A Girl Named Smith…

Goodbye Dear Friend…

I just said goodbye to an old friend, one I know I’ll never see again. She and I have been friends for years. We met shortly after my divorce. She was instrumental in helping me pick up the pieces of my deteriorating life, and put it back together during those critical post-divorce years. I can make a clean argument that she helped save my life at a time when the depths were pretty low, and eminent danger was near.

We saw each other almost daily for many years, often twice daily. She provided me with a kind of strength that doesn’t come from within. In an era when pundits of self-help are quick to point out that real strength should come from within, I can say unequivocally that sometimes an outside source of strength is required to build inner strength. This source – this friend, was always there for me, never said no to me, and helped me develop a special strength, inside and out – mostly out. Goodbye Smith Machine. I hope you enjoy your forever home…

All That We Shared…

It’s very popular these days for avid strength trainers to poke fun at the smith machine, and those who use it. Most often this is done by younger folks, bros, and hardcore gym enthusiasts. I think it’s fair to say for a lot of my adult life I have been as hard core as anyone I know, or at least in the conversation. Truth is I rarely touched a smith machine until I was in my 40s. Maybe once in a while if a gym I was visiting was crowded I might slum it a bit, and do some squats, or bench presses on a smith machine, and hope nobody was looking. The shame of it all…

As I got older though, and developed my own style of strength training, with lots slow negatives, pauses at extension and contraction, and an emphasis on cross-bridging, I realized the smith machine could not only be used to develop strength, and muscularity, it could be exploited with huge returns.

A Brief History…

The smith machine was invented by Jack LaLanne. It can be used for a variety of exercises from squats to bench presses, rows, shoulder presses, lunges, and more. The safety aspect can be appealing for those who train without a partner, since there is no need for a spotter. As I eluded to earlier, for me, the smith machine has been the midwife to an intensity in my workouts for over a decade. Of the all the exercises I did on my smith machine, squats and bench presses on a high incline were my favorites. I could get so deep inside myself – so intense that I often left nothing on the floor but sweat.

I mean for sure, right bro…? No way you can get any good chest development with a smith machine!

I know, I know, gotta pose the face too.  Not my strength...

I know, I know, gotta pose the face too. Not my strength…

Her Forever Home…

After 14 years I have decided to close my San Diego area studio, and return to Colorado to be closer to family. I am keeping most of my equipment because I enjoy training alone, and I may someday start my business again in Colorado. I did though, sell my smith machine combo because I just didn’t want to move, and store it. Dry your eyes, dry your eyes – she’s going to a good home.

Her forever home will be with Fred. Fred is almost 70. Several years ago he became a client, and quickly discovered the utility of strength training in support of the active aging process. Fred hikes, backpacks regularly, plays softball like he’s 12, and spend much his time tending his trees, building fences. He doesn’t even have an email address – the perfect candidate for a forever home for my his smith machine.

It was important to me that this machine be loved, and cared for. So much home exercise equipment goes unused, underappreciated, and can even be abused. Imagine using a treadmill as a coat rack – the horror. When Fred expressed interest in buying my smith machine I lit up like a junkie to a hot spoon. I knew immediately she would be going to a good home, would be used, and appreciated. There was no way a smith machine of mine was going to some kind of shelter, or worse.

I have no doubt that she and Fred will have many good workouts together. I can rest easy that she won’t be killed. As for my future workouts, they will mostly take place in what I expect will be a bitchin’ basement or garage gym when I get back to Colorado. When I need a smith machine, I will have to go to a public gym to use one, though I know I will buy another at some point. That’s okay. Being in a public gym is always a good reminder for me of what not to do – on smith machines or any other piece of equipment. Be well… rc


Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this from Shrimpboat. Enjoy!

11 responses

  1. Thank you for introducing me to Smith, I wish I could’ve taken her. Fred and Smitty already have true love. Thank you my bruddah Roy for our true love and friendship.
    You were always there to lift me up. Our paths will cross again,perhaps next time while hiking a peak in the Rockies…. Aloha

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