The home gym market is saturated with compact all-in-one machines designed to give you the full gym experience. Many of them are too flimsy and light weight for serious lifters. When you’re ready to get serious about your home gym training, it’s time to start looking at a Marcy Home Gym. Marcy is a market leader in the home gym market. Today we focus in on their mid range budget model, the Marcy Home Gym 990.
Multi Pulley System
Most home gyms only come with one or two pulleys. As a result, your exercise performance feels unstable and shaky. The Marcy 990 provides you with a multi pulley system ensures that you are going to get commercial gym quality experience every time you train. As well as providing you with high and low pulleys, the 990 also has individual pulleys for the pec dec unit.
The Marcy 990 allows you to perform more than 30 different exercises to work every muscle group in your body. With both high and low pulley systems, you are able to do a wide range of compound and isolation moves to get bigger and leaner.
Lat Pulldown Bar
One of the greatest advantages of the 990 is that it has a built-in pulley system for lat pulldowns. The specially designed lat bar allows for a variation of grips, including close, wide and supinated. Top quality pulleys, bushes and cables provide you with a very smooth motion.
Pec Dec Flyes
The Marcy 990 comes with a pec dec flye unit with its own cable system. It operates on a pin select system. Many home gyms give you a token pec dec that fails to provide the chest stimulation that you’d get in a commercial gym. That is not the case with the 990. On this unit, you are able to achieve complete extension and contraction of the pectorals for a full, blood pumping workout experience. Large comfortable pads protect your forearms, while a pair of guide bars keep your elbows properly aligned when you re performing the exercise.
One of the great safety features of the pec dec unit is that it doesn’t let the shoulders go back past 90 degrees, which can cause a lot of problems in the shoulder joint down the line.
The multi pulley system on the 990 makes it easy to transition from the pec dec flye to the cable chest press. The multi grip handles allow you to work either the overall pec or to focus more on the upper pecs with a higher grip. This chest press station allows for a full extension and contraction on every rep. The cable provides an extremely smooth, natural motion with no jerkiness or stuttering along the way. The max weight on the stack of this unit is one hundred pounds.
The Marcy Home Gym 990 comes with a built in leg developer as standard. This allows you to hone in on the quads with the leg extension exercise. The extension is fully adjustable so that you can personalize it for your height. This allows you to get full extension on every rep. The multi pulley system also allows you to focus all of the attention on the full length of the quadricep. Oversized foam pad rollers provide a high level of comfort.
The Marcy Home Gym 81013 comes with three accessories. One of them is the short bar, which allows you to do a large variety of upper body moves, including rows and bicep curls from the low pulley. A multi cable system allows you to perform these exercises with perfect form and through a full range of motion. The pin lock weight select system also enables you to move quickly between exercises. This is great for doing advanced training protocols like drop sets.
Another very useful accessory is the wrist and ankle strap. This is great for a wide variety of exercises including glute kick backs and leg curls. Another great move that you can do with this strap is the low row, which is a great exercise for hitting all areas of the back muscles.
Heavy Duty Construction
The Marcy Home Gym 990 has a heavy duty steel frame that is constructed from 2 inch by 2 inch and 1 inch by 2 inch heavy gauge steel tubing. As a result it feels a lot more solid than most home gyms at a comparable price point. The unit is very stable and will not tilt or provide any lateral give, even when you are using the complete weight stack.
The powder coated finish adds to the durability and appearance of the unit.
The Marcy Home Gym 990 has been built with safety in mind. It comes with a unique safety lock that allows you to lock the weight stack so that it cannot be used as a plaything by kids when you’re not looking. The smooth cabling system also ensures that the cables will not become dislodged mid way through an exercise. The unit sits securely on the floor so you will not get any forward tilt, even when performing an exercise with the full weight stack while facing the machine.
This unit comes with biceps curl attachment. This allows you to perform preacher bench curls, allowing you to more effectively isolate the bicep muscles.
Deluxe Seat Pad
The Marcy Home Gym comes with a high quality padded seat and back rest. These are covered in durable, attractive vinyl. The padding is not so thick as to interfere with your ideal positioning as is the case with some competing models.
Limited Weight Stack
The weight stack on the Marcy Home Gym 990 only goes up to 150 pounds, or 68 kgs. While this will suffice for most beginning and intermediate users, experienced lifters will soon run out of weight on such exercises as the chest press and lat pulldown.
Not For Taller Users
The Marcy Home Gym 990 accommodates the average user. It is not, however, designed for people who are over 6 foot in height. If you are a taller person, you may find the that such exercises as the leg extension do not allow you to get a full range of motion.
No Leg Press
While this machine does provide you with a leg developer unit for performing the leg extension machine, it does not really allow you to get a full leg workout in. The addition of a leg press unit would have been great to provide a fuller complement of lower body exercises.
The Rest of the Marcy Range
Marcy provide a range of home gyms to suit every budget and user ability. There are a total of seven home gyms in their line up as follows:
- MWM 990 150 pound weight stack home gym
- MWM 6150 150 pound weight stack home gym
- Marcy Club 2000 pound home gym MKM 81010
- Marcy Club Home Gym MKM 1101
- Marcy Home Gym System 150 pound weight stack MWM988
- Marcy Deluxe Smith Cage System with Bench MD 8851R
The MWM home gym range are Marcy’s budget line of home gyms, while the Marcy Club units are their next step up in terms of features and price. Let’s take a look at the other two units in the budget range to see how they compare to the MWM 990.
The MWM 81010 is made from the same 14 gauge heavy steel tubing as the 990, providing you with a very durable rigid base to work from. The MWM 81010 does not feature an adjustable biceps pad, which is something you do get on the MWM 990. High and low pulley stations allow for a variety of lifts. As with the 990, the dual function press arms allow you to do the chest press and, with the removal of a pin, chest flyes.
The main difference between the 81010 and the MWM 990 is that you get a 150 pound weight stack with the 990. This provides you with 50% more resistance, which makes a big difference on moves like the chest press and lat pulldown. That makes the 81013 more suitable for beginner users than the 990. You can do more than 30 exercises on this home gym.
The Marcy Home Gym MWM 6150 also provides you with a 150 pound weight stack, but comes with some higher specs and extra features that you don’t get with the MWM 990. As a result, this machine is about a hundred dollars more expensive than the 990, and about $30 more than the 81013.
The MWM 6150 is constructed from heavy duty 14 gauge steel tubing and comes with solid steel protective weight stack covers. All of the cables on this unit are rated at a 2000 pound tensile strength, making them stronger and more durable than the other two home gyms in the range. However, this unit does not feature a bicep curl attachment like the MWM 990. The multi cabling system features both high and low pulleys to allow you to perform more than 30 exercises.
Unlike the other two units in the range, the MWM 6150 comes with a heavy duty steel foot plate. This allows you to be in the ideal position while performing lower cable exercises. It also provides a foot stop when doing the seated rowing movement. You also get an ankle strap to allow you to focus on working your glutes and hamstrings.
Body Solid Powerline Home Gym
The Body Solid Powerline Home Gym is a 160 pound compact home gym. It arrives on your doorstep 90% assembled so requires very little in the way of assembly. The 11 gauge main frame construction is more robust than the 14 gauge used by the Marcy home gyms. This provides a high level of strength, functionality and durability. The seat post is adjustable to allow you to get proper positioning and alignment.
The 2,200 pound tension strength, military grade aircraft cabling comes with a swivel end to provide durability and low maintenance. This puts it on par with the the Marcy MWM 6150, but at a higher level than either the 81013 or the 990. This machine comes with a 48 inch lat pulldown bar, a low row bar and an ab crunch harness.
The compact frame of this unit is less than four feet wide and 6 feet tall, making it versatile enough for even the most compact of spaces. The stable platform and multiple seat adjustments will accommodate users of all sizes. The eight position adjustable arm and leg developer enables you to perform up to 40 exercises safely and biomechanically correctly.
You get a limited 10-year warranty on this purchase.
The Bowflex PR1000 provides you with an affordable total body workout that is powered by Bowflex power rod resistance. You can perform over 30 exercises on the PR 1000. The versatile bench allows for presses and flyes at a variety of angles, while the tower allows for numerous options for working the arms and back. Using the triple function hand grips provides you with a lot of workout variety.
An advantage of the Bowflex system is that it allows you to easily change your angle of resistance thanks to the flexible power rods. This increases the effectiveness of many of the exercises. You get up to 210 pounds of resistance with this system. That is considerably more than you get on any of the Marcy machines. However, the Bowflex power rod resistance system does take some time to get used t,o producing a different feel than using a conventional weight stack. In addition, it does not provide you with as effective a resistance on the negative portion of the rep.
The Bowflex PR 1000 comes with four inch upholstered pads and a well padded set and back support. It has a maximum user weight of 300 pounds. The price of this unit is comparable to the Marcy Home Gym 81013. And while prices are comparable, we feel that the Bowflex PR 1000 is the better unit. That’s why the PR 1000 was voted a best home gym.
The Marcy Home Gym MWM 990 provides you with a very solid, functional and versatile home exercise station that is impressive for its price range. The multi cabling system puts it a step above many competing models. We also like the full range of motion that is available on all exercises and the smooth, natural feeling of the cabling movement. The child lock on the weights is also a great idea.
The 150 pound weight stack is the big limiting factor on this unit. If you are after a machine that provides you with more oomph, we recommend considering the Bowflex PR1000 (our review, price on Amazon). If you prefer to stick with conventional weight resistance, consider the Body Solid Powerline Home Gym.