While the classic free weight bench press is one of the top muscle builders, there may come a time where you decide to try doing them on the Smith machine. This could be for a multitude of reasons, including safety and lack of equipment. My gym doesn’t have an incline barbell bench and there isn’t always someone around to spot, so I started doing most of my benching on the Smith machine.
To bench press in a Smith machine you just need to put a flat or incline bench that you would use for dumbbell work under the bar in the machine. If you want to do flat and incline benching, you should use an adjustable bench. Proper bench placement in the Smith machine is important for an even grip and to lower the weight to the proper place, so do a low weight set or two to make sure you are in proper position. Smith machine bench pressing is also great for safety, as you can set stoppers to where you want to lower the weight to.
Bench pressing on a Smith machine will force you to push the weight up in a fixed straight up and down plane of motion. Small stabilizing muscles won’t have to work as hard because of this. I like to do some sets of dumbbell benching after working on the Smith machine to get some free weight work in.
Smith machine bench pressing workouts should be set up the same way as free weight bench workouts. Make sure to include exercises from multiple angles (flat, incline, decline) to hit the pecs hard.