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Impulse Smith Machine: Should you buy the IT7 or upgrade to the 3D version?

By James Jackson
Last Updated on 8th July 2020

Impulse has over 35 years of experience in developing and manufacturing fitness equipment, and if you've been around the gyms like I have, then it's highly likely that you've used their machines. Their products are highly sought-after by British fitness professionals, and they're also the most popular gym equipment brand in China, which is no mean feat considering the sheer size of that country.

Unsurprisingly, Impulse's equipment is used by thousands of gyms all over the world.

To keep up with the surging demand, Impulse Fitness UK employs over 40 highly-skilled engineers within their research and development team. As such, their products have a strong reputation for quality and innovation, which you'll soon learn about in these Smith machine reviews.

With that said, let's get into the differences between the two Impulse Smith machine systems.

Facts and figures

Impulse IT

impulse it7
  • Dimensions: 224cm L x 132cm W x 218cm H
  • Unit weight: 178kg
  • Weight capacity: 200kg
  • Type of bearings: linear
  • Warranty: lifetime on frame, 1 year on rotary bearings, pulleys, guide rods and moving parts
  • Price: Click for Lowest Price

Impulse 3D

impulse 3d
  • Dimensions: 200cm L x 141cm W x 218cm H
  • Unit weight: 199.4kg
  • Weight capacity: 200kg
  • Type of bearings: four-direction linear bearings
  • Warranty: lifetime on frame, 1 year on rotary bearings, pulleys, guide rods and moving parts
  • Price: Click for Lowest Price

Design

The Impulse IT Smith Machine is the most popular of Impulse's two Smith machines because it's easy enough for people of all ability levels to use, but also durable enough to withstand constant usage in the commercial gym environment.

This affordable Smith station comes with a heavy-duty 20kg bar to mimic the feeling of free weights, which is sure to make advanced lifters feel at home by allowing them to accurately track their strength progress. Yet at the same time, this knurled barbell aptly prepares beginners for the world of free weight training and its accompanying 20kg barbells.

As any powerlifter will attest to, having a barbell with plenty of knurling—like the bar on the Impulse IT Smith Machine—is extremely important for strength development because it enables you to maintain a firm grip on the bar and generate maximum pressing power.

impulse smith bar

And as any bodybuilder will tell you, having a Smith machine with a smooth bar bath is incredibly important for achieving a pump because it enables you to develop a more reliable mind-muscle connection, and thus, more muscle growth itself.

Impulse realises this and includes commercial-grade linear bearings to provide a fluid, frictionless lifting motion that enables you to feel your muscles working more intensely during each rep. Naturally, this smooth bar path also spares your joints, and hence, helps you to recover faster because there are no jarring sticking points on this Smith machine.

Of course, this is all great for intermediate and advanced lifters who want to build muscle and strength. But the Impulse IT7 Smith machine is also remarkably easy to use, making it equally useful for beginners who're still learning the ropes.

Here's what I mean. You have 10 steel lockout points dispersed evenly down the frame, which enables you to easily re-rack the barbell with a small wrist turn—regardless of where you are in a rep. As a result, the Impulse IT is ideal if you, your members or clients often train alone because you don't need a spotter to enjoy this machine's best effects.

The Impulse 3D Smith Machine is 24cm shorter, 9cm wider and 21kg heavier than Impulse's IT7 model.

impulse 3d

It also comes with a multi-grip pull up bar that enables you to develop a symmetrical back by performing pull-ups and chins ups using different grip widths (wide, medium, close, neutral and underhand).

As you might have already guessed, you can also use the pull up station to sculpt a more defined six-pack by performing hanging knee and leg raises, which are particularly effective for developing the lower abs.

But the most apparent difference between the Impulse 3D and IT7 models is that that 3D version is a Smith machine that moves horizontally. As a result, it provides higher core activation and more dynamic exercise possibilities (such as lunges and power cleans), which has a greater carryover to free weights.

Finally, the Impulse 3D Smith machine has no storage, while the IT7 comes with 6 storage pegs, which encourages users to put their weights away. Overall, the IT7 is a better choice for smaller fitness facilities who don't want to clutter their gym with weight disc trees.

Build quality

The Impulse IT Smith Machine weighs 178kg and is constructed from heavy-duty steel so that the frame remains stable even under the assault of intense weight training and one rep max attempts. In this regard, it's very similar to the Gym Gear Elite Smith Machine.

Impulse also furnishes their IT7 Smith Machine with a protective electrostatic powder coat to further enhance the unit's durability and resistance to scratches, heavy impact, moisture and ultraviolet light.

Obviously, this makes the IT7 a reliable choice if you're seeking a Smith machine that's capable of withstanding the wear and tear of the commercial gym environment. You certainly won't need to replace your Impulse equipment anytime soon—that's for sure.

The Impulse 3D Smith Machine provides the same sturdiness and durability offered by the IT7. As such, It's a top choice for those who want to provide their members or clients with a machine that can tolerate explosive training.

You might also like: Indigo Fitness UK

Safety features

The Impulse IT Smith Machine comes equipped with safety catches that have highly visible yellow adjustment levers, which encourages users to make use of the bar stoppers and train safely [1].

This built-in safety also enables users to test their strength, aim for new PRs and achieve faster results by training to failure because they can lift with the peace of mind that the safety catches will always have their back—even if their spotter doesn't.

impulse it7

Of course, with 10 heavy-duty bar hooks, you don't need a training partner to get the most out of the Impulse IT Smith Machine. Even if you can't lock out that final rep, you can quickly get yourself out of harm's way by turning your wrist to re-rack the barbell, which you can do at any point during the set.

The Impulse 3D Smith Machine offers all the safety features provided by the IT7 model but with one small difference.

Since this 3D Smith machine provides horizontal as well as vertical movement (much like a Jones Machine), you can re-rack the barbell on both the front and the back of the machine's workout area, which doubles the number of bar hooks.

Related product: Halo Smith Machine

FAQ

How much do the Impulse Smith Machine bars weigh?

The Impulse Smith Machine bar weight is 20kg.

How smoothly does the Smith bar glide up and down while lifting?

Since Impulse equips both of their Smith machines with linear bearings, the bar path is very smooth and doesn't have any annoying sticking points that disrupt your lifting motion. It's much better than the Max Rack Smith machine, which is fairly old at this point.

How easy is it to re-rack the bar on an Impulse Smith Machine?

It's very easy to re-rack the barbell on an Impulse Smith machine because you can hook it onto any of the steel lockout points with a simple turn of the wrist—regardless of whether you're at the start, middle or end of a rep.

What maintenance is required when I buy my Impulse Smith Machine?

As with any gym equipment, you'll need to lubricate the guide rods periodically and also check that all the components are still tightened.

Will these units stand up to heavy use in a commercial gym?

Yes, absolutely. Each steel-constructed Impulse Smith Machine is rated for a hefty 200kg and comes with a protective powder coat finish to fight off wear and tear.

Where can I buy an Impulse Smith Machine?

You can buy an Impulse Smith Machine for the lowest price in the UK via the link below.

Which Impulse Smith Machine is most worth it?

Impulse Fitness is becoming immensely popular among UK fitness facility owners who're seeking high-quality gym equipment that's also affordable [2].

And ever since the resurgence of Smith machines, Impulse's IT7 and 3D Smith machine systems have been flying off the shelves. Hence, they work closely with dependable British distributors to get their safety-focused Smith machines onto your gym floor as efficiently and as cheaply as possible [3].

Overall, I recommend investing in the Impulse IT Smith Machine over the 3D version because it's just as durable and safe while being around £1,000 cheaper (if you order via the link below). With a familiar 20kg barbell, highly-visible safety catches, and 10 heavy-duty re-racking positions, the Impulse IT is an incredibly useful training tool for people of all ability levels.

Advanced athletes can test their strength without worrying about getting pinned underneath the barbell. And novices can learn the proper form at their own pace (and without the need for a spotter), giving them the confidence to become stronger with each session.

If you want to provide your members or clients with more dynamic exercise possibilities, or if your facility is geared more towards functional training, then the Impulse 3D Smith machine is also a reliable, proven option. It's more expensive than the IT version and is largely the same apart from the pull-up station and horizontal movement.

Personally, I prefer traditional Smith machines like the Impulse IT, but you might prefer the extra freedom of movement that a 3D Smith machine provides. Either way, Impulse offers some of the most durable and affordable Smith machines in Britain, especially at the current low prices.

I hope that my Impulse Smith Machine comparison answered all of your questions. If there's anything else that you want to know, then don't hesitate to reach out to me or any member of the team. Thanks for reading!

Editor's Choice
Impulse IT7 Smith Machine
impulse it7
  • Space-saving footprint
  • Rock-solid 178kg weight capacity
  • Smooth bar path
  • Lifetime frame warranty
  • Lowest UK pricing available throughout October 2020

 

James Jackson
I'm a former academy rugby union player who specialises in strength and conditioning for competitive athletes. I split my time between coaching the next generation of British talent and creating hands-on gym equipment case studies at Smith Machine UK.
At Smith Machine UK, we create in-depth tests of the latest and greatest gym equipment on the British market so that you can create your dream home gym.
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