Working out at home has many benefits: you don't have to wait for equipment, you don't have to listen to the awful gym music blasting through the stereo speakers and you don't have to wipe other people's sweat off the bench like a glorified servant.
The problem is that buying a Smith machine or home gym is expensive. And even then, the quality can be hit and miss.
Yet tens of thousands of people in the UK save their precious time and hard-earned money by training at home. And with the right equipment, you can too.
The trouble is, training at home is often incredibly dangerous if you don't have a spotter. And a Smith machine is no guarantee of safety if it's cheaply made in a Chinese factory.
On today's menu, we have a full Bodymax CF380 review. In less time than it takes to drive to the gym, you'll learn everything there is to know about this popular workout system.
Let's get started.
One thing's for sure. The BodyMax CF380 Total Smiths System is versatile. But as you'll discover throughout this review, it appears as though this variety comes at the expense of quality in a few places.
Out of the box, you'll get a complete home gym. That includes a Smith machine, squat rack, pulldown, low pulley, preacher curl pad, pec deck and leg developer. If you're the type of person who likes to work their muscles from different angles, then you're definitely looking at the right kind of home gym.
Like with its older brother, the BodyMax CF484, you also get 6 Olympic weight storage pins to keep your workout space tidy. Aside from saving money on weight disc trees, having plenty of storage enables you to change the weight quickly. This storage system is also useful for training techniques like supersets and drop sets where you typically aim to maintain a pump.
However, with a lack of linear bearings, this Smith system isn't for everyone. Users have noted that the bar can actually shake a bit when lifting over a 100kg, which can feel quite unnerving when you're grinding out reps.
Likewise, the holes for the J-Cups and safety stops on the front of the frame are very sharp.
But considering that the CF380 has a decent 136kg weight capacity, the frame is still sturdy up to a point. Just don't expect to have the best workouts of your life on this machine.
The short one-year warranty doesn't soothe my reliability suspicions, either. Not when there are Smith machines with 10-year guarantees. If you'd like to experience peace of mind for an entire decade, then skip to the end to see what we recommend instead for home workouts.
Since you're reading this BodyMax CF380 Total Smiths System review, I'm going to presume that having a quality Smith machine is important to you. If not, then it should be.
Having a reliable Smith machine can mean the difference between building brand new muscle mass and being saddled with an imbalanced physique—or worse, dropping a heavy barbell on your chest.
As for the CF380, it comes with a 7ft bar that accepts both standard and Olympic plates. This is a handy feature for those who already have some standard weights lying around because Olympic discs can be expensive.
The bar also has two knurling points to give you a secure grip while lifting. This naturally increases your safety because the bar is less likely to fly out of your hands unexpectedly.
And while they're not commercial quality, the Smith machine does come with two safety catches that prevent the bar from bottoming out should you drop it.
Of course, without linear bearings, your range of motion won't feel entirely smooth, especially if you're used to lifting on a commercial machine. Still, if you don't plan on lifting too heavy, you'll get some decent use out of the Smith portion of this multi-gym.
While I'm not amazed at the quality of the finish, the seemingly endless variety of the CF380 continues to impress me.
The free weight rack comes with spotter bars for squatting and bench pressing. You can't underestimate the importance of spotter bars for training alone, because they effectively enable you to spot yourself—if the holes are close enough together.
But like I mentioned earlier, the manufacturing quality of the holes isn't the best. They're very sharp, and I don't know if I'd trust this contraption if I was lifting over 100kg.
Fitness Youtuber Joe Gray also noted that the grating on the front of the frame was somewhat loose. Hopefully, that was just a one-off occurrence, but that's not a good sign considering that his machine was brand new.
I've never heard such complaints (or any complaints, for that matter), with the Body Power Smith Half Rack, for example.
The CF380 comes with two cable pulleys for extra training variety. This is great because you can work your back with exercises like pulldowns and low rows to get a better v-taper.
However, you can't do movements like cable crossovers because there's only a single high pulley. Personally, I don't think that the low pulley pec deck makes up for this because cables provide a more extensive range of motion for the chest than pec decks.
As for the attachments, you'll receive a traditional pulldown bar and a straight bar. While you can also do tricep pushdowns with the high pulley, you'll need to buy your own rope separately.
Although I prefer cable crossovers, the low pulley pec deck is still useful because it generates such an intense contraction in your chest.
To use it, you'll need to set your adjustable weight bench to flat and wheel it to the back of the machine. From there, you simply place your forearms on the thick padding and enjoy the pump!
The adjustable CF330 FID Deluxe Utility Bench has three inclines, one flat and two decline positions. Not only does this provide more fun workouts by way of more training variety, but it also enables you to build a better-developed chest by working your pecs from different angles.
Also included are a curl pad and leg developer. Like the Smith bar, they support both 2" Olympic and 1" standard weights.
The great thing about the leg developer is that you can do lying hamstring curls. Since the lying variant tends to be easier to overload than the standing version, you'll build hamstring mass quicker and save time in the process, since you can work both legs simultaneously .
However, the preacher handle makes a clanking sound during leg extensions (unless you fasten it down with something like a lifting strap). While I wouldn't want to sacrifice one of my trusty lifting straps, it's definitely worth it to get rid of that annoying clank clank clank!
Throughout this BodyMax review, I've spoken about the hit-and-miss quality of certain parts. But now I'm going to walk you through each section in more detail.
Let's start with the good stuff.
First, the padding on the bench and pec deck is exceptionally thick. The upholstery seems to be of very high quality, and it definitely makes your workouts less of a chore when you have good support.
Second, the removable sleeves for Olympic discs, while not the most convenient to take on and off, are incredibly convenient. For years, all I had were some old 1" plates, so a gym like the CF380 would have been ideal.
Third, the finish. Despite a few chinks in the armour, the CF380 looks super stylish. BodyMax has done a phenomenal job with the colour scheme.
However, colour is superficial as far as real results in muscle gain and fat loss are concerned . The guide rods can shake when going heavy and the grating on the front of the rack is of dubious quality.
Besides, other reviewers have noted that the end caps on the leg extension can fall off. This design flaw (could easily be a one-off occurrence) makes the pads move around and it's incredibly annoying when it happens mid-set.
Also, the warranty is only one year long. Considering that other brands are happy to offer 3, 5—even 10-year guarantees, this does make me question if the CF380 is a good long-term investment for us Brits .
The CF380 measures 173cm L x 195cm W x 217cm H. This is a very modest footprint for a multi-gym this versatile. Just be aware that you'll need some space around the back and sides of the machine to load your weights.
As for the unit weight, the BodyMax CF380 Total Smiths System tips the scales at right around 145kg. That makes it almost twice as light as the Maxxus Multi Gym, which is admittedly a bit more heavy-duty (300kg weight capacity!).
Like any good Smith machine and squat rack, the CF380 comes with adjustable weight supports and spotter bars for when you're training alone.
Although the catches look rather basic (i.e. not heavy-duty) they're still useful for resting the bar on if you get stuck. I just wouldn't use them to bail out on heavy squats and the like personally.
The dimensions of the BodyMax CF380 are 173cm Long x 195cm Wide x 217cm High.
The BodyMax CF380 bar weight is unfortunately not specified.
You can do a variety of resistance training exercises like:
Chest: incline bench press, flat press, decline press, pec deck fly
Lats & trapezius: lat pull-down, low rows, shrugs
Deltoids: military press, lateral raise, front raise
Biceps and triceps: curls, triceps extensions
Quads & hamstrings: squats, leg extensions, hamstring curls, lunges, RDLs
Glutes & calves: hip thrust, glute bridge, cable kickbacks, calf raises
Overall, this is a decent gym for the price. As I mentioned throughout the BodyMax CF380 Total Smiths System review, you get a lot of functionality with this machine.
Also, the adjustable bench is a great bonus. It has a sturdy 180kg weight capacity, and you can use it as a standalone bench, which is great for varying up your weight lifting regime with dumbbell exercises .
However, the CF380 isn't the most polished product on the market. The holes on the squat rack feel dangerously sharp, and the guide rods are a bit rickety when lifting heavy. Personally, I wouldn't spend my money on it. But if you're on a tight budget, I can see why the value of the CF380 caught your attention.
Ultimately, there are much better options available. For example, the Powerline PSM144X (see my Powerline Smith Machine review), which has been a best-selling Smith machine for over 15 years, has 45kg extra weight capacity and puts you in complete control over your new home gym. How so?
Well, you can completely customise your home gym package with attachments like pec decks, lat pulldowns, leg developers, preacher pads, adjustable benches and yes, even a selectorised weight stack.
As a result, you only pay for the workout stations that you personally want, meaning that you'll have more money left over to spend on life's essentials. And by essentials, I am, of course, talking about weights, barbells and protein shakes. Oh, and bread.
Anyway, the CF380 is still a decent option. But considering that the Powerline model is built from sturdier metal (hence the 10-year frame warranty) while also being much more compact, I definitely recommend investing in the PSM144X.