Saturday, 20 April 2024

Smith Machine

Valor Athletics BE-11 Smith Machine Review

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The Valor Athletics BE-11 Smith Machine features an ergonomically designed reverse pitch and 1,000 lb weight limit to ensure you can push yourself to your limit while following the natural range of motion for your body.

Design features

Valor Athletics BE-11 Smith Machine

If you have been lifting weights for a while, either in a commercial gym or at home, there will come a point where you want to lift until you reach failure.

Working your muscles to failure is not only an important part of growth, but also key for finding out exactly how much you can lift in a given exercise.

Without a power rack or smith machine, unless you have a spotter then there won’t be a safe way to test your maximum lifts in exercises such as the squat without a spotter.

The main benefit that the Valor Athletics BE-11 has over a power rack is the fixed range of motion.

Although some people prefer using a free moving bar to activate more stabilizer muscles, there is really no safer way to perform an exercise than in a smith machine.

Another important design feature to check for when choosing a smith machine is the quality of the bearings. High quality bearings can really make a difference to how smoothly the bar moves, meaning you aren’t pushing against any more force than you already have loaded on the bar.

The Valor Athletics BE-11 is built with 2 bearings in each of the toughened sliding casings, to help create a smoother motion as they glide up and down the solid steel vertical guide rods.

To improve the stability of the frame, preventing it from sliding or damaging your floor, each corner is also fitted with a rubber protective pad.

Valor Athletics BE-11 Smith Machine

Valor Athletics BE-11 – Features Summary

  • Olympic sized bar sleeves will accommodate weight plates with 2″ holes
  • Unloaded bar weight 30 lbs
  • 1000 lb. weight capacity
  • Optional Counter Balance Kit available which offsets the unloaded weight of the bar
  • Knurled grip sections along the bar
  • Stainless solid steel bar latch supports
  • Linear bearings
  • Super-smooth vertical movement up and down the carriage
  • Case hardened rods and high quality bearings ensure smooth performance at any weight
  • Four Olympic weight plate storage posts to safely suspend plates off the floor for easy access
  • Rubber foot pads on base
  • Safety springs
  • Includes (2) Olympic sized spring collars

Weight limit and plate storage

Valor Athletics BE-11 Smith Machine

In terms of how much weight you can load on the bar, each end provides 16 inches on which to load the Olympic weight plates.

This extra width is something worth bearing in mind when you are working out the space you need, but does allow you to get close to loading the bar to its 1,000 lb limit.

Whether you are strong enough to get close to this limit or not, it’s important to have a good collection of weight plates in different sizes.

To make storing these weight plates easier, the Valor Athletics BE-11 also includes 4 of the 8 inch weight plate storage pegs. Similar to the bar, these are only suitable for Olympic sized weight plates.

Safety features

Valor Athletics BE-11 Smith Machine

One of the main reasons for buying a smith machine is its ability to safely support you throughout your workout, without the need for a spotter.

To do this effectively, the Valor Athletics BE-11 has been fitted with a number of important safety features.

The first of these is the racking pins. Along the inside edge of the main uprights there are a number of racking pins which create safe levels for you to secure the bar.

You can simply rotate the bar so the latches are positioned above the pins, and lower to a point where the bar is safely racked.

With 14 racking points to choose from, this helps to protect you when performing a range of exercises if you can’t quite complete the rep.

The next safety feature is the set of safety catches, one on each side of the smith machine.

Although these have one main use, there are actually a number of ways these will benefit your workouts.

Before starting your set, you can rotate the catches and slide them up and down the rail to the required position. Rotating the catch so that it sits on the racking pins will then prevent the bar from dropping below that point.

As well as protecting you from getting pinned under the bar in exercises such as the bench press, this can also limit the range of motion to allow you to perform partial reps.

While this is a more advanced training technique, one example is setting the safety catches so the bar only moves through the top half of the bench press range of motion.

This would help overload your triceps and work past any sticking point that might be the cause of a plateau in your bench press strength.

Optional counterbalance kit

If you are thinking about buying a new smith machine, whichever weight you load onto each end of the bar, you will always need to include the weight of the bar itself in your lift.

Whether you aren’t quite strong enough to bench press the bar for the required number of reps or simply want to lift only the weight on each end, the counterbalance kit can help.

Designed to counteract the 30 lb weight of the bar, this kit will result in just 2 lbs of pressure being needed to get the bar moving up or down.

What’s included in the warranty?

Frame: 3 years. Pad: 2 years. Cable: 2 years. Popper Pin: 1 year.

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4 / 5

The Valor Athletics BE-11 Smith Machine provides all the safety features you need to push yourself to your limits from the convenience of your own home gym.

With ample room within the frame to position a weights bench, this allows you to perform a wide range of effective mass building exercises. This includes bench press, smith machine press, squats, lunges, and shrugs.

Its reverse pitch and smooth vertical carriage motion ensure freedom of biomechanically correct movement as you move safely and efficiently through your workout.

Although the separate counter balance is a useful option, at close to $100 in price, it's best that this has been kept separate to keep the price of the main machine lower.

Assembled Dimensions: 53" (L) x 73.25" (W) x 80.5" (H) Weight limit: 1000 lbs

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