Multi Gyms - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

This article from the owner of Sams Fitness - the Powertec and Ironmaster importer in Australia, who does a mass of business with serious trainers - does a great job of addressing the differences between what a lot of people refer to as home gyms and the practical machinery we supply.

Not all strength training equipment is created equal. Just take one look at our selection of multi gyms and you will realise that we bring something different to the table, and the differences are far more than cosmetic. To find out more about the pitfalls of buying a cheap multi-gym, and the difference quality can make to your home workout sessions read on.

The mere mention of the term home gym can send a shiver down the spine of the serious weight trainer. Multi gyms or multi-station gyms as they are also known can be pretty cheap and nasty. If you have ever searched for gym equipment online, you will be familiar with the plethora of cable style home gyms that are very attractively priced. They promise the workout of your life, but the best workout you will ever get from these multi gyms is dragging them out to the front of your house for the next council rubbish pick up!

To minimise the footprint, most manufacturers will use a weight stack. This requires the use of cables. Now, cables are fine as long as they follow simple paths. But on multi gyms with multiple exercises, the paths are long and complicated. Often this results in a mechanical advantage – so you might only need 50 kg of force to lift 90 kg. This isn’t good if the machine only comes with a 90 kg weight stack. Complicated cable routes also generate uneven resistance curves. So during an exercise, the resistance will be stronger during different parts of the exercise. This often gets worse over the life of the gym as the cables start to stretch.

Now a good quality cable home gym is fine, but they can be very expensive. The cheap multi gyms that are on eBay and Gumtree are just a disaster. Not only do they have terrible biomechanics and the issues outlined above, but the cables and pulleys fail as they are poor quality. I always tell people that these types of gyms are great if you don’t count on ever using them!

This is where the original Powertec Leverage Gyms took a completely different approach.

The original designer of the Powertec gyms was part of the team that developed the early leverage machines that you see in commercial gyms today. He had the idea to combine these elements into single machines for home – make a gym that had the look and feel of the commercial leverage machines but at a fraction of the cost and space.

The result was revolutionary. Personally, I took one look at these machines on the Powertec US website and was blown away. It was one of the reasons that I started Sam’s Fitness. I just had to get these multi gyms into Australia!