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Matrix Smith Machine: Learn how one fitness brand dominates the British gym scene with simple, sturdy equipment

By James Jackson
Last Updated on 8th July 2020

If you're ever stepped foot inside a British gym, then you've probably seen or used Matrix gym equipment. Matrix machines are simple, sturdy and, with enough effort on our part, provide a great workout thanks to their natural lifting motions.

This quick comparison will help you pick the best Smith machine from Matrix for your facility by explaining the key differences between each model. And as you'll soon learn, there are quite a few. So let's get straight into it.

Matrix MG-PL62

Matrix MG PL62

This Magnum Smith Machine combo is the heaviest and tallest Matrix Smith machine, and from what I can gather from training in countless gyms across the UK, also the most popular.

The barbell, which supports up to 245kg, is counterbalanced to a joint-lowest starting weight of 11.3kg, allowing beginner lifters to learn the proper form without being forced to lift too much weight too soon. Of course, with such a high weight rating, the MG-PL62 is equally useful for advanced athletes who want to test their strength without a spotter.

While training with a partner is always a fun experience, you can safely use this Matrix Smith machine without any assistance because it comes equipped with 11 steel bar hooks, which enables you to re-rack the barbell at any point during a set with a simple turn of the wrist.

Likewise, all Matrix Smith machines come fitted with adjustable safety catches so that you can prevent yourself from getting pinned under the barbell in the unlikely event that you can't re-rack the weight.

Keen bodybuilders will be pleased to know that the MG-PL62 is equipped with silky-smooth linear bearings to provide a frictionless bar path. Naturally, this fluid lifting motion enables you to get a better pump and achieve a stronger mind-muscle connection because there are no awkward sticking points as you lift the weight.

Matrix has also given their MG-PL62 Smith machine two protective powder coat finishes to increase the unit's resistance to the wear and tear of the commercial gym environment. Obviously, this inherent durability means that you won't need to upgrade your Matrix Smith machine anytime soon, which is especially helpful if you have a smaller facility with a lower budget.

Matrix G1-FW161

Matrix G1 FW161

The Matrix G1-FW161 has the highest starting resistance of any Matrix Smith machine (20kg) and is also by far the lightest, weighing just 135kg.

Although it has the fewest storage pegs of the Matrix trio, it's off-the-floor design also makes it the safest Matrix Smith machine because the bar travel is limited to 65cm off the floor. If you have short legs, then it might be difficult to get a full range of motion on an exercise like Romanian deadlifts.

However, the restricted bar travel also reduces the likelihood of severe spinal injuries, which can occur when people get pinned at the bottom of a squat without having activated the safety catches before their set.

Similarly, the Matrix G1-FW161 is almost 100cm longer than the other two models, which makes it even safer for lifting heavy because the weight is distributed over a larger surface area, giving the frame greater stability.

Of course, it's a double-edged sword because you'll need more space to house the G1-FW161's large footprint. Nonetheless, if your fitness facility has a lot of beginners who train alone, then it's probably the most suitable choice as far as user safety is concerned. Also, this Smith machine from Nautilus is another solid option for commercial facilities (but I prefer Matrix).

Matrix VY-M49

Matrix VY M49

For what it's worth, I think that the Smith machine Matrix VY-M49 is the top choice. Despite being the most compact Matrix Smith machine, it has the highest weight capacity by nearly 75kg and makes the best use of floor space by offering ample storage pegs (again, the most out of any of their Smith machines).

However, the most obvious difference is the 7-degree slant that's built into the VY-M49's frame. It's widely believed that angled Smith machines provide the most natural lifting motion for pressing exercises. This is especially true for the bench press because we tend to arc the bar backwards as we complete a rep in order to activate our triceps. In turn, this enhanced triceps activation enables us to lock the weight out more forcefully and increase our strength.

If you glance at the pictures, you'll also notice that the VY-M49 has the most open design of the three Matrix Smith machines (despite being the most compact!), which makes it a good choice for those who train with a partner. Moreover, the walk-through design enables easy access from both sides of the frame, meaning that you don't have to awkwardly climb over your bench to access the workout area.

As mentioned, the VY-M49 is also the Matrix Smith machine with the most amount of storage. This space-saving design naturally encourages members to put their weights away and is also useful if you don't want to clutter your gym floor with extra weight disc tress.

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How much does a Matrix Smith Machine bar weigh?

The Matrix Smith machine bar weight ranges from 11.3kg to 20kg and depends on which model you're using. Here's the rundown.

  • Matrix MG-PL62: 11.3kg
  • Matrix G1-FW161: 20kg
  • Matrix VY-M49: 11.3kg

Which Matrix Smith Machine is right for your gym?

I've spent countless hours training on the three Matrix Smith machines in fitness facilities all over the UK, including places like Pure Gym as well as private strength and conditioning studios.

All of them do the job and feel perfectly sturdy, and if you've got the budget for a commercial-grade machine, I definitely recommend checking out Matrix.

I like the Matrix VY-M49 because it has the most open design while also being the most compact. Although I didn't come close to maxing out the 318kg weight capacity, I was able to perform a heavy (for me) full-body workout with no issues. Having 12 storage pegs close at hand also enabled me to quickly change the weight over for paired sets, which I use to save time in the gym.

If user safety is your number one priority, then Matrix G1-FW161 is also a good option. The bar travel is restricted to 65cm off the ground, so your members have much less chance of getting pinned under the barbell if they forget to deploy the safety catches.

At 20kg, the Matrix G1-FW161 also has the highest starting resistance of the three matrix Smith machines. Naturally, this makes it easy to keep track of your strength progress since free weight barbells also generally weigh 20kg. You can check the current Matrix Smith machine price by contacting the company themselves. We're just third-party testers (we don't sell machines). Anyway, I hope that this comparison was helpful, and good luck on your fitness journey.

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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