smith machine uk logo

Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Machine review: Does the popular MD-9010G live up to the hype?

By James Jackson
Last Updated on 17th August 2020

How would you like to replicate an entire suite of gym equipment—from home—with just one machine?

Imagine the money, and more importantly, the time you'd save by cancelling your gym membership today and working out from home. How much stress would you cut from your life?

Well, that's precisely where IMPEX Fitness claim they can help with their Marcy Smith Cage System MD 9010G. But does it live up to its expectations?

I decided to find out.

I've spent the past month of my life personally testing a bunch of Smith machine systems—and most were utter crap.

Out of roughly 45 products, less than 10 made the cut.

In my Marcy Diamond Elite review, you'll soon learn whether this immensely popular home gym was one of the chosen few...

a large weight training device with many workout options
Pros
  • 8 workout stations provide over 100 exercises to train all your muscle group
  • Smith machine has a smooth range of motion thanks to its linear bearings
  • Comes with 7 familiar accessories that give you the feeling of lifting in a commercial gym
  • Adjustable bench is rated for 600lbs and benefits from multiple incline and decline angles
  • Built using durable steel that enhances user safety and prevents the unit from wobbling during exercise
Cons
  • Bench is curved at the bottom
  • Assembly is very time-consuming, though relatively straightforward

Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Machine facts and figures

The Marcy Smith Cage System MD-9010G is a club-style machine that enables you to train your full body at home by mimicking an entire weight room of gym equipment. The 8 workout stations (which are all built with durable steel) are split into three key areas; free weights, cables, and machines. This setup provides the broadest range of exercises possible, and therefore, enables you to achieve faster results because you can work your muscles from different angles.

We'll take a look at the pros and cons of each workout station later on in this Marcy MD-9010G review, but for now, I want to discuss the improvements that IMPEX made to the latest version of their machine. If you're a keen weightlifter, I think that you'll like the changes as much as I did.

man doing an incline press for his pecs

Now in its second iteration, the MD9010G, which is one of four Marcy smith home gyms, is far easier to use and has much smoother resistance than its predecessor. Unlike their original product, the components used for this Marcy Elite Home Gym are considerably higher quality.

In particular, the pulleys support more weight and have much less stickiness to them. This translates into a better workout experience and one which more closely resembles the commercial gym setting.

Although the Marcy MD9010G is definitely a beast of a gym, the overall footprint is still quite reasonable—especially considering it's the only strength machine you'll need.

If you were to buy a squat rack, smith machine, cable system, leg extension, hamstring curl and preacher bench separately, you'd need to buy a second house just to accommodate your home gym. And that's to say nothing of the outrageous cost such a setup would entail.

  • Cage dimensions: 70” L x 83” W x 86” H (178cm L x 211cm W x 218cm H)
  • Bench dimensions: 75” L x 28.5” W x 47” H (191cm L x 72cm W x 119cm H)
  • Unit weight: 380lbs/172kg
  • Maximum user weight: 300lbs/136kg
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Exercises: 100+
  • Workout stations: free weight rack, Smith machine, cable crossover, low pulley, pec fly, preacher curl, low row, leg developer, adjustable bench
  • Accessories: pulldown bar, straight bar, v bar, rope, ankle strap, 2 handles, footplate, collar clips
  • Estimated assembly time: 7-8 hours
  • Price: Check Current Price

Marcy Diamond Elite Workout stations

The main advantage that the Marcy Diamond 9010 Smith Cage has over the competition is its sheer number of workout stations. At this point, I've reviewed over 40 Smith machines, and only a handful of products were able to rival the 8 training areas offered by the Marcy 9010G.

We'll get into the juicy details of each station in just a moment. But one thing I really like about the workout system as a whole is the fact that you can use both standard 1" plates and 2" Olympic discs. At a glance, it might not seem like a huge benefit. But it makes a big difference when you're shopping for the best deal on weight plates (more on that later).

As for how much weight you can use, the smith machine, free weight rack and pulleys can all handle 300lbs (136kg). However, because of the way that the cables are routed, some stations actually provide more or less resistance than the weight plates indicate (again, more on this in a sec).

Smith machine

Although the 9010G isn't the only smith cage home gym made by Marcy, the linear bearings definitely make it the best in my opinion. I don't know if you've tried the average home Smith gym, but if you haven't, here's a short explanation of what it feels like to use one.

Unhooking the bar feels fine. And initially, so do your reps. But as soon as you go heavier than 100lbs (45kg) or so, the guide rods begin to stick, and the motion becomes jarring to the point where you just decide to use free weights instead.

fitness model doing incline presses

However, because this is the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith System With Linear Bearings, the motion feels far more fluid than that of other home gyms. Aside from making your workout more productive, this smoother range of motion is also easier on your joints because the bar doesn't suddenly stick halfway through a rep.

As for the Marcy Diamond Elite bar weight, it's right around 18 lbs (8kg), since so many people are curious.

Also, the lowest setting is approximately 21" off the ground. This is actually the perfect starting point for exercises like Romanian deadlifts and shrugs. But if you need the bar lower, for whatever reason, then you can decide to leave the safety stoppers out during the assembly (not recommended though).

Olympic rack

fitness model performing back squats

Like the smith machine, the Olympic rack supports 300lbs (136kg) and benefits from multiple attachment points for both the barbell holders and the safety catches. While nothing compares to a seasoned spotter with gigantic biceps, this setup still enables you to perform heavy compound movements with the peace of mind that you can easily re-rack or ditch the weight whenever necessary.

High pulley

As with all pulleys on the Marcy Diamond Elite MD 9010G Smith Machine, the upper cables can handle 300lbs of weight plates. Plenty of resistance, right?

close up of the high pulley

At a glance, it sure seems enough. But if you're an exceptionally heavy lifter, then you might max out the high pulley's capacity. Here's why:

Due to the machine's design, the high pulleys have a 50% weight ratio. What this means in practice is that if you put 300lbs on the pulleys, you only get 150lbs of resistance.

muscular man doing a cable crossover

Now, I'm not ashamed to say that 150lbs is plenty of resistance for me on most upper body exercises. And to be perfectly honest, I rarely see anyone do pulldowns with 150lbs while using proper form.

So, for most of us who don't have any grand plans of becoming a competitive bodybuilder, 150lbs is more than enough resistance for exercises like pushdowns, cable crossovers and lat pulldowns. However, if Mr Olympia is your idol, then you might need to push the boat out and invest in a commercial-standard machine.

That said, if you use both sides of the high pulley together, you'll get the full resistance.

Low pulley

low row station

Contrary to the high pulleys, the lower cables enjoy a 200% weight ratio. This means that if you put 100lbs of plates on the machine, you actually get 200lbs (90kg) of resistance.

Now, I don't know anyone who can work out with 600lbs (272kg), which is the theoretical max resistance. But if you're that strong, then I'd love to hear your secrets.

Anyway, the low pulley is ideal for performing isolation exercises, such as lateral raises, upright rows, curls and triceps extensions, which help to round out your physique.

Low row

close up of the footplate

Situated directly in front of the low pulley, the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage System Home Gym includes a built-in foot platform that enables you to perform a variety of pulling movements. The most obvious exercise is seated rows. But with a little imagination, you can do plenty more exercises including face pulls, lying front raises and lying bicep curls.

The foot platform also benefits from a non-slip surface, which enables you to lift more weight since you can push harder in the opposite direction. So in this regard, it's very similar to the Marcy SM4000 model, which is essentially the European version of the Diamond Elite.

Leg developer

Now, I know that you would never dream of skipping leg day, but just in case we have any chest-and-biceps-everyday-bros reading, I want to talk to you about the leg developer.

man performing knee extensions

Like any good leg developer, it offers the possibility to perform quad extensions and standing hamstring curls. But since the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage Gym comes with an adjustable bench, you can also do lying leg curls.

In my experience, lying hamstring curls enable you to lift far more weight than the standing variation and thus provide better results. They're also much quicker to perform since you can train both legs together instead of just one at a time, which makes pairing them with quad extensions more convenient.

Preacher curl

man training his biceps with weights

The preacher curl station is connected to the end of the adjustable bench and conveniently doubles up as a t-bar row machine that helps to thicken your back. However, as some users noted in their Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Machine reviews, you can't get a full range of motion using the plate-loaded handles if you have long arms.

Although this means that your biceps are always engaged, I recommend doing preacher curls with dumbbells or an EZ bar, depending on what equipment you have access to.

In case I'm not being clear, I have no problem with the preacher pad itself, I just don't rate the accompanying t-bar handles for curls.

Adjustable bench

The adjustable bench, which stands 21" off the floor when set to flat, has a 600lb (272kg) weight capacity and offers a multitude of incline and decline settings so that you can work your muscles from different angles.

bench with arm training station

Additionally, you can set the bench angle all the way to 90° for shoulder presses.

Also, unlike with other home gyms, the bench isn't bolted to the main unit. Despite having no wheels, this free-moving design enables you to take the bench (which is pretty easy to lift) out of the cage to perform dumbbell exercises.

However, as people noted in their Marcy Diamond 9010G Smith Cage reviews, the bench is curved at the bottom, which can take some getting used to.

bench adjustments

Personally, I wasn't too bothered by it. But if you really can't bear the curvature, then I suggest biting the bullet and ordering another bench because you don't want to miss out on the versatility of this home gym.

One thing that did bother me, however, is the 'bench pin' (for lack of a better term). You have to unscrew it every time you want to change the angle, which can get annoying if you're doing supersets or high-intensity training. Overall, not a deal-breaker by any means, but I'd definitely consider upgrading the bench if I wanted maximum comfort and ease of use.

Pec deck

The pec deck is the final station on the Marcy Diamond Home Gym Smith Cage. It has a 100% ratio (100lbs of plates equals 100lbs of resistance) and is best used for high reps to finish off your chest after heavy bench presses.

man performing a pectoral isolation exercise

I'm not a big fan of pec decks in general as I think cable crossovers provide a superior range of motion, but I'll admit that this particular pec deck does give an intense contraction.

As you've probably realised, the Diamond Elite isn't exactly the best home gym for bodyweight training. So I recommend checking out the Marcy SM4008 (USA) or the Marcy RS7000 (UK) if you want a home gym with a pull-up station.

Accessories

collection of cable attachments

With a lat bar, shiver bar, v bar, triceps rope, ankle strap, single handles and a footplate, the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage has a far broader selection of attachments than the average home gym. Using a variety of accessories enables you to hit your muscles from different angles and trigger new growth faster.

It also means that you don't have to fork out for extra attachments, which can easily cost £70+ if you're buying an entire set. Maybe attachments are cheaper in the USA and Canada?

Marcy Diamond Elite parts and frame

Frame

The steel frame, which has a powder coat finish for extra longevity, feels incredibly stable because the base isn't attached to the floor. Instead, it has its own legs that function as support beams for the main unit. This means that you won't experience any wobble during your workouts, as you might with less durable home gyms.

Cables and pulleys

With a tensile strength of 2000lbs (907kg), the aircraft-grade cables on the Marcy 9010 Smith Machine are incredibly durable. In case you're wondering, tensile strength is the amount of tension that you can subject an object to (in this case, the cable) without it breaking.

As for the pulleys, they're built with nylon and benefit from sealed ball bearings. What this means to you is that your range of motion during cable exercises will be smoother because there's less friction. Naturally, this provides a better mind-muscle connection and with enough effort on your part, more muscle growth.

That said, for even the best weight machine, I always recommend spraying your cables with WD-40 to maintain a smooth gliding motion.

Related post: Yukon Caribou iii review

Storage

One thing that makes the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage a real workout system rather than just a workout machine is its generous amount of storage.

storage post fpr weight plates

In addition to a barbell holder, there are metal weight plate storage pegs (3 per side), each of which can hold 100lbs (45kg). Like all sections of the unit, these plate holders can accommodate both 1" and 2" weight discs if you attach the Olympic sleeves. This helps you to maintain a tidy workout area and also enables you to buy cheaper weight plates since you're not tied to any specific diameter.

Marcy Diamond Elite Size and weight

The Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage is by no means a small gym. After all, it measures 70" L x 83" W x 86" H and weighs 380 lbs. Although this makes the unit incredibly sturdy, not everyone can fit the machine in their house.

length, width and height of this gym

That said, considering that you can do pretty much every exercise that you can in a commercial gym, I think the footprint is justified. The question is, can you fit this gym in your space?

As a point of reference, It's not actually a whole lot bigger than your average weight stack gym. However, you'll still need around two feet of clearance on all sides of the machine.

As for whether you can put it upstairs, sure you can, if the structure of your house is strong enough. With weights, It's the rough equivalent of two heavy people sleeping in a bed with a wardrobe nearby, so make of that what you will.

Marcy Diamond Elite assembly

Now for everyone's favourite part of the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage—the assembly.

Ok, the assembly isn't bad as some people make it out to be. But still, it's extremely time-consuming.

Here's what you should know:

The Marcy Elite Diamond Smith Machine comes in 3 boxes; box 1 measures 84" x 20" x 75" and weighs 210lbs, box 2 measures 44" x 21.5" x 8" and weighs 108lb and box 3 measures 60.5" x 24" x 7" and weighs 77lbs.

Boxes 1 and 2 contain the parts for the smith machine, while box 3 has all the components for the bench. So to make things easier for yourself, I recommend taking one of two initial approaches:

A) Only open box 3 after you've completely finished assembling the main unit

B) Open just box 3 initially, assemble the bench, and then start work on the main unit

Option B will give you a small victory early on, but I prefer option A seen as it gets the hard part out of the way first.

Speaking of difficulty, the setup process itself isn't that complicated if you follow the instructions and don't tighten any bolts until you're explicitly told to do so.

The most challenging part of the setup job is the pulley system, where you definitely need to study the diagrams carefully. However, Marcy makes the process easier by including textual instructions—in addition to the schematic—in your owner's manual, which you must read if you want to get things right.

As some people mentioned in their Marcy Elite Smith Machine reviews, it's helpful to sort and label all of the parts before you actually start to build anything. This takes more time upfront, but it'll probably shave time off the assembly job, all things considered.

Overall, you're looking at about 4-5 hours with 2 people and 7-10 hours if you decide to go it alone.

Marcy Diamond Elite Resistance level

Although not the same quality as a £5000 commercial machine, the Marcy Deluxe Diamond Elite Smith Cage provides remarkably smooth resistance for a home gym in this price range. [1]

Each station also has what you call a weight ratio. This is essentially how much of the overall weight you get as resistance. For example, a weight ratio of 100% means that you get 100lbs of resistance for every 100lbs of plates that you put on the pulleys. Here's the breakdown by station: [2]

Low pulley = 200% (100lbs of weights provides 200lbs of resistance)

High pulleys = 50% per side

Butterfly = 100%

Smith machine = 100%

Marcy Diamond Elite Comfort

Listen, I know that if you're a meathead, you might not care about how comfy your gym is (you can't be hardcore and comfortable, right?) [3]

Well, I might not look like a competitive bodybuilder but trust me on this one, a comfortable machine makes a big difference when you're training regularly.

Thankfully for the non-meatheads among us, the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage is indeed a comfortable gym in most cases. For starters, the frame has a 7-degree slant, which might seem insignificant, but it actually makes your pressing and squatting exercises feel much more natural.

Also, the leg developer has 6 foam pads to prevent your shins from bruising during heavy quad extensions.

As for the bench, it's completely adjustable and comes complete with high-density boxed upholstery that cushions your joints from the steel frame.

My only gripe (and I'm being picky here) is that the bench is curved at the bottom. While this certainly supports your lumbar spine, I think I speak for most users when I say that I'd prefer a regular flat bench.

Still, considering that new adjustable benches don't cost all that much these days, this isn't a deal-breaker by any means.

Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Machine exercises by muscle group

Here's a selection of my favourite exercises that you can add to your Marcy Diamond Elite workout routine [4].

an exercise chart demonstrating various workouts
  • Chest: bench presses (flat, incline, decline), smith machine bench presses, pec dec flys, cable crossovers
  • Back: pulldowns (wide-grip, close-grip, underhand, single-arm), low rows, high rows, t-bar rows, shrugs
  • Shoulders: seated shoulder presses, standing overhead presses, upright rows, lateral raises, front raises, face pulls, rear delt flys
  • Arms: standing curls, preacher curls, hammer curls, triceps pushdowns, overhead extensions, forearm curls
  • Legs: squats, lunges, split squats, Romanian deadlifts, leg extensions, hamstring curls (seated & standing), calf raises, glute kickbacks, hip abductions
  • Abs: high pulley cable crunches, seated crunches, oblique crunches, cable woodchops, decline sit-ups

FAQ

Technical questions

What's the height of the Marcy Diamond Elite?

The Marcy Diamond Elite height is 86" or 218cm tall.

What are the Marcy Diamond Elite dimensions?

The Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Machine dimensions are 70" L x 83" W x 86" H for the cage and 75" L x 28.5" W x 47" H for the bench.

How much does the Marcy Diamond Elite bar weigh?

The Marcy Smith Machine bar weight is approximately 18lbs or 8kg.

How much weight does Marcy Diamond Elite support on the rack?

The machine supports up to 300lbs (136kg) on the rack.

What length barbell do I need for Marcy Diamond Elite?

It's compatible with a 7-foot Olympic barbell.

Can you disassemble a Marcy Diamond Elite?

By following the Marcy Diamond Elite assembly instructions in reverse order, you can also disassemble the unit. Begin with the cables and pulleys and then move onto the main structure.

Is the Marcy Diamond Elite cable diagram easy to follow?

Yes, the cable diagram is easy to follow if you study the schematic carefully. That said, it's rather time-consuming.

Who can assemble the MD9010G Marcy Diamond for me?

It's now possible to hire an experienced professional to assemble your MD9010G. You can click here for the current prices and to learn what's involved.

Purchasing questions

Is the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Machine for sale?

Yes, it's currently for sale at select retailers. I'll list my preferred purchase place below.

Can I buy Marcy Diamond Elite replacement parts if needed?

If you want to buy replacement parts, then your best bet is to contact IMPEX directly. Their customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 9am-5pm PST [5].

Would you recommend a getting a used Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Machine?

As much as I like this smith cage machine, I would never recommend buying it used. First off, with a second-hand product, you don't get the warranty. Also, key components such as the pulleys may have been abused by their previous owners, which might not be apparent until it's too late [6].

What are the best weights to purchase for the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage With Linear Bearings?

100kg olympic weight set

If you're ordering from the UK, then I recommend getting the affordable Body Power TRI-GRIP Olympic Weight Set. I've had these plates for years, and they still look like new. I went with the 145kg set, but you can also get them in nine other sizes.

If you're ordering from the USA, then go with the CAP Barbell 300lb Olympic Set if you want value for money. It comes with a 7ft bar, collars and you can choose between a variety of different plates, such as rubber and steel.

Where can I read more Marcy Diamond Elite reviews?

I hope that my Marcy Diamond Power Cage review answered all of your questions. But if you'd like a second opinion, then you can click here to read more customer reviews.

Workout questions

Do you get a Marcy Smith Machine exercise chart?

Yes, a Marcy Diamond Elite exercise chart is included with your purchase.

What are some good Marcy Diamond Elite Home Gym workouts?

You can do a variety of Marcy Diamond Elite workouts, including full-body, upper/lower and body part specific sessions. Here's an example leg workout [7].

1) Back squat: 3 x 8-12 reps

2) Romanian deadlift: 3 x 6-8 reps

3A) Quad extensions: 2 x 12-15 reps

3B) Lying hamstring curls: 2 x 10-15 reps

4) Calf raises: 3 x 12-20 reps

Does the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Machine have a lat pulldown?

Yes, it does have a lat pulldown. You can use a traditional lat bar to train your whole back together or use a single handle to isolate each side.

Can you do deadlifts?

Yes, you can perform traditional deadlifts by using the free-weight rack and an Olympic bar. The smith machine is excellent for Romanian deadlifts but it doesn't go low enough for regular deadlifts. You can, however, perform rack pulls with the smith machine.

How can I do leg curls on the Marcy Diamond Elite?

You can do leg curls by lying stomach-down on the bench and curling the leg developer pad towards your hips. Alternatively, you can do standing hamstring curls using one leg at a time.

Does it come with a pull-up bar?

This machine doesn't come with a pull-up bar. However, the Marcy SM-4903, which is similarly-priced, comes with both a pull up bar and a dip station.

Can you add my question to Your Marcy Diamond 9010G Smith Cage review?

Sure, I'm always happy to expand the FAQ section. Feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment down below.

Is the Marcy Diamond 9010G Smith Cage worth your money?

If you want the variety of a commercial gym, but don't have the time or desire to visit a health club, then I absolutely think that the MD-9010G is worth the money. It has 8 steel-constructed workout stations and comes with 7 accessories, and for the price, I'm yet to see a better alternative.

Sure, it does have its shortcomings. The bench, while fully adjustable, has a curve at the bottom, which is annoying when you're trying to bench press heavy.

Personally, though, I ended up investing in the Body Solid Smith machine (Series 7). Sure, it's a little more pricey, but its construction is far sturdier than anything else on the market—hence the lifetime warranty.

It comes with a commercial-grade 11 and 12 gauge steel construction and includes a 4-point base for extra stability and safety during heavy sets, which definitely encourages me to push my limits and aim for new PRs.

My favourite feature, besides the sheer sturdiness, it the 95kg alloy weight stack, which makes it ridiculously easy to change the resistance. This quick-change weight system enables me to enjoy the best effects of supersets and high-intensity training, while also saving my energy for my actual sets (not swapping weight plates around). [8]

Anyway. I hope that my Marcy Diamond Elite review was helpful, and I really hope that you enjoy your new gym, whichever product you go for!

Our #1 Rated smith machine
Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine
happy man sat on workout bench
  • 7-degree angle maximises muscle fibre recruitment
  • Comes jam-packed with 7+ proven workout stations
  • 95kg selectorized weight stack provides commercial-grade home workouts
  • Backed by an ironclad lifetime warranty
  • Offered at rock-bottom UK pricing during 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.
Amazon Associates Disclaimer
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
© Copyright 2014-2020 - Smith Machine UK - All Rights Reserved
hello world!
chevron-upmenu-circlecross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram