff if they can share the specifications.

If you want to be 100% certain of the weight of the smith machine bar you use, here are several ways to measure it yourself.

Bathroom Scales

While this method may be more suitable for your home smith machine, there’s nothing stopping you from taking your set of bathroom scales along to your local gym!

Alternatively, you could ask the staff at your gym if there is a portable set of scales handy that you could use.

  • Place a set of bathroom scales on the floor underneath the path of the smith machine bar.
  • Set the bar to a height to sit it across your shoulders.
  • Unrack the bar and stand on the scales.
  • Note the displayed weight.
  • Optional: Carefully squat down to the bottom position of the squat and not the weight if you want to see if there’s any difference.
  • Unrack the weight.
  • Stand back on the scales and record your weight.
  • Subtract your weight from the weight with the bar loaded on your shoulders.
  • This will be the bar’s starting weight!

There is also a second method using bathroom scales and a solid box:

  • Place the scales on top of a sturdy box underneath the path of the smith machine bar.
  • Unrack the bar and lower it to rest onto the scales.
  • This will tell you the unloaded weight of the bar.

If you have the time (and access to an appropriate box), you might consider trying both methods to see if the results are similar.

Hanging Scales

Hanging scales are not as widely found as floor scales. However, if you have a set, they definitely make for an easy way to determine bar weight.

  • Attach the hook from the hanging scale to the smith machine bar.
  • Unrack the bar.
  • Hold the hanging scale handle firmly and not the weight reading.
  • This will be the starting weight of that smith machine bar.
  • If the smith machine has an incline angle, try measuring the bar weight at different heights.

Rope and Plates

While this final method is not the most convenient, if you’re determined and have no other option, it will work just fine!

  • Tie one end of a length of thin rope around the smith machine bar.
  • Throw the rope (carefully) over the upper crossbar of the smith machine.
  • Loop the other end of the rope through a weight plate, e.g. a 35lb (16kg) plate.
  • Slowly release the bar and plate, letting them hang freely.
  • See if they balance evenly; if not, adjust the plates up or down.
  • Once the bar and the plates balance, the total weight of the plates will also be the weight of the bar.

Do You Count the Bar On the Smith Machine?

Smith Machine Bar
Smith Machine Bar

The initial weight of a smith machine bar will affect the weight you use during your lifts.

Like an Olympic bar, the weight of a smith machine bar should count toward the weight you are lifting!

Since the starting weights of these bars can vary by about 40lbs (18kg), the weight you should load the bar with could vary quite a bit depending on the machine.

If you always use the same smith machine, it may simply be useful to get the starting weight of the bar to track your progression.

If you are always training in different locations or with different machines, just be aware that there is a significant variance between smith machine bars.

Then you can adjust your loads for that session accordingly.

The main point here is that it’s useful to know what a smith machine bar weighs when it comes to safety and accurately tracking your numbers in the weight room.

End Notes

So, what do you think? We hope this article was informative on how to determine the weight of the bar on the smith machine you use.

Let us know what type of smith machine you use – and if you figured out the weight of the bar – in the comments!

We’d especially like to hear any stories from those who try out the bar-weighing methods we mentioned.

If you know someone who likes to do smith machine exercises, share this article with them so they can be safer and more precise in their workouts.