Thursday, 23 May 2024

Equipment, Smith Machine

Inspire Fitness SCS Smith Cage System Review

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The Inspire Fitness SCS Smith Cage System is a combination of 3 important pieces of training equipment in 1; the smith machine, power cage, and full cable pulley system with an impressive weight stack capacity.

In this review we take a look at the system in more detail, covering many of the exercise options available, the safety benefits, and making a quick price comparison with some racks that offer a similar workout experience.

Power cage features

If you’re looking to upgrade from the standard dumbbell and weights bench combination, the next step is usually to invest in a squat rack or smith machine.

But unless you have a training partner who can spot you on the heavier sets of an exercise, then it’s important not to sacrifice the safety that working out with dumbbells can provide.

This is why the Inspire Fitness SCS is such an effective option for home gyms.

Not only do you have the support of the adjustable safety bars for when you want to lift free weights, but you also have the fixed range of motion created by the smith machine.

Inspire Fitness SCS Smith Cage System

Although you don’t benefit from quite the same level of space as one of the power cages from XMark Fitness, there’s still plenty of room to perform the bench press and squats without worrying about catching the bar on the rack.

In terms of the racking positions, Inspire Fitness have opted for a ‘gun rack’ style design, to hold the bar more securely once racked.

As well as supporting the high cable pulley, the front of the cage features an ergonomically designed pull up bar, capable of supporting both close grip and wide grip variations.

Inspire Fitness SCS Smith Cage System

Inspire Fitness SCS Smith Cage System – Features Summary

  • Frame: Heavy-duty 2″x 4″ oval and 3″ round 11 gauge tubular steel
  • Bearing System: Precision Steel Ball Bearing system provides a smooth, maintenance free action.
  • Weight Stacks: Two 150lb. commercial weight stacks with solid guide rods and center drilled weight plates.
  • High and low cable pulley system
  • Adjustable height settings for the front cable pulleys
  • ‘Gun rack’ style barbell support for barbells inside the cage
  • Accessories: Two pair of “D” handles one long and one short. Pull-up assist strap.

Smith machine features

Inspire Fitness SCS Smith Cage System

The Inspire Fitness SCS manages to reduce its footprint and fit into a more confined space by combining the smith machine inside the power cage.

Using a similar barbell rack style to the one used for free weight exercises, the range of motion for the smith machine bar can also be restricted using the adjustable safety rails.

With enough space to slide a FID bench between the uprights of the frame, the smith machine can be used for a wide range of both upper and lower body exercises.

These include:

  • Incline barbell bench press
  • Flat bench press
  • Shrugs
  • Top-range deadlifts
  • Barbell shoulder press

  • Upright rows
  • Back squats
  • Front squats
  • Barbell rows
  • Close grip bench press

High and low cable pulley system

Whether you’re training for strength or size, it’s important to combine compound movements with isolation exercises if you want to fully develop a muscle group.

This is why the Inspire Fitness SCS also includes a full cable pulley system, providing 4 different cable pulleys (2 fixed position and 2 adjustable).

The high cable pulleys can be used with a variety of different attachments, such as a rope or straight bar, to train your arms, abs, and back.

Towards the back of the heavy duty frame you have the two separate weight stacks, each shrouded for extra safety and providing 150 lb of weight plates per stack.

Inspire Fitness SCS Smith Cage System

At the front of the frame you have access to the adjustable pulley system, where you can quickly adjust the height to find your natural range of motion in a range of different exercises.

The high position is ideal for cable crossovers, tricep pushdowns, and rear delt flys, while the lower settings are best for curls and upright rows, as well as both front and lateral delt raises.

With over 30 different exercise options available through the cables alone, we’ve provided a quick summary of some of the most popular and effective options:

  • Chest – Cable crossover, chest press
  • Shoulders – Side lateral raises, upright rows, rear delt flys, standing presses
  • Biceps – Straight bar curls, hammer curls, alternating bicep curls
  • Triceps – Rope pressdown, straight bar reverse pushdown, overhead extensions
  • Back – Lat pulldowns, low cable rows
  • Legs – Hip abductors, single leg raises, lunges (ankle attachment with low pulley)

Inspire Fitness SCS vs. Body Solid Series 7 GS348P4

Inspire Fitness SCS Smith Cage System

Before finishing our review, we wanted to try to find a smith machine and cage combination that we could compare with the model from Inspire Fitness.

If you’ve spent any amount of time looking for these machines yourself, you’ll realise as we did how difficult it is to find these 3 types of workout station combined into the same system.

The closest we came across was the Body Solid Series 7 setup, which offers the smith machine and free weight option, together with a basic cable pulley system.

When comparing these two pieces of equipment, we found that the Inspire Fitness SCS had a major benefit in terms of the cable pulley system and pull up bar option.

But that’s not to say that we weren’t impressed by the Series 7. Due to the lack of cable pulleys at the front of the frame, Body Solid have been able to move the racking points for the free weight lifting there instead, providing a bit more freedom in your range of motion.

The safety rails are still there to maintain the same level of safety, but you have the option to walk completely away from the rack with the barbell if you choose to.

Body Solid Series 7 Smith Machine, Squat Rack and Cable Pulley System

The Series 7 also offers superior weight plate storage, with 6 weight plate pegs built into the frame, while the Inspire Fitness SCS doesn’t provide you with any.

If you’re struggling to decide between the two, it’s important to bear in mind what you get with the Inspire Fitness System for the extra money.

But it’s worth bearing in mind that the adjustable cable system alone can provide more exercises than the free weight barbell rack and smith machine combined, which can be important for many strength and fitness goals.

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4.5 / 5

The Inspire Fitness SCS is without a doubt one of the most versatile pieces of home gym equipment available, in terms of its wide range of exercise options.

The ability to adjust the height of the front set of cable pulleys is a feature we've personally never come across on a smith machine before, making it possible to setup entire workouts based purely on isolation exercises if you needed to.

Despite the higher price, we would still recommend the Inspire Fitness model over the Body Solid Series 7, as it allows you to put together a wider variety of workout routines that are both effective for muscle growth and safe to perform.

However, if the price is beyond your current budget, then there is another high quality machine we can recommend. The Marcy MD-9010g.

This also provides you with the smith machine and free weight training options, but with the two separate high cable pulleys instead of the single pulley you get with the Series 7.

Product dimensions: 61" (W) x 58" (L) x 88" (H)

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