Body-Solid EXM1500S Home Gym
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Body-Solid offers quite a few top-quality training centers and home gym systems. Most of them are not exactly cheap, as they come with classic, steel alloy weight stacks, rather than vinyl / cement weight plates.
The Body-Solid EXM1500S is one of the smaller home gym machines, a model that offers the possibility to perform more than 20 exercises for the main muscle groups. It offers weight resistance up to 160 lbs, and features 5 main workout stations. This particular model is currently available for a consistent discount of approx. $500, since there are newer models. But nonetheless, this is still an excellent home gym, definitely worth to have a look at.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 49L x 36W x 83H inches (125L x 92W x 211H cm)
- Assembled weight: 297 lbs (134.7 kg)
- Max. user capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
- Weight resistance system: Steel plate stack
- Max. weight resistance: 160 lbs (72.5 kg)
- Possible exercises: 20+
- Warranty: Lifetime
Frame construction and parts
To begin with, this particular Body-Solid home gym is not one of the largest, featuring a rather small footprint compared to others. It takes 49″L x 36″W (125 x 92 cm) of floor space, and it’s 83″ (211 cm) tall. In other words it should fit in a room with a 7′ (213 cm) ceiling, but it will be quite a tight fit, as it will remain only 1″ (2.5 cm) of clearance above it. Also, in order to be able to use the machine without any hindrance, you’ll need at least 2′ (61 cm) of clearance on each side and at the front.
Despite its small footprint, when fully assembled this particular fitness machine is quite heavy, weighing approx. 297 lbs (134.7 cm). Evidently, it’s not meant to be moved once fully assembled, that’s why it’s recommended to assembly it in the room where it will be in use. The machine’s bases feature caps and rubberized pads, to prevent floor damage and maximize stability.
Needless to say, most of it is made of steel tubing, featuring square, thick tubes, double-coated with anti-corrosive white enamel. It integrates 16 pulleys, made of heavy-duty nylon material, with steel shells and sealed ball bearings. These pulleys are designed for a long lifespan, but they’re also easy to replace. The machine uses military standard steel cables, coated by a sheet of PVC. Evidently, the PVC coating will wear out after a while, but even so, the cables won’t need replacement.
The seat supplied with this home gym machine features vertical adjustability. Its post has 6 adjustment holes, offering a total height span of adjustment of approx. 12″ (30 cm). The backrest on the other hand is fixed to its post, without any possibility of adjustment. Differently put, the machine is designed for users up to 6’3″ (190 cm). Taller users may find themselves a bit crammed for some of the exercises, especially the ones that require a seated position.
Both seat and backrest are consistently padded, and with approx. 2″ (5 cm) of foam cushioning, in order to provide the required comfort. The finish on the backrest and seat is made of thick, durable vinyl material, colored black.
The leg attachment station, as well as the bar under the backrest, are equipped with 4″ (10 cm) foam rollers, providing the correct amount of comfort for the related exercises. Also, the package includes an ab/triceps strap with two handles, an ankle strap and of course, the lat bar.
This fitness machine includes 5 main workout stations:
High-pulley station with lat bar – for lat pulldowns, and in general, exercises for the back and shoulder muscles.
Mid-pulley station – for various triceps exercises or seated ab crunches.
Chest press station – this station is slightly different than in other machines, such as the Gold’s Gym XR 55 for example. It’s attached to the lower part of the frame and uses the lower pulleys, rather than the top ones. But nonetheless, it provides all the resistance and comfort for various grip chest press exercises.
Low pulley station – for this machine, the low pulley station is actually placed on the left side, not at the front under the leg attachment. This particular station also features a foot bar for seated rows. Quite a variety of exercises can be performed on this station, including stand-up curls, triceps kickbacks, stand-up rows, squats etc.
Leg attachment station – designed mainly for leg extensions; however you can also perform stand-up hamstring curls, using one leg at the time.
In case you’re wondering, there’s is no leg press attachment, nor a preacher curl bar available for this machine. The only accessories that you can purchase additionally for it are 2.5 and 5 lbs weight stack adapter plates, nylon stirrup handles, triceps ropes, and PVC mats, if you want to place the machine on one.
The 2.5 and 5 lbs weight stack adapter plates are actually the only plates that can be added to the original weight plate stack of the machine. These offer a bit of versatility when it comes to adjustment increments. However, the original weight stack is not meant to be upgraded with additional 10 lbs plates. You can only add these smaller attachments. Their part number codes are WSA5 and WSA2-5.
Weight Resistance System
The Body-Solid EXM1500S comes with a weight stack consisting of 16 steel alloy plates, each one with a weight of 10 lbs (4.5 kg), a total of 160 lbs (72.5 kg). The pulley are not designed to create additional resistance such as for the Weider 2980 X for example. The amount of weight plates you select, is the amount of weight resistance you’ll get.
A set of stickers specifying the plates’ weight is supplied with the machine. They’re supposed to be placed on the plates in ascending order, top-to-bottom.
As we’ve mentioned above, the weight stack supplied with the machine is not upgradable. The only additional plates for the machine are the 2.5 / 5 lbs attachments, or 10 lbs replacement plates. You won’t find any heavier plates, created standard for this machine.
This Body-Solid home gym machine offers the possibility to perform more than 20 exercises. Among the most important of them to be mentioned are:
- Vertical grip chest presses
- Horizontal grip chest presses
- Incline chest presses
- High cable cross-overs
- Lat pulldowns
- Seated rows
- Stand-up rows
- Seated triceps extensions
- Triceps pressdowns
- Triceps kickbacks
- Standing biceps curls
- Concentration curls
- Deltoid raises
- Upright rows
- Ab crunches
- Oblique crunches
- Standing leg curls
- Leg extensions
- Leg abductions
- Glute kickbacks
- … and more.
Evidently, since the machine doesn’t feature a pec fly station, you won’t be able to perform butterfly press exercises. You can train the same groups of muscles though, by using the mid pulley station, one arm at the time.
As mentioned above, the machine does not have a leg press attachment, and there’s none available for it. But leg presses can be replaced with low pulley squats, using the ab crunch strap.
For seated rows, you actually don’t use the seat of the machine. These are meant to be performed while seated on the floor, with feet placed on the foot bar under the low pulley.
Assembly and Maintenance
The Body-Solid EXM1500S weight machine comes with an explicit owner’s manual which provides step-by-step assembly instructions. The machine is actually far from being difficult to assemble, but due to the many parts included, the process will take a few hours. Two hex keys are supplied with the package, but the assembly also requires an adjustable wrench and a Phillips screwdriver.
Maintenance requires greasing the pulleys if they begin to squeak. Also, from time to time, it’s best to check the bolts and nuts of the machine, to make sure they hold tight in place, and retighten them if required.
- Sturdy, all-steel frame;
- Durable upholstery on seat and back support., with 2″ thick padding for optimal comfort;
- Adjustable seat;
- 5 workout stations, including: press station, lat pulldown station, leg attachment, low pulley station, mid pulley station.
- Over 20 exercises available;
- Possibility to add a leg press station;
- Relatively small footprint for a home gym system;
- Quiet operation;
- Easy to setup;
- Excellent warranty plan.
- Limited weight range; weight stack can’t be upgraded;
- The exercise chart supplied with the machine only covers 20, but there are many more other exercises that can be performed on it.
Even though it’s not the most affordable weight machine, the Body-Solid EXM1500S is available nowadays for quite a consistent discount. It’s quite a versatile fitness machine, offering the possibility to perform more than 20 exercises for the main muscle groups. It features a well-designed and constructed frame, integrating long-lasting, quality components, aspect reflected by the lifetime warranty.
It’s not a machine for hardcore weight lifters, but it is an excellent choice for beginners and intermediate level users. And basically, the only downside about it is that the included weight stack is not upgradable.