Marcy has established themselves as a major player in home exercise equipment industry, and the Marcy 150 lb Stack Home Gyms are a good example of why. They offer most of what this brand is known for: Affordability, high-quality builds and consistent performance. This series of circuit trainers are easily among the most interesting and value-laden multi-gyms you can get right now, especially if you’re looking for that elusive combination of good-quality and reasonable price. Join us as we review this group of circuit trainers and go over their features, advantages, and drawbacks. If you’re looking for reliability and versatility, one of these Marcy stack home gyms might be the home gym for you.
Marcy 150 lbs. Stack Home Gyms Review in Brief
The Marcy 150 lbs. stack home gyms are mid-range machines that bring a balanced combination of performance, quality, and price. There 3 to speak of: The MWM-990, 988 and 4965. They’re highly functional multi- gyms that feature all of the core workout stations that allow for most of a full body workout, as well as a few unique extra stations such as a removable curl pad (except for the MWM-4965).
Comfort-wise, they’re honestly nothing special. There are no modern ergonomic seats, and the only position is upright. Instead, you’re getting the old-school treatment: Two flat boards (seat and upright backrest) that have plenty of padding. Marcy have made these home gyms for the beginners/intermediate users who need something solid and uncomplicated. With these models, you’re getting a smooth and reliable performance at a mid-range price.
Before discussing the deisgn proper of these Marcy home gyms, it’s worth noting that the similarities between the three machines (the MWM-990, MWM-988, and MWM-4965) far outweigh their differences. That’s why we’ll note their differences here.
Differences across machines
- The MWM-990 and 988 are identical except for color. The 990 is matte black, while the 988 is matte silver
- The MWM-4965 has a center pulley that attaches to the included ab-strap, and allows you to do comfortable and effective weighted crunches that build your six-pack
- The MWM-990 and 988 have a detachable preacher curl pad that allows targeted development of the biceps. The MWM-4965 is missing this feature.
- The MWM-4965 has slightly different dimensions to the 990 and 988: The 4965 is 72” L x 38” W x 78” H, while the other two are 68” L x 35” W x 79” H.
The MWM-4965 includes a flip up foot plate that makes low rows possible / easier. The 990 and 988 are missing this feature.
If you prefer a nice visual, here is a comparison chart.
Home gyms, especially in the mid-range segment, typically have a fairly standard design. This really comes down to an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. This standard design is centered around three main stations:
- The lat pull down
- Chest developer / press
- Leg developer
Marcy’s stack home gyms follow this convention. Where they try to set themselves apart is in the look, and by adding some uncommon, but relatively minor, features.
Where most of their competitors go with fairly bland colors for their home gyms (e.g., plain gray or white), Marcy went with matte black, silver or charcoal for their circuit trainers’ frames, plus black vinyl for the seat and bright red detailing. This alone makes them stand out from the crowd and is appealing if you want your home or garage gym to have a bit of style to it.
On all of the stack machines, Marcy have included an undulated (i.e., “EZ”) lat pull down bar. This isn’t something you see on a lot of machines, and its purpose is to allow you to do bicep curls with the wrists rotated. EZ curls reduce strain on your wrists, but also activate your biceps and brachioradialis muscles more intensely. All machines also come with a straight bar and ankle strap attachment.
One of the best uncommon and nice-to-have features that Marcy have added to the MWM-990 and 988 models is the preacher curl pad. It fixes to the leg developer’s upright post via a screw in pin, and allows you to do preacher curls using the lat pulldown bar attached to the lower pulley. Unfortunately, this is missing from the MWM-4965.
Marcy make up for this, however, with the inclusion of a center pulley on the 4965 model. This along with the included ab strap allow you to do seated crunches, and target your core muscles more intensely.
Finally, present on all machines is a shield / shroud that protects the user from the weight stack behind. This prevents you from having clothing or body parts come into contact with the weights or guide rails (which have grease on them). It also provides a surface on which to put a chart that outlines 15 different exercises. Ultimately, all of this is why we think these models are among the best home gyms you can get, especially if you’re new to strength training.
As with all Marcy products, the build quality on the stack home gyms is high. Although these are relatively affordable options in the mid-range segment of the market, they’re robust machines that will keep up with your demands. They’ve used 14-gauge steel tubing for the frame, which can support users up to 300 lbs. The seat and the backrest aren’t designed to be especially ergonomic, but they’re well-padded and covered with quality vinyl. Comfort isn’t likely to be an issue with these multi-gyms.
One of the areas that we’re always interested in with home gyms is the cables and pulleys. These can make or break the usability of an all-in-one machine. They’re usually the most problematic parts of lower-end home gyms. Here, Marcy simple and robust system of pulleys as well as a fairly durable cable are smooth and quiet in operation. There are no double cable pulleys, so each station runs on its own cable. This makes it inherently more reliable, plus you won’t have to switch cables to access different parts of the machine. Keep the pulleys lubricated with WD-40 or 3-in-1 oil periodically and you shouldn’t have any trouble with them.
As for the weight stack, all of the weights ride smoothly on the rails, presenting little or no additional resistance aside from their own 10 lbs. in weight.
All-in-all build quality is rarely an issue on Marcy’s equipment, at least not in this segment of the market.
Performance (How Well Do They Work?)
At the end of the day, any home gym is only good if it’s useful. Marcy once again proves why they’re one of the industry’s giants. This home gym offers everything you could need from a mid-range setup – core workout stations, good padding, and even a curl pad.
Performance-wise, the gym is fine. That’s until you get out of the beginner/intermediate range. Truth be told, 150 lbs. may not be enough for experienced lifters. However, we’re still looking at a fairly inexpensive machine that isn’t meant for professionals or even trained lifter.
The weight stack on these models come with 10 lbs. plates, which may not be ideal for some. That amount of weight can make gradual, progressive overload tricky for beginners, especially when you get up into the higher weight ranges, and on exercises where you may not be particularly strong to begin with.
While the stack limit is 150 lbs, due to the nature of pulley systems, the actual resistance will vary from station to station. Consult the resistance chart in the owner’s manual to see the estimated actual resistance based on the number of plates for each station:
If you’re looking for a fairly affordable way to work out at home, Marcy’s 150 lbs. stack home gym is a really good option.
If, however, you’re looking for something with a little more weight, Marcy also have a 200 lbs. stack home gym – the MWM-81010. It’s basically identical to the 150 lbs. trainers, except it doesn’t have a center pulley, the press arms are dual-function and retract, which allows you to do seated chest rows. Finally, it has additional accessories: A stack lock, a shiver bar (short curved bar for biceps curls), and a single handle attachment to a range of rowing and rotational exercises.
Overall, Marcy’s 150 lbs. stack home gym systems work well. They’re good value for the money and will give you plenty of range if you’re a beginner or intermediate user. What these are not are multi-gyms that’ll challenge experienced lifters. If that’s you, you might need to look into something with a bit more weight behind the seat. The EXM2500s Home Gym from BodySolid may be a better option if you have the space and extra room in your budget.
Ultimately, these Marcy machines provide the most essential workout stations in a setup that is simple to use and will last for ages.
- Solid build quality over the whole machine, including the padding
- Comes with all of the core workout stations plus some unique and nice-to-have additions
- Simple yet robust cable/pulley setup
- Smooth, consistent and reliable operation
The Not So Good
- Somewhat lightweight stack at 150 lbs. Definitely not for bodybuilders
- 10 lbs plates may make progressive overload more tricky, especially as you get into the higher weight ranges