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Best Home Gym Systems Reviews 2019 and Comparison Chart

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The term “home gym” is quite broad, and many fitness machines can be included in this category. But in general, people refer to cable weight machines, multi-function power cages or other items of fitness equipment as home gym systems. Our “home gyms” category here covers 7 types of fitness machines that can be labeled as home gyms. These are weight stack machines, smith machines, cable crossovers, power racks, power towers, flex-rod home gyms, and bodyweight fitness benches. In other words, most machines in this category offer the possibility to perform multiple exercises, which involve either the user’s body weight, or a system of pulleys, cables, and one or multiple weight stacks.

Evidently, since home gym systems come in various shapes and sizes, there are many aspects to know about them before committing to one. Within this post, we’ll put them all into view, along with a palette of some of the best home gyms that you can find on the market at the moment. In fact, to begin with, here’s a table with 10 of the best home gym machines for 2019, featuring their core specs.

Table of Contents

Top 10 Home Gyms

UnitSizeAssembled
weight
Weight
capacity
Weight
resistance
Possible
exercises
Workout
stations
Warranty
BodyCraft Xpress Pro

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L:83"
W:57"
H:82.75"
570 lbsNot
specified
Steel plate
stack,
200 lbs
50+Fly press,
Arms station,
High pulley,
Low pulley,
Mid pulley,
Leg attachment
Lifetime
Body-Solid GPR378

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Rack:
L:49"
W:46"
H:80"

Bench:
L:70"
W:28"
H:19"
400+ lbs800 lbs
safety bars;

1,000 lbs
bench
Cast iron
plates,
210 lbs
50+Squat cage,
High pulley,
Low pulley
Lifetime
Inspire Fitness FT1

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D:47"
W:54"
H:81.5"
541 lbsNot
specified
Steel
stacks,
2x 160 lbs
40+Adjustable
front pulleys
(30 positions),
Pull-up bar
Lifetime
BodyCraft HFT

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L:40"
W:56"
H:82"
530 lbsNot
specified
Steel
stacks,
2x 150 lbs
40+Adjustable
front pulleys
(31 positions),
Pull-up bar
Lifetime
Bowflex Blaze
bowflex-blaze-01-feat
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L:82.5"
W:38"
H:84.5"
195 lbs300 lbsFlexible
rods,
210 lbs,
60+Top pulley,
Mid pulley,
Low pulley,
Leg attachment,

Frame: 5 years
Parts: 5 years
Rods: Lifetime
Bowflex PR1000

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L:84"
W:38"
H:81
131 lbs300 lbsFlexible
rods,
210 lbs
30+Top pulley,
Mid pulley,
Low pulley,
Leg
developer

Frame: 1 year
Rods: 5 years
Parts: 60 days
Marcy MKM-81010

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L:52"
W:39"
H:84"
374 lbs300 lbsVinyl &
cement,
216 lbs
30+ Fly press,
Chest press,
High pulley,
Leg developer,
Low pulley,
Preacher pad,
2 years
limited
Valor Fitness BD-7
valor fitness bd-7 power rack
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L:59"
W:63"
H:86"
135 lbs500 lbs catchers,
800 lbs safety bars,
350 lbs pullup bar,
Standard
and
Olympic
weight plates
40+High pulley,
Low pulley,
Pull-up bar,
Frame: 3 years
Cables: 2 years
Pulleys: 1 year
Other parts: 1 year
Gold's Gym XR 55

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L:77"
W:43"
H:83"
320 lbs300 lbsVinyl &
cement,
125 lbs
30+ Top pulley,
Mid pulley,
Low pulley,
Leg attachment


Parts: 90 days
Labor: 90 days
Weider 2980 X

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L:65"
W:37"
H:76"
183 lbs 300 lbsVinyl &
cement,
81 lbs
30+Top pulley,
Mid pulley,
Low pulley,
Leg attachment


Parts: 90 days
Labor: 90 days

BodyCraft XPress Pro

Although the XPress Pro is one of the strength training system released by BodyCraft a few years ago, it’s still available and still is a 5-star gym system at the moment. It’s actually a light-commercial grade fitness machine and comes with a light commercial warranty. So, if you’re looking for a rock-solid home gym, the BodyCraft XPress Pro is definitely one to put on your list.

Frame & Accessories

The BodyCraft XPress Pro features a durable frame made of 2″ x 3″ and 2″ x 2″ heavy gauge steel tubing. Most of the steel parts in its construction are double-coated with a rust-resistant and abrasion-resistant Platinum Gray paint finish.

The fully assembled unit is considerably heavy. Along with its weight stack, it weighs approx. 570 lbs (258 kg), so it’s definitely a fitness machine that’s not to be moved once it is set up. All this weight provides outstanding stability. Plus, its bases are equipped with rubberized caps which prevent the floor from being damaged.

This BodyCraft strength training system is fairly large. It’s approx. 83″ (211 cm) long, and 57″ (145 cm) wide. Therefore, you will need a usage area of at least 10′ x 7′ (305 x 213 cm) for unhindered operation. Also, its height is approx. 83″ (211 cm); this being said, it should fit in a room with 7′ (213 cm) ceiling, but it’s going to be a rather right fit.

The unit is equipped with high-grade pulleys which integrate stainless steel ball bearings for a smooth operation. The cables are rated for 2,000 lbs (907 kg) tensile strength. They all feature a durable nylon coating.

In terms of accessories, the machine includes a lat pulldown bar, a curl bar, an ankle strap, and two single handles.

Workout Stations

The BodyCraft XPress Pro features 6 workout stations and attachments. These are:

  • High pulley station – The machine’s top workout station features one central pulley and a hanger for the lat bar. As we’ve mentioned above, the lat bar is included. It’s a standard straight bar with curved, rubberized handles and a chrome finish.
  • Chest press station – As opposed to other home gyms, the BodyCraft Pro XPress has a double-up feature which increases the resistance to 1:2 ratio. Therefore, it can deliver 400 lbs (181.4 kg) of resistance, from the 200 lbs included stack.
  • Adjustable arm station – Many strength training systems don’t have this feature; the adjustable arms offer the possibility to perform all kinds of cable exercises, such as cable flyes, cable presses etc. The side arms offer 10 positions of adjustment and have standard D-handles.
  • Mid pulley – Although the arm station and press station are technically mid-action workout stations, the machine is also equipped with a mid-pulley, This offers the possibility to perform ab crunches, golf swings, baseball bat hits, and more.
  • Low pulley – This station comes with a short extension chain and short pulling handle for low or stand-up rows. It opens a wide array of low pulley exercises. The machine also includes a footplate for enhanced stability during stand-up exercises.
  • Leg developer – Like many other home gyms, this BodyCraft unit has a leg developer station which allows you to execute leg extensions or standing up leg curls. It features large foam rollers for extra comfort.

Weight Resistance

The BodyCraft XPress Pro is equipped with a 200 lbs weight stack. The weight plates are made of top-quality cast iron. There are 20 plates within the stack, each one weighing 10 lbs (4.5 kg).

The weight ratio for each workout station is approx. 1:1. However, as we’ve mentioned above, the press station has a double-up feature which allows you to benefit from an “x2” weight from the selected load.

The machine’s weight stack is not upgradable. In other words, you cannot add an extra 10 lbs plates without certain improvisations which are not recommended. However, there are 5 lbs (2.26 kg) and 2.5 lbs (1.1 kg) adapters available for this gym system, which give you the possibility of micro-weight adjustment. These are not included with the machine, though.

Possible Exercises

This BodyCraft strength training system offers the possibility to execute more than 50 gym-quality exercises. Of course, in this short review, we won’t list them all. However, we’ll point out the most important ones. These being said, the machine allows you to perform seated presses, cable flyes, cable crossovers, bicep curls, tricep presses, lat pulldowns, trunk rotations, ab crunches, leg extensions, seated rows, shoulder presses, and many more.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Solid frame, commercial-grade construction
  • Professional-looking design
  • Adjustable seat and backrest
  • 6 workout stations
  • Superior ergonomics
  • 10 positions for the side pulley arms
  • 180° swivel pulleys on the side arms
  • D-handles included
  • Lat bar included
  • Short row bar included
  • Ab harness included
  • Ankle strap included
  • Durable cast iron weight stack
  • 200 lbs weight resistance
  • 1:2 resistance for the chest press
  • Over 50 exercises available
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • No conventional fly press
  • The assembly will take at least a few hours

Summary

The BodyCraft XPress Pro is a light-commercial strength training system offering 6 workout stations and the possibility to execute more than 50 exercises. It’s equipped with a high-grade 200 lbs cast iron weight stack, an adjustable seat and includes several accessories. In all, it’s a versatile fitness machine, great for users of all levels, offering outstanding quality for the price.

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Body-Solid GPR378

The Body-Solid GPR378 is a power rack equipped with a lat pulldown attachment and weight stack. The version that we’re going to present here also includes an adjustable bench. However, the GPR378 is also available without the bench.

Frame Construction

The main component of this strength training system is the GPR378 Power Rack. This strength cage is made of durable 3″ x 3″, 11-ga steel bars. The main steel parts in its construction feature an electrostatically applied powder coat finish which is abrasion-resistant and corrosion-resistant. Its front bars have 20 adjustment positions for the safety and lift-off bars.

A set of two spotters and a set of two lift-off bars are included. These can support loads up to 800 lbs (362.8 kg). Also, the top of the frame includes a simple straight bar with a knurled surface which offers the possibility to perform pull-ups and other similar exercises.

The Body-Solid GPR378 Power Rack doesn’t have an extremely large footprint. It’s approx. 49″L x 46″W (125 x 117 cm). Its height reaches approx. 80″ (203 cm). Therefore, the unit should fit in a room with a 7′ (213 cm). However, the remaining 4″ (10 cm) above may not be enough for the correct execution of chin-ups or pull-ups. Also, the rack itself weighs approx. 100 lbs (45 kg) when fully assembled.

Bench & Accessories

As we’ve mentioned above, this Body-Solid Power Rack GPR378 includes the adjustable bench. This bench features a solid frame just as the rack, featuring steel bars of 2″ x 3″. It is rated for a weight capacity of 1,000 lbs (453 kg). Its seat and backrest integrate a thick layer of cushioning and have a durable vinyl upholstery.

The dimensions of the bench are 70″L x 28″W x 19″H (178L x 71W x 48H cm). Evidently, the 19″ (48 cm) height of the bench refers to its horizontal position. When the backrest is raised to maximum position, its top stands at approx. 50″ (127 cm) above floor level.

The bench includes the GLDA3 leg developer which can be loaded with Standard 1″ (2.5 cm) weight discs. However, you can always add an Olympic adapter to it for using 2″ weight plates. The leg developer features 4″ foam rollers for maximum comfort during leg extensions.

In terms of other accessories, this strength training system includes a lat bar with curved grips, and a short low row bar with straight grips. Both bars have their grip points covered by a layer of rubber foam material in order to provide optimal comfort. However, a barbell and weight plates for it are not included.

Weight Resistance

The Body-Solid Power Rack GPR378 is equipped with the lat attachment which integrates 20 high-grade cast iron weight plates. Each plate weighs 10 lbs (4.5 kg). The stopper plate at the top of the stack also weighs 10 lbs (4.5 kg). Therefore, the total weight of the stack is 210 lbs (95.25 kg).

An important aspect to mention here is that the included weight stack assembly also has two side pegs which can be loaded with extra Standard 1″ weight plates. Therefore, you can basically upgrade the total weight included for your lat pulldown exercises.

The lat attachment features fiberglass-reinforced nylon pulleys and cables which can hold weights up to 2,200 lbs. The cables are nylon coated for a smooth operation, while the pulleys are equipped with sealed ball bearings.

Possible Exercises

This Body-Solid strength training system offers the possibility to perform more than 50 exercises. Among, them we can count pull-ups, cliffhangers, lat pulldowns, seated rows, bicep curls, tricep pressdowns, chest presses, squats, leg extensions and many more. Evidently, the squats and other exercises require a barbell. You can also perform most dumbbell exercises on the included bench.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • 800 lbs capacity for the
    safety and lift-off bars
  • 20 adjustment positions for
    the safety and lift-off bars
  • Power bench included
  • 8 adjustment positions for the
    power bench
  • 1000 lbs capacity for the
    power bench
  • Leg developer attachment
    included
  • Pull-up bar included
  • Lat pulldown station included
  • 210 lbs weight stack
  • Cast iron weight plates
  • Pegs for loading additional
    weight plates
  • Lat pulldown bar included
  • Short row bar included
  • Over 50 exercises available
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • A barbell is not included
  • Olympic adapters for the
    plate loading pegs are not included

Summary

This Body-Solid strength training system includes a power rack with a lat pulldown attachment and a 210 lbs weight stack, as well as an adjustable bench with a leg developer attachment. It’s a top-quality strength cage with an impressive weight capacity. It offers the possibility to execute more than 50 exercises, being an excellent choice for users of all levels.

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Inspire Fitness FT1

Inspire Fitness offers several top-quality home gyms. The FT1 functional trainer is one of them. It’s actually a light-commercial unit available with a light-commercial warranty, in case it’s going to be used within the premises of a public club. It has been available for over 6 years, and still continues to benefit from an overwhelmingly positive feedback from all users.

Frame & Accessories

Like most functional trainers, the Inspire Fitness FT1 features a dual-sided frame with one weight stack on each side. Its frame is made of 2″ x 4″ 11-ga tubular steel boasting an extremely sturdy construction. The rear sustaining frame bars, as well as the base bars, are coated with an electrostatically applied powder finish, resistant to rust and scratching. However, the guide beams of the weight stacks, the adjustment bars of the front pulleys, as well as the pull-up bar feature a chrome coating.

The fully assembled unit with both weight stacks integrates weighs approx. 541 lbs (245 kg), which definitely results in exceptional stability. This being said, you don’t need to anchor it to the floor. Its own weight and integrated stabilizers are enough to prevent it from wobbling or moving even if you exercise with each load set to maximum.

Compared to other home gyms, the Inspire Fitness FT1 doesn’t have an extremely large footprint. It’s 47″ (119 cm) deep and 54″ (137 cm) wide, while its height is approx. 81.5″ (207 cm). This being said, it should fit in a room with a 7′ ceiling, but in this case, you won’t have enough room for the correct execution of pull-up exercises.

The machine offers 30 positions for the front adjustable pulleys. Each front pulley assembly can swivel 180° on its vertical axis, offering an ample range of motion.

The top of the unit is equipped with a multi-grip pull-up bar. It features a chrome coating and a knurled surface for a firm grip. Its weight capacity is 330 lbs (150 kg). This being said, you can perform weighted pull-ups as long as you don’t exceed this weight.

There’s quite a bunch of accessories included with this machine. Its center-back section provides a rack for all of them. It includes an Easy Curl Bar, a Straight Bar, a Multi-Function belt, one Ankle Cuff, one Swing Handle for golf or baseball swing exercises, two 5 lbs add-ons (one for each weight stack), one Tricep Rope, and two hand-grips.

Weight Resistance

The Inspire Fitness FT1 is equipped with two weight stacks of 160 lbs (72.5 kg) each. They’re composed of durable metallic alloy plates. Each stack includes 15 plates 10 lbs (4.5 kg) each, while the top stopper plate also weighs 10 lbs (4.5 kg).

The machine provides a weight ratio of 2:1. This means the weight resistance for each arm is 1/2 of the selected weight. For example, if you select 100 lbs (45 kg) on one stack, it will provide a 50 lbs (22.6 kg) of weight resistance.

Each weight stack leaves room for upgrading. You can opt for 5 additional plates for each stack, for a total weight of 210 lbs (95.2 kg) per arm.

As we’ve mentioned above, on the list of included accessories there are two 5 lbs (2.2 kg) weight adapters, one for each stack. These give you the possibility to adjust each stack in increments of 5 lbs (2.2 kg) if needed.

The weight adjustment is very easy to do. Each plate has the overall weight specified on it and an adjustment hole. So, in order to select the desired weight, you simply have to insert the pin into the plate that indicates it.

Possible Exercises

This Inspire Fitness functional trainer offers the possibility to perform more than 40 exercises. Of course, some of them require a bench or other accessories that are not included. But nonetheless, even without them you can still benefit from a full body workout. Among the most important exercises that you can perform on this machine, we can count bicep curls, tricep pressdowns, tricep extensions, shoulder presses, cable ab crunches, golf swings, back flyes, lat pulldowns, chest presses, squats, calf raises, leg curls, upright rows, seated rows, and many more.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Highly sturdy and stable frame
  • Compact design
  • 30 adjustment positions
    for the front pulleys
  • 180° swivel range for the
    front pulleys
  • Top pull-up bar
  • 160 lbs for each stack
  • Weight adaptors for 5 extra lbs
  • Durable cast iron weight plates
  • Upgradable weight stacks
  • Over 40 exercises available
  • Numerous accessories included
  • Revolving rack for the accessories
  • Little maintenance required
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • Only 2:1 weight ratio per arm

Summary

The Inspire Fitness FT1 is a dual-stack functional trainer, offering 160 lbs for each stack, and 30 adjustment positions for the front pulleys. It features a durable compact frame which also has a pull-up bar. It offers the possibility to perform more than 40 exercises. In all, it’s an outstanding machine, offering great quality for the price.

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BodyCraft HFT

The BodyCraft HFT is a functional trainer similar to the Inspire Fitness FT1 that we’ve presented above. It offers the same range of features and workout possibilities but doesn’t have the nice folding rack for the accessories. Also, its weight stacks are only 150 lbs.

Frame & Accessories

The BodyCraft HFT features a rock-solid frame made of 11-gauge 3.25″ x 1.75″ tubular steel. The fully assembled unit weighs approx. 530 lbs (cca 240 kg). This being said, the unit delivers an excellent stability for all the exercises. It’s actually a light-commercial machine, built to withstand continuous us within the premises of a commercial gym.

This strength training system has a rather small footprint compared to other home gyms. It’s only 40″ (102 cm) deep, and 56″ (142 cm) wide at the front. The rear section is approx. 22″ (56 cm). Also, the highest point of the unit is 82″ (208 cm).

The rear upright posts of the unit, the base bars, and the pull-up bar feature a platinum gray paint finish, while the top guards of the pulleys are black. This paint coating is highly resistant to corrosion and abrasion. The front bars with the adjusting pulleys, as well as the guide rods for the weight stacks feature a chrome finish.

The front adjustable pulleys can tilt side-to-side offering a range of motion of 180°. This being said, they allow you to perform all exercises without any hindrance. The integrated pulleys are made of durable nylon material with steel ball bearings. Also, the cables are steel-made, rated for weight loads of 2,000 lbs.

There are 31 adjustment positions for the front pulleys. The highest setting is at approx. 78″ (198 cm) above floor level, while the lowest adjustment notch is at 14″ (36 cm).

The top front part of the unit integrates an ergonomic pull-up bar. Its weight capacity is not specified, but users have reported that it can hold at least 300 lbs (136 kg) with no problem.

Several accessories are included with this functional trainer. The list includes a long bar, a short bar, a chin bar, a pull-up strap, 2 extension chains, 2 D-handles, a tricep rope, and the exercise brochure.

As we’ve mentioned above, the accessory rack of this trainer isn’t as fancy as the one on the Inspire Fitness F1. However, it has a stand on which you can place your exercise brochure in case you need to consult it from time to time.

Weight Resistance

The BodyCraft HFT functional trainer includes two weight stacks of 150 lbs (68 kg) each. They’re composed of 15 weight plates, each one of them being 10 lbs (4.5 kg). The plates are made of durable cast iron, highly resistant to dropping, and featuring a durable black paint finish. They’re numbered so you can easily select the weight you desire for each stack.

The machine offers a 2:1 weight ratio. This means it delivers a weight resistance of 1/2 from the selected weight on each stack. For example, if you select the maximum 150 lbs (68 kg) weight for one stack, it will provide a weight resistance of approx. 75 lbs (34 kg).

Each stack is upgradable, though. It can take 5 additional weight plates, for a total weight of 200 lbs (90.7 kg) per stack. In fact, the attached photo shows an upgraded weight stack with the five extra (red) plates.

Possible Exercises

This BodyCraft functional trainer offers the possibility to execute more than 40 exercises so you can focus all muscle groups if needed. Among the most important exercises that you can perform on this machine, we can count bicep curls, tricep pressdowns, tricep extensions, shoulder presses, cable ab crunches, back flyes, lat pulldowns, chest presses, standing leg curls, squats, calf raises, upright rows, seated rows, and many more. Evidently, some of the exercises that can be performed on this unit require a bench or other accessories that are not included.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame, light-commercial construction
  • Compact design
  • Multiple accessories included
  • Ergonomic pull-up bar
  • 31 adjustment positions
    for the front pulleys
  • 150 lbs weight stacks
  • Cast iron weight plates
  • Upgradable weight stacks
  • Pulley guards on top
  • Weight plate guards at the bottom
  • Over 40 exercises available
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • Only 2:1 weight ratio per arm

Summary

The BodyCraft HFT is a light-commercial functional trainer equipped with two 150 lbs weight stacks. The weight plates are metallic, offering superior durability. Its front pulleys have 31 adjustment positions and tilt 180°. It allows you to perform more than 40 exercises and includes quite a bunch of accessories. In all, it’s definitely a top-quality functional trainer; even though it’s not exactly the most affordable, it offers excellent value for the price.

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Bowflex Blaze

Bowflex offers several home gyms with a different resistance system than most other similar machines. They use a set of elastic rods for the resistance generation. The Bowflex Blaze is one of the highest rated strength training systems from this category. It’s also one of the most versatile models and costs a few $100s less than other similar home gyms with a cast iron weight stack.

Frame & Accessories

The Bowflex Blaze features a durable steel frame with an integrated adjustable bench. This bench can also fold flat offering the possibility to execute horizontal presses or cable flyes. Evidently, the longer part can also adjust to 45° so you can perform seated exercises with a firm and comfortable back support. Also, the small seat section within the bench’s construction can glide on its rail allowing you to perform cable rows, just as on a regular rowing machine.

Both the seat section and the longer section of the bench feature a thick layer of cushioning and have a durable upholstery made of sweat-proof vinyl material. Most parts in the frame construction are coated with a gray paint finish, while the base and the top bars are black. Both types of finish are resistant to corrosion.

The machine’s main rail is durable enough to support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg). The unit is also fairly large, especially lengthwise. It measures 82.5″ (210 cm) in length, and 38″ (97 cm) in width. These being said, it requires a workout area of at least 100″L x 78″W (254 x 199 cm). Also, it’s height is 84.5″ (215 cm), so it won’t fit in a room with a 7′ ceiling.

Compared to other home gyms that use a weight plate stack as their resistance system, this Bowflex machine isn’t extremely heavy. With the frame fully assembled, it weighs only 195 lbs (88.5 kg). Its rear base has a set of small wheels so you can actually relocate it without disassembling it if needed.

In terms of accessories, this Bowflex home gym includes a set of D-handles with rubberized grips, a standard lar bar with two connection points, two ankle cuffs, and a placard with the main exercises that can be performed on the unit.

Workout Stations

The Bowflex Blaze strength training system has several workout stations and attachments that give you the possibility to perform a wide array of exercises. Starting from the top, these are:

  • High pulley station – This workout station is equipped with two pulleys which give the lat bar extra stability during various pulldown exercises. As we’ve mentioned above, the lat bar is included.
  • Mid pulley station – This home gym doesn’t have a classic pulley station with the pulley attached in the middle of the frame backbone. It features two side pulleys attached to the transversal bar at the end of the main rail. These allow the execution of a wide array of exercises, such as cable flyes, bicep curls, presses etc.
  • Low pulley station – The machine features two low pulleys attached to the main base plate. The cables can be passed through them to perform a variety of standing up exercises, squats, shoulder presses etc.
  • Leg developer – Along with the low pulley system, this attachment allows you to perform leg extensions, but due to the adjustable bench, you can also perform horizontal leg curls.
  • Seat – This component of the machine not only that provides support for many exercises, but as we’ve mentioned above, it can slide back and forth on its rail and allows the execution of leg presses and or standard rows. Of course, the seat can be locked in place in any position along its rail.

Weight Resistance

The Bowflex Blaze is equipped with an elastic rod resistance system. The machine itself comes with 10 power rods, 2x 5 lbs (2.26 kg), 4x 10 lbs (4.5 kg), 2x 30 lbs (13.6 kg), and 2x 50 lbs (22.6 kg), for a total of 210 lbs (95 kg), respectively 105 lbs (47.6 kg) for each side.

The machine’s main cables are equipped with stainless steel hooks which you have to attach to the power rods, and as you pull the handles, the rods will bend, generating the selected amount of resistance. The resistance produced is slightly different than for cable machines with a weight stack. Each pull requires a bit more control and stabilizing, which results in a better workout the auxiliary muscles.

The machine’s rod set can always be upgraded to a total weight of 310 lbs (140.6 kg) or 410 lbs (186 kg).

Possible Exercises

This Bowflex home gym gives you the possibility to perform more than 60 base exercises, and even more variations. Needless to say, you can perform all types of cable presses, punching, tricep pushdowns, bicep curls, seated or standard rows, squats, leg presses, horizontal leg curls, lat pulldowns, and many more. Some exercises may require additional accessories. For example, the machine does not include an ab harness and a squat/press bar. This are available options, though.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame
  • Folding design
  • Not an extremely heavy unit
  • Transport wheels
  • Adjustable bench
  • Gliding seat
  • Industrial quality pulleys and cables
  • Thick cushioning on the backrest,
    bench, and leg developer
  • Power rod weight resistance
  • 210 lbs total weight resistance
  • Upgradable weight resistance up to
    310 lbs or 410 lbs
  • Over 60 possible exercises
  • Multiple accessories included
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • The rods may lose some of their
    resistance in a very heated room
  • Tools for assembly are not included

Summary

The Bowflex Blaze is a highly versatile home gym equipped with a power rod resistance system. It has several workout stations, a gliding seat and adjustable bench, and offers the possibility to perform a wide array of cable exercises, including standard rows and leg presses, along with the full array of presses, pulldowns, and curls. It offers an excellent price/quality ratio. Also, even though it’s one of the older Bowflex home gyms, the Blaze model still stands at an outstanding 5-star rating on most retail and fitness sites.

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Bowflex PR1000

The PR1000 is also one of the highest rated Bowflex home gyms. It’s similar to the Blaze model but offers fewer features. For example, it lacks the two base pulleys and doesn’t offer the possibility to add more power rods than the included ones.

Frame & Accessories

The Bowflex PR1000 features a durable steel frame, but lighter than the Blaze model. The fully assembled machine only weighs approx. 131 lbs (59.4 kg). Its frame also has a folding design; the rail of the bench assembly can fold up once you have finished your workout, to save space.

The setup machine is fairly large, though. It’s 84″ (213 cm) long, and 38″ (97 cm) wide. Its maximum height point reaches 81″ (205 cm) above floor level. This being said, it can fit in a room with a 7′ (213 cm) ceiling. Bowflex recommends a usage surface for it of at least 100″L x 78″W (254 x 199 cm).

Just as for the Blaze model, the backrest of the bench can be removed, and the seat can glide along its rail for rowing exercises or leg presses. The backrest of the bench can be locked at 45° or 180° for horizontal presses or leg curls. Both the backrest and the seat have a durable upholstery and approx. 2″ (5 cm) of foam padding.

In terms of accessories, the unit only includes the two D-handles which offer triple function, and a leg press belt. The exercise chart that can be attached to the main bar of the frame, is also included. A lat bar, however, is not included with this machine.

Workout Stations

The Bowflex PR1000 features five main workout stations and attachments. These are:

  • High pulley station – This workout station features two pulleys, each one with its own cable. You can attach the D-handles to their rings, or you can opt for a lat pulldown bar.
  • Mid pulley station – The mid pulleys are attached to the short transversal bar at the back end of the rail. They offer the possibility to perform a wide array of arm or chest presses. The pulleys also swivel in order to allow a more natural range of motion.
  • Low pulley station – The machine’s low pulley is attached at the front. You can pass the extension cable through it, in order to perform various seated exercises at the floor level, such as seated rows, or stand up leg cable curls, leg adductions etc.
  • Leg developer attachment – The leg developer works with the low pulley. It features two large foam rollers for maximum comfort. It offers the possibility to execute leg extensions, horizontal leg curls and a few more variations.
  • Seat – Since the machine’s seat can glide on its rail and allows you to perform standard rows or leg presses, it can also be considered a workout station.

Weight Resistance

This Bowflex home gym is equipped with the patented elastic rod resistance system. It includes 10 power rods, 2x 5 lbs (2.26 kg), 4x 10 lbs (4.5 kg), 2x 30 lbs (13.6 kg), and 2x 50 lbs (22.6 kg). This being said, the machine provides a total amount of resistance of 210 lbs (95 kg) divided by 2, for 105 lbs (47.6 kg) for each arm.

The machine’s main cables are equipped with stainless steel hooks which you have to attach to the power rods, and as you pull the handles, the rods will bend, generating the selected amount of resistance. These hooks are durable enough to support more than 200 lbs of tension each. The resistance produced is slightly different than for cable machines with a weight stack. Each pull requires a bit more control and stabilizing. This leads to a better overall workout.

Finally, the machine’s power rod base is not upgradable. The rod placement rack does not offer the possibility to add more rods. So, in case you would want in the future to upgrade the machine’s weight resistance, you may want to opt for the Blaze model.

Possible Exercises

The machine allows the execution of more than 30 exercises and even more variations. Most exercises are covered by the included guide that comes with the machine, and the placard that you can attach to the frame for quick reference. On the possible exercise list, we can mention lat pulldowns, a wide variety of presses and curls, leg extensions, horizontal leg curls, standard rows, leg presses, trunk rotations, and many more.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame
  • Folding design
  • Not an extremely heavy unit
  • Adjustable bench
  • Gliding seat
  • Heavy-duty pulleys and cables
  • Thick cushioning on the backrest,
    bench, and leg developer
  • Power rod weight resistance
  • 210 lbs total weight resistance
  • Over 30 possible exercises
  • Triple-function handles included
  • Leg press belt included
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • The power rod system is not upgradable
  • Tools for assembly are not included

Summary

The Bowflex PR1000 is home gym machine featuring a power rod resistance system. It offers a total of 210 lbs (95 kg) of weight resistance. It has a folding frame and an adjustable bench with a gliding seat which is quite a plus. It makes available more than 30 exercises and even more variations. It’s quite a versatile home gym, great for beginners and intermediate users, perfect for muscle toning, weight loss, and even cardio training.

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Marcy MKM-81010

The Marcy MKM-81010 is a classic weight stack home gym, has multiple workout stations and includes quite a few accessories. However, since it has a vinyl/cement weight plate system, its price is considerably lower than for a machine with a cast iron stack. Therefore, if you’re looking for a versatile strength training system and you’re on a budget, this Marcy model may be a great choice for you.

Frame & Accessories

The Marcy MKM-81010 features a durable frame made of 14-ga, 2″ x 2.5″ steel tubing. It combines rectangular with cylindrical tubes for a more appealing design. All the steel parts are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint, the main color used for this model being black.

With the frame fully set up, the unit takes 52″L x 39″W (132 x 99 cm) of floor space. Its highest point reaches 84″ (213 cm) above floor level which is precisely 7′. This being said, it won’t fit well in a room with a 7′ ceiling. It’s also recommended to assign a usage area of at least 90″ x 70″ (228 x 178 cm) for it.

The seat and backrest feature 2″ (5 cm) of foam cushioning and a sweat-proof vinyl upholstery. The seat assembly has a weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg). Also, the backrest is adjustable.

As for accessories, this Marcy home gym includes a “zigzag” type lat pulldown bar with rubberized grips, a D-handle, an ankle cuff, and a short curved bar.

Workout Stations

The Marcy MKM-81010 has 5 workout stations and attachments. These are: 

  • High pulley station – This workout station features only one pulley to which you can attach the lat bar. As we’ve mentioned above, a curved lat bar is included. This workout station makes available several pulldown exercises for the lat muscles, or even ab crunches.
  • Press/Fly station – The machine’s main press has double functionality. On the one hand, it allows you to perform standard seated chest presses. On the other hand, its side arms allow the execution of pec fly exercises.
  • Low pulley station – The unit’s low pulley is placed under the seat. It offers the possibility to perform all kinds of low pulley exercises, such as seated rows, leg abductions, and more.
  • Leg developer attachment – This part is equipped with 4″ foam rollers for maximum comfort. It attaches to the low pulley for weighted leg extensions or standing up one-leg curls.
  • Preacher pad attachment – This workout station allows the execution of seated curls. You can use the leg developer, low pulley and the short bar for curls. However, you can also use your own barbell, as long as the load doesn’t exceed 300 lbs (136 kg).

Weight Resistance

This Marcy home gym is equipped with a weight stack of approx. 216 lbs (98 kg). It includes 13 weight plates and the top selector plate. Each weight plate has an approx. weight of 16 lbs (7.2 kg), while the top plate wighs 8 lbs (3.6 kg).

As we’ve mentioned above, the weight plates are not metallic. Each plate is made of cement and encased into a vinyl shell. Although they may not be as durable as cast iron plates, they’re still pretty sturdy. Also, since it’s not a machine meant for commercial use, they may as well last a lifetime.

Depending on each workout station, the machine delivers different weight resistance ratios. The highest weight resistance is provided by the chest press set in its back position, which is 291.7 lbs (~132 kg). The lat pulldown station offers a max. resistance of 210 lbs (95 kg), while the front press delivers a max. of 270 lbs (122 kg).

Possible Exercises

This Marcy fitness machine offers the possibility to execute more than 30 exercises. Among them, we can count front press, fly press, cable curls, low rows, lat pulldowns, leg extensions, preacher curls, and many more.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • Adjustable backrest
  • 5 workout stations
  • Up to 291 weight resistance
  • 216 lbs weight stack
  • Multiple accessories included
  • Exercise chart included
  • Over 30 exercises available
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • The weight stack is not upgradable
  • Not for taller users than 6’0″ (183 cm)

Summary

The Marcy MKM-81010 is a home gym equipped with a 216 lbs vinyl/concrete weight stack, and 5 main workout stations. It offers a maximum weight resistance of 291 lbs, and the possibility to execute more than 30 exercises involving multiple muscle groups. It’s a great machine for beginners and intermediate users, and also an affordable one, offering excellent value for the price.

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Valor Fitness BD-7

The Valor Fitness BD-7 is a pretty standard strength cage equipped with a lat pulldown machine. It’s one of the best home gyms of this type available at the moment, offering an excellent price/quality ratios.

Frame & Accessories

The Valor Fitness BD-7 home gym features a durable steel frame made of 12-ga tubes coated with a metallic pewter finish. The fully assembled unit has a footprint of approx. 48″D x 59″W (122 x 150 cm). However, its total width is approx. 65″ (165 cm) due to the side pegs. The unit provides plenty of space for executing squats without any hindrance, the inner distance between its upright bars being 44″ (112 cm).

The upright bars of the cage offer 17 adjustment positions for the catch and safety bars. The distance between the adjustment notches is 1″ (2.5 cm). The lowest notch is at 17.5″ above floor level, while the highest is at 68″ (175 cm). Also, the fully assembled frame is approx. 86″ (218.5 cm), so it definitely won’t fit in a room with a 7′ ceiling.

The unit includes two sets of lift-off (or catch) bars and one set of safety bars. The inner catchers have a weight capacity of 650 lbs (295 kg), the outer catchers can hold 500 lbs (226.8 kg), while the safety bars are rated for 800 lbs (362.8 kg).

This Valor Fitness power rack features four pegs for weight plate storage. They’re 1″ (2.5 cm) thick, meant for Standard weight plates. But you can always add adapters on them for 2″ Olympic plates. Of course, the cage is designed for 7′ Olympic barbells.

On the list of included accessories, there is a standard lat pulldown bar with rubberized grips, a short T-handle for the low pulley, and a knee stopper bar with a 4″ (10 cm) foam cushion for lat pulldown exercises. Evidently, this home gym does not include a barbell and weight plates.

Workout stations

There are three distinct workout stations on this home gym, apart from the actual strength cage. These are:

  • High pulley station – As we’ve mentioned above, the Valor Fitness BD-7 integrates a lat pulldown machine. Thus, it has a high pulley to which you can attach a lat pulldown bar or one D-handle.
  • Pull-up bar – Even though this is a rather basic element, it’s still a workout station. It offers the possibility to execute a variety of pull-up or hanging exercises. It has knurled grips and a chrome finish
  • Low pulley station – The lat machine also features a low pulley. You can attach the included T-handle to it in order to execute seated rows, low pulley bicep curls or other exercises.

Weight Resistance

The Valor Fitness BD-7 strength cage doesn’t include any weight plates, nor it includes a barbell. Its lat pulldown machine can be loaded with up to 250 lbs (113 kg). Its pegs are 1″ thick, made for Standard plates, but you can always add 2″ adapters for Olympic plates. Adapters are not included, though.

The weight ratio for the lat machine is 1:1. This means you will be lifting the same amount loaded on it. Its pulleys are made of nylon material and integrate high-grade ball bearings for smooth operation. The cables are steel-made and coated with a layer of plastic material to prevent the wear of the pulleys and a smoother glide of the cables.

Possible Exercises

Along with the classic squats that a strength cage can provide, this Valor Fitness home gym offers the possibility to perform more than 40 exercises. Among them, we can count lat pulldowns, pull-ups, chin-ups, cliffhangers, seated rows, tricep pressdowns, chest presses, bicep curls, leg abductions, low pulley trunk rotations, and many more. Of course, for chest presses, and a variety of other exercises, you will need a bench. This rack has plenty of inner space, though, to accommodate most standard benches and allow the correct execution of presses.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Decent weight capacity
  • 17 adjustment positions for
    the safety and catch bars
  • 4 storage pegs for Standard weight
    plates
  • Multiple accessories included
  • Integrated lat machine
  • Pull-up bar included
  • Low pulley station included
  • Over 40 exercises possible
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • Not meant for 6′ barbells
  • Ankle cuff for low pulley
    exercises is not included
  • Dip bars are not included

Summary

The Valor Fitness BD-7 is a power rack which incorporates a lat pulldown machine. It also features a low pulley workout station and a pull-up bar. It includes a lat bar, a short T-bar for low rows and curls, a knee-stopper bar for heavy-loaded lat pulldowns. It has an excellent weight capacity for this price; its catch bars can hold up to 500 lbs, while the safety bars are rated for 800 lbs. In all, it’s an excellent power rack, offering a great price/quality ratio, and so far it has benefited from an overwhelmingly positive feedback from all users.

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Gold’s Gym XR 55

The Gold’s Gym XR 55 home gym system has been around for more than 4 years, but it’s still available to this day, and still continues to benefit from a positive feedback from users. It features all the standard workout stations plus a preacher pad attachment. It’s equipped with a cement/vinyl weight stack and therefore, it’s a pretty affordable machine.

Frame & Accessories

The Gold’s Gym XR 55 features a sturdy steel construction, its seat being rated for a weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg). All the steel parts in its construction have a durable paint coating which is resistant to corrosion.

The unit is fairly large; it’s 77″ (196 cm) long, and 43″ (109 cm) wide. Its height is approx. 83″ (211 cm) so it should fit in a room with a 7′ ceiling, but in this case, there will only remain 1″ of clearance above it. Also, given the machine’s dimensions, it can accommodate users up to 6’3″ (190 cm), promoting a complete arm and leg extension for all exercises.

The seat, backrest, and preacher pad integrate 2″ (5 cm) of foam padding in order to deliver optimal comfort. The seat offers three upright adjustment positions, while the backrest has three forward-backward adjustment positions.

The only accessories included with this Gold’s Gym strength training system are the multi-position lat bar and an extension chain for a low pulley short bar. However, a short bar is not included. So, you will have to either purchase it, or use the included lat bar for it.

Workout Stations

There are five workout stations and attachments integrated into this Gold’s Gym strength training system. These are:

  • High pulley station – This allows the execution of multiple exercises for the back muscles and triceps. As we’ve mentioned above, a multi-position lat bar is included with the machine.
  • Press/Fly station – The machine’s press station has double functionality; it can be used for regular seated chest presses or fly presses. It promotes several grips and has two foam rollers for superior arm comfort during fly exercises.
  • Low pulley station – The low pulley is attached at the base of the preacher pad tube. You can attach a short bar (not included) to it for the execution of standing up curls, or low rows.
  • Leg developer – The included leg developer attachment has a standard construction, featuring 4″ foam rollers.
  • Preacher pad – This attachment offers the possibility to perform preacher curls either by using the low pulley or by using your own barbell.

Weight Resistance

The Gold’s Gym XR 55 is equipped with a vinyl/cement weight stack. This is one of the main reasons the machine is considerably cheaper than one with a cast iron stack. But nonetheless, the weight plates are pretty sturdy.

The weight stack includes 10 plates, each one being approx. 12.5 lbs (5.6 kg), with a total weight of 125 lbs (56.6 kg). However, the machine offers different weight ratios for each one of its workout stations. For example, the maximum weight resistance delivered by the leg developer is 330 lbs (149.6 kg), while the maximum weight resistance provided by the front press is 276 lbs (125 kg).

The machine’s weight stack is not meant to be upgraded. There aren’t any extra weight plates available for it, so if you want to add weight you will have to improvise, which is not recommended.

Possible Exercises

This home gym system offers the possibility to execute up to 36 exercises, and plenty of variations for each one of them. For example, you can do front presses, fly presses, preacher curls, standing curls, tricep pressdowns, seated rows, lat pulldowns, leg extensions, and more. Of course, some of the exercises will require additional accessories. A short bar for curls and rows is recommended. Also, a D-handle and an ankle cuff can expand the exercise array that you can perform on this machine.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • 3 adjustment positions for the
    seat, backrest and preacher pad
  • 5 workout stations and attachments
  • Up to 330 lbs weight resistance
  • Lat bar included
  • Exercise chart included
  • Over 36 exercises available
  • Little maintenance required
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The weight stack is not upgradable
  • A short bar for curls and rows
    is not included
  • Ankle cuff(s) not included

Summary

The Gold’s Gym XR 55 is a standard home gym featuring 5 main workout stations and attachments. It’s equipped with a 125 lbs cement/vinyl weight stack and offers the possibility to execute more than 36 exercises. It delivers plenty of weight resistance for beginners and intermediate users. For example, its press can provide up to 276 lbs and the low pulley up to 330 lbs. And finally, it’s an affordable fitness machine, available for less than $400, offering excellent value for the price.

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Weider 2980 X

The Weider 2980 X is a home gym that offers the same workout stations as the Gold’s Gym XR 55 that we’ve covered above. However, it includes a lighter weight stack and is even more affordable. It’s actually one of the most affordable home gyms that you can get at the moment.

Frame & Accessories

The Weider 2980 X home gym features a steel frame with a seat assembly rated for a capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg). Its fully assembled frame is not extremely large, especially height wise. Its higher point is only 76″ (193 cm) above floor level, so it should fit even in a room with a 7′ ceiling. Its assembled footprint is approx. 65″L x 37″W (165 x 94 cm) but it’s recommended to assign a workout area of at least 100″ x 80″ (254 x 203 cm) for unhindered operation.

The seat and backrest of the unit are non-adjustable. They attach directly to the frame bars via screws. They are well-padded with foam material in order to provide optimal comfort for all the exercises. Also, the included preacher curl attachment has the same padding, with the same durable vinyl upholstery.

The integrated pulleys are made of heavy-duty nylon material. They all have ball bearings for a smooth operation. The cables are steel made and have a much greater weight capacity than the weight resistance delivered by the machine.

The machine does not include too many accessories. A standard lat bar with curved grips, an extension chain, and a D-handle are included. However, the unit does not include a short row bar, or ankle cuff(s).

Workout Stations

The are 5 main workout stations incorporated into this home gym. These are:

  • High pulley station – This workout station is equipped with one pulley and one cable to which you can attach the lat pulldown bar or the included D-handle.
  • Press/Fly station – The press station doubles up as a fly station. It offers the possibility to execute standard front presses from a seated position, but also chest fly presses.
  • Low pulley station – The low pulley is attached at the base of the preacher attachment tube. You can either connect the included D-handle or lat bar to it for curls or seated rows, or you can opt for a short T-bar.
  • Leg developer – The machine is equipped with a standard leg developer attachment. This requires being attached to the low pulley in order to perform leg extensions. It’s equipped with thick foam rollers for optimal comfort.
  • Preacher pad – The included preacher pad has three adjustment positions. Not only that offers the possibility to perform preacher curls via the low pulley, you can also use your own barbell for this type of exercises.

Weight Resistance

The Weider 2980 X home gym is equipped with an 81 lbs (36 kg) weight stack, which consists of 6 main plates, each one weighing 12.5 lbs (5.6 kg), plus the top selector plate which weighs 6 lbs (2.7 kg). This weight stack is not meant to be upgraded. There are no additional weight plates available for it.

The weight plates are made of cement, each plate being encased in a vinyl shell for ease of use and extra protection. They’re fairly sturdy and do their job, but evidently, not as sturdy as cast iron plates. This is one of the main reasons this machine costs considerably less than others.

Although the unit’s stack weighs only 81 lbs (36 kg), the unit provides different weight ratios for its workout stations. For example, the press arm can generate a maximum resistance of 173 lbs (78.4 kg), while the low pulley can provide up to 214 lbs (97 kg).

Possible Exercises

This Weider home gym offers the possibility to execute more than 36 exercises. Among them, we can count seated front and fly chest presses, lat pulldowns, preacher curls, seated rows, stand-up rows, leg extensions, leg adductions, tricep pressdowns and many more. Of course, certain exercises may require additional accessories.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • 5 workout stations and attachments
  • Up to 214 lbs weight resistance
  • Lat bar included
  • D-handle included
  • Over 36 exercises available
  • Little maintenance required
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The weight stack is not upgradable
  • T-bar for curls and rows
    is not included
  • Ankle cuff(s) not included
  • Not a machine for taller
    users than 6’0″ (183 cm)

Summary

The Weider 2980 X is a home gym designed for beginners and intermediate users. It provides 5 main workout stations and attachments and offers the possibility to execute more than 36 exercises. It’s equipped with a vinyl/cement weight stack of 81 lbs. It can generate a max. weight resistance of 214 lbs (on its low pulley). It’s also one of the most affordable home gyms at the moment, available for less than $250.

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As you can see, the selection of home gyms presented in the table above covers a range of models from the most basic, to some of the most inclusive. You should be able to find one in there that fits your needs and budget. Within the final part of this post though, you’ll find more detailed recommendations by price.

In the next part of this page, we’ll cover the main advantages of home gyms. It is indeed important to know what exactly an item of fitness equipment of this sort has to offer before purchasing one.

Advantages of a Home Gym

First of all, a home gym machine, power tower, power cage or bodyweight cable bench, will help you train various muscle groups. Most of them offer the possibility to perform more than 20-30 exercises for the main muscle groups in the body. Therefore, a home gym system will considerably improve your training possibilities.

The average home cable weight machine offers approx. 200 lbs of weight resistance, except for the multifunction cable benches and power towers which actually use your own weight. This being said, they’re perfect for beginners and intermediate users, and even advanced users can find them useful for at least a few exercises. Differently put, a machine of this sort will help you get in shape, tone muscles, build muscle mass (at least up to a certain extent), and also build strength and muscle stamina. On the other hand, a Smith cage or power rack allows you to use heavy barbells, for squats, presses etc, in order to significantly improve your muscle mass.

Various home gym machines offer the possibility to perform aerobic exercises. For example, machines such as the Bowflex Blaze model feature a mobile bench, which can provide excellent aerobic rowing training, focusing on multiple muscle groups in your body. These exercises can surely replace the running on a treadmill, and also feature a much lower impact on the leg joints. Cable machines in general, allow you to perform all kinds of aerobic exercises, not just seated rows, thus helping you obtain a better muscle definition, or lose weight.

Speaking of weight loss, a home gym machine can definitely help you lose weight. But in case you need to lose a consistent amount of weight, a controlled diet and a regimen of cardio exercises are necessary. Otherwise, results will be minimal.

Using a cable weight machine at home offers a lot of convenience. It gives you the opportunity to train whenever you want, and also undergo 2-3 training sessions per day, without the hassle of driving to the gym. As opposed to training in a gym facility, you don’t have to wait in line to use certain equipment, and on top of that, you can focus much better on your exercises, as the distractions won’t be as many.

Last but not least, a gym membership can be expensive. The average U.S. gym monthly membership cost is $50. That’s $600 per year, a cost that doesn’t include any other gym related expenses. This amount can definitely cover quite an inclusive home gym system, which can serve you well for years.

What to Look for in a Home Gym Machine

Depending on the type of machine, there are several main aspects to consider before actually purchasing one. These are:

Weight resistance system

Most cable machines use a weight stack, cables, and a pulley system to generate resistance, and there are machines which involve mostly the user’s weight. Evidently, a machine with one or multiple weight stacks offers higher versatility when it comes to weight adjustment increments, and with a machine of this sort, you can definitely train various groups of muscles on a superior level.

On the other hand, machines which involve your own body weight, such as the Weider multi-function benches or power towers, still can offer a wide array of exercises, and great possibilities to tone muscles, lose weight and keep yourself in great shape. But in general, for this type of fitness equipment the weight resistance that can be generated, can’t exceed your own body-weight by a lot. Thus, the results that you can achieve are limited.

When it comes to weight resistance, one aspect that you must always consider is the machine’s weight ratios for its various training stations. And for this matter, you should know that most machines don’t offer a clean 1:1 ratio for any of their stations. Weight ratios can go from 1:2 to 1:5. However, in most cases, if the machine has a leg press attachment, for this the resistance is usually increased, having a 2:1 ratio or even 4:1 weight ratio, as the pulleys involved add resistance.

Weight plates

When it comes to machines that involve weight plates, some of them come with their own stack, but others, such as Smith machines or power racks, do require Olympic or standard weight plates. So, for the machines that are supplied with a weight plate stack, made of rectangular plates, an important aspect to consider is the material the plates are made of. In general, there are two types: cast iron plates, or cement plates covered by a sheet of hard exm1500s - weight stackplastic, or vinyl. The latter is commonly referred to as “vinyl plates”.  Cast iron plates typically last longer and are more expensive. Cement plates, even though they’re considered less durable, they can still last for many years of use, especially if only 1-2 persons use the machine. A home gym equipped with this type of weight plates is usually more affordable.

Another aspect to have in mind regarding a machine’s weight plate stack is upgradability. The standard weight of 160 lbs or 200 lbs which is supplied with it may not be enough after a while, so it’s best to opt for one that can be upgraded.

Last but not least, if you opt for a Smith machine or a power cage which also includes a barbell, it’s important to know what weight plates it requires. Some are exclusively made for Olympic plates, the ones with 2″ holes and those cannot be used with standard plates, which feature 1″ holes. Also, when it comes to power racks or Smith machines, it’s also important to know their maximum weight load capacity. But as a general idea, most racks or Smith machines can support at least 5-600 lbs, without issues.

Number of workout stations

As a general idea, the more workout stations a machine has, the higher its versatility, or differently put, the higher the number of exercises that can be performed on it. However, a machine with multiple stations will definitely cost more. Now, you may not need all the stations in a machine, as you may already have the means to train certain groups of muscles. Therefore, always make sure that the model you opt for can supply the exact exercises that you need in your training. For example, if you already have a power rack, with a barbell, it’s not the best idea to opt for a multifunction Smith machine, just to use its lat pulldown station.

Other Aspects to Consider

Available space

Most items of fitness training that can be labeled as home gyms usually take a lot of space. For example, if you’re going to use an Olympic barbell with your power rack, you will need a space of at least 7’D x 10’W, since the bar itself is 7′ long. Also, when it comes to the machine’s height, keep in mind that not all models will fit in a room with a 7′ ceiling.

Max. user weight

This isn’t usually an issue for items of weight training, such as Smith machines or power racks. But a power tower, for example, may not offer the proper stability if the user is heavier than a certain weight. Also, there are home gym systems that integrate a bench, and the bench itself has a weight capacity rating that you should be informed about before purchasing.

Price

Home gym systems come in a wide variety of models and prices. And for most models, prices can range between $200 and $2,000. But the most expensive may not always provide the best value for the price. Also, you may not need all the workout stations in an expensive machine. That’s why even before looking at the price of a home gym system, it’s best to evaluate if it offers the possibility to perform the exact exercises that you need in your training.

Final Thoughts

Home gym systems come in various shapes and sizes, but most of them offer the chance to exercise the same groups of muscles. Prices also differ from one model to another, however not just every running machine offers a great price/quality ratio. This page aims to help you make the right choice, regarding your home gym. All models presented here benefit from an overwhelmingly positive feedback from users, they offer an outstanding value for the price, and cover quite an extensive range of prices. They’re are some of the best, if not the best, strength training system for 2019. Therefore, even if you won’t choose one on this list, you should at least make an idea of what home gym fits best to your needs and your budget.

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