We recently wrote a very similar blog to this one: What is a Smith Machine and How is Each Model Different? It was an incredibly popular blog as it answers a lot of important basic questions. As a result, we’d like to keep giving the public what they want with this blog.
Too long, don’t want to read? Scroll to the bottom of the blog for a feature comparison chart
You’ve likely seen stack gyms at club gyms but never bothered to tinker with it. Like smith machines, stack gyms can be a bit intimidating and confusing. These units are fairly simple; stack gyms are multi-station home gyms that have resistance coming from their weight stack and pulley system.
Stack gyms vary heavily depending on the brand or style. As a result, we will primarily focus on Marcy Stack Home Gyms which are all similar, but have their interesting differences.
As for the similarities, there are many. The most commonly asked question for Marcy Stack Home Gyms is – can I add more weight to the stack? Unfortunately, we have yet to create a stack home gym on which you can add weight. Marcy currently carries 150lb stack home gyms and a 200lb stack home gym as of January 2020. Though that may change in the future, there are no current plans to change the weight maximums.
All the Marcy Stack Home Gyms have a similar layout in which the seat can only be upright. The stack system connects to the lower pulley to allow for a wide variety of exercises. In use with the leg developer, the lower pulley allows for leg extensions. In use with the ankle strap / handle / or bar (depending on the model you get,) you can do a variety of leg curls, bicep curls, and more.
In addition, the lower pulley can be used with a bar (included with most models,) and the footplate for seated rows.
The upper pulley can be used along with the lat bar for various versions of lat pull downs. Utilize the upper pulley along with the handle (included with some models,) for cable crossover type exercises and more. Finally, purchase a Tricep Rope separately for triceps pull downs.
The final similarity between all the models would be the dual action butterfly / press arms. Easily change the angle of the arms to complete chest presses with the press arms. Alternatively, change the angle again to complete butterfly presses.
Before the differences, we have to address the most common question asked amongst those on Marcypro.com – What is the difference between MWM-990 and MWM-988. The answer, may not be satisfying, but it is finally here on the internet. There only difference between the MWM-988 and MWM-990 is the appearance. Otherwise, the models are virtually the same.
Phew, happy to say that is finally settled! Othwesie, the MWM-990 and MWM-988 have all the features described above. Now the two other stack home gyms: MWM-4965 and MKM-81010.
The MWM-4965 is very similar to the MWM-990 and the MWM-988, except for one key feature: the center pulley. The center pulley can be used for a wide variety of exercises when using the handle. However, the main purpose of the center pulley is to utilize the ab attachment.
The MWM-4965 Stack home Gym includes an ab attachment (it is sort of a pair of handles that sit on your shoulders.) The ab attachment connects to the center pulley; complete seated crunches with the ab attachment to easily add weight to your crunches.
The MKM-81010 is a monster of a stack home gym that includes a 200lb stack. Other than the larger stack, the other key difference is the amount of room you have while sitting on this unit. Because of the extra room and the ability of the press arms to move far back, you can sit on this unit backwards (with your chest facing the stack,) and do seated rows!
The most important reason to own a Marcy stack home gym aside from efficiency is the types of exercises you can do at home. Once thought to only be accessible with a gym membership, stack gyms bring home lat pull downs, lower pulley workouts, upper pulley workouts, and butterfly presses.
And, we love dropping the fun fact that Bruce Lee owned a Marcy Multi-Station Home Gym. Though it is different from the stack home gyms we make today, it embraced the same concept. The Marcy Gym Bruce Lee owned was compact and efficient so he could get the strict weight lifting workouts out of the way and focus on the rest of his training.
No matter which type of Gym equipment you need, Marcy has what will work best for you!