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Best home multi-gyms 2023: Compact, full-body workout stations

Beat the crowds and get fit at home with the most versatile piece of domestic gym equipment you can buy

Let’s face it, gym memberships are expensive these days, the gym floor is often crowded and, now that we all know what risks come with pandemics, we’ve also worked out they can be absolute germ magnets.

No wonder then that more folk than ever are choosing to work out at home. And why not? The best home multi-gyms effectively replicate the many machines and devices found in commercial gyms, condensing them into a physical footprint that will fit into most rooms.

Most work by using a lever and pulley system that moves an adjustable stack of weights. As a result, they are relatively heavy units, so you’ll first need to make sure your floor can handle the mass of a home multi-gym. But if you have the room (and a suitably solid structure), you’ll be able to perform a full-body strength workout without needing to turn to multiple racks of heavy, bulky equipment.

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Get the Life Fitness G2 multi-gym for £1,695

It’s not cheap, but the Life Fitness G2 is a great piece of equipment that won’t look out of place even in a commercial gym. At full price, it will cost you £1,745 from Best Gym Equipment, but now you can get it for £1,695.

Best Gym Equipment Was £1,745 Now £1,695 Buy Now

Best home multi-gyms: At a glance

How to choose the best multi-gym for you

How heavy do the weights need to be?

This will be dictated by your personal fitness goals, but most home multi-gyms won’t offer the kind of resistance you’ll find in a commercial gym. Typical examples come with a weight stack (the adjustable weight plates the pulley systems lift) offering between 50kg and 90kg. That range should be enough for most people’s needs but might come up short for stronger muscle groups in more experienced users..

As a rule of thumb, the heavier a multi-gym’s weight stack, the more expensive it’s going to be. Invariably, top-end models are going to be more of a faff to construct at home and, naturally enough, will present a heavier load for your floorboards to carry.

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Are all home multi-gyms built the same?

Not exactly. Although most use a lever and pulley system, some of the more robust units employ leverage to facilitate the workout.

These examples are far less common and require the user to load the mechanism up with Olympic weight plates, nearly always sold separately. For the sake of conciseness, we’ve decided to avoid these in this guide.

Another alternative arrangement, currently unique to the Bowflex brand, is the Power Rod system. Here, users attach the pulley to metal rods that bend – the more rods you hook up, the greater the resistance and so the harder the exercise. It’s not for everyone but it’s a fantastically quiet system (attaching and detaching weights is always noisy) and makes for a much lighter home multi-gym, making it great for smaller spaces.

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Will I need to invest in lots of attachments?

Most traditional lever and pulley systems will come complete with the weight stack, as well as a selection of accessories and attachments. These might comprise a straight bar (for bicep curls, tricep pull-downs etc), a wide bar for back exercises and a leg strap for glute exercises.

Make sure to check what comes with the package as those looking to increase the longevity of their system will likely want to add a few more attachments at some stage. These are usually relatively inexpensive and many are compatible with the Carabiner-based systems that most multi-gyms use.

How we test home multi-gyms

We know that multi-gyms are heavy, bulky items that require a dedicated amount of space in any domestic setup. As such, we test these products in the same setting that most buyers will place them, dedicating a space in our home office to build and use each multi-gym.

Where this isn’t possible, we test an already-assembled unit at either a manufacturer’s showroom or a commercial gym, where the equipment is already in situ. We interact with all of the various attachments, carrying out a full-body workout with an extensive list of exercises suggested by the manufacturer.

During testing, we look for a smooth and fluid motion to each exercise, the ease with which we can swap out attachments, and the volume of exercises we can perform using just one machine.

More general observations are made on the robustness of the build quality, the overall weight stack (more weight is generally better for those in search of progressive overload), the noise levels during use and how all of this relates to the asking price.

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The best home multi-gyms you can buy in 2023

1. Marcy MWM-4965 Compact Home Multi Gym: The best multi-gym for beginners

Price: £750 | Buy now from Marcy

Billed as the ideal home gym for beginners, we’d argue that Marcy is doing itself a disservice with this solid, well-built multi-gym: it’s more than versatile enough to cope with the needs of intermediate lifters looking for serious strength gains at home.

The 68kg weight stack provides up to 90kg of resistance and three separate pulley systems work most of the major muscle groups in the body. Lat pulldowns, pec decks, leg extensions, tricep/chest presses and many more can be achieved, while Marcy also throws in crunch straps for a burning abs workout.

Everything feels solid and well built. Plus, the accessories are equally tough, largely eschewing cheap plastic and all too easily ripped nylon for durable steel and aluminium.

Key features – Frame material: Steel; Weight stack: 68kg; Dimensions: 198cm x 182cm x 97cm; Max user weight: 135kg

2. Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym: The best multi-gym for a quiet workout

Price: £656 | Buy now from Amazon

We touched on the innovative Bowflex Power Rod system earlier in this article: this is arguably one of the best implementations of it. This multi-gym manages to offer up to 95kg of Power Rod resistance without a bulky, clanking weight stack in sight.

Essentially, the user clips the pulley system to the tips of these rods and resistance is created as they bend. The more rods you select, the harder the exercise becomes.

With three pulley positions, it’s possible to carry out a full body workout. Having said that, there is a fair amount of cable attachment swapping required to carry out the numerous exercises, which range from an incline bench press to powerful leg extension.

Perhaps the real bonusesl, however, are the PR1000’s compact proportions, low weight (59kgs) and silent operation. As long as you have a room with the necessary two metres worth of clearance to allow the Power Rods to flex properly, this is a terrific alternative to lever and pulley-based multi-gyms.

Key features – Frame material: Plastic and aluminium; Weight stack: 95kg (equivalent); Dimensions: 203cm x 262cm x 208cm; Max user weight: 136kg

3. Life Fitness G2: The best multi-gym for professional quality

Price: £1,745 | Buy now from Best Gym Equipment

This piece of kit wouldn’t look out of place in your local commercial gym, with build quality that’s clearly designed to stand the test of time, not to mention a considerable amount of abuse.

It packs a solid 73kg worth of resistance, thanks to a heavy-duty weight stack, while the lever and pulley system uses top quality bearings to make sure exercises are smooth and controlled. It’s a fairly standard three-pulley set-up but the chest press attachments are fully adjustable and double up as potent back workout tools.

The level of adjustability in most of the handles and touchpoints means that a staggering number of exercises can be carried out. We counted 17, and that’s just with the supplied attachments – it could deliver more if you wanted to start adding extra ones.

While it’s not cheap, your money does buy a serious amount of quality here. A particularly good option for those, perhaps, who have been spoiled by using cutting-edge gym equipment in the past.

Key features – Frame material: Steel; Weight stack: 73kg; Dimensions: 181 x 122 x 211; Max user weight: N/A

Buy now from Best Gym Equipment

4. Opti 50kg Home Multi Gym: The best multi-gym for value

Price: £335 | Buy now from Argos

When it comes to home multi-gyms, you won’t find many options that are more affordable than this model from Opti. Well, there are some, but it’s likely the build quality will be questionable, to say the least.

You can’t expect commercial gym standard construction at this price, but it’s perfectly capable of delivering a punishing full-body workout, with a maximum training resistance of 65kg (achieved courtesy of quieter, albeit cheaper-looking, cement-filled weight plates).

There’s a familiar three-pulley system used here, as found on multi-gyms at triple the price. It’s easy to see where costs have been cut, given that the entire set-up weighs just 88kg: the steel frame used here is undeniably more slender in profile than those found in more expensive models.

We’ve found that with cheaper systems like this, the bearings in the pulleys generally tend to be of poorer quality. Some of the exercises that require a long extension of the pulley system (like the pull down) could feel a little jerky and lacking in smoothness.

That said, if you’re just starting out on your strength and fitness journey, this will be more than robust enough to offer an authentic, gym-like workout experience.

Key features – Frame material: Steel; Weight stack: 50kg; Dimensions: 202 x 98 x 168cm; Max user weight: 120kg

Buy now from Argos

5. Inspire Fitness M3 Multi Gym: The best multi-gym for beastly workouts

Price: £3,499 | Buy now from Argos

This monster of a multi-gym is arguably one of the most versatile, robust and, let’s face it, expensive options on our list. But we think it’s still well worth consideration if you’re after serious strength gains at home.

The frame is fashioned from solid steel and all the moving parts use precision steel ball-bearings. It’s also reassuring to see that pivoting sections move on oil-impregnated brass bushings to ensure a smooth and fluid motion, requiring no further regular oiling or maintenance.

It’s undoubtedly a smooth operator and the sheer variety of exercises on offer are staggering, with a low bar situated at the side of the machine to free up more space for movement.

Even more impressive, and what makes this machine truly special, are its iso-lateral capabilities. Essentially, it’s possible to work each side of the upper body individually, and this includes everything from lat pull-downs to chest presses and ab crunches, achieved courtesy of bespoke ab crunch grip-handles.

Key features – Frame material: Steel; Weight stack: 95kg; Dimensions: 208 x 102 x 186cm; Max user weight: 150kg

Buy now from Argos

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