Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Best gym for money
on May 10, 2013
This gym has a lot of features for the money so that's why I bought it. Main use was to incorporate bench presses into my routine. I bought an Olympic barbell set to go with this and started benching. My chest got bigger stronger. I liked the idea of using the butterfly and chest fly attachments to do total chest development and using the smith bar for some incline bench presses to shape upper pecs.
Because the gym has so many features the build is not as good as other Gold's Gym models particularly the bench and racks for benching pressing. At $280-$500 they offer stronger built equipment if you are looking to do bench presses, preacher curls, leg extensions and lying leg curls. The cheaper units do not have the smith bar or pulley system but are made of a stronger tubular steel that seems to be beefier gauge. I was temped by these units but wanted to try all the different workouts to see what was best for me. I didn't want to have any weaknesses due to not training muscle groups that often go neglected. So I bought the multi gym.
Overall the machine is easy to use with the exception being the smith bar. It does not use a ball bearing assembly instead relies on plastic glides which stick very easily. This is not acceptable. To safely lift using the smith bar you would have to seriously drop weight which is counterproductive. Using it for squats stresses the lower back too much and pretty much defeats the purpose of using a smith or safety squat machine. It will mess up your back. Plus you do not get the benefit of developing your stabilizer muscles. It is the worst smith bar I have ever used but I blame that to the low price of the machine. I can not do squats or incline bench presses with it so it is pretty much useless to me. Other uses for it may include stretching bar for legs if you require greater flexibility but I use a barbell on supports or the supports itself.
Other problems seem to be similar to the smith bar in that where there should be metal there is more plastic than you would find on pricier units. On the bench for example the front has two thin metal flat bars for feet welded on but the front has two plastic ones you have to screw on. They have holes so you can bolt the bench to the floor but offer no substance or structure to the bench at all and the could easily break if you were to rock the bench while lifting. They should be metal although this does not seem to affect function just cheap. Most if not all of the other benches Gold's Gym sells have all metal feet.
I really liked the idea of the butterfly attachment as most guys find added value in them. While functional it did not glide as smoothly as I had hoped. It is simply bolted on with nut and screw metal washers and uses a thick black grease to lubricate it. This surprised me as a clear lubricant would be a better choice if that's the route they wanted to go instead of a sealed bearing construction. The black grease is not very slick but rather clumpy and gets dirty and possibly be messy. Dirty grease can gum up the motion. Also it tends to run wear off so multiple applications might be necessary meaning to you have to take it apart to add more. You don't want black grease all over your machine body or clothes. It squeaks and rubs when you use it so something is not right with it. I honestly expected this part to be better built. The noise was distracting at first but I learned to deal with it. After a few workouts the butterfly arms broke in and started swinging smooth enough but tends to make grooves in the metal it is rubbing against. Here some plastic might be in order in the form of bushings and a better lubricant like wd-40, something to cushion the arms so you don't have metal rubbing against metal. Something needs to protect the machine better grinding damage.
When using the pulley system with 35lbs on each side the cable stretched and the plastic sheathing split somehow. I am not sure how that happened. I think it jumped the nylon rollers and got caught on the metal brackets. I must not have noticed and kept working causing it to run along the metal edges slicing it. I didn't use it for awhile but it seems okay now. The pulley does not like heavy loads. I think the max is 50lbs each side. The pulleys have plastic guards on them called traps. A few times the cable has slipped off and snapped them. The traps are fragile and maybe not necessary. I removed them damaged ones and moved the remaining ones around so it wasn't obvious where some should be but were missing. The even though the cable came off it is always held in place by the metal u brackets so there is no risk of cable hitting you.
The preacher curl is effective. It seems built right. I get good pumps and my form is easy to control. It is a nice addition to the barbell curls I started with. I really like doing this exercise. The leg attachment works good as well. I train the legs on days I'm not working my upper body. The leg extension and the lying leg curls are nice to superset with my standard barbell squats. But these attachments come standard on cheaper units so made me wonder if I bought the right machine.
When first assembled I noticed the kick plate used for back rows and tried a few reps. Seems heavy duty which was a concern after seeing the gym's use of plastic where I expected metal and the light gauge of the steel where I would have preferred heavier. I mostly work the back with bent over rows do not use this option. I might have to revisit it the future. The pulley can also be used for kick backs and side kicks. I should use this to strengthen my hips muscles because I do martial arts but the leg strap was slipping on my leg. I couldn't get a good fit. Not sure if I did it wrong or just need to buy a new strap aftermarket.
The lat pull down works good but I bought a triceps rope and use that after bench pressing. I bench then butterfly then triceps rope and or chest flys. I like the lat pull down assembly but the machine is narrow for chest flys. It does striate the chest but not like at the gym. It is usable but I am not used to the the angle it attacks from. Bench pressing for mass/strength, then butterfly for width, and flys for definition is effective with this equipment. Doing flys at the end of my chest workout did seem to add height to chest and puff me out. The fly handle can be used for one handed tricep pull downs very effectively.
It has built in Olympic weight racks for your plates which I greatly appreciated and the finish is nice considering the price. The bench is fully adjustable to incline, flat, or decline. The only thing missing on this I wanted to see was handles on the front for pullups and maybe dip bars. At this price I have not seen a better gym. It is able to accommodate all the muscle groups I need to work and gives me multiple options for maximum results. I would say this is a definite upgrade from just a bench with leg attachments and a support rack for pressing. I prefer free weights over plate machines as I like the freedom of movement and the fact you can always add more weight to barbells or posts. Plate machines are limited in the amount of weight that comes installed in their machines and often cost more.
The only bad points about this gym seen numerous at first are very small and insignificant. Major concerns are the smith bar is junk and it uses to much plastic. Without going overboard it seems one could modify or upgrade some of the components from plastic to metal by buying from a specialty store that sells hardware specifically for home gyms. Within reason I would try to rid my machine of as much of the plastic that makes up the actual build as I could. I lost some of the phenolic spacers that go into the framework to prevent some crushing of the metal when you tighten bolts. I called support and they wanted to charge me $40 for a couple pieces of plastic. I thought they might just offer them for free seeing as they had to be very cheap. I pointed out to the lady that the parts in question could not be that expensive. Her reply was that I was accurate and that they sell the parts for $2.31 but the rest was shipping and handling. That they had to pay the warehouse guy something to fetch it for me. Then she asked if I needed other replacements such as foam pads, either to change the course of the conversation or add insult by trying to add on further expense.
Since I use most of the features of this gym I get a total body workout upper and lower. It allows me to work all the muscles I need and from different angles adding to muscle confusion and greater gains. Despite the metal being thin, too much plastic where there should be metal, a need for more fluid noise less operation, and it lacks pullup and dip bars, it is a great value. To get all that I want I would easily have to spend double. I am thinking like Powertec smith cage with pull up and dips for around $1200 but then you would have to buy a quality bench for maybe $300 max. Idk the Powertec's seem better built therefore more costly.