With several important upgrades over the earlier M3, the Inspire Fitness M4 Home Gym provides you with everything you need to enjoy both iso-lateral and unilateral workouts from the convenience of your own home.
But is the M4 really the best home gym for the money? How does it compare to the M5, or one of the Inspire Functional Trainer smith machines?
In this review we’ll walk you through what you can expect to get for your money, as well as covering the large number of exercise options available when using the different workout stations.
Important update (October 2017): The Inspire Fitness M4 is currently out of stock. We highly recommend the upgraded Inspire M5 home gym, now with even more advanced exercise options, including a seated preacher curl.
Fully adjustable seat and back support
One of the great benefits that really sets the Inspire Fitness range of home gyms apart from lower priced designs, is their ability to adjust to suit your specific body type.
Not only that, but they also adjust in a way that’s quick and effortless, allowing you to progress through your workout without worrying about adjusting lots of pins or levers.
The best example that we found was on the pressing arm.
Part of what makes this design so effective is that the arm can move through a wide range of different angles, in order to provide more variety in terms of exercise options.
To speed up the changing of the angle, Inspire Fitness have added two levers that act more as triggers on the handles. When pressed, they release the pressing arm, allowing it to move freely until you find the setting you need.
The back support can also be easily adjusted through a selection of incline positions, which combines with the angles of the pressing arm to provide flat, incline, and decline chest press options.
As the angles of the bench and arm increase, you start to move away from the chest press, into more of an overhead press for training your shoulders.
Another nice feature worth mentioning is the fact that you can use the separate handles that are attached to the pressing arm to create a more natural range of motion, which is one of the popular features brought across from the M3.
Now let’s take a closer look at the iso-lateral workout stations and exercise options.
Inspire Fitness M4 Home Gym – Features Summary
- Lifetime Warranty
- 215 LB. Commercial Weight Stack with Solid Guide Rods and Center Drilled Weights.
- The bench press pivot points have 1-1/2″ Precision Steel Ball Bearings.
- Heavy-duty 2″x4″ oval and 3″ round 11 gauge tubular steel.
- Iso-lateral stations
- Rotating bench
- Iso-lateral leg extension and curl
- Easily adjustable incline
- Iso-lateral cable and fixed press motion station
- Iso-lateral upper pulleys with adjustable width
- Dual adjustable pulleys
- Dual back pad adjustment
- Exercise wall chart
Iso-lateral workout stations
If you haven’t come across the term before, ‘iso-lateral’ essentially means that there are various features on the Inspire Fitness M4 that come as a pair, but move independently of one another.
With the M4, this includes the leg developer, main pressing arm, and high cable pulleys.
Being able to work one side of a particular muscle group at a time, or alternating between the left and right movements can be a particularly effective training method to help shock your muscles and spark new growth.
The single leg extensions also make much better use of the 215 lb weight stack, making it much more difficult to reach a stage where the weight doesn’t prove enough of a challenge.
Also, although the high cable pulleys may seem to be fixed in place as a lat pulldown, the extended frame arms can actually slide apart, making it an excellent option for anyone needing cable crossovers as an exercise.
Having the iso-lateral movement for both upper and lower body muscle groups will not only prove more of a challenge in your workouts, but also help correct any strength imbalances that may develop over time.
This is where a particular side of your body either develops quicker than the other, or you tend to favour it more in unilateral movements, such as the bench press.
Optional cable and station attachments
If your training already consists of a variety of cable exercises, you’ll know how important it can be to have access to a full range of attachments.
The Inspire Fitness M4 does come with some of the more basic options, such as the ankle attachment and rotating grip handles, but is also compatible with any of your standard cable attachments.
Although it hasn’t been included with the basic model of the M4 to help cut down on the cost, a leg press station is available as an additional form of lower body exercise.
Similar to the chest press and leg developer stations, the leg press uses the 215 lb weight stack to create the resistance you need.
Upper body exercises
If you’ve already taken a look at some of the lower priced multi gyms available, you might have noticed how many feature an upright seated position.
While this is a fairly obvious feature to look for, if you’re looking to get the most out of your upper body workouts, you must make sure the angle of the seat is adjustable.
This is part of what makes the M4 so special, with its specially designed orthopedic seats offering adjustable support through your incline and decline presses, as well as the standard upright press.
Another of the features that makes the M4 really stand out, is the pivot design that joins the bench to the main weight stack.
By simply rotating the bench around to one side, this gives you much more room to perform your favourite cable exercises, as well as providing access to the raised platform underneath.
In most reviews we like to list as many of the exercises as possible that you can perform with the equipment we’re reviewing. But the truth is that the Inspire Fitness M4 cable pulleys alone allow you to perform over 30 different exercises, making it difficult to list them all here.
However, we have provided this quick list of some of the more effective exercise options, so that you can get a better idea of whether or not this home gym will be a good fit for your style of training.
Upper body exercise options:
- Incline chest press
- Decline chest press
- Seated shoulder press
- Cable crossovers
- Wide lat pulldowns
- Seated rows
- Cable curls
- Lunges (ankle attachment)
- Tricep pushdowns
- Leg extensions
- Weighted ab crunches
- Lateral raises
Lower body exercises
Whether you’re training for a competition, to reach a particular strength goal, or simply to improve your fitness, it’s important to maintain a balanced physique.
As well as the aesthetic benefits, this will also help to prevent any imbalances that may slow your progress, or even lead to injury.
This is why we were impressed to find that not only does the Inspire Fitness M4 have an iso-lateral leg developer, but can also be upgraded to support a leg press station.
These two features combined allow you to build muscle, increase strength, and tone up depending on the rep range used.
Together with the low cable pulley and ankle attachment, this would allow you to train your glutes, calves, quads, and hamstrings effectively.
Listed below is a quick list of the exercises available if you were to include the leg press attachment in your own setup:
- Leg press – Leg press, calf press
- Leg developer – Hamstring curls, leg extensions
- Cables – Single-leg squat pull, standing leg lifts, one-legged cable kickbacks, lunges
Professional home gym assembly services
When ordering a new home gym system, you might be wondering how easy will it be to setup? Most will include some form of manual, but the quality of assembly instructions can differ greatly between the different models and manufacturers.
This can be especially true with single station home gyms like the Inspire Fitness M4, where you have multiple pivot points and a complex multi-position cable system.
One option is to hire a professional – someone who has experience setting up this type of home fitness equipment. So who can you trust to get the job done?
Amazon have recently introduced a number of home assembly services, for ellipticals, treadmills, and now home gyms. Simply enter your zip code in the form above to check the options for your location.
You can even find hundreds of highly rated reviews from customers who have already taken advantage of Amazon’s professional home gym assembly service.
With all the necessary tools and experience, and a typical assembly time of just 3 hours, it’s often the quickest way to get started with your new weight training workouts.
Product comparison: Inspire Fitness M4 vs. M3
What’s included with the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Guide Rods & Weight Stack: 5 Years
- Components: 2 years
- Upholstery & Pads: 2 years for home use