Multi Gyms are a great option for anyone wanting to engage in a strength training programme. They offer an excellent range of exercises, they fit into a very compact area, they make it easy to adjust the amount of weight you’re lifting and they’re safer to use than free weights. They also help you to get the correct posture and movement/action when performing exercises.
How much should I spend?
Entry-level multi gyms generally have a small weight stack, a slim frame, and the thickness of the upholstery is usually quite modest. As you move up in price the size of the weight stack generally increases and the size of the frame will also become more substantial giving a much more solid feel to the machine, comfort is also upgraded through better quality upholstery. The quality of the movement/action also varies quite dramatically between models. Less expensive models tend not to be as smooth and you can generally feel some friction as the weights travel along their path, but they’re inexpensive and can certainly ‘do a job’. Mid-priced models tend to feel smoother and more comfortable with adjustable elements to them, and at higher price points the quality of engineering and components such as solid guide rods for the weight stack make movements feel considerably better than models lacking these features. Some models may offer a heavier weight stack but no option to adjust the seat, while others may compromise slightly on the size of the weight stack but offer a number of adjustments for comfort, even though the price is the same. It all depends on what’s important to you so it’s important to look closely before making your choice.
What are the differences?
Different models vary a fair bit as you might expect. They’ll all have a place to sit/lie down and they’ll all have a weight stack but beyond that, they can vary greatly. For example, many models do not feature seat adjustments while other models will allow you to adjust the seat to one of several positions. Some models also allow you to change the angle of the backrest too helping to ensure that you are well supported as you work out. Other differences will be the type and quality of the pulley’s used for the cables to track along, the thickness and quality of the cushioned sections as well. Also, the number of pulley’s used makes a significant difference with some models offering more resistance for particular exercises than the weight stack itself. Eg the weight stack is 100kg but the chest press offers 120kg of resistance.