Home gyms have downsized so much that it’s not difficult to find one that not only fits into a pretty small space but also allows you to perform a large variety of exercises.
The Hoist V6 cable gym is this type of product. It can fit into a corner or against a wall, taking less than 4 feet in length and less than 5 feet in width. Its height is 7 feet. (Of course, you'll need more space open in front of it when you workout.) It includes all the accessories and bars you’ll need to do a complete basic workout, plus there is a space built into the main column to store all those things neatly. You’ll only need to add a bench or stability ball to sit on for some exercises.
We used the V6 for a few months, trying out all the exercises and accessories, following the poster that came with it. Basically, it’s all it’s cracked up to be at a darn good price for such an extremely solid piece.
To start, we would highly recommend if you purchase one of these that you pay to have the installation done for you. The fee is well worth the time saved and the lack of frustration—we had two experienced installers spend more than two hours with parts and pieces scattered around the floor. Our installers, who were very professional and efficient, told us to add a bit of lube to the pulleys if they start sticking—and in fact we had to do that the first day. Seems they could have tested that part better. Plus, we had to tweak the weight stacks the first day since the pin wouldn’t fit in the holes properly. The instructions do tell you to adjust the weight stack as the tension changes but, hmm, it’s really not clear for a non-professional home user what it means, which could lead to maladjustments.
But once we had those things fixed, we were on our way. We loved the way the pulleys easily adjusted up and down on the two columns, rising from the floor to a level that would be above the head for most people. The gym is also a two-stack system, and although you may not always work out with somebody else, we found it was feasible.
The bars and accessories that come with it cover all your needs from presses and pulls to rows, squats, and exercises for abs and legs. The trick for many will be figuring out what to do if you don’t have some kind of exercise experience. Of course, this applies to most cable gyms, which typically require a bit of knowledge to figure out where to put the pulley, what bar to use, and then what to do with it. Really, the call-out here is that every single cable-gym manufacturer needs to think long and hard about how a non-experienced user will figure out what to do to be successful and satisfied.
The poster that comes with this gym is only mediocre. The listed workouts and exercises themselves are pretty good, but the instructions are mostly useless: “Adjust pulleys, grasp handles, exercise.” Really? It would be better to not repeat that 44 times on the poster and instead save space to make all the photos larger so a quick glance gets you going on adjustment. The real key to using the gym properly is to know where to place the pulley for each exercise and how to position your body. We’d love to see that part highlighted on the poster, perhaps even giving a range of pulley positions (they are labeled by number on the columns). We dry-mounted the poster to cardboard so we could hang it on the wall, and in fact are starting to use highlighter pen to mark the pulleys on the poster and write down the approximate positions as we did each exercise. You could also use the spartan exercise manual that comes with it and write down your notes on those exercise photos (numbering the photos would be a nice touch and simple addition). The detailed DVD runs through all the exercises one-by-one without a lot of frou-frou—just good instruction and simple photos—but you’ll have to have a computer or your TV and DVD player set up where you can refer to it while you workout.
Once you work your way through this, you can find your own way of remembering positions, perhaps keeping a notebook of your own to refer to so you don’t have to squint at the pictures each time.
One warning: If you set up this gym on any non-grippy or more slippery surface, which is most surfaces like mats or carpet, you may find your feet slip in certain positions as you face the gym and try to brace yourself, such as on rows. But there is no place to put your feet if you are seated far enough away to complete a full range of motion. We actually put an old broom handle across the front of the gym's "V" to use as a foot brace and it worked very well. Looks goofy, but it solved the problem.
All in all, though, the gym allows you to do just about everything you might desire, be it “toning,” solid strength training or serious weightlifting.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.0 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $2,899.99