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Marcy SM1050 review: Is the price tag too good to be true?

By James Jackson
Last Updated on 8th July 2020

Compact. Rugged. Affordable. The Marcy SM1050 embodies all the qualities of a great multi-station home gym. It's constructed from heavy-duty 14 gauge steel and has an excellent warranty, making it ideal for long term use.

But is it really the best Smith machine that's available?

Let's begin the review and find out.

compact resistance training machine
Pros
  • Includes 5 pieces of gym equipment in one compact machine
  • Free weight pegs support 136kg
  • Bench has 5 backrest positions and includes arm & leg attachments
  • Short & hassle-free assembly
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame
Cons
  • Frame felt a bit unsteady according to one user
  • Have to buy weights separately

Marcy SM1050 facts and figures

The Marcy SM 1050 is an upgraded version of the old Marcy SM600, which is now discontinued in the UK. Since the SM150 is marketed as a fully-fledged home gym—not just a regular Smith machine—it also comes with a lot more workout stations than its predecessor.

In addition to the Smith bar, Marcy gives us a free weight rack and an adjustable bench that has both preacher curl and leg developer attachments. That's five pieces of strength training equipment in one machine. So far it looks like a decent option if you're on the market for a space-saving home gym.

diagram explaining the key features of the machine

Marcy also includes separate safety catches for the squat rack and Smith machine. Besides encouraging you to train safely, the safety stoppers also enable you to work out faster because you don't have to waste time repositioning them before each exercise.

The frame itself, though only 78kg, is also built with safety in mind. There are 9 lockout points for the Smith machine and 7 heights for the free weight safety catches and bar holders. This design is convenient if you train alone like me because you can-re rack the bar at virtually any point during the rep.

However, one man pointed out in his review that the frame feels a bit unsteady when he places the barbell at the top of the free weight rack. He also noted that the Smith bar feels flimsy and lightweight.

handle for curls and t bar rows

While I would respectfully disagree about the Smith bar—Smith machine barbells are supposed to feel light—I can see where he's coming from with regards to the frame's stability.

That said, feeling unstable and being unstable are two different things. The SM1050 has a lifetime guarantee on its frame and definitely won't tip over unless you exceed the weight capacity.

  • Dimensions: 191cm L x 203cm W x 216cm H
  • Unit weight: 85kg
  • Weight capacity: 135kg
  • Workout stations: Smith machine, adjustable bench, leg developer
  • Warranty: lifetime on frame, 3 years on parts
  • Estimated assembly time: 3-4 hours
  • Price: Check Current Price

Marcy SM1050 workout stations

Smith machine

The Smith machine uses so-called ultra glide bushings to move up and down the guide rods.

However, this clever verbiage is just another way of saying plastic parts.

rear view of a compact workout machine

That said, considering how smoothly the press bar moves, you would never guess the bushings are plastic. Nylon may glide more easily than steel, which is the material that glorified linear bearings are typically made from. So perhaps Marcy wasn't exaggerating after all.

The bar itself weighs 10kg with no plates on it (or when it's naked, as I like to say). It has an upper capacity of 136kg, meaning that the maximum resistance is a solid 146kg.

Unsurprisingly, the low starting weight makes them SM1050 popular with the beginner crowd. It's much easier to learn the proper form when you don't have to lift a heavy 20kg barbell from day one.

However, the SM1050 is an equally sound investment for advanced lifters who want to test their strength without the need or interference from a spotter. Even if you push too hard and fail on a rep, the safety catches will always have you back (as do the 9 steel lockout points).

With the help of Marcy's Olympic adapter sleeves, you can also use 2" plates as well as 1" discs on the Smith bar.

Free weight rack

barbell and safety hooks

Although free weights are never quite as safe as machines, this particular free weight rack goes a long way to keeping us safe.

Marcy includes a pair of safety stoppers that stick out further than the bar holders. Aside from giving you two places to re-rack the bar, this intelligent design can also save you from impending doom because the safety catches will immediately take over if you fail a rep.

Moreover, with 7 adjustable positions, you can use the safety catches to customise the lowest point to which the barbell can travel for each exercise. Like a motivational spotter, these bar catches enable you to push harder and stimulate more growth because you know that you've always got a backup if things go wrong.

steel safety catches

The bar catches also have rubberised tops to reduce impact and minimise noise as you re-rack the weight.

However, I realise that some meatheads might miss the clanking of metal as they dump the weight back in the rack after an ego-fueled set of half rep bench presses. But personally, I prefer it when my home gym doesn't sound like a busy scrapyard.

Adjustable bench

weight bench with arm curl

The adjustable bench has 5 backrest positions: decline, flat, incline (multiple) and upright. On the surface, this makes the bench appear perfect for working your muscles from different angles, especially your chest.

However, the seat isn't adjustable. Naturally, this can make high incline presses feel quite awkward since there's a fairly large gap between the seat and backrest in this position. That said, shallow incline presses, which are my go-to upper chest exercise, feel fine. And particularly good on the Smith machine.

The bench also includes a leg developer attachment so that you can add definition to your quads and hamstrings after doing heavy squats and Romanian deadlifts.

back view of a bench with arm curl pad

Additionally, the bench has a height-adjustable preacher curl pad that comes complete with a handle so that you don't have to buy dumbbells to train your biceps (though I definitely recommend them if budget allows).

Furthermore, by shifting around and positioning your back against the pad, you can also use the preacher station for overhead tricep extensions—a known mass-builder that's ideal to superset with curls.

See my Marcy SM4000 review if you want a machine that comes with cables.

Marcy SM1050 parts and frame

sturdy metal frame

Although one user felt that the frame was a little unsteady with the bar positioned high on the rack, the SM1050 is still a very sturdy home gym. And it has many satisfied buyers.

The cage and bench are constructed from durable 14 gauge steel that comes with a powder coat finish as an extra layer of protection. This robust design enhances the unit's resistance to wear and tear, so it's not surprising that Marcy is willing to give us a lifetime warranty on the frame (the parts have 3 years guarantee).

On the comfort side of things, Marcy also does a good job. As someone who likes to have their creature comforts while training, I was pleased to see that the 6 foam rollers on the leg developer were heavily padded.

preacher pad upholestry

Don't get me wrong; I'm fine with a bit of discomfort here and there. But it's great to not have the bottom of your shins covered in bruises after a few sets of leg extensions.

Likewise, the 6.5cm thick upholstery on the bench will provide your back with plenty of support during bench and shoulder presses (even if high incline presses might feel a tad awkward).

Marcy SM1050 size and weight

The Marcy SM1050 is a remarkably compact home gym. Since there isn't any cabling at the back, you can save space by positioning the unit against the wall. Just make sure that you leave a couple of feet around either side to load weight discs onto the barbell.

length, width and height of the device

While not as versatile as the Marcy Pro Smith Cage SM-4903 (great gym btw), it's much more compact.

Anyway. In case you're curious, here are the key stats:

  • Overall dimensions: 208cm L x 200cm W x 211cm H
  • Cage dimensions: 110cm L x 210cm W x 211cm H
  • Bench dimensions: 162cm L x 71cm W x 122cm H
  • Maximum user weight: 136kg
  • Max bar weight: 136kg (for 146kg total resistance)
  • Max weight on leg developer and preacher curl: 45kg

Marcy SM1050 safety features

Marcy includes safety stoppers on both the Smith machine and the free weight rack. And since these safety catches are adjustable, they enable you to limit the bar travel and prevent yourself from getting dangerously pinned under a heavy barbell.

There are also two weight plate storage posts so that you can minimise trip hazards by keeping your workout area tidy. You can also check out my Marcy SM4008 review if you want a product that comes with extra storage options.

Marcy SM1050 assembly

The Marcy SM1050 gets delivered in two boxes, both of which are fairly heavy.

  • Box 1: 213cm L x 44cm W x 18cm H (60kg)
  • Box 2: 130cm L x 49cm W x 19cm H (29kg)

You'll need two adjustable spanners and a set of Allen keys to complete this 20-step installation.

To be precise, there are actually 4 main steps. But Marcy has broken down each step into manageable chunks for a total of 20 steps, which makes things much easier to process [1].

They also bold key areas of the instructions, such as when and when not to tighten the bolts, so that you don't miss any critical information.

Speaking of which, all the parts from the hardware pack are labelled in the manual along with their exact measurements, which you can verify via the provided ruler. This way, you don't get confused between the washers, nuts and bolts, which can often look remarkably similar [2].

Overall, you're looking at around 2-4 hours. Definitely not bad for a home gym.

FAQ

What weights do you recommend?

100kg olympic weight set

I recommend investing in the Bodypower 100kg TRI-GRIP Weight Set. I've been training with their weights for years ad I have no complaints. It comes with a 7ft barbell that's fully compatible with the SM1050. Plus since these are tri-grip plates, they're really easy to grip and place on the bar.

Does the bar glide smoothly?

Yes. Even though the bushings are plastic, the bar glides remarkably smoothly up and down the guide rods. This enables you to focus on getting a better workout and setting new PRs since you're not distracted by any annoying friction.

Are there similar alternatives?

compact weight training system

If you want the dependability of the SM1050 but don't need the bells and whistles of a preacher attachment, then I recommend checking out the Marcy SM1000 Smith machine. It's got a lifetime frame warranty and is more compact than the SM1050 in both length and height, making it a popular choice for those with small spaces [3].

However, there are even better alternatives if you're serious about building muscle at home—more on this in just a sec.

Should you buy the Marcy SM1050?

The moment of truth. Is the Marcy SM1050 worth the investment?

If you're a beginner lifter, then It's not a bad choice. The Smith station provides up to 146kg of resistance, which more than enough for many people to build muscle at home.

However, for the price, there are simply better options available, in my opinion. As good as the SM1050 is, it just doesn't compare to the more durable Powerline PSM144X Smith Machine, which also comes with a considerably higher 181kg weight capacity.

This Smith machine is made by the world-renowned gym equipment manufacturer, Body Solid, and it's been a bestseller for 15 years at this point. It's particularly popular with personal trainers who have their own fitness studios because the sturdy build quality affords them and their clients more safety while they test their strength [4].

Overall, I highly recommend the Powerline Smith machine if you want to build serious muscle at home without taking out a second mortgage to pay for gym equipment. It also comes with a variety of upgrade options that puts you in control of the creation of your new home gym.

Editor's Choice
Body Solid Powerline Smith Machine
muscualr man gripping a barbell
  • Wobble-free frame supports over 180kg of mass-building resistance
  • Friction-free lifting motion decreases joint strain while maximising muscle growth
  • 14 reinforced steel lockouts for testing your strength without a spotter
  • Hassle-free 2-hour assembly
  • 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.
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