Working out at home is a dream come true for most of us. We no longer have to subject ourselves to the frustration of queuing for sweat-stained machines only to get asked two minutes later "Got many sets left?" by three different people.
But training at home is an art. Get it right, and you'll have the best workouts of your life. Get it wrong, and you'll waste a ton of money—or worse, cause permanent injury to your body.
I've heard countless horror stories of people getting pinned under barbells because their Smith machine didn't have enough lockout points. I even heard of one man becoming paralysed because the Smith machine he was using didn't have adjustable safety stops.
I can't believe how blasé some gym equipment manufacturers are when it comes to safety. They claim to produce "durable" and "deluxe" Smith gyms yet they only give us a one year warranty?
Even better, they call it a "home gym" when the cable pulleys create more friction than a tectonic plate. Can you tell I've been burned by cheap home gyms yet?
Truthfully, I'd almost given up on my dream of owning my own dependable home gym. Then, one day, I saw an old university friend in town. He owns a popular personal training studio in Manchester, and he invited me down for a session the next day.
That's when I saw the Series 7 for the first time. It looked like something that you'd find in the gyms of the Hollywood rich and famous. Anyway, after our short workout, I decided there and then that I was going to own this home gym, even if it meant not taking my wife on holiday this year. Three days later, I had it assembled in my garage.
Here's my long overdue Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine review.
I've read countless Body Solid Smith Machine reviews. And one thing that users always praise is the quality of the linear bearings. Unlike plastic bushings, linear bearings place maximum tension on your muscles because there's no friction that painfully shifts the resistance onto your joints.
The smooth resistance is actually why many bodybuilders prefer Smith machines to free weights. The range of motion feels so fluid that they're able to achieve a better mind-muscle connection and stimulate faster muscle growth. And with a good enough Smith machine, you can too.
The Smith bar, which has a starting weight of 11.3kg, also benefits from a commercial-grade weight capacity of 272kg. While mere mortals like you and I may never lift this much weight, it just goes to show that the Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Gym is one tough cookie. You certainly won't need to worry about the machine's stability while going heavy—that's for sure.
With 20 crossmember lockout points on either side of the uprights, I was able to confidently outlift my max without the assistance of a spotter (or pre-workout). You only need to turn the bar 15-degrees to re-rack it, which is handy if you often train to failure like me (or if you just want peace of mind).
Of course, the Body Solid Series 7 Smith Gym also has adjustable safety catches so that you can personalise your range of motion and lift with more confidence. And unlike a bad spotter, the catches won't crumble under heavy loads or grab the bar prematurely!
The first thing that you'll notice when you load up the squat rack—and the Smith machine for that matter—is the frame's 7-degree angle.
While not a cure for poor form, this minor slant makes a big difference to your workouts. Since no human lifts in a perfectly straight line, the 7-degree angle increases your strength by promoting more natural movement patterns. You'll also recruit extra muscle fibres and stimulate faster gains because the Series 7 doesn't force you into sub-optimal ranges of motion on key exercises.
My friend's personal training clients always see immediate progress on their bench presses when using his Body-Solid Smith Machine. They might think that my friend is a muscle-building magician, but we all know that the Series 7 has a lot to do with their results.
Yet with 14 adjustment points, you can do a lot more than just bench press with the Body Solid Series 7 GS348P4 Freeweight Rack. Aside from providing extra user safety by giving you more places to re-rack the bar, the adjustment points also enable you to completely customise the starting position of over 100 exercises.
What this means to you is that you can put more effort into each set and train harder because you expend less energy lifting the bar out of awkward positions. Seriously, it's so annoying when other free weight racks make you do a calf raise just to unrack the bar for squats!
Everyone loves training chest. So it wouldn't be a proper Body Solid Smith Machine review if I didn't talk about the pec deck.
I used to avoid pec decks like the plague before I invested in the Body Solid GS348QP4. I foolishly believed that bench presses were enough, and my chest suffered for it.
But now that I train at home (and don't have the meatheads giving me constant chest training advice) I've started to use the GPA3 pec attachment— and I've seen some excellent results.
My chest has expanded over 1.5" during the past two months. I know that might not seem like a groundbreaking achievement, but I've already been training for 12 years, and I thought I'd reached my genetic potential.
I suspect that the intense muscle contractions had a lot to do with my results. You see, the Body Solid GS348Q pec deck lets you bring your arms all the way together. You can really squeeze your chest and engage every little fibre. Do this repeatedly, and you engorge the muscle with blood and dramatically increases protein synthesis levels within your body. In other words, you're whipping up a recipe for muscle growth.
And unlike other pec decks, the GPA3 attachment allows both bilateral and unilateral movement to ensure that both sides of your chest receive equal work. Naturally, this quickly fixes any muscle imbalances and makes your pecs appear much more proportionate—just like Arnold intended.
As with chest training, it wouldn't be a proper Body Solid Series 7 review unless we talked about biceps.
The height-adjustable GPCA1 preacher pad increases biceps growth in two ways. First, it eliminates momentum from your reps. And second, it removes your other muscles from the equation. This actually means that you need to do fewer sets since, without momentum, each set is more effective and stimulates more growth. It's like training arms on cheat mode.
There's also a convenient holder for your EZ or Olympic bar. But you can just as easily hook the GPCA1 up to your cable station if you want constant tension for your curls.
Since the station is made from extra-thick DuraFirm upholstery, you can also use it backwards to do overhead tricep extensions. This exercise is perfect to superset with preacher curls because it gives your arms twice the pump.
And as any bodybuilder will tell you, a bigger pump creates more metabolic stress. And more metabolic stress means better muscle development. Do you see why cheat curls are a waste of time?
Working out at home is no excuse to skip leg day. So let's do our bit for curing chicken leg syndrome and get straight into the GLDA3 leg developer.
Like the preacher curl attachment, the leg developer conveniently attaches to your adjustable bench to save space. Unlike other leg developers, however, you can do lying hamstring curls as well as standing hamstring curls.
This setup accelerates hamstring growth in two ways. Firstly, you quite literally speed up your results because you can train both legs together. And second, you can lift far more weight on lying leg curls than on the standing version. This is the beauty of progressive overload in action. And it's one of the key triggers of new muscle growth.
Perhaps the biggest benefit, however—especially if you like your creature comforts—is the 8" thick foam padding that encompasses the 6 durable rollers. Apart from giving the Series 7 an air of health club-luxury, the dense padding protects your shins and feet from bruising during leg extensions. Naturally, this makes you much less likely to skip important lower body exercises since you can now work out in comfort.
Apart from the lifetime warranty, if there's one feature that separates the Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine Package from the sea of competitors, it's the selectorized weight stack.
This is where most other home gyms mess up. If it takes me 60 seconds to change the resistance, how am I meant to do supersets without losing my pump?
Exactly. I can't!
So you can imagine how delighted I was to finally invest a home gym with a fully-fledged selectorized weight stack. And when I realised that it went up to 95kg, I was ecstatic.
My workouts flow so much better now (not least because of how smooth the pulleys are). I don't spend half the session lugging weight discs around my garage like a glorified gym cleaner. I don't have to calculate how much resistance to put on each side. I don't drop plates on my foot. I just set the pin and lift.
Plus, I can do lat pulldowns and low rows just like I used to do at the health club—and I don't have to pay £50 a month for the privilege. Actually, make that £90 with the petrol, and the Lucozades from the vending machine.
Rounding out the Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Machine Package System is the GFID71 adjustable bench. Like any authentic commercial bench, the GFID71 can handle some serious poundage—450kg to be precise.
Although not even a prime Ronnie Coleman could lift 450kg, such a high weight capacity is a great benefit to have. First off, you don't have to worry about the bench wobbling and potentially making you lose control of the barbell. Second, it creates a sturdier base to lift from. Like a firm grip, this enables you to generate more power and thus build strength faster.
It's also handy for bodybuilding since you can work your muscles from different angles and recruit every fibre. Here are the adjustments for the seat and backrest:
Made with 2" x 3" heavy-duty steel, it's no surprise that this commercial incline decline bench tips the scales at 45kg. Yet the convenient transport wheels give your muscles a break by enabling you to easily wheel the GFID71 around your workout area. Yes, this means that you can use it with dumbbells. I know, I'm glad that we can do incline dumbbell press too. Can't have saggy pecs, can we?
But if you'd prefer to use your bench for heavy decline presses, then you can use secure your legs in the surprisingly comfortable foam roller pads for extra stability.
The Series 7 is definitely versatile, but is it durable?
All Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine reviews from customers—me included— answer that question with a resounding "yes".
For a start, the 4-point base creates a strong foundation of stability. What this means to you is that unlike lower quality multi-station gyms, you don't feel that unnerving wobble every time you lift heavy.
Physically, this keeps you out of harm's way. And mentally, it's powerful too. Suddenly, you have the confidence to push the limits of your strength, knowing that the safety catches and steel frame always have your back.
The selectorized stack is equally durable. Like the hubcaps on your car, it's made from thick alloy steel to withstand wear and tear—and yes, even mud. Accidently slam the weight plates? No problem, the GLA348QS is built to last. Or should I say built for life? (that's Body Solid's slogan)
Which brings me onto a heartwarming story...
One woman bought the Body Solid GS348QP4 Smith Machine as a gift for her husband. He loved it, but ten years later, the sheathing on one of the cables started to come off. And while most fly-by-night fitness companies would have been long out of business, Body Solid replaced her cables—free of charge. Don't you just love a happy ending?
Sadly, this standard of customer service isn't the norm. I had two Smith gyms before the Series 7. Both lasted for less than two years, and the quality of the parts was just atrocious. Seriously, you had to practically drown the cables and ball bearings in WD-40 to prevent them from sticking!
And the bench? Yeah, that collapsed. But thankfully, I wasn't lifting at the time. Otherwise, things could have been a lot, lot worse.
One thing's for sure. The Body Solid Smith machine home gym sure is sturdy. In the 10+ years that it's been around, it's barely had a single customer complaint, never mind an injury report! So it's no wonder they're confident enough to give us a lifetime warranty at no extra charge.
Out of the 3 Body Solid Smith Machines available in the UK, the Body Solid Series 7 Smith Package is definitely the biggest. In case you're curious, their other products are the Powerline Smith Machine and the Body Solid SCB1000.
But back to the Body-Solid Series 7 Smith Gym System. Despite replacing a free weight rack and virtually every gym machine, this beast is surprisingly not that space-hungry. It measures 195cm L x 178cm W x 213cm H and weighs 152kg (that's 337lbs for the metrically-challenged).
I've seen standalone Smith machines that take up more space than that. And for what? More weight plate posts? Nope. Extra stability? Nope.
The answer? Just poor design.
The Series 7 is different. It's built-like a commercial machine yet it's perfectly sized to fit in just about anyone's home. Suffice to say, besides weights, you won't need to buy any other gym equipment when you invest in the Body Solid Series 7 Smith Gym System.
The Body Solid Smith Machine Series 7 has all the makings of a trusty spotter but without the annoyances. Unlike an incompetent gym spotter, the heavy-duty safety catches will take the load if—and only if—you fail on a rep.
This setup gives you triple the peace of mind. First, your chest won't get crushed. Second, you won't end up on any gym fail videos for the world to see. And third, you'll know for sure that it was you who lifted the weight, not some meathead's biceps.
As for the squat rack, the 17" gauge steel safety stoppers serve a dual function. First, and most importantly, they enable you to dictate your own range of motion by choosing the lowest point the barbell can travel to.
Second, you can use the stoppers for exercises like rack pulls, barbell rows and Romanian deadlifts. Sinde these compound movements are typically performed with heavy loads, it's much easier to lift the barbell off a flat surface—like safety catches— than it is to lift it out and over a bar hook.
The benefit of this is, again, two-fold. First, you conserve energy and are thus stronger on your subsequent sets . And second, it's easier to dump the bar on the safeties if your grip gives out than it is to manoeuvre the bar back into the J-Hooks.
The diagram-based assembly takes roughly 5 to 8 hours. For a gym this size, however, I was expecting it to take longer. But since Body Solid labelled all the parts, I was able to plough my way through the setup process without any headaches.
Having all the small washers, nuts and bolts labelled in the assembly instructions made things much more manageable since many of these parts tend to look the same. Ikea could definitely learn a thing or two from Body Solid!
Now for the workout part of my Body Solid 7 Series Smith Machine review. What exercises can you actually perform?
The Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine GS348 offers a wide variety of exercises. Below you'll find my personal favourite Body Solid Smith Machine exercises sorted by muscle group.
This no-nonsense 3-day per week workout routine is ideal if you're an intermediate or advanced lifter looking to build size and strength without living in your home gym .
Here's how it works:
You rotate upper and lower body workouts so that you're training roughly every other day. To make this work, you'll need to train either Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
This setup enables you to do plenty of training volume in each session and still recover in time for your next workout .
You perform exercise A, rest 30 seconds to a minute, and then do exercise B. These are called antagonistic paired sets, and they save you a boatload of workout time .
Related post: Powertec Smith Machine review
As a general rule of thumb, leave 1-2 reps in the tank on every compound movement, and only train to failure on the last set of each isolation exercise.
This technique might seem conservative, but leaving a few reps in the tank actually enables you to do more reps overall, which is the primary stimulus for muscle growth .
That said, feel free to edit this routine or follow your own program. The Body Solid Series 7 Linear Bearing Smith Machine is a very accommodating home gym. You can do cable exercises, free weight exercises and virtually anything else that you'd do in a health club or gym .
1A: Incline bench press (4 x 8-10 reps)
1B: Medium-grip lat pulldowns (4 x 8-10 reps)
2A: Flat bench press (3 x 10-12 reps)
2B: Medium-grip cable row (3 x 8-10 reps)
3A: Pec deck fly (3 x 15-20 reps)
3B: Rear delt fly (3 x 15-20 reps)
4A: Preacher curls (3 x 12-15 reps)
4B: Overhead triceps extensions (3 x 12-15 reps)
4C: Lateral raises (3 x 15-20 reps)
5: Reverse curls (2 x 15-20 reps)
1: Back squat (4 x 6-8 reps)
2: Romanian deadlift (4 x 6-8 reps)
3A: Leg extensions (4 x 10-12 reps) 
3B: Lying hamstring curls (4 x 10-12 reps)
4: Standing calf raises (4 x 8-10 reps)
5: Front squat (2 x 20 reps)
The Body Solid Smith Machine bar weight is 25lbs or 11.33kg.
The Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine dimensions are 195cm L x 178cm W x 213cm H.
The lifting motion is incredibly smooth. Thanks to the linear bearings, there's absolutely no friction. Ironically, it's smoother than most dedicated Smith machines while offering far more features.
Yes, there are 20 steel lockout points on the Smith machine for you to re-rack the bar on. The squat rack has 14 holes for the J-Cups, and both come equipped with heavy-duty safety catches for extra injury protection.
The regular Body Solid Linear Bearing Smith Machine is the base unit—a free weight rack and Smith machine—without any attachments.
The Smith Master Package deal has the base unit but also includes a massive amount of extras. You'll receive a pec deck, preacher curl, adjustable bench, leg developer and a 95kg selectorized weight stack with a high and low pulley system. You also get accessory items like the lat bar and low row bar to save you from having to buy them separately.
You can get the best deal on the Body Solid 7 Series Smith Machine in the UK via the link below.
I recommend getting the Body Power Tri-Grip Olympic Weight Set. It has over 100 reviews from satisfied customers, comes with a 7ft chrome barbell, spring collars and is available in 10 different weight packages.
I've helped review over 40 different Smith machine at this point. And one thing that's disturbingly apparent is that most products are nothing more than carbon copies of one another. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if they were all made in the same Chinese factory!
Thankfully, not all companies are out there to lure unwitting customers into buying cheaply-made gym equipment.
As you've learned in this Body Solid Smith Machine review, the Series 7 is one of the top choices for those ready to embark on a serious home fitness journey. Considering that it replaces a squat rack and virtually every other gym machine, it's outstanding value for money too.
And at the current price, we like it even better.
I've been ripped-off twice by low-quality home gyms. My mistakes cost me thousands of pounds, many sleepless nights and a near-miss injury that I never want to relive.
Thankfully, the Series 7 hasn't disappointed me. It's surpassed my expectations and has made me fall in love with training again. Just make sure to click the link below to get the lowest price during October 2020 and the fastest delivery. Thanks for reading!