Want to avoid the hoards of gurning beefcakes and get ripped in your humble abode? Try a home multi-gym.
There are multitude reasons why anyone would want to invest in a home multi-gym. It could be self-consciousness, a distaste for grunting Vin Diesel lookalikes or wanting to save cash on a gym membership.
Either way, there are a few things to consider before you commit.
Firstly, multi-gyms cover a number of muscle-sculpting bases, with numerous levers, handles and pulley things used to tone and bulk up. As a result, they tend to take up a LOT of room in the home.
They are also heavy, difficult to set-up and can err on the really bloody expensive side, but for those with the space, patience and budget, they can literally be all you need to obtain that dream body.
What is the best home gym?
It is a tough choice, because the bigger the budget, the more features you are going to bag, but the Marcy Eclipse HG3000 represents the best blend of price and performance in my opinion.
The 68kg weight stack is not massive but heavy enough for most exercises and exercisers. There's also a great range of muscle-building accessories thrown in and the general fit and finish feels pleasingly solid.
Perhaps best of all, the pulley system is smooth, so users aren't faced with horrible jerky motions when building those bulging pecs.
How to buy the best multi-gym
Part with upwards of £10k and you will receive a multi-gym that wouldn't look out of place in a professional establishment... but that's just silly.
Instead, a good compact home multi-gym (the kind that works both upper and lower body) can be found for around £600, while the more complex and sturdier versions increase to around £1,500.
The main considerations you must make is how much space you have to spare at home, how much time you have to assemble the thing, how heavy you need the weight stack to be in order to achieve your fitness goals and how many different muscle groups you want the machine to cater for.
The best multi-gyms will offer everything from a lateral pull down to a weighted leg press and pretty much all in between, negating the need to visit a dank and sweaty gym ever again. Bonus.
The best home multi-gyms in order
1. Marcy Eclipse HG3000
Best compact home multi-gym
The first thing you notice about the robust Marcy Eclipse is the excellent build quality for the price, with the provided tensile aircraft cables (able to withstand up to 2000lb of pressure) offering peace of mind to anyone worried about the machine falling apart mid-rep.
This quality is carried through to the padded seat, comfortable foam leg rollers and cool black and red paint job that make it look a little bit like the hot hatch of the multi-gym market.
The unit also comes complete with a number of attachments that allow for numerous exercises to be performed back-to-back with little adjustment or mid-session faff.
For example, the free-floating arm levers can be used to perform a seated bench press and pectoral fly, or tucked away and the overhead high pulley used for triceps push-downs and wide lat pull-downs.
And if you don't know what any of the above meant, there's a handy exercise chart located above the weight stack for reference.
Granted, that 68kg weight stack may restrict progression once the guns really start popping and will likely be too feeble for a number of leg-based exercises, but it is a solid all-rounder nonetheless.
2. Bowflex Xtreme SE Home Gym
The smarter home multi-gym
Rather than relying on a heavy and noisy weight stack, this clever home gym utilises a bespoke Bowflex Power Rod system that sees a pulley mechanism flex a series of metal rods.
The thicker the rod, the higher the resistance and this puppy can deliver the equivalent resistance of a 95kg weight stack without the jerky inertia or risk of joint pain usually associated with free weights.
However, the Bowflex technology doesn't limit the spread of exercises on offer, with numerous attachments and harnesses allowing for a number of motions to be carried out.
New to the system is an abdominal crunch shoulder harness, which allows the user to physically wear a harness that loads up the resistance for powerful six-pack toning.
Other notable features include the three-position lower pulley and squat station that can be used to carry out natural feeling squats for mega glutes, hamstrings and quad muscles.
Better still, the Bowflex Power Rod system can be upgraded to offer more resistance, with the equivalent of 185kg rods available for around £90, although installing these things can be fiddly and time consuming.
Also, those used to a classic, thumping and clunking weight stack will likely find the 'feel' of this system a little weedy, but if simply shaping up as opposed to bulking up, is your priority, it could be right for you.
3. BH Fitness Multi Gym Plus Titanium Foldable
The most convenient home multi-gym
Although not as robust as some of the other machines on this list, the mouthful that is the BH Fitness Multi Gym Plus Titanium Foldable does save a lot of space at home with its uniquely retractable seat.
Featuring a smooth, linear bearing system and ultra-tough pulleys, this 92kg multi-gym can handle users that weigh over 20 stone, it provides up to 67kg of resistance and offers up a multitude of exercise options.
Unfortunately, some of the ancillaries feel a bit cheap and the comparatively low resistance weight stack won't be able to compete with some of the chunkier models but as a starting platform to any burgeoning home gym, it's well worth a look.
4. Technogym Unica
The best luxe multi-gym for the home
If money is no object then the Unica from Technogym is well worth a look, as it straddles a fine line between home fitness equipment and piece of contemporary art.
With leather pads and the imposing metallic structure available in a number of hues, it practically oozes class, while the ergonomically designed system of levers allow for over 25 exercises to be performed in just 1.5 square meters of space.
All materials used are of exquisite quality, with chrome plating covering many of the levers and handles and a thermosetting powder coating finish to the frame setting off the fussily stylish aesthetic.
And so it should, because with a price tag of around 5K, although those muscles might come easy, they won't come cheap.
5. Opti 29KG Home Multi Gym
Best budget multi-gym
If the thought of gigantic, heavy metal machinery is enough to have toes (rather than biceps) curling, then take a look at this basic but perfectly okay multi-gym.
With just 29kg on tap, it's not for serious iron pumpers, but it makes a great entry into the world of weight training, with enough small incremental increases to ensure development is slow but steady.
Naturally, the frame is going to feel a lot less robust than others on this list but that's not such a bad thing. It'll be easier to set up, for one, and its lack of mass means it's not likely to come crashing through the ceiling during particularly vigorous workouts.