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Best Home Gyms for 2021: Reviews and Comparisons

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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 strength training systems for 2021, featuring their core specs.

Table of Contents

Top 10 Home Gyms for 2021

UnitSizeAssembled
weight
Weight
capacity
Weight
resistance
Possible
exercises
Workout
stations
Warranty
Marcy Pro SM-4903

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Smith:
D:86"
W:73"
H:85"

Bench:
L:48"
W:37"
H:49"
350 lbsSmith:
300 lbs

Bench:
600 lbs

Carriages:
300 lbs (each)
Standard
or
Olympic
weight plates
50+Smith
cage,
High-pulleys,
Low-pulleys,
Dip station,
Pull-up station
2 years
limited
Marcy MWM-4965

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L:73"
W:38"
H:78"
261+ lbs300 lbsCement/
thermoplastic,
150 lbs
36+High-pulley,
Mid-pulley,
Front/fly press,
Low-pulley,
Leg developer
2 years
limited
Body-Solid SVKR1000 Pro

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L:62"
W:37"
H:103""
276 lbs600 lbsBodyweight20+Pull-up
station,
Dip/leg raise
station
Lifetime
MiM USA 1001 Pro

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L: 60"
W: 80"
H: 87"
579 lbsSmith:
555 lbs

Bench:
800 lbs

Carriages:
200 lbs (each)

Safety
bars:
555 lbs
Olympic
or
Standard
plates

200 lbs
each
carriage
100+Pull-up bar,
Functional
trainer,
Smith
cage
Not
specified
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
Fitness Reality 810XLT

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L:68"
W:46.5"
H:84.5"
150 lbsSafety bars:
800 lbs,

Lat machine:
270 lbs
Standard
and
Olympic
weight plates
40+High pulley,
Low pulley,
Pull-up bar,
Strength
cage
1 year
limited
Gold's Gym XRS 50

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L:64"
W:38"
H:78.7"
~300 lbs300 lbsVinyl &
cement,
280 lbs
35+ High-pulley,
Low-pulley,
Leg attachment,
Front/fly press


Parts: 90 days
Labor: 90 days
Total Gym APEX G5

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L:93"
W:15.5"
H:43.25"
53.2 lbs375 lbsBodyweight
(up to 60%)
80+ -
1 year
limited

Marcy Pro SM-4903

The Marcy Pro SM-4903 is a complete strength training system, including a Smith cage with a dual lat pulldown system, a multi-position bench, and several other attachments. Although it’s one of the fitness machines released by Marcy Pro in 2017, it’s still available in 2021, and still stands at an almost clean 5-star rating on many retail and fitness websites.

Frame & Accessories

The Marcy Pro SM-4903 features a frame made of heavy-duty steel tubing. Needless to say, it’s a fairly large unit; with all the parts assembled, the cage has a footprint of 86″L x 73″W (218 x 185 cm), while its height is 85″ (216 cm). This being said, the machine won’t fit in a room with a 7′ ceiling, and you will need at least one foot of clearance above it to be able to perform pull-ups correctly. Also, the included lifting bar is 7′ long, so you will need at least a few feet of space all around the unit for safe usage and ease of access.

The pillar bars of the cage feature 11 adjustment holes each for the safety bars and j-hooks in case you want to perform free lifting using a barbell but without using the Smith element of the cage. The included j-hooks and safety bars have a weight limit of 300 lbs (136 kg). Also, in case you’re wondering, the highest adjustment positions are at approx. 56″ (142 cm) above the floor.

The machine includes a multi-position bench. It offers 4 adjustment positions for the seat pad, and 6 adjustment positions for the backrest. It is important to mention, though, the backrest’s lower position is 0°. It does not have a decline setting.

The bench is fairly large. Its footprint is 48″L x 37″W (122 x 94 cm), while its highest point is approx. 49″ (124 cm) when the backrest is set to its most upright position. Both the seat pad and the backrest pad integrate a thick layer of foam cushioning. Their covers are made of durable vinyl which is easy to maintain.

Among other accessories and attachments included with the Marcy Pro SM-4903, we can mention a dip attachment, a set of two D-handles, Olympic adapters for the lat pulldown elements, and Smith bar, as well as a chinning bar.

Workout Stations

The Marcy Pro SM-4903 home gym system basically offers six workout stations. These are:

  • High-pulley station. This workout station consists of two high pulleys each one being connected to its own weight carriage. The pulleys are made of heavy-duty nylon material and integrate sealed ball bearings for a smooth motion. Each carriage is rated for a maximum load of 300 lbs (136 kg), but the cables are rated for 2,000 lbs tensile strength.
  • Low-pulley station. Similar to the high-pulley set-up, the low-pulley stations features two independent pulleys, one for each weight carriage. This workout station offers the possibility to perform curls, seated rows, standing rows, and more.
  • Chin-up. The top front bar of the cage is equipped with a pull-up bar featuring curved lateral grips, and parallel grips at the center so you can perform a wide array of pull-ups and chin-ups. This bar has a weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg).
  • Dip attachment. This accessory can be attached to the front upright bars of the cage. It features two long grips and has a weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg).
  • Chest press station. Since the Marcy Pro SM-4903 includes a bench, it offers the possibility to perform all kinds of chest press exercises. You can either use the Smith element for this or the front section of the cage with the included bar catches and safety bars.
  • Cage. Finally, the cage itself can be considered a separate workout station. It offers the possibility to perform squats or other exercises involving a long bar. You can use the Smith element for more control or perform the exercises freely using the safety bars and catches.

Weight Resistance

The Marcy Pro SM-4903 does not include a weight stack or any weight plates. So, you will have to use your own plates to load the two weight carriages or the barbell. Each weight carriage can be loaded with up to 300 lbs (136 kg). The pegs can be loaded with Standard 1″ weight plates, but as we’ve mentioned above, each carriage has a set of Olympic 2″ adapters; so you can use Olympic plates as well.

Each carriage offers a weight resistance of 2:1. In other words, if you load one weight carriage with 100 lbs, you will benefit from a weight resistance of 50 lbs. So, this being said, you can have a max. of 150 lbs (68 kg) weight resistance per arm when using the pulley system.

Possible Exercises

The Marcy Pro SM-4903 offers the possibility to perform more than 50 exercises. The list includes lat pulldowns, pull-ups, dips, chest presses, aerobic rowing, tricep presses, bicep curls, ab crunches, squats, trunk rotations, woodchops, and more.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Heavy-duty commercial-grade frame
  • Excellent weight capacity
  • Multi-position bench included
  • Smith cage and standard cage
  • 11 adjustment positions for safety bars
  • 10 locking positions for the
    Smith bar
  • Plate storage element
  • Heavy-duty pulleys and cables
  • Compatible with Olympic and Standard weight plates
  • Multi-grip pull-up station
  • Multiple accessories included
  • Over 50 possible exercises
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No leg developer on the bench
  • No preacher pad element

Summary

The Marcy Pro SM-4903 is a strength training system that includes a Smith cage, a dual overhead pulley system, and a heavy-duty, multi-position bench. It also has a pull-up bar and includes a removable dip station. It offers the possibility to perform more than 50 exercises. It’s a great machine for users of all levels and offers excellent quality for the price.

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Marcy MWM-4965

The Marcy MWM-4965 is a pretty standard weight stack home gym featuring several workout stations. It’s one of the fitness machines released by Marcy Pro in 2018 but it is still available at the moment.

Frame & Accessories

The Marcy MWM-4965 strength training machine features a pretty sturdy frame for a home gym. It is made of 14-gauge steel tubing combining rectangular and cylindrical bars in its construction. It’s not an extremely large machine. It is approx. 73″ (185 cm) long, and 38″ (96.5 cm) wide but you will have to allow a few feet of clearance at least on each side and at the front of the unit.

Another important aspect to mention here is that the machine is only 78″ tall. Therefore, since it’s not extremely large, it may not allow a complete range of motion for users who are taller than 6’3″ (190 cm), at least for the top pulley exercises. But on the other hand, it can fit in a room with a 7-foot ceiling.

Since the MWM-990 strength training machine comes with its own weight stack, it is pretty heavy. Its net weight is approx. 261 lbs (118 kg). So, once it is assembled, it is not meant to be moved. Also, all this weight plays an important role in its overall stability so it shouldn’t be anchored to the floor.

This home gym integrates 18 pulleys. They are made of durable nylon material and integrate ball bearings for smooth operation. The cables are steel-made, rated for a much greater weight resistance than the included 150 lbs (90.7 kg) stack, so they should last for a long period of time. The cables are covered by PVC sleeves to prevent the scratching of the pulleys.

This Marcy home gym is equipped with a non-adjustable seat. Both its backrest and bottom pad integrate a thick layer of foam cushioning while their covers are made of durable vinyl material which is easy to maintain.

The machine comes with several accessories. The list includes a lat pulldown bar with a zig-zag design, an ab harness, an ankle cuff, and a D-handle.

Workout Stations

The Marcy MWM-4965 home gym system includes five workout stations and attachments. These are:

  • High-pulley station. This workout station offers the possibility to perform lat pull-downs. It includes a 38″ (96.5 cm) lat bar with a zig-zag design which offers the possibility to adopt various grips. Its ends feature rubberized sleeves for an improved grip.
  • Chest press station. The machine’s chest press station doubles up as a fly station. It can be used for standard seated front presses and fly press exercises. Each arm has a loop grip and a large cylindrical foam pad for extra comfort.
  • Mid-pulley station. Not all home gyms of this type have this feature, so the mid pulley is quite a plus. Not only that it offers the possibility to perform ab crunches (ab harness included), it also allows you to execute a variety of other exercises, such as resistance punches, woodchops, trunk rotations, and more.
  • Low-pulley station. This workout station offers allows you to perform quite a few exercises and their variations. The list includes seated rows, standing rows, bicep curls, leg abductions, etc. The low pulley is integrated into the front upright bar of the seat frame.
  • Leg developer. This attachment connects to the front section of the machine and the low pulley. Evidently, it offers the possibility to perform leg extensions. It features four large foam rollers for extra comfort.

Weight Resistance

The Marcy MWM-4965 home gym comes with its own weight stack. The weight plates are not made of cast iron; they’re made of cement bricks with durable nylon covers. This is one of the reasons this home gym is cheaper than others. But nonetheless, the stack is pretty durable, and considering that it’s a strength training machine meant to use at home, it can last a lifetime without any damage.

The machine’s weight stack is not meant to be upgraded. Marcy Fitness doesn’t sell additional weight plates for this particular machine. Also, it is not recommended to improvise with one or more dumbbell or barbell plates attached on the outside of the machine’s stack. The unit’s weight stack is composed of 14 weight plates. Each plate weighs approx. 10 lbs (4.5 kg). The top carriage plate also weighs 10 lbs (4.5 kg).

The number of pulleys for each workout station varies. Therefore, each station offers different weight resistance. For example, with all the plates connected, the front press delivers a weight resistance of 200 lbs (90.7 kg), while the low pulley and the lat pulldown station deliver a resistance of 160 lbs (72.5 kg).

Possible Exercises

The Marcy MWM-4965 home gym offers the possibility to perform more than 30 exercises. The list includes bicep curls, tricep extensions, ab crunches, ab pulldowns, deltoid raises, fly presses, front presses, leg extensions, lat pulldowns, leg adductions, and more.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • 5 workout stations
  • Leg developer included
  • Up to 200 lbs weight resistance
  • 150 lbs weight stack
  • Multiple accessories included
  • Exercise chart included
  • Over 36 exercises available
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • The weight stack is not upgradable
  • Not for taller users than 6’2″ (188 cm)

Summary

The Marcy MWM-4965 is a multi-function home gym equipped with five workout stations including high, mid, and low pulley, leg developer, and fly/front press. It comes with a 150 lbs vinyl/cement weight stack and delivers a maximum weight resistance of 200 lbs. It’s a pretty decent machine for beginners and intermediate users, offering the possibility to execute more than 36 exercises.

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Body-Solid SVKR1000 Pro

The Body-Solid SVKR1000 ProClub is a heavy-duty power tower offering an extremely sturdy construction and an impressive weight capacity. It’s made for commercial use, this being one of the main reasons it comes with a lifetime warranty for home users.

Frame & Parts

The Body-Solid SVKR1000 ProClub power tower features a heavy gauge frame made of oval steel tubing. All the steel parts in its construction are double-coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. The color used is gray, this being the only color available for this model.

One of the most important aspects with regards to the construction of this power tower is its weight limit. It is designed to withstand loads up to 600 lbs (272 kg). This being said, if you will want to perform weighted pull-ups or dips, you won’t have to worry that you will break it.

Not only that it offers an impressive weight capacity, this power tower is also heavy. With all the parts assembled, its net weight is 276 lbs (125 kg). Therefore, it provides plenty of stability on its own. You don’t have to anchor it to the floor and its base bars do not have pre-drilled holes for this purpose.

The unit’s upright bars are not completely vertical as it is the case for other power towers. They’re set at an angle of approx. 85°. This leads to a better posture during exercises and also improves the tower’s overall sturdiness.

In terms of dimensions, the tower is fairly large compared to other models. It is approx. 62″ (157 cm) long, and 37″ (94 cm) wide. Also, its height is 103″ (266 cm) in height, which means it won’t fit in a room with an 8-foot ceiling height. You’ll need a room with at least a 9-foot ceiling for it to fit accordingly and to be able to perform all the pull-up and chin-up exercises without any hindrance.

Workout Stations

Since it’s only a power tower and not a weight stack machine, the Body-Solid SVKR1000 ProClub technically has only two main workout stations. It also lacks the low base grips that other models have for parallel grip push-ups. But nonetheless, it still offers the possibility to execute a variety of exercises. The unit’s workout stations are:

  • Pull-up and chin-up station. As we’ve mentioned above, the trainer’s height is approx. 103″ (260 cm). Therefore, it offers plenty of leg room even for tall individuals during the execution of pull-up exercises. This workout station integrates three sets of grips, plus a transversal bar which can also be used for various exercises. The two outer curved-down grips offer a total length of approx. 48″ (122 cm), similar to the average lat bar length. One of the extra features available with this tower is the set of rock climbing grips. Plus, it also has a set of short parallel grips.
  • Dip and leg rais station. The two middle arms of the tower offer the possibility to perform dips and leg raises. Both arms have cushions with a generous layer of padding and vinyl covers for extra durability. The unit’s backrest has the same type of foam cushioning and vinyl cover. The two arms also have upright grips for extra support during leg raises or knee raises. It’s also important to mention that the two dip grips have a revolving mechanism so you can rotate them outward for a wider grip.

Possible Exercises

Essentially, this power tower offers the possibility to perform pull-ups, dips, and leg raises. But each one of these exercises comes with a series of variations. So, you can perform more than 20 different exercises on this tower. The list includes muscle pull-ups, behind-head pull-ups, parallel grip pull-ups, cliffhangers, side-to-side dips, Gironda dips, hanging knee raises, and more.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Commercial-duty steel frame
  • 600 lbs weight capacity
  • Heavy construction for extra stability
  • Climbing steps for easy
    access to the pull-up grips
  • Pull-up and dip stations
  • Multi-grip design
  • Rock climbing grips included
  • Revolving design for the dip grips
  • DuraFirmTM cushioning on the backrest
    and mid arms
  • More than 20 exercises available
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • No push-up grips

Summary

The Body-Solid SVKR1000 ProClub is a commercial-grade power tower featuring a heavy gauge oval steel tubing construction and two main workout stations. It makes available multiple pull-up and chinning grips, and has DuraFirm cushioning on the knee raise arms and backrest. Although it’s not exactly one of the most affordable power towers, it definitely offers excellent value for the price.

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MiM USA 1001 Pro

The MiM USA 1001 Pro is a multifunction strength training system. It combines a Smith machine and a functional trainer and comes with a plethora of accessories including an adjustable bench. On top of that, it offers commercial-grade quality, exceptional versatility, and the possibility to perform more than 100 exercises.

Frame & Accessories

The MiM USA 1001 Pro features a heavy-duty construction. All the parts in its frame are made of durable steel tubing, coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish, with the exception of the upright bars of the Smith machine. These are chrome-plated.

The fully assembled unit is fairly large. It takes 60″L x 80″W (152 x 203 cm) of floor space, so it provides plenty of inside space for users of all sizes. Also, its pull-up bar assembly reaches approx. 87″ (221 cm) above floor level in order to provide plenty of leg-room during pull-up exercises. Needless to say, since it’s a large steel machine, it also weighs a lot. Without any weight plates attached, the fully assembled unit weighs over 480 lbs (217 kg). Therefore, once it is assembled, it is not meant to be moved. Also, all this weight delivers superior stability. You can be sure that it won’t move or rock, even if you’re pressing heavy loads.

The MiM USA 1001 Pro a fairly decent weight capacity. The Smith bar and the safety bars are rated for 555 lbs (251.7 kg), while each carriage of the functional trainer element can be loaded with up to 200 lbs (90.7 kg). Plus, the unit is compatible with both Olympic and Standard weight plates.

In terms of accessories, the most notable one is the bench. For reference, the included bench is the part number CB 777S Pro. It’s a heavy-duty bench rated for a weight tolerance of 800 lbs (362.8 kg). It’s adjustable, offering 4 positions for the seat pad, and 8 positions for the backrest.

The list of accessories provided with this home gym is fairly long, though. It includes J-hooks, safety bars, dip handles, curl bar, Standard barbell, straight bar, D-handles, knurling bar, short bar, V-handle, tricep rope, rotating bar, and an ankle cuff. Weight plates are not included.

Workout Stations

The MiM USA 1001 Pro offers three main workout stations. These are:

  • The pull-up station. Evidently, this workout station is placed at the top of the cage. It consists of two parallel bars that offer multiple grip positions. It offers the possibility to perform all forms of pull-up and chin-up exercises. It has a weight capacity of 350 lbs (158.7 kg), so as long as you don’t weigh that much, you can perform weighted pull-ups as well.
  • The Smith cage. To begin with, the unit’s Smith cage is vertical. Its sidebars offer 14 locking positions for the barbell. The Smith element is equipped with top-grade ball bearings in order to provide a very smooth glide of the bar during squats, presses, and other exercises. The main bar included with the cage is an Olympic 7′ bar, with 2″ sleeves, but a Standard bar is also included. The Smith element of the machine is rated for a weight capacity of 555 lbs (251.7 kg).
  • The functional trainer. This workout station consists of two adjustable pulley systems, one on each side of the unit. Each pulley system has its own weight carriage. The adjustable pulleys can pivot on their axis in a 180° range side-to-side. Their upright bars have 32 adjustment positions. The distance between the holes is approx. 1″ (2.5 cm).

Weight Resistance

As we’ve mentioned above, the MiM USA 1001 Pro does not include weight plates for the Smith bar. It also doesn’t have a weight stack like many other cable home gyms. Therefore, in terms of weight resistance, you will have to use your own weight plates.

In terms of weight capacity, the included Smith bar and the safety bars can support loads up to 555 lbs (251 kg). Also, each carriage of the functional trainer can be loaded with up to 200 lbs (90.7 kg) of plates.

Possible Exercises

The MiM USA 1001 Pro strength training system offers the possibility to perform more than 100 exercises. Also, the unit includes most of the accessories required for their execution. Among the most important exercises that you can perform on this machine, we can count all types of Smith presses, squats, 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

  • Heavy-duty commercial-grade frame
  • Excellent weight capacity
  • Multi-position bench included
  • 32 adjustment positions for
    the functional trainer
  • 14 locking positions for the
    Smith bar
  • Plate storage pegs
  • Heavy-duty pulleys
    and cables
  • Compatible with Olympic
    and Standard weight plates
  • Multi-grip pull-up station
  • Multiple accessories included
  • Knee stopper element for
    lat pulldowns
  • Over 100 possible exercises
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No leg developer on the bench
  • No preacher pad element

Summary

The MiM USA 1001 Pro is a Smith Cage & Functional Trainer combo that includes a heavy-duty, multi-position bench. The whole strength training system offers commercial-grade quality featuring a very sturdy construction and an impressive weight capacity for both the Smith and functional trainer pulley elements. Plus, a very inclusive set of accessories comes with it. Among them, we can count short bar, long bar, Olympic bar, V-handle, D-handles, dip handles, and more.

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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 flies. 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 a 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 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 weighs 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. the 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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Fitness Reality 810XLT

The Fitness Reality 810XLT is one of the power cages released in 2017 but it is still available in 2021. This particular model is the Fitness Reality part number 2821, the one that includes the FR 710 lat pulldown attachment.

Frame & Accessories

The frame of the Fitness Reality 810XLT is made of durable, 2″ x 2″ tubular steel. It’s a pretty sturdy power cage, offering a maximum weight capacity of 800 lbs (362.8 kg) for the safety bars and 270 lbs (122.4 kg) for the lat attachment. The fully assembled cage is not too heavy but still weighs more than 150 lbs (68 kg) without a barbell or weight plates attached. This being said, it is pretty stable on its own so you don’t have to anchor it to the floor.

The fully assembled cage with the lat machine attached is fairly large. It has a footprint of approx. 68″L x 46.5″W (173 x 118 cm); plus, it is recommended to leave at least a few feet of clearance on each side and at the front of the unit, for ease of access. The height of the cage is 84.5″ (215 cm), so it won’t fit in a room with a 7-foot ceiling.

The main pillars of the cage have 19 attachment positions for the safety bars or the dip bars in case you opt for them (they are not included). The set includes two 23″ (58.4 cm) safety bars, and two 3 1/4″ (8.2 cm) J-hooks. They all have a chrome finish and are rated for weight loads up to 800 lbs (362.8 kg).

The lat pulldown attachment is equipped with 7 nylon pulleys which integrate ball bearings for a smooth weight carriage movement. The set also includes a knee stopper with large foam rollers, an accessory that many other power cages with lat attachment do not have. And finally, the accessories included with this power cage are a short bar for low rows, a curved bar for lat pull-downs, a short extension chain, and two spring clips for the lat attachment pegs.

Workout Stations

The Fitness Reality 810XLT with lat attachment offers four main workout stations. These are:

  • Pull-up station. The 810XLT cage features two curved parallel bars at the top. They offer multiple grips for different pull-up and chin-up exercises. Their exact weight capacity is not specified, but they should be able to withstand at least 400 lbs (181 kg). They also reinforce the top of the cage improving its whole sturdiness.
  • Power cage. Needless to say, the cage itself is a workout station. It offers the possibility to perform powerlifting exercises, squats, curls, shrugs, etc. It’s important to mention, though, that a barbell and weights are not included with this home gym system.
  • High-pulley station. Since the 810XLT comes with a lat machine, naturally it has a high pulley workout station. It offers the possibility to perform lat pull-downs, tricep press-downs, and a multitude of other high-pulley cable exercises. As we’ve mentioned above, a standard 39″ (96.5 cm) lat bar is included for it. It has rubberized curved grips for optimal comfort. Also, the machine includes a knee stopper bar.
  • Low-pulley station. Not all power cages that include a lat machine have a low pulley as well, so this is a plus. The low pulley workout station offers the possibility to perform seated rows, stand-up curls, or other low pulley exercises. A short bar with rubberized handles is included for this workout station.

Weight Resistance

The Fitness Reality 810XLT with lat attachment does not come with a barbell and weight plates, so you will either have to use your own or purchase a barbell set separately. Also, the lat attachment does not have its own weight stack, but it is equipped with two Standard pegs (1″ in diameter) which can be loaded with dumbbell or barbell weight plates. Each peg of the lat machine moving element measures 6.5″ (16.5 cm), so it can hold at least a few plates.

The power cage does not include Olympic 2″ sleeve adapters for the pegs of the lat machine. Therefore, in case you already have Olympic plates, you will have to opt for a set of 2″ sleeves. A set of 1″ springs for fixing Standard plates on the lat machine carriage is included, though.

As we’ve mentioned above, the lat attachment offers a maximum weight limit of 270 lbs (122.4 kg). The exact weight ratio provided by it is not specified, though.

Possible Exercises

Since the Fitness Reality 81XLT is a power cage equipped with j-hooks and safety bars, its main function is the execution of exercises involving a heavy barbell such as squats, shrugs, deadlifts, etc. But since it also includes a lat machine and a pull-up bar, you can also perform pull-ups, chin-ups, lat pulldowns, seated rows, standing rows, tricep pressdowns, and more. You should be able to perform more than 40 different exercises on this home gym.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Heavy-duty frame
  • 800 lbs limit for the safety bars and j-hooks
  • 19 adjustment positions
  • Lat attachment included
  • Knee stopper element
  • Multi-grip pull-up station
  • Low pulley included
  • Lat pulldown bar included
  • Short bar included
  • 1″ spring clips for the lat carriage included
  • Over 40 exercises available
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No adapters for 2″ Olympic plates
  • No dip attachment

Summary

The Fitness Reality 810XLT (2821) is a power cage made for home use which includes a lat machine with high and low pulleys. It’s a strength-training system for users of all levels offering a fairly decent weight limit. It includes a lat pulldown bar and a short bar for low rows. In all, it’s one of the best power cages with lat machine that you can get in this price range.

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Gold’s Gym XRS 50

Gold’s Gym XRS 50 is one of the most affordable weight stack home gyms available in 2021. It offers three main workout stations plus the leg extension attachment. Its weight stack is not super heavy, but should suffice for beginner and intermediate level users.

Frame & Accessories

To begin with, the Gold’s Gym XRS 50 features a steel frame combining rectangular and cylindrical tubes in its construction. Needless to say, since it comes with a weight stack, the fully assembled unit is pretty heavy. Its net weight is close to 300 lbs (136 lbs), so it is not meant to be moved once it is assembled. Also, all this weight provides excellent stability.

Compared with other home gym systems, the XRS 50 is not a large machine. It is approx. 64″ (163 cm) long, and 38″ (97 cm) wide, while its height is 78.7″ (200 cm), so it can fit pretty well even into a room or basement with a 7-foot ceiling. It is also recommended to leave at least a few feet of clearance on each side and at the front of it for ease of access and to perform all the exercises correctly.

This home gym system incorporates 13 durable pulleys (9 standard pulleys, 2 v-pulleys, and 2 thin pulleys). They’re all made of nylon material designed to withstand prolonged usage. They also integrate ball bearings to provide a smoother cable motion.

The machine’s seat is non-adjustable. Both the backrest and the bottom cushions attach directly to the frame bars. They integrate a thick layer of foam padding with a vinyl cover. Also, the maximum user weight limit of the seat is 300 lbs (136 kg).

The XRS 50 home gym comes with several accessories. The list includes a lat bar, a D-handle, and an extension chain.

Workout Stations

The Gold’s Gym XRS 50 offers three main workout stations plus the leg developer attachment.

  • High-pulley station. Just as for any other home gym with a lat machine, the high-pulley station allows you to execute a variety of exercises for the back and upper arm muscles. For example, you can perform lat pulldowns, tricep pressdowns, ab crunches, and more. A standard lat bar is included with the set.
  • Press & fly station. The press station of this Gold’s Gym weight stack machine offers dual functionality. It can be used as a front press or as a pec fly station. It is equipped with thick foam pads for extra comfort during fly exercises, and multi-grips for seated chest press exercises.
  • Low-pulley station. Most home gyms in this category include a low-pulley along with the high-pulley, and the XRS 50 doesn’t make an exception. The low-pulley station allows you to execute seated rows, standing rows, bicep curls, etc. Unfortunately, a short bar and an ankle cuff are not included with the machine. So, for seated rows you will have to use the lat bar, while for curls the D-handle.
  • Leg developer. This attachment connects to the machine’s low pulley. It features four 4″ foam rollers for extra comfort. It offers the possibility to perform leg extensions and on leg standing curls.

Weight Resistance

The XRS 50 is a weight stack home gym system. Its weight stack is composed of 9 weight plates, each one weighing approx. 12.5 lbs. The total weight of the stack is approx. 112 lbs (50.8 kg).

Similar to other affordable home gyms of this type, the unit’s weight plates are not made of cast iron. They are made of concrete and containted in a casing made from a durable thermoplastic material. Evidently, they’re not as durable as cast iron plates, but since this is a home gym, not a commercial-grade machine, it won’t be in use as much, and they can pretty much last a lifetime.

The weight stack cannot be upgraded with extra weight plates. However, you can still add micro-adjustment elements for 2.5 lbs or 5 lbs adjustments. This may be necessary because sometimes the resistance gaps between one or two extra plates can be more than 20 lbs.

The weight resistance provided by this machine varies from a workout station to another. For example, the low pulley offers a maximum weight resistance of 265 lbs 120 kg), while the maximum weight limit of the arm press is 224 lbs (101.6 kg).

Possible Exercises

This Gold’s Gym strength training system makes available more than 35 exercises. Among them, we can count bicep curs, front presses, fly presses, tricep extensions, tricep kickbacks, seated rows, standing rows, leg extensions, leg abductions, and more.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • 3 workout stations
  • Leg developer included
  • Lat bar included
  • D-handle included
  • Up to 280 lbs weight resistance
  • Multiple accessories included
  • Over 35 exercises available
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • The seat is not adjustable
  • A short bar for low rows is not included

Summary

The Gold’s Gym XRS 50 is a weight stack gym system designed for home use. It includes a 112-lb, cement-vinyl weight stack, and three main workout stations. It offers the possibility to perform more than 35 gym-quality exercises. It’s a perfect choice for beginners and intermediate users. It’s also one of the most affordable home gyms that you can get in 2021.

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Total Gym APEX G5

The Total Gym APEX G5 is a multi-function gym exerciser that uses your own bodyweight to generate resistance. It’s one of the most complete Total Gym trainers at the moment and comes with an impressive range of attachments and accessories.

Frame construction

The APEX G5 is constructed on a solid steel frame combining oval, rectangular, and cylindrical tubes in its construction. The trainer basically consists of three main pieces. Two of them form the rail system for the sliding board and the third part which serves as the height adjustment bar.

The frame of the glideboard is steel-made; it is equipped with a set of four wheels that slide on the machine’s main rails. It is approx. 40″ (101 cm) long, so most users should benefit from plenty of contact surface. The gliding board is padded with approx. 2″ (5 cm) of foam and has a durable vinyl cover which is also very easy to maintain.

With the frame fully extended and ready to use, the Total Gym APEX 5 is pretty large, especially lengthwise. It is 93″ (236 cm) long, 15.5″ (39 cm) wide, and 43.2″ (110 cm) high. Of course, its frame is foldable, and with the frame folded, it is approx. 50.5″L x 15.5″W x 8″H (128 x 39 x 20 cm). This being said, it can be stored in a small place and even under the bed if there is a clearance greater than 8″ (20 cm).

The fully assembled trainer is not super heavy but does weigh approx. 53 lbs (24 kg). This being said, it can easily be handled and moved by only one person. Plus, its head bar has base tube rollers which facilitate its relocation.

Accessories

The Total Gym APEX G5 includes quite an impressive pack of attachments and accessories. In terms of attachments, the list includes a cable kit with two pulleys and two D-handles, a set of dip bars, a leg pulley system, and a squat stand. These can easily attach and detach from the main body of the exerciser via hitch pins. All the handles have foam grips for improved comfort. The pulleys are made of durable nylon material with integrated ball bearings for smooth operation.

Other accessories included with the APEX G5 fitness machine are the Training Deck with its holder, two stability rubber mats, and a “Start It up!” DVD. The two mats can be pretty useful if you will be using a machine in a room with slippery floors. The included DVD covers the standard Total Gym workouts. The Training Deck attaches to the top part of the adjustment bar. It includes a set of cards that depict the most popular exercises that can be performed on this machine.

One last aspect to mention here regards the Total Gym TV access that is included with the APEX G5. The Gym TV is a video database that offers the possibility to stream all kinds of workouts that can be executed on the Total Gym machines, as long as you have an internet connection.

Weight Resistance

The Total Gym APEX G5 does not have a weight stack or any other types of weights for generating resistance. It uses your own bodyweight for it and you shouldn’t need any other weights. However, the trainer can be used as a bench for dumbbell exercises, as long as your own weight plus the dumbbells’ weight does not exceed the 375 lbs (170 kg) weight capacity of the trainer.

The adjustment bar of the trainer has 10 attachment positions for the rail system. With the rail system attached to the top position, the machine provides the highest incline for its deck and delivers a workout load of approx. 60% of your total body weight. Considering that its maximum weight limit is 375 lbs (170 kg), you can get a maximum workout load of 225 lbs (102 kg).

Of course, since the machine does not have a heavyweight stack like other home gyms, it is not meant for advanced bodybuilding and top-level strength training. However, it does provide the setting to perform a wide range of exercises and a full-body workout.

Possible Exercises

The Total Gym APEX G5 makes available more than 80 exercises. This being said, you can find a workout for any muscle group if you don’t want to leave out any part of your body untrained. The exercise list includes crunches, trunk rotations, bicep curls, chin-ups, dips, tricep extensions, pull-ups, back flies, chest flies, chest presses, aerobic rowing, lat pulldowns, as well as many variations of these exercises.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy and stable frame
  • Folding design
  • Thick cushioning on the gliding board
  • 10 height adjustment positions
  • 80+ possible exercises
  • Durable nylon pulleys with ball bearings
  • Multiple attachments included
  • Exercise deck and diet plan included
  • Exercise DVD included
  • Access to Total Gym TV
  • Two stability mats included
  • Can be used for dumbbell exercises as well
  • Little assembly required
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • Limited weight resistance range

Summary

The Total Gym APEX G5 is a multi-function fitness machine that uses your own bodyweight as resistance. It offers the possibility to perform more than 80 exercises. It includes a wide variety of accessories and attachments; plus, you get access to Total Gym TV. In all, it’s a great trainer for muscle toning, pilates, stamina development, weight loss, and cardio training.

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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, the 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 that 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 that 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 some of the best, if not the best, strength training system for 2021. 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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