The Smith Press Machine, a self-guiding device designed to provide stability and balance during free-weight exercises, has recently been linked to an upswing in injuries by users of the apparatus. Injuries involving the Smith Machine have been reported to be caused both by improper use of the device as well as improper maintenance or supervision (facility operations error).
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was injured while exercising on a Smith Press Machine, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of the Smith Machine and we can help.
Update: Cybex Recalls Smith Machines Over Serious Injury Hazard
August 30, 2018 – Cybex is recalling about 15,000 Smith Press Machines over concerns the weight bar can fall during use, posing serious injury hazards to people using the equipment and those nearby, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) announced on Wednesday. Affected products include the Cybex Smith Press model 5340 (model # printed on base of frame), which was sold from 1989 to 1993, and model 5341, sold from 1993 to 2009.
What’s the Problem with the Smith Press Machine?
The Smith Machine has a bad reputation in the exercise community because it encourages poor form, makes strength imbalances worse, and may cause injury by restricting natural movement. For example, if you are performing a bench press and one of your arms is slightly longer than the other, the Smith Machine will force both arms to press the bar equally. This is an unnatural movement, and forces the joints to move in a way they don’t want to move because of the machine’s fixed plane of motion. This is why doing squats, bench presses, upright rows and other training moves commonly performed on the Smith Machine may be dangerous.
Smith Machine Manufacturers
- Flex Equipment Co.
- Valor Athletics Inc.
- Body Solid
- Yukon Fitness
- And others
Flex Equipment Co. Lawsuit Nets $14.4M Award
A 2003 lawsuit involving Flex Equipment Co. and Gold’s Gym ended in a jury awarding plaintiff Harold Leon Bostick $14.4 million. The jury determined that Bostick suffered a catastrophic injury while performing squats on a Flex Smith Machine at Gold’s Gym in Venice, CA. in 2001. According to court documents, the weight-lifting bar on the machine crushed Bostick’s spine, paralyzing him from the neck down.
Gold’s Gym settled out of court with Bostick for $7.3 million prior to the jury’s decision. Because the company previously agreed to pay $7.3 million of the $14.4 million award, Flex Equipment Co. was responsible for paying the additional $7.1 million.
Dead Stop Vs. Adjustable Stop
The Smith Machine in the Bostick case featured a “dynamic stop” as well as a “dead stop.” A number of manufacturers only incorporate a dynamic stop on their machines, while others feature an “adjustable stop,” which allows users to determine the stopping point for the weights.
Studies have determined that adjustable stops are typically not deployed, and in some cases have even been removed by gyms. For that reason, Flex Equipment Co. manufactured its Smith Machine with a dead stop at 21 inches. However, experts that testified in the case said the stop should be no lower than 28 inches.
How to Prevent Smith Machine Injuries
- Ask for assistance if you are unfamiliar with how to properly use a Smith Machine.
- Warm-up before performing exercises, and always use proper form.
- Always start with lighter weights before progressing to heavy.
- Engage the catch rods between exercises.
- If available, use the adjustable stops.
- Train clients on how to properly use the Smith Machine.
- Inspect/perform maintenance on the device.
- Be sure that warning and instructional stickers are attached and clearly visible.
- Increase supervision around the Smith Machine when clients are using heavier weights and performing higher-risk exercises.
Do I Have a Smith Machine Lawsuit?
The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Smith Press Machine lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one suffered an injury while using a Smith Press Machine, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.