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Discover why the TuffStuff CSM-600'S 272kg weight capacity and lifetime warranty are making waves in home fitness circles

By James Jackson
Last Updated on 4th January 2021

TuffStuff is based in Chino, California and is the only American fitness company capable of manufacturing any product that it sells.

This accolade is particularly impressive in an industry where most brands never even see their own products (let alone use them) because they simply bulk order carbon copies from dubious Chinese warehouses and then slap their logo on top—as if that constitutes innovation.

As a result, we have a deteriorating fitness market that's flooded with cheap, untested knock-offs, which unsurprisingly, often do more harm than good. Ironically, Smith machines are meant to enhance our safety. Yet most are an accident waiting to happen based on the 47 that I've tested.

However, in this Smith machine review, you'll soon learn that not all hope is lost for those of us dreaming of safe and effective home workouts.

Although TuffStuff is still a relatively unknown fitness brand here in the UK (which made me sceptical at first) their unwavering 50-year commitment to creating the best gym equipment on the market and their heartwarming story of humble beginnings has filled me with confidence.

In my TuffStuff CSM-600 review, you'll discover how this small, family-founded company has cracked-the-code to designing the most durable and versatile equipment in both the home fitness and light commercial industry.

Pros
  • Self-aligning linear bearings provide a smooth lifting motion every time
  • 16 lockout points enable you to re-rack the bar with a small turn of the wrist
  • Heavy-duty safety stoppers can handle up to 362kg
  • Patented barbell holders take only a few seconds to adjust and yet, are perfectly secure
  • Lifetime in-home warranty and generous light-commercial commercial guarantee
Cons
  • Quite expensive
  • Need to buy your own bar and weights

TuffStuff CSM-600 facts and figures

The CSM-600 Smith Machine is part of TuffStuff's Evolution Series, which consists of uniquely-designed light commercial strength training stations. It also forms the base for their "fully-loaded" CSM-725WS, which is a premium home gym system that replaces cables and virtually all other gym equipment.

With the CSM-600, we get a unique 7-degree Smith machine, a half rack with 800lb-strong safety catches and a commercial-grade chin-up station with a variety of back-building grip options. TuffStuff also gives us a choice to upgrade our unit with a 200lb dual-pulley weight stack, effectively transforming the CSM-600 (and our workouts) into the powerful CSM-725WS.

man performing weighted lunges

Like all of their products—but unlike most of the cost-cutting fitness industry—TuffStuff has constructed their Smith Machine Half Cage from heavy-duty 11 gauge steel, which is the most durable metal used in gym equipment manufacturing.

Add in the wide, wobble-free base and the whopping 272kg (600lb) weight capacity, and it's clear to see why TuffStuff is willing to let us try the CSM-600, risk-free, by giving us a lifetime in-home warranty.

  • Dimensions: 183cm L x 203cm W x 213cm H
  • Unit weight: 177kg
  • Weight capacity: 272kg
  • Workout stations: Smith machine, half-rack, chinning station, cable pulley system (optional)
  • Starting weight: 12.7kg
  • Lockout points: 16
  • Storage: 10 plate pegs & 1 barbell holder
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Price: CHECK CURRENT PRICE

TuffStuff CSM-600 workout stations

Smith machine

TuffStuff has equipped their Smith Machine Half Cage with a 7-degree slant to promote a natural lifting motion that places more tension onto our muscles by shifting the strain off our joints. Naturally, this subtle 7-degree angle helps us to recover quicker since our tendons and ligaments aren't so beat up after training.

strength training rack system with barbell

But in the meantime, it also produces a more effective workout because the range of motion closely mimics natural human movement patterns, thus enabling us to recruit extra muscle fibres and achieve faster results.

If you've ever filmed yourself doing a bench press or shoulder press, for example, then you'll have discovered that you always arc the bar backwards slightly (presuming proper form) as you lock out the rep. This subtle arc of the bar makes us stronger by activating our auxiliary muscles, and TuffStuff has mirrored this brilliantly with their uniquely angled Smith Machine Half Rack.

They've also equipped their Smith Machine Half Cage Combo with self-aligning linear bearings to provide smooth resistance regardless of how heavy we're lifting. What this means for us is that we can achieve a stronger mind-muscle connection (and thus faster muscle growth) because there's no annoying friction or sudden sticking points to sabotage our lifting rhythm.

strength training system with a squat rack

You can hook the barbell, which has a 12.7kg (28lb) starting weight, onto any of the 16 evenly-distributed lockout points with a simple turn of the wrist. This ease of use makes the CSM-600 particularly effective if you often train alone like me because It's essentially like having your own spotter—but without the clumsiness and repetitive encouragement, which both drive me nuts.

Yet at the same time we're enjoying the Smith machine safety, we—that is, us weight lifters—can also bask in the familiarity of having an Olympic sized barbell at our disposal. Naturally, this makes the bar easier to grip, especially since we get plenty of knurling. But a firm grip does more than just keep the barbell safely in our hands. It enables us to set new PRs because we can generate more power, which is the critical component of strength gains.

Half rack

bar catches for the squat rack

At a glance, this unassuming half rack looks just like your average squat rack—except with a higher weight capacity and a snazzier finish. However, upon closer expectation, it quickly becomes apparent that the Smith Machine Half Cage Combo is far from ordinary.

First, the J-Hooks. These patented wing-lock J-Hooks are a dream come true for time-pressed powerlifters and anyone else who appreciates workout efficiencies. By simply pulling the bottom part of the bar hook towards you, you can adjust the J-Hooks' position without detaching them from the frame. That's right. The bar holders literally glide along the rack like cable pulleys. Except they have about 3x the weight capacity (272kg) and slash minutes of wasted time from your workouts.

close up of the squat rack

The spring-loaded safety catches are rated for 362kg (800lbs) and are similarly easy to adjust with the pull of a pin. More importantly, however, these heavy-duty safety catches stick out much further than the accompanying bar holders, making it both simple and safe for us to ditch the barbell in the event of muscular failure.

What this also means for us is that we can achieve faster progress by training to failure and attempting new PRs more frequently—because we know that, should we fail a rep, TuffStuff's safety catches will always have our backs.

Chinning station

As much as I enjoy the thrill of lifting heavy free weights, and as much as I love the pump from cables and machines, It's no secret that I'm also a big fan of callisthenics.

man doing bodyweight pull-ups

The trouble is, most home gyms with pull up bars have terribly poor grips and laughably low weight capacities, making them an accident waiting to happen. Now, I'm not that strong. But when the frame shakes under the load of your modest 85kg bodyweight, you know that the rest of your workout's going to suck.

I definitely give props to TuffStuff for equipping their CSM-600 Smith Machine Half Cage Combo with a welded pull up station. It makes a big difference when you're serious about your training like I am. There's no unnerving wobble as you crank out reps with extra weight and ironically, it's sturdier than most purpose-built pull up stations (which can cost a pretty penny).

muscualr man performing hanging knee raises

Adding a neutral grip option is the only improvement I'd make. But with knurling-enhanced close and wide grip options, you can still hit your lats hard from multiple angles, which naturally leads to complete back development (with a good diet, of course).

You can also use the pull-up station to develop more prominent lower abs by doing hanging leg raises.

TuffStuff CSM-600 parts and frame

TuffStuff has used 2 x 3" 11 gauge oval steel and 2 x 2" round steel tubing to construct the CSM-600's heavy-duty frame. How this benefits us is that the unit can support much more aggressive, testosterone-fueled training, which enables us to push ourselves harder and achieve better results in both muscle gains and 1RM strength [1].

Similarly, the wide base gives greater stability to the CSM-600 by distributing the 177kg unit weight over a larger surface area. Again, this inherent durability gives us the green light to lift harder and heavier without having to worry about the frame being able to keep up with our training intensity [2].

man pressing a heavy barbell over his head

TuffStuff also gives the CSM-600 a powder coat finish to increase its resistance to wear and tear (and of course, to keep that platinum sparkle looking nice).

In terms of storage, Tuff Stuff gives us 5 weight pegs per side. So unless you have weight plates galore, you won't need to fork out for any additional weight disc tress, which are often incredibly bulky.

Considering the Smith Machine Half Cage Combo's durability and TuffStuff's penchant for overdelivering, I wasn't all that surprised to find out that we also get a lifetime-in home warranty.

Yet even for light commercial use (<30 people per day), the guarantee is still pretty generous. You get 10 years on the frame, cams and welds; 5 years on the bearings, bushings, guide rod and gas shocks; 6 months on the finish, and 1 year on any other parts not mentioned.

Ironically, TuffStuff's light commercial guarantee is longer than the average home warranty, which I peg at around two years, based on the 45 or so Smith machines that I've tested.

TuffStuff CSM-600 size and weight

Despite combining 3 gym machines (4 if you buy the upgrade) into one unit, the CSM-600 is still pretty compact for a home gym. It's not quite as compact as the CXT-200 from TuffStuff. But then again, virtually nothing is.

Not only does having a 3-in-1 workout station save us a significant amount of space, enabling our homes to retain their original purpose (namely, living). But it also saves us a lot of money compared to buying a Smith machine, squat rack and pull up station separately.

And saving money always makes us Brits happy.

However, with 3 gym machines in one workout system, the CSM-600 is a heavyweight in the home gym division. As such, it's sturdy and durable. But it also doesn't care about your floor. So to tame this heavyweight Goliath and keep your floor intact, I advise investing in some good gym flooring. More on this in the FAQ section.

Here are the key stats:

  • Dimensions: (cm): 183cm L x 203cm W x 213cm H
  • Dimensions (inches): 72" L x 80" W x 84" H
  • Weight: 177kg/390lbs

TuffStuff CSM-600 safety features

Buying a home gym with the right safety features can mean the difference between earning a new bench press PR and getting pinned under the barbell like a helpless house fly stuck in a spider's web.

As I mentioned earlier, TuffStuff has equipped the CSM-600 with a broad base to improve the machine's stability. Well, besides enabling us to lift heavier, the sturdy base also keeps us safe by preventing any wobbles that could potentially knock our joints into a compromised position—or worse, cause permanent injury by making us drop the barbell [3].

Thankfully, such injuries are extremely unlikely with a machine as well-equipped as the CSM-600 or the Tuff Stuff PPL-900 Smith Machine. Both the Smith machine and half rack safety catches are completely adjustable, which allows you to restrict the bar path without limiting your range of motion.

Similarly, while using the Smith machine, you can train without a spotter by taking advantage of the 16 steel lockout points, which enable you to re-rack the bar at any point during the rep with a simple wrist turn.

What's ironic is that the CSM-600 has a higher weight capacity (272kg) than full commercial squat racks and Smith machines twice its price, which is made even more ironic by the fact that it isn't even a dedicated squat rack or Smith machine! [4]

TuffStuff CSM-600 assembly

You can tell that TuffStuff has put a lot of time and effort into making their assembly instructions easy to follow.

Each of the 12 steps includes crystal clear diagrams that show you precisely where to attach each part so that you don't have to rely on failure-prone trial and error to get the job done.

Before each step, they clearly state the exact parts needed, the corresponding part number and the quantity.

But here's a pro tip: you can speed up the assembly even more by sorting all the parts into piles that correspond with each step. This way, you're effectively condensing the assembly into two main sections; finding the parts, and building the machine.

In my opinion, this method is far more efficient than finding the parts, completing a step and then losing your mechanical flow because you need to hunt for more parts again.

Either way, the user-friendly manual takes much of the frustration out of assembling the CSM-600. For example, TuffStuff has bolded key instructions for extra clarity to prevent you from missing important tidbits that could be essential to the setup process [5].

They also make it obvious when to loosely tighten, and when to fully tighten the bolts. As a result, you won't have to endure the frustration of spending countless hours redoing entire sections of the assembly, which is a common side effect of buying a cheap, mass-produced home gyms (who's companies seem to have a penchant for mixing Chinese with English).

FAQ

How well will the CSM-600 stand up to use in a commercial gym?

The CSM-600 Smith Machine Half Cage Combo is designed for light commercial use (<30 people daily) and as such, will stand up to use in most fitness facilities without any problems. It's made from the same heavy-duty 11 gauge steel that commercial machines are, making it extremely resistant to wear and tear.

How smooth is the lifting motion?

Since TuffStuff has equipped the CSM-600 with self-aligning linear bearings, the lifting motion is free from friction and sticking points. So yes, the lifting motion feels just as smooth as any commercial-grade Smith machine.

Is it easy to re-rack the bar at any point?

Yes, the Smith machine has 16 evenly-distributed lockout points for you to re-rack the bar on.

As for the half rack, there are both adjustable bar holder and safety catches, making it possible for you to ditch the bar at any point (especially helpful in the event of muscular failure).

Is the cable pulley add-on worth it?

cable add on

If you're looking to gain additional muscle mass and add variety to your workout regime, then the TuffStuff CHL-610WS Upgrade is definitely worth the investment.

It comes with a 90kg (200lbs) weight stack and effectively replaces a lat pulldown machine, low row station and a cable crossover system, negating the need to buy any other gym equipment.

It comes with a lifetime warranty and is featured on their other home gym (along with a bench), which you can check out by reading our TuffStuff CSM-725WS review.

Can you recommend some sturdy floor protection for my new CSM-600?

body power heavy gym mat

I recommend getting either two of the Body Power Heavy Duty Gym Mats or investing in the Body Power Interlocking Jigsaw Floor Guards.

The mats (which are great for dampening noise) weigh a whopping 42kg each and won't tear or stretch, even under the most brutal of conditions. They also provide excellent traction so that your workout area remains free of slip-hazards.

The floor guards are lightweight and remarkably easy to install. One pack will cover the CSM-600's footprint, and the high-density foam will go along way to reducing noise and impact.

What weights are best for this half cage Smith machine?

100kg olympic weight set

Go with the Body Power 185kg TRI-GRIP Olympic Weight Set if you want something affordable, but also incredibly hard-wearing. This set comes with 2 safety collars and a 7ft Olympic barbell that fits perfectly on the CSM-600's half rack.

The weights are available in 10 different sizes ranging from 85kg starter sets to elite-level 235kg disc sets.

I've been using these weights for years and have no complaints. The specified weights are accurate, and the plates came extremely well-packed. Highly recommended if you're ordering from the UK.

What weight bench should I get?

weight bench with leg attachment

If you want to stay loyal to TuffStuff, then you can check out their CMB-375 Evolution Light Commercial Bench.

It's excellent for building a proportional physique because it has 7 adjustable positions that let you hit your muscles from different angles. You can switch from decline all the way to upright and also adjust the seat to a number of positions, allowing for more customised workouts [6].

While it's not the cheapest bench, it does come with a 272kg weight capacity, a lifetime warranty and the ability to connect with the preacher curl or leg developer attachments. Overall, the Evolution Multi-Purpose Bench is hard to beat in terms of training variety.

If you're on a budget, or just love a good bargain like me, then I recommend buying the Body-Solid Flat/Incline/Decline Bench for your new CSM-600.
This striking red bench has 8 seat and backrest positions (more than TuffStuff!) and is less than half the price of the CMB-375 Evolution Light Commercial Bench. It's also compatible with preacher curl and leg developer attachments, which have a 90kg and 113kg weight capacity respectively, and enable you to add yet more variety to your home workouts.

Like the TuffStuff bench, the Body Solid FID bench has a 272kg weight capacity and comes with a lifetime warranty (hence why I recommend going with this money-saving option). Like the TuffStuff bench, the Body Solid FID bench has a 272kg weight capacity and comes with a lifetime warranty (hence why I recommend going with this money-saving option).

Should you buy the CSM-600 Smith Machine now?

The CSM-600 combines three gym machines into one commercial-grade workout system that brings health club training variety to your home gym. When you add-in the CHL-610WS cable upgrade, this Smith Machine Half Cage Combo is more versatile than anything else on the market. You can perform hundreds of exercises on the CSM-600 with even a modest amount of imagination.

Of course, a commercial-standard home gym with a silky smooth Smith machine, a safety-enhanced squat rack and a welded pull up station doesn't come cheap.

But considering how much cheaper and how much more space-efficient the CSM-600 is compared to buying these machines separately, you quickly begin to realise that it's a remarkably cost-effective fitness investment. And with the lifetime warranty and current discount during September 2021, there's no risk in giving it a try.

Editor's Choice
TuffStuff CSM-600 Evolution Smith Machine
man performing weighted lunges
  • Self-aligning linear bearings provide a silky smooth lifting motion
  • Heavy-duty safety catches easily support 360kg+
  • 16 lockout points enable you to test your limits without a spotter
  • Lifetime warranty

 

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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