Smith Machine Tricep Press – Movement Overview

The Smith Machine Tricep Press is a popular exercise in the world of weightlifting and bodybuilding.

It primarily targets the triceps, one of the largest muscle groups in the upper arm, and is an integral part of any well-rounded strength training routine.

In this article, we will delve into the details of the Smith Machine Tricep Press, its benefits, technique, potential drawbacks, and variations.

Smith Machine Tricep Press

Movement Demonstration

Understanding The Smith Machine Tricep Press

This exercise is an isolation exercise that primarily targets the triceps.

It involves the use of a Smith Machine, which is a piece of gym equipment that consists of a barbell attached to a track.

The barbell moves in a fixed vertical path, offering stability and controlled movement during the exercise.

Targeted Muscles

The primary muscle worked during this movement is the triceps brachii, but it also engages the chest and shoulders to a lesser extent.

The triceps are essential for extending the elbow and play a crucial role in various pushing movements.


  • Isolation of Triceps: This movement allows for precise targeting of the triceps, making it an excellent choice for those looking to build or define this muscle group.
  • Safety and Stability: The Smith Machine’s fixed vertical path reduces the risk of injury by providing stability during the exercise. It’s an ideal option for beginners or individuals with balance or stability issues.
  • Versatility: This exercise can be customized to target different areas of the triceps by adjusting hand placement and the angle of the bench, allowing for variations that can enhance muscle development.
  • Progressive Overload: You can gradually increase the weight, allowing for progressive overload and muscle growth over time.

Proper Form

    • Adjust the Smith Machine’s bar height to match your range of motion.
    • Position an adjustable bench underneath the bar.
    • Sit on the bench and grasp the bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.
    • Unrack the bar and extend your arms fully.
    • Lower the bar to your chest by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your body.
    • Push the bar back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.

Key Tips

    • Keep your back flat against the bench.
    • Maintain a controlled and steady pace.
    • Focus on engaging the triceps throughout the movement.
    • Avoid locking your elbows at the top to keep tension on the triceps.
Smith Machine Tricep Press

Smith Machine Tricep Press Variations

Close-Grip Smith Press

    • Place your hands closer together on the bar to emphasize the inner triceps.

Incline Smith Press

    • Adjust the bench to an incline position to target the upper triceps.

Reverse-Grip Smith Press

    • Use an underhand grip to shift the focus to the long head of the triceps.

Potential Drawbacks

Limited Range of Motion

  • The Smith Machine’s fixed path restricts natural movement and may not activate stabilizing muscles as effectively as free weights.

Reduced Functional Transfer

  • This exercise may not translate as well to real-life activities or sports due to the limited range of motion and stabilization provided by the Smith Machine.

Overreliance on Machine

  • Exclusively using the Smith Machine for tricep work may lead to an overreliance on machine-based exercises, limiting overall strength and muscle development.

Conclusion: Smith Machine Tricep Press

The Smith Machine Tricep Press is a valuable exercise for those looking to isolate and build the triceps while enjoying the benefits of stability and controlled movement.

However, it should be used in conjunction with free weight exercises to achieve a well-rounded and functional upper body strength.

Always remember to prioritize proper form and technique to minimize the risk of injury and maximize results in your fitness journey.

Smith Machine: Purchasing Options

Mikolo Smith Machine

Smith Machine Tricep Press

Related Content & FAQs

Smith Machine Shrugs: Movement Overview

Smith machine shrugs are a highly effective exercise for targeting the trapezius muscles, helping to develop upper back strength and improve posture.

This exercise involves lifting the loaded barbell by shrugging your shoulders while using the Smith machine’s fixed vertical path for stability and control.

3 Point Dumbbell Row: Movement Overview

Three-point rows are a versatile back exercise that engages the lats, rhomboids, and rear deltoids, promoting upper body strength and muscle balance.

By using a bench and dumbbell, this exercise allows for targeted development of the back muscles while enhancing stability and control.


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