Welcome to my Marcy SM600 Smith Machine review. Over the last 30 days, I've been doing some serious digging into the Marcy Fitness brand, to see what they're all about. I've reviewed over 10 of their home gyms.
Less than 5 made the grade.
Unfortunately, the SM600 wasn't one of them.
And in my review, you'll soon learn why the outdated SM600 isn't the best Smith machine for the money.
UPDATE: Marcy SM600 now appears to be discontinued in the UK. Skip to the conclusion to see the best choice.
The Marcy SM600 Half Smith Machine is an outdated and, by all accounts, a discontinued home gym. Actually, I think home gym is too generous of an introduction. This is literally just a Smith machine. And based on the user reviews that I read during its hay day—not a particularly good one.
That said, I get what Marcy was trying to do. Not everyone wants a fully-fledged home gym. Some of us just want a reasonably priced Smith machine and bench combo so that we can train at home safely.
However, ever since the recent UK fitness explosion made health clubs feel more like nightclubs, demands have changed. People want a workout system that can replace their gym memberships—not something that you'd find in the corner of a teenager's bedroom.
Ironically, the Powerline Smith machine is roughly the same size as the SM600 yet has almost 50kg of extra weight capacity, smoother resistance and 5 optional attachments.
The Marcy SM600 is quite basic compared to their other old products (such as the Marcy SM 6001 Smith Machine). However, it still packs some decent punch considering its compact size.
We get a Smith machine with a 7-degree slant that has many lockout points built into the frame. Some people say that an angled Smith machine is better than a regular one for making the exercises feel more like free weights.
Personally, I can't feel much of a difference. And besides, I don't use the Smith machines to get the benefits of free weights. I use my Smith machine for safety and to better isolate certain parts of a muscle, like my upper chest.
This particular Smith station has ultra glide bushings to enable smooth operation. In theory, this should reduce friction and help you to get a better pump.
There's also built-in safety catches that come complete with small rubber safety stops, which helps to reduce the impact on the frame if you ever need to bail on a rep.
The second and final workout station—if you can call it that—is the adjustable bench. It's a standalone bench, so you can use it with dumbbells if you have them. And it also has decline, incline and upright positions so that you can hit your muscles from different angles (more on that later in my review).
The Marcy SM600 Smith Machine & Weight Bench are both constructed from hard-wearing 14 gauge tubular steel.
However, despite possessing good durability, many users were less impressed by the stability. Due to its light 70kg frame, the unit tended to wobble around during use, which made them reluctant to push themselves and lift heavy.
As a result, they either had to train light or not at all—or worse, go back to a crowded public gym (no thanks).
Ironically, the wide base should make the machine feel more stable. But I suppose if you're lifting heavier the weight of the unit itself, things are bound to feel unstable.
Anyhow. It's not all doom and gloom. The SM600 has a powder coat finish, which aside from looking good, also makes the framework more resistant to wear and tear.
On the workout side of things, you can make use of the Olympic sleeves to use the Smith bar with either standard 1" discs or Olympic 2" plates. As a result, you can shop for a better deal on weights since you're not restricted to just one diameter. Now let's check out the Marcy SM600 Smith machine dimensions and the safety part of my review.
Overall, the Marcy SM600 Smith Machine & Adjustable Utility Weight Bench is a highly compact gym, measuring just 137cm L x 194cm W x 176cm H.
Being a half Smith makes it particularly convenient if you have low ceilings since it's hard to find a Smith machine under 200cm these days (the SM4000 Deluxe Smith machine being a prime example).
However, as I alluded to earlier in my Marcy SM600 review, the compactness comes at the expense of stability. At just 70kg, the frame was never going to be the most stable. Mix that with the theoretical 140kg max weight capacity, and you have a recipe for shakiness.
Of course, a bit of instability doesn't necessarily mean that your machine is going to tip over as if a woodchopper was axing it. But it doesn't exactly fill you with confidence while you work out either.
Overall, Marcy does a decent job at making the SM600 safe. While only rated to 140kg, the safety catches (and their convenient rubber stops) can get you out of trouble if you fail on a rep—if you remember to deploy them before your set, that is.
They also include 2 weight peg holders so that you can keep your workout area tidy and reduce trip hazards. However, some users noted that weight pegs often make the frame move when loaded with weights.
You'd think the pegs would have the opposite effect, effectively bolting the frame down. That said, when the weights are at the back, and the bar is empty—effectively turning the machine into a seesaw—you're aking for instability .
The Marcy SM600 Smith Machine manual consists of 6 major steps, which are then broken down into a total of 29 mini steps to make the instructions easier to process.
At the very start of the manual, you'll see that all the nuts, bolts and washers are labelled and their exact measurements specified. These components collectively form the hardware pack, and with the help of the provided ruler, you can easily differentiate between similar-looking parts, which is helpful considering that many look the same .
Now onto the final section of my review: the verdict.
I don't expect commercial quality when I work out at home. Yet I don't expect a wobble-prone machine either.
As I mentioned in my Marcy SM600 review, this Smith machine is very much a mixed bag.
And for some users, it took the biscuit.
While the steel frame is undoubtedly durable, it's too lightweight to cope with heavy lifting.
Again, the safety catches are a nice touch, but it's very much a standard feature nowadays—times have moved on.
For example, the Powerline Smith Gym comes in three money-saving package options that put you in the driver's seat by letting you completely customise your home gym setup. You can build muscle faster by targeting your body parts with the different workout stations, which include a lat pulldown, leg developer, pec deck, preacher curl and yes, even a selectorized weight stack .
You can also buy the Powerline Smith machine as a standalone Smith system if you just want an alternative to free weights. It comes with patented super-glide bearings to remove the friction as you lift, which enables you to get faster results by achieving better muscle stimulation. I highly recommend it if you're based in Britain and want a quality Smith machine.
Anyway. I hope that my Marcy SM600 Smith Machine review answered your questions. It's not the best in class, but Marcy has really upped their game in recent years with their new home gyms.