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By PriceRunner Updated 12/02/2017

Multigyms are a classic and popular exercise machine that take their name from their multi-functionality, which means that several different types of strength training exercises are possible on a single machine. The fact is that the multigym is such a popular aspect of a home-based gym that the terms “multigym” and “home gym” have become almost synonymous.

The advantages of multigyms

A multigym has several advantages that make it particularly suitable for strength training at home.

Efficient use of space: Often space is the most limiting factor when you want to create a home gym. A multigym saves a lot of space as it makes possible a number of strength training exercises with a single machine.

Cost savings: As the multigym uses a single steel framework for a number of exercises, it costs less to manufacture and distribute than several different strength training machines would. This makes it cheaper to buy a multigym than a number of different strength training machines.

High safety levels: A correctly constructed multigym is extremely safe, both to use and to have in the home. A multigym is safer than free weights for people training alone, because you can push yourself harder without having someone to “spot” you. The risk of incorrect movements is also less with a multigym as your movements are more controlled. Compared with free weights, the risk of other people injuring themselves on the multigym is much less. The protective plate that surrounds the weight stack of the multigym prevents fingers and other things from getting crushed, which is extremely important if children will be present in the room where the multigym is installed.

Accessibility: Because a home gym is by definition in your home, you avoid spending time travelling to and from the gym. This releases time that you can use for other things – for example to exercise for longer – and makes it easier to find time for exercise at all. Nor does a home gym ever close, and so you can always exercise when you want to and when you can. And your home gym won’t have rush hours with queues – unless other members of your family want to exercise at the same time, of course! However, many multigyms can be used by two to three users at the same time, so even this can be avoided.

How the test was made

We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. Our test team consists of both elite and recreational athletes, and together they have evaluated over 100 exercise machines. We retain the models that perform well for longer-term testing, in many cases several years, and continuously add updates to the reviews.

In our assessment we have focused on the following areas:

  • Ease of use: How easy-to-use is the multigym? Does the multigym suit both short and tall users? Are the exercise positions easily accessible and comfortable? Is the seat comfortable? Is the multigym easy to move? Is it easy to assemble? How clear is the user manual?

  • Quality and design: How well designed is the multigym? What materials have been used? How much stress and wear should it tolerate? What type of resistance does it have? How is the seat positioned? How much space does the multigym occupy? What guarantee does it have?

  • Functionality and performance: What types of exercises can you do with the gym and what muscle groups do they cover? How easy, straightforward and fun is it to do the exercises? Does the multigym support functional training, and if so to what extent? Can the back support be moved backwards/forwards or angled? Is the seat height-adjustable? If so, by how much can it be adjusted? Can more than one person use the gym at a time? How strong is the maximum resistance? How high is the maximum user weight?

We have scored each multigym according to its value for money; in other words how good it is in each area in relation to its price tag. An expensive product thus has higher expectations than a cheaper one, and vice versa.

Finnlo Bio Force

Straightforward multigym that provides quiet, functional training for the entire body
Low machine weight, many exercises, plenty of resistance, disability-friendly
Seat only has two positions, back support not adjustable

The Finnlo Bio Force is an exciting multigym that uses new technology to make exercise safer, quieter and more functional. Instead of using traditional weight resistance, the Bio Force has hydraulic resistance equivalent to up to 100 kg of weight. You adjust the weight resistance roughly like on a normal multigym and each adjustment corresponds to 2.25 kg. The hydraulic resistance makes training considerably quieter and the lack of a heavy weight stack means that the multigym is very easy to move. The Bio Force weighs only one third as much as a traditional multigym with a weight stack. It also has two transport wheels that make it easy for a single person to roll the gym to the desired place. You can also vary the load so that it is heavier on one side, which can be useful if you have an imbalance in your body or if you simply want to make one side of your body stronger.

The cushions are attractive and comfortable and just like other parts of the gym appear to be well made. Unfortunately you can’t adjust the back support, and it would be nice to be able to move the seat into more than two positions to get as optimal a position as possible. You can completely remove the seat, which releases sufficient space to roll a wheelchair into place. The Finnlo Bio Force is straightforward and easy to move, but despite its low weight the gym provides plenty of resistance. This is an innovative multigym that gives you quiet, safe and functional training for a good price, making it our choice for best in test.

FINNLO Autark 1500

Stable and quiet multigym with high quality components
Attractive design, stable construction, adjustable back support
Relatively little exercise variation, difficult to move

The Finnlo Autark 1500 is a traditional multigym with an attractive design and high level of user-friendliness that will suit the majority of homes. As standard, the Autark 1500 has a weight stack of 80 kg but can be supplied with 100 kg as an option. In total the machine weighs twice as much, which makes it stable. The disadvantage is that it’s hard to move, so make sure you find the right position straight away. All parts of the gym are high quality, including the cushions, which are also extremely comfortable.

The design of the gym gives the user a number of safe exercises, but unlike gyms with adjustable cables, the opportunity for more functional training is limited. There are some opportunities for variation however, such as a number of different settings for chest exercises, which make it possible to train different parts of the chest muscles. The well protected weight stack is relatively quiet and the packet of weights included is sufficient even for somebody well-trained. Both the back support and seat can be adjusted to a number of different positions, making an optimal training position possible. The Finnlo Autark 1500 is an attractive multigym which is relatively efficient in terms of space and which offers the user a lot of training for all major muscle groups at a good price.

Adidas Homegym - 100 kg

Attractively designed multigym with high maximum weight and many possible exercises
Attractive design, high maximum weight, makes many different exercises possible
Slightly pricey

Most people probably associate Adidas with clothes, but they also sell some exercise equipment. This includes the Adidas Homegym - 100 kg multigym. This is the highest weight on the market and slightly over the standard weight for the weight stack, which is 90 kg. This makes possible extremely powerful maximum resistance, which is sufficient for almost everyone. The construction is stable and shows no signs of tipping when loaded from different directions. The multigym makes possible exercises that essentially cover all major muscle groups. These include knee extensions, preacher curls, chest and shoulder presses and pec flys. The precision of the machine parts is what you can expect in the medium price class. Even though the position is better than on the budget models, it still isn’t as accurate as the premium models. This is primarily visible in the fact that the cables tend to sag a little at the start of the pull. This means that the exercise movement isn’t quite as complete as it would otherwise be.

The design of the multigym is tasteful in black and fits in well with the Adidas style. The weight stack protection isn’t 100%, but gives reasonable protection against crush injuries. In terms of price, the Adidas Homegym is in the medium class, which matches its performance perfectly Our impression is that is that you’re paying more for the Adidas brand.

Weider Pro 5500

Budget gym for tall users with substantial weight stack
Substantial weight stack, compact, relatively clear assembly instructions
Lack of adjustment options, some exercise positions rather cramped

The Weider Pro 5500 is a low price budget gym where the manufacturer has prioritised a hefty weight stack over functionality. It has a sporty appearance and the construction is acceptably stable, even under maximum load. The build quality is fine, and above average for the price class. Unfortunately, Weider has fallen into the usual trap of stupidly skimping on the screw quality. This is something that can cause problems if the multigym has to be assembled several times, for example if you move home. The multigym’s basic exercises are chest press, sitting bench press and leg and arm curls. The number of possible exercises is stated to be 40, which is a bit of an exaggeration as this includes different variants of almost identical exercises. However, the Weider Pro 5500's primary weakness is the limited adjustment options. As you can’t move the back support forward particularly far, normal users end up too far back during leg curls to have their back supported. Nor is the distance between the leg cushions adjustable, although this is normal for the budget class. Equally, the seat can’t be raised sufficiently for a normal height person to be able to carry out a chest press while sitting. Instead, you have to squeeze in behind the seat and carry out a standing chest press. This might be awkward for larger users. The bench press works better, but is angled slightly downwards.

The lat bar works nicely but suffers from the fact that you don't have much room and have to make sure you don’t hit your elbows on the down pull. Even the stomach crunch suffers from a lack of space. With low and medium loads the leg cushions give good protection, but they are insufficient at higher weights. The weight stack moves smoothly with medium and higher loads but less well with lower ones such as one or two weights. The Weider Pro 5500 is a relatively compact multigym which is twice as deep as it is wide. The weight stack has basic protection from in front but is completely unprotected from behind. Probably because it’s designed to be positioned against a wall. A multigym is complicated and time-consuming to assemble, so clear assembly instructions are particularly important. Here Weider succeed better than the majority of manufacturers, with lots of illustrations and steps. They’d have got a gold star if there were even clearer illustrations and ideally a video clip too. Because of the lack of adjustment options, the Weider Pro 5500 is primarily most suitable for tall people – ideally over 190 cm – who prefer high resistance for a low price.

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