Powertec Fitness is a California based company that has a reputation for its distinctive black and yellow range of leverage weight systems – most notably its leverage home gyms. In fact the company was the first to design and build this type of fitness product. And, while other manufacturers, like Body-Solid, now also design and build this type of gym, Powertec is still considered by many to be the best in its niche.
For those not familiar with leverage home gyms and how they differ from their traditional-style counterparts this is the short explanation. Most home gyms use a selectorized or stack system of weights in order to provide resistance. A stack consists of a set of rectangular shaped weights (usually 10 or 20 pound units) that are literally ‘stacked’ one on top of another – a steel guide rod passes through the middle of each weight. Total weight of the stack is usually between 150 and 200 lbs for most residential machines and up to 300 lbs for commercial models.
A pulley system is then used to transfer resistance to the various stations, such as Lat Pulldown, Leg Press, Pec station etc. Nylon coated cables are attached to each station at one end and run through various pulleys.
Leverage home gyms are quite different. There is no weight stack. Instead, resistance is provided by using barbell weight plates. The plates are loaded on to the horns (lever arms) just as one does with barbells. When Powertec first developed the leverage home gym it was immediately clear that the design had certain advantages over the stack model, maintenance being one. There are less moving parts so less parts that can wear out or brake. Pulleys and cables do wear over time.
However the main advantage of Powertec Fitness gyms as seen by serious bodybuilders is that it allows them to perform the type of weight lifting exercise they are familiar with, lifts, bench press and squats for example, but in a more controlled and safe environment.
Although there is definitely a certain sense of freedom that is sacrificed when switching over from free weight exercise using a barbell, the lifter does get the advantage of being able to lift heavier weights than he or she would normally feel comfortable doing. A Powertec home gym does away with the need for a spotter. The lifter knows they can go for that ‘extra 50 lbs’ safe in the knowledge that there is zero risk of dropping the bar on to the chest or neck.
Powertec Fitness currently manufactures 3 leverage gyms (it makes other, single station leverage machines as well) that are designed to offer different weight exercise at different budgets.
The L-GC Powertec Compact Gym is the cheapest. Its main advantage is its compact design and small footprint. You can perform a number of exercises, such as Bench Press, Reverse Grip Pulldown, Leg Press, Lat Pulldown. It’s an okay gym for beginners and intermediates or if space is an issue but it does lack a lot of functionality that a serious weightlifter would want. A limiting factor would be its maximum capacity of 300 lbs of weight plates.
For the more experienced, the Powertec WB-LS Workbench Levergym has more appeal. More strength routines can be performed, such as Shrug, Shoulder Press and Squat. It can also handle greater weight. The Lever Press Arm can take a maximum of 500 lbs while the Lat Pulldown can take 300 lbs. Unlike the Compact Gym above, the WB-LS Levergym belongs to the Workbench series from Powertec. This means that the gym has been designed so that optional stations can be added. You can easily fit Pec Fly, Leg Press, Curl and Dip Machine stations – all made by Powertec. You can start out with the Levergym and add more stations over time – a great idea and something lacking in other home gyms currently being sold.
The Powertec WB-MS Multi System is the top of the line gym. It’s a multi-station home gym so you can buddy up or have just about every essential piece of gym equipment you’ll ever need contained in one unit. Stations include Lever press Arm, Lat Pulldown, Squat, Leg Curl, Tricep Bar and Ab Cunch. In its distinctive yellow livery it really is an awesome sight.
Buying a Powertec home gym is big decision and does need careful consideration but the following are the main point to consider.
1. A lack of freedom felt than when performing barbell work.
1. No spotter is required. You can work alone.
2. You work in complete safety.
3. You can work heavier, longer and harder.
4. The Powertec Benchmark home gyms can be added to overtime giving you the most complete home gym currently available.
Powertec Fitness home gyms are not going to be for everyone. If you’ve never lifted weights or have just done light dumbbell or barbell work, then a selectorized gym may be your best bet. But, if you’ve been weightlifting for a while and are looking to lift heavier weights but want more safety, or if you work alone and this has been a hindering factor with your weight work, then a Powertec leverage home gym could be the solution you’ve been looking for.