How to Choose The Right Multi Gym
It can be bewildering cruising the internet looking for good deals and accurate information on multigyms and fitness equipment. If you are here looking for an end to the confusion then read on. In the next few minutes I will take you through what a multi gym can do for you, how it relates to other forms of gym equipment, when you should be buying, when you should be buying something else and what that something else might be.
Save Money With Multi gym Equipment or a Home Gym
For most of us normal people out there we need more time and money. Any fitness machine that saves money and creates time is an absolute blessing. So bring on the multi gym.
Perhaps the most popular form of home gyms and strength training equipment is the home gym multi gym system and for good reason. A home gym or multi gym is a single machine or training station that offers multiple exercises. Obviously this is a far more cost efficient way of providing for many gym equipment exercises than buying a number of different machines.
Multi gyms have even now appeared in commercial gyms where owners are strategizing to offer more equipment in less space.
A Multi gym or Home Gym?
Strictly speaking homes gyms are any combination of gym equipment meant for a home workout. In the early days most home gym equipment was a combination of some basic exercise slapped together onto a adjustable bench. They involved an adjustable bench with some sort of leg extension at the front and perhaps a detachable preacher curl accessory. These are the earliest multi gyms.
Of course similar models still exist. Some of the better models made by Powertec or Force USA include many accessories which can be taken off and stored when not needed.
In South Africa you will find a confusing number of machines that claim to be multigyms. Some of these are sold at supermarkets and are very cheap, (and they go “cheap cheap“).
Not that I would encourage you to think less of a cheap supermarket gym machine, and it is certainly not my place to suggest that fitness equipment should only be purchased from gym equipment specialists.
Why Would You Buy A Multi gym? The Multi Gym Price.
When it comes to any decision to either embark on an exercise routine or buy a piece of gym equipment there are a few questions that you need to answer, I will make this short so please excuse the apparent brevity of the questions.
1: Do you know what you are doing with your new multi gym machine?
That sounds harsh, but do you? Are you new to the fitness scene or do you have years of training experience behind you? I have been training in gyms for more than 30 years now and I generally know what I would be looking for in gym equipment.
If you don’t have that experience then you need to get the knowledge from elsewhere. This article will help you with that. What is not contained here can be answered over the phone or by email.
2: Who are you?
Knowing who you are and what sort of habits you have developed over your life is critical to planning your fitness program, weight loss program or body transformation.
Are you a person who needs massive variety in your routine? Then look for the machine with the most options.
Are you a person who likes to work on the heavier and basic lifts with some smaller exercise to top up your workout? Then choose one of the Power Rack or Smith Machine Multi Gym options.
3: What do you want to achieve with your multi gym?
Knowing what you want means that you understand the difference between the various results that one can get from the different forms of exercise.
Multigym, Free Weights or Cardio machines?
The separation between what is an exercise which offers cardio benefits and strength is becoming very blurred. Performed correctly training on strength equipment will give you heart and cardio-vascular benefits.
So weight loss, fat loss, shaping, toning strengthening and bodybuilding are all multi gym benefits. To some extent some muscle building is possible with traditional cardio machines, especially the elliptical trainer and rowing machine. I would go for a multi gym before a Cardio machine.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
What Can a Multi Gym Do?
A good multi gym, (and no they are not all good) can help you sculpt your body, burn your fat and improve your strength and functional fitness.
Remember that there are two main reasons for beginning an exercise or training program.
1: You want to change the shape or appearance of your body. The most popular reason for buying gym equipment or beginning to exercise. This normally means a reduction in fat and increase in muscle tone or muscle mass.
2: You want to change the function of your body or a part of your body, What I call “functional Fitness” . This could include
- improving strength and conditioning
- improving posture,
- endurance training and fitness
- core strength,
- reducing cholesterol,
- reducing blood pressure,
- improving your balance,
- improving coordination
- sports performance,
- and non apparent physiological changes (improved sleep patterns, mood, creativity, the list actually goes on but I have limited space and you have limited time.)
I won’t get into too much detail here, you can read more about the effects of exercising with gym equipment elsewhere on the site. In short there are 2 ways your body can benefit from exercise
This means that there are three main types of exercise than can be done, strength, cardio and functional.
1: Strength Training to add muscle mass
2: Strength Training to improve functional strength
3: Strength training circuit for fat loss and functional fitness
4: Cardio Vascular exercise to improve functional fitness
5: Cardio Vascular exercise to burn fat
6: Functional Training, Balance and flexibility training
A multi gym focuses on the first three. In my opinion, if there was only one piece of gym equipment I could have it would be solid multi gym because you can build muscle and burn fat when you use it correctly.
Different Types of Multi Gym
There are a number of different designs of multi gyms and it is easy to get caught up in the detail. You choose by understanding who you are and what you want.
I will make it easier by explaining the basic groupings below.
1: Cable and Weight Stack Multi Gyms
With a cable system and weight stack the most popular gym exercise can be done. Cable machines with weight stacks are normally seen in the commercial gyms especially around the circuit training area.
- Easy to select the weight
- Normally a greater variety of exercises
- More maintenance
- More complicated installation
- Nor normally designed for super strong weight lifters
Exercises Normally Included
Abdominal crunches, Optional Leg Press, Leg Extensions, Seated Leg Curls, Calf Extensions, Rowing , Lat Pull downs, Bench Press / Chest Press, Cable Crossover, Pec Fly, Tricep Pushdowns, Bicep Curls.
2: Leverage and Free Weight Multi Gyms
Instead of an array of cables and pulleys the mutigym is designed to use a set of rather ingenious lever mechanisms. Free weight plates are used instead of the selectorised weight stack.
There is a new generation of cost effective and drop dead good looking gym equipment on the market referred to as leverage multigym or free weight/ plate loaded gym machines.
The free weight units come without a weight stack and are fitted with short Olympics bars on a shuttle system. This clearly makes the unit cheaper to begin with and allows more versatility in terms of the type and amount of weight that you add.
For ladies you may decide to utilise 5kg plates creating small incremental increases in weight. The same machine can then be used by men with sets of 20kg plates.
- You can use heavier weights
- Cheaper that the weight stack and cable versions
- Easier installation
- Normally not as many exercise available.
- You need to buy additional weight plates.
Exercises Normally Included
Abdominal crunches, Squats, Optional Leg Press, Optional Leg Extensions, Standing Leg Curls, Calf Raises, Calf Extensions, Rowing , Lat Pull downs, Shrugs, Bench Press / Chest Press, Optional Pec Fly, Tricep Pushdowns, Bicep Curls, Optional Preacher Curls
3: Smith Machine, Power Rack and Squat Rack Multi Gyms
- Power Rack combination gives all the advantages of free weight racks including power and squat movements.
- Quite compact
- You will need to buy an adjustable bench separately and ensure that you can add multi gym optional items to this as with the Powertec and Force USA ranges.
- Restricted in the number of exercises that you can perform without the optional extra pieces.
Exercises Normally Included
Squats, Front Squats, Calf Raises, Optional Low Rowing , Optional Lat Pull Downs, Shrugs, Bench Press / Chest Press, Incline Bench Press, Shoulder Press, Optional Cable Crossover, Optional Pec Fly, Optional Tricep Pushdowns, Optional Bicep Curls.
4: Multiple User Multi Gyms
Some multi gyms will offer more than one station which enables multiple users at one time. This is more correctly known as a multi station gym
- Multiple users
- Allows circuit training for individuals and groups avoiding the need for changing of weights and settings
- Normally more expensive than a single station
- Bulkier and requires more floor space
Exercises Normally Included
Abdominal crunches, Leg Press, Leg Extensions, Seated Leg Curls, Calf Raises, Calf Extensions, Rowing , Lat Pull downs, Shrugs, Bench Press / Chest Press, Cable Crossover, Pec Fly, Tricep Pushdowns, Bicep Curls, Preacher Curls
5: Free weight Selection
This concept is perhaps one of the cheapest ways to create a multi gym. You will need the following elements:
- Adjustable Bench or Bench Press
- A set of dumbbells
- Set of Power Bands
- Price Price Price. For less than R10 000 you can perform
- Improved strength, functional strength, balance and coordination
- Flexibility of many different gym and free weight movements
- Greater number of major and compound movements which burn calories faster
- It’s Difficult! Unless you have the experience that I have in the gym industry then you may find it difficult to put a workout of free eight exercises together.
- You will be limited to the free weight movements and may miss the ability to perform exercises such as base pulley rowing, tricep pushdowns, lat pull downs, pec fly movements, leg extensions
- Few opportunities to spot train or focus on a particular muscle group.
- Free weights frequently allow you a better range of motion including stretching the muscle. This is something that machines are not able to offer.
- Of course this is also a disadvantage for people who are just beginning to train as there is a risk of over extension and flexion. Machines may be somewhat protective due to their restricted movement.
Multi Gym Machine Optional Extras
Depending on the initial configuration of the multi gym there may be a number of additional extras that you can choose.
For instance the cable and weight stack machines such as the BodyCraft range only offer an additional leg press options.
The free weight and power rack versions supplied by companies such as Powertec and Force USA would offer additional stations such as
- Leg Extensions and leg curls
- Preacher curls
Companies such as Powertec also offer
- Dip accessories
- Leg Swing / Leg Press
- Pec Fly
Why a multi gym instead of free weights?
I have two questions:
- What is your outcome, your fitness goals? (Weight loss, gain muscle, strength training, fitness, health benefits are the main categories).
- What experience do you have with gym equipment? (some clients have lengthy gym experience and some are just beginners; there is, of course, a machine for everyone).
What Brand Names and Makes of Multi gym?
Look here for some of the best brands in the market.
Some of the top names that you will want to keep an eye out for are Forces USA, Powertec, Bodycraft and Impact Fitness. Make sure that the supplier, (such as Holistic Gym Systems) is offering the full manufacturer’s warranty, which in some cases involves a lifetime warranty on certain spares.
When Should You Not Buy a Multi Gym?
If you are a professional sports person, body builder, or power lifter then you would probably want the flexibility of creating your own exercises.
This may mean looking a adjustable benches and weight racks for free weight exercises.
What is the Real Multi Gym Price?
When it comes to deciding on the multi gym price that you are prepared to pay, I hear many people tell me that they don’t want to spend too much money as they don’t know whether they are going to use the machine of not.
I told my wife before our marriage that I didn’t know how much I needed the marriage and I asked for bailout clause.
“isn’t there a short term, less commitment orientated version?”I asked
There is not and. The scars are still healing!
How much is too much? If you spend R1 and don’t use it that is too much.
But of course you don’t have to make a bad short term decision when it comes to your body and health transformation. We spend so much on our homes and vehicles, but so little on the body that keeps us and that ultimately needs to be around to enjoy said products!
Research shows that when people throw money away on cheap gym equipment they are discouraged from exercising in the future! That includes spending money on gym contracts as well as exercise equipment.
If you don’t get your head in the right place and if you don’t get motivated, and if you fail at one thing then it becomes more and more difficult to attempt to perform similar actions.
The short answer is that you should be budgeting for between R17 000 and R39 000. This also depends on the exchange rate, so please take note of when this article was published!
Summary: Which Multi Gym Would I recommend?
When it comes to my promise of Affordable Fitness and Holistic Solutions, I meet this by not displaying any equipment that does not represent fair value.
- structural integrity,
- Safety of movements
- ease of use
- number of exercises
- and of course price!
…here are my top 3 multigym options, (In no particular order)
What To Do Now
Most people start off by subscribing to my news letter and special notifications. You don’t want to miss the good deals and you know what it is like after you have been through so many websites.
Then go and have a look at our range of multigyms
Call me or contact me for more information or assistance.
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About milesHi! my name is Miles Harrop. I am an educator, writer and life coach specializing in fitness, wellness, human behaviour and brain based coaching. I help you to transform your body by helping you buy the right gym equipment first time around, and to learn how to "change your mind" so that you can transform your body easily and effortlessly. Let me help you achieve your goals today!
About Miles Harrop
Miles is a behavioural strategist, ex-personal trainer and gym owner. Miles has with more than 25 years of experience in transforming people physically and mentally.
With a strong background in the fitness industry and business coaching, Miles has taught thousands of people how to change their bodies, their minds and their lives.