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Multi-gyms are a great way to compact a lot of different exercise equipment into one package. They come in a lot of different sizes so what are the good ones that are also small? Let’s find out.
The best compact multi-gym is the BodyCraft GL which is built to be compact and placed in a corner. It’s also got the most exercise and add-on options of the compact home gyms. Other small options are the: Total gym XLS, Body-Solid G1S and Marcy MKM-8130.
Let’s go into detail what the best options are and which one is best for you.
Best Compact Multi-Gyms
Here are the smallest multi-gyms that are on the market today.
- Total Gym XLS (11.87 sq. ft.)
- Body Solid G1S (12.25 sq. ft.)
- Marcy MKM-8130 (13.34 sq. ft.)
- BodyCraft GL (16.22 sq. ft.)
Let’s look at them in a bit more detail down below. I haven’t numbered them because they serve different purposes. Pick the one that fits your needs best.
Total Gym XLS
The Total Gym XLS is the smallest but if you see what it looks like, you’ll understand why. It works but it’s not for everyone. That said, the size above is unfolded. It can fold up to be much smaller than that. It’s also light enough to move around pretty easily.
It’s a bit strange since the setup is so different from the other machines. It’s very narrow but, because you can fully extend your arms to the side for certain exercise, you actually need quite a bit of width to use this machine to its full potential. That fact suddenly makes it need quite a bit of space since it is pretty long as well.
However, while you need about 95” by 72” (47.5 sq.ft.) to use the machine, when you’re done, it’s foldable. So that means you just need that space for a little while and you can easily put is away after your workout so it takes up much less space. That means that while it does need some space to properly use, once you’re done, it takes up very little space.
The Total Gym machines use your bodyweight to create resistance. For many people this is enough to get the results they want (moderate strength and muscle size gains.). However, for others, this isn’t quite enough and they should look for another machine.
Body solid G1S
The G1S is small, is a traditional multi-gym and offers enough (although not an excessive amount of) exercise options. It’s very well built like all other Body-Solid machines which means you can use this for a very long time. That’s backed up by a lifetime warranty for domestic use on all the parts which is amazing. It’s not cheap but you get decent value for money.
It’s very compact, looks good and offers the exercises you need to get stronger and toned. The 160 lbs. weight stack is enough for most people although not for very big and strong people.
It takes up: 49”L x 36”W x 83”H of floor space but you need a bit more space to actually use it: Live Working Area: 73”L x 47”W x 84”H. You’re always going to need a bit more space to actually use a multi-gym.
This machine allows you to do:
- Lat pulldown
- Chest press
- Leg extension/Leg curl
- Ab crunch
- Seated Row
And on top of that there are:
- High pulley
- Mid pulley
- Low pulley
Those pulleys take different attachments so you can use them for a lot of exercises. The pulley height is not adjustable.
The G1S is a solid machine with good exercise options and a decent amount of resistance. Body-Solid also offers lifetime warranty on the whole machine which is a nice plus.
If you’ve got a bit more space than for the ones above, this is the best compact multi-gym in my opinion. It’s not cheap but it’s got a lot going for it.
This machine is a bit bigger on paper than the other ones but has a neat trick up its sleeve. It’s designed to be placed in a corner. The seat is set up diagonally in the frame so you can put two sides up to a wall. This is really useful for small spaces where there is just a free corner.
It’s very well built and looks like a commercial machine. The following stations are available in stock form;
- Press and Row Station with adjustable starting point: allows for different size users and also provides a variety of exercises including Bench Press, Incline Press, Shoulder Press and Mid Row.
- Ab Crunch Station: for abdominal training.
- Low Pulley Station: with foot plate for Low Rows, Abductor and Adductor Leg Kicks, Arm Curls, Upright rows, etc.
- High Pulley Station: for Lat pull Downs, and Triceps Push Downs.
- Leg Extension and Curl Station: provides Seated Leg Extension and Standing Leg Curl.
It’s possible to add some really cool features as well. First it’s possible to upgrade the weight stack from the standard 150 lbs. to 200 lbs. which makes it suitable for stronger people. You can also add a leg press station which uses the same weight stack. Of course that requires quite a bit of extra space. But maybe the coolest option are the cable arms. This basically adds two fully adjustable arms with cable pulleys to this multi-gym. That means you get a lot of functional trainer functionality and unmatched exercise options on your multi-gym.
Dimensions: 44.5” L x 52.5″ W x 82.5″ H
With Optional Leg Press 64.5″ L x 77″ W x 82.5″ H
Marcy MKM 81030
One of the most compact home gyms and also requires very little extra space to use than its own footprint. There are no options for exercises that are wider than the machine itself. So just a few inches next to the machine to make sure nothing hits the wall is enough.
The seat and therefore leg extension is set back in the frame a little bit. That means you don’t need a lot of extra space in front of the machine either. Just a foot extra will be plenty, which is room you need to get on and of the machine and for other exercises as well.
That means a space of 68.5” by +-38”(18.07 sq. ft) is enough to fully use this multi gym.
There are however a few drawbacks to a machine that’s this compact;
- The resistance is quite limited. 100 lbs. is not that much and many people that train for a while will start running into the limit.
- The exercise options are somewhat limited. While you can still do a full body workout, other machines have more options.
Multi-Station Home Gym Size List
Don’t want a multi gym but are looking for a compact free weights home gym? Click here to find more about compact free weights gyms.
Here is a chart with the floor space the different home gyms use.
|Brand||Model||Length||Width||area (Sq. Ft.)|
|Total gym||Elevate Encompass||106||38||27.97|
|Argos||Men's Health 90kg||72.25||46||23.08|
|Life Fitness||G4 Home Gym||80||53||29.44|
|Life Fitness||G2 Home Gym||71||48||23.67|
|BodyCraft||Xpress pro 200 lbs.||83||56.5||32.57|
|Body Solid||Fusion 500||76||48||25.33|
|Gold's Gym||XR 55||77||43||22.99|
|Gold's Gym||XR 45||64||38||16.89|
So from that chart you can see that the average area a multi gym takes up a little less than 21 sq. ft. with figures ranging from 11.8 to 32.5 square feet.
This post only looks at floor space, not height. If you’re interested in the best multi-gyms for low ceilings, click here.
There is a difference between the smallest multi gym and the multi gym that needs the least amount of space to be used properly.
As you can read in that post, you need some space around your machine to actually be able to use it.
It depends on your specific machine how much space exactly but there are some guidelines you can follow.
- If the machine allows for full sideways extension of your arms, you should have the space to do this. In this case you need to have an available width a little bit bigger than your arm span. Your arm span is roughly equal to your height. However, not all machines allow this. The exercise where you would have to extend your arms to the side is the chest fly. Most most machines have you bend your arms at the elbows so it doesn’t actually take more width than the machine.
- You have to be able to extend your arms forward from the seat. If you’ve got enough space to walk up to the machine and sit down, this is likely not a problem.
- If the machine has a leg extension option, you have to be able to extend your legs forward. About 2 feet is enough.
- You need some space to get on and off the machine. This is pretty small and the other space around it is usually enough.
Let’s take a look at the 5 smallest machines, the features they have and how much space you’d need to be able to use them.
|Brand||Model||Leg extension||Chest fly||Chest press|
|Body Solid||G1S||Yes||Not wider than machine||Yes|
|Marcy||MKM-81030||Yes||Not wider than machine||Yes|
|Goplus||Multifunctional trainer||Yes||Not wider than machine||Yes|
|BodyCraft||GL||Yes||Not wider than machine||Yes|
Many people often forget a few important pieces of their home gym that isn’t directly gym equipment. Here are my favorite home gym tools.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and all types of other workouts, the GymNext Flex is easily the best and easiest to use.
- Mirrors: Fab & Glass (Amazon link) makes the best large mirror sheets so you can see your exercise form.
- Flooring: American Floor Mats gym flooring (Amazon) or equipment mats make your gym quieter, easier to clean and keeps your floor and equipment safe.
- Fan: The Rowenta VU5670 (Amazon) is a great way to stay cool while working out.