One's thing's for sure. The Marcy SM1000 is definitely a compact Smith machine. But is it versatile enough for home workouts?
I set out to learn the truth.
I reviewed all 12 Marcy Smith machines on the UK market for versatility, durability, value and ease of use—only 4 made the cut.
And in this review, you'll soon learn why the Marcy SM1000 was one of them...
Ok. So we know that the Marcy SM1000 Deluxe Smith Machine is relatively compact and affordable. But what comes inside the box? And can it replace a gym membership?
Rather than being the typical Jack of all trades, master of none that plagues the overcrowded home gym market, Marcy takes a different approach. Instead of trying to be average at everything via a technique that I call feature cramming, they focus on two or three workout stations and engineer them to near perfection.
We get a Smith machine with a whopping 136kg capacity, a 7-position adjustable bench and a quad and hamstring leg developer. Collectively, these three stations have everything we need to get a safe and effective full-body workout at home.
Like your favourite motivational workout song, the ultra-glide Smith press gives you the power to push your limits without a spotter. Naturally, this newly-acquired "superpower" leads to faster muscle growth since you can train to failure with the peace of mind that the Smith machine and its heavy-duty safety catches have always got your back.
While the Smith machine takes care of your upper body, the built-in quad and hamstring developer ensures that you'll never get asked the dreaded "have you skipped leg day?" question ever again. The thick foam padding and easy-access design now make lower body training a fulfilling and pleasurable experience. Your shins and calves will no longer be covered in bruises that make you embarrassed to wear shorts.
The 21-stone capacity adjustable bench switches between 7 positions, including decline, incline and upright via a time-saving quick-release foot pedal that slashes minutes of wasted time off your workout. It's no wonder that people start enjoying the benefits of supersets more when they buy a home gym.
Many gym folk and coaches believe that free weights are better than the Smith machine for developing strength.
I would tend to agree.
However, you're only as strong as you are safe. If you blow your shoulder out—or worse, crush your chest with a loaded barbell, then you won't be building any muscle or strength.
There's a good reason why YouTube is littered with fools who think it's a smart idea to attempt a free weight 1rm when no one's home. Heck, one bloke almost decapitated himself when he couldn't re-rack the barbell.
How many people do you see getting hurt using their Smith machine?
And even if they do, their injuries, which are unsurprisingly always self-inflicted, are so minor that they're never publicised.
The bottom line is that Smith machines are safer than free weights, slightly worse for strength development and equally effective for muscle growth.
Now onto to the Marcy SM1000 Deluxe Smith machine.
The naked Smith bar weighs just 10kg, yet it holds up to 136kg of plates. Naturally, this makes it a useful piece of kit for both beginners and advanced lifters. While novices can start light as they learn the proper form, advanced lifters can load up from day one and stimulate some serious gains by lifting heavy.
Yet with 9 steel lockout points, you never have to choose between your safety and a new personal best. You can re-rack the bar at any point during the lift with a simple turn of the wrist.
While the lockout points are located on the outside of the frame (which can take some getting used to) it ultimately enables Marcy to make our workouts more realistic by providing us with a longer barbell that's easier to grip.
This ease of use gives the SM1000 a significant edge over the competition, who tend to use flimsier bars in an attempt to cut costs.
If you enjoy the fluid resistance of commercial Smith machines like me, then you'll feel at home with the Marcy SM1000 and its ultra-glide bushings. Like butter effortlessly melting in a hot frying pan, the nylon bushings and precision guide rods enable the Smith bar to glide up and down without any annoying friction.
As a result, the lifting motion feels more like free weights, which puts the tension where it matters—on your muscles—while stressing your joints less.
Marcy also includes adapter sleeves so that you can use both standard and Olympic discs (I'll show you the weight plates that go best with the SM1000 a bit later).
A 21 stone-strong adjustable bench comes included in the Marcy SM1000 Deluxe Smith Machine package. Yet thanks to the handy transport wheels and handle, you can also use it as a standalone bench and expand your exercise possibilities by incorporating dumbbells into your routine.
The backrest has 7 adjustable positions, including decline, flat, incline (multiple) and upright. With enough effort on your part, you'll naturally developer a more proportional physique since you can hit your muscles from different angles and recruit all the fibres.
As I mentioned at the start of this review, the ultra-convenient quick-release foot pedal makes it a breeze to switch between bench angles. These fast adjustments help you to burn fat quicker by keeping your heart rate up. Yet they also slash your workout time since you can easily pair exercises together and do supersets, or even circuit-style training.
The icing on the cake (a protein cake, of course) is the 45kg capacity leg developer. While most home gyms permit only standing leg curls, the SM1000 enables you to bulk up your hamstrings faster with lying leg curls. How so?
Good old progressive overload, that's how. Since you can lift significantly more weight on the lying variation than on the standing one, you'll see more rapid results in your hamstrings—without doing any extras sets.
And because there are no cruel gym thieves to steal your machine, you can superset hamstring curls with quad extensions and enjoy a stress-free (for your mind at least) leg workout from the comforts of your own home.
That said, I wish the weight rating was a little higher.
As fluid as the lifting motion is on the Smith machine, you'll still need to lubricate the guide rods periodically to maintain the smoothness. This maintenance applies to all gym equipment, of course. So I'm definitely not knocking the SM1000 here.
The bench has 6.5cm thick upholstery for back support, and the 6 rollers on the leg developer are heavily padded to prevent your legs from bruising.
Like a top quality mattress, the padding provides key areas of your body with the ideal blend of soft cushion and supportive firmness, enabling you to focus on the things that matter—in our case, getting a good workout—rather than being distracted by discomfort.
As with other Marcy products, the SM1000 benefits from a heavy-duty 14 gauge steel construction and a protective powder coat finish, both of which make your machine last longer by fighting off wear and tear.
However, unlike the rest of Marcy's product line, the SM1000 comes with a significantly longer warranty, which is often a key indicator of durability.
The frame is guaranteed for life and the parts for 3 years.
Considering that the average gym equipment warranty is 1-2 years (such as on the Marcy Combo Smith Machine), this level of buyer protection is incredibly reassuring to have.
The Marcy SM1000 Deluxe Smith Machine is a popular choice for those with limited space because it has a remarkably compact footprint, especially compared to the Marcy Pro Smith Machine.
Yet, at a weight of 85kg, it's heavy enough to prevent that unnerving wobble that you might have experienced with flimsier machines. Here are the key stats:
Initially, I wasn't sure if a Smith machine in this price range was sturdy enough to be safe. I wasn't sure if the bar hooks being on the outside of the frame would make it hard to re-rack the weight (or if you could even train heavy without a spotter).
However, you'll quickly discover that the SM1000 safety catches are much sturdier (and far more reliable) than any meathead-spotter's biceps. Sure, the safety stopper won't give you any words of encouragement. But if you fail on a rep, they'll take the load and get you out of trouble in a jiffy.
Plus, having the hooks on the outside allows Marcy to use a longer barbell with more knurling, which enables us to maintain a firmer grip on the bar.
Not only is a firm grip important for safety (i.e. not letting the bar fly out of your hands) but it also enables us to increase our strength faster since we can generate more power.
The Marcy SM1000 Deluxe Smith Machine comes in two boxes:
Ok. So while I wouldn't call the assembly fun, it's certainly not bad for a piece of home gym equipment. And it only takes a few hours.
Marcy labels all the parts from the hardware pack at the beginning of the manual, specifying their precise measurements so that you don't get confused between similar-looking nuts, bolts and washers.
There's a mixture of diagrams and text, with key textual instructions being bolded for extra clarity. This way, you won't accidentally tighten any bolts too early and have to re-do an entire section.
I also like that they break each major step into smaller sub-steps. It prevents you (well, me at least) from getting overwhelmed with information. It also means that you only need to attach a couple of parts at once, which makes the installation much more manageable.
Despite being compact, the Marcy SM1000 Deluxe Smith Machine is exceptionally versatile. Any movement that you can do with a barbell (yes, even lateral raises) you can do on this workout system. It's not as versatile as the Marcy SM4000 Deluxe Smith Machine, but it'll still provide a great workout .
The Marcy SM1000 Smith Machine gives you the freedom to create your own workout routines. But in case you don't have a personal trainer or are struggling for ideas, here's some inspiration. Give them a try next time you train and let me know what you think!
You can also check out the similar Marcy SM1050 if you want to see another option in the same price range.
1A: Incline bench press — 4 x 8-10 reps
1B: Smith machine pull up — 4 x 6-8 reps
2A: Flat press — 3 x 10-12 reps
2B: Underhand row — 3 x 10-12 reps
3A: Close-grip bench press — 3 x 12-15 reps
3B: Drag curl — 3 x 12-15 reps
4: Optional lateral raises — 3 x 15-20 reps
A specialisation routine using a range of little-known exercises that adds mass and definition to your arms .
1A: Drag curls — 4 x 8-10 reps
1B: Close-grip bench — 4 x 8-10 reps
2A: Reverse grip drag curl — 3 x 15-20 reps
2B: Bodyweight triceps extensions — 3 x 15-20 reps
3A: Wrist curls — 2 x 15-20 reps
3B: Reverse wrist curls — 2 x 15-20 reps
A no-nonsense lower body routine that attacks your legs from all angles. We start with heavy squats, increase the reps for isolation work and then finish with calves to ensure we achieve full development .
1: Back squat — 4 x 6-8 reps
2: Romanian deadlifts — 4 x 6-8 reps
3: Reverse lunge — 3 x 10-12 reps
4A: Leg extensions — 3 x 12-15 reps
4B: Hamstring curls — 3 x 12-15 reps
5: Standing calf raises — 4 x 8-10 reps
The Smith bar has ultra-glide bushings that enable the barbell to move in an unrestricted vertical motion. Because of this, there's no friction, which allows you to focus purely on the working muscle.
Yes, there are 9 lockout points spread evenly down each side of the frame. You can re-rack the bar with a small turn of the wrist ant any point during a rep.
Yes, the cage and bench are fully adaptable to both very tall and very short users. Regardless of your height, you can achieve a full range of motion on every exercise, providing that you use proper form, of course.
I recommend the Body Powder Rubber Tri Grip Olympic Discs. They're really easy to hold and you get a good selection of plates with the 77.5kg ste, for example: 2 x 20kg, 2 x 10kg, 2 x 5kg, 2 x 2.5kg and 2 x 1.25kg. Personally, I've been using Body Powder plates for years, and they still look brand new.
If you want something a bit heavier, then go with 107.5kg Disc Kit. If you calculate the cost per kilo, they're actually slightly better value than the 77.5kg set, too. You get all the weight plates listed above plus two additional 15kg discs. And they're made from iron, which definitely gives them a more hardcore feel.
Since the Marcy SM1000 Smith Machine is relatively lightweight, you don't technically need any flooring protection. However, if you want to protect the surface underneath the unit, then gym flooring is definitely worth the investment.
Thankfully, it's not expensive. Two packs of this water-resistant Rolson Flooring will do the job.
Marcy has managed to pack a lot of versatility into the SM1000 without making it demand much space in return.
As you discovered in the review, you can do virtually any exercise on the SM1000 that you'd do in a gym. And that includes proven mass-builders like bench presses, shoulder presses, squats, deadlifts and many more .
While elite-level weightlifters might find the 136kg capacity (146kg with the bar) a bit limiting, it's not a problem for beginners and intermediates. But overall, the Body Solid Powerline Smith Machine is still a better investment if you're looking for a quality home gym.
Besides letting you customise your home gym with 5 attachments, the Powerline Smith machine comes with a sturdier 181kg capacity, a more damage-resistant 12 gauge steel construction and a considerably more compact frame.
If you're based in Britain like me and want a Smith machine that you can upgrade to a full-fledged home gym (at any time), then I definitely recommend investing in the Body Solid Powerline over anything else. There are some fantastic package deals available at the moment as well.