As with all of our reviews today we are going to begin by looking at the price, after all this is the determining factor.
At the time of writing we found the Body Solid EXM2500S being sold for just a touch under $1300. I think we are in agreement that, that price is about as middle of the road as they come when home gyms are concerned.
If you have read any of our reviews before you may well have seen that we already reviewed the model down from this (to read the review on the Body Solid EXM1500s)
It actually did very well and we gave it a solid 4.2 out of 5, in fact the only reason it didn’t do better was that some of the features were a little on the flimsy side for our liking. So lets see if it’s bigger brother has fixed these issues and can get closer to top marks!
Features of the Body Solid EXM2500S
- 210lb (95.25kg) weight stack in 10lb increments
- Heavy duty steel construction
- Chest Press Station
- Pec Deck Station
- High, Mid and Low Pulley Stations
- Leg Extension/Curl Station
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
Let’s get right to the meat of it, how does the construction of the Body Solid EXM2500S differ from the EXM1500s. For starters it’s no longer a straight up and down frame with right angles and straight edges. It’s a totally different beast altogether. Now it angled so that it tapers inwards, the bottom has a much larger footprint than the top which improves stability.
Generally everything is just a bit beefier and more solid. Interestingly enough though you may find the Body Solid EXM2500S better for space where vertical space is limited. This is because of the angled top bar which slopes downwards instead of being perfectly horizontal. Although this may not be an issue for many it’s almost a certainty that somebody somewhere will have an obstacle blocking the way, for instance may it’s a garage door.
According to the Body Solid website the material used are premium quality 2” x 4” x 12 gauge high tensile strength steel, oversized hardware, 2200 Lb. test cables and fiberglass reinforced nylon pulleys. Obviously a lot of effort has going into making this piece of equipment very tough indeed.
210LB WEIGHT STACK
Where the EXM1500S had 160lbs weight stack, the Body Solid EXM2500S again has beefed up and has a 210lb stack. Whilst 50lbs may not seem like that big of a deal actually it can make quite a big difference. Consider that with a fixed weight stack you cannot add more weight to it at a later date when you begin to get strong enough to max out the entire stack on a particular exercise. You are going to reach the max a lot quicker if it’s 160lb rather than 210lb and if you have forked out a decent amount of money on a home gym, the last thing you want it to get to a stage where it no longer fulfills your requirements. If anything you should look at buying one who is far greater than what you need now so that in the future you still have growing room. As we say in many of our reviews a home gym is an investment, and if you do it right it should be an investment that you will only ever need to make once!
Something we would like to point out is that it is fairly unusual to have a weight stack as large as this which goes up in increments of 10lbs. We loved this, no doubt you will already have been in a situation where you have been adding weight every week and you reach a sticking point. The next jump up in weight is simply too much for you and you stagnate. The small the increments you can select the smaller jump you are going to need. This is a fantastic to avoid plateaus and continue making progess.
CHEST PRESS STATION
The Chest press station on the Body solid EXM2500s is the same as it’s predecessor (the EXM1500s) although Body Solid claims it has been designed to be “bio-mechanically designed for maximum chest concentration and rapid muscle development” actually it’s just like another other chest press.
But don’t get us wrong, that’s not a bad thing. It does it’s job just fine and the choice of either horizontal handles (for your regular overhead grip) or vertical handles (for your hammer style grip) offer a nice variation.
One Criticism is that one the Body Solid EXM2500S the chest press arms join above the head, whereas on the EXM1500S the joined under the seat. For taller individuals there is the potential for not having a great deal of room, but for the majority of people it’s going to be just fine.
PEC DECK STATION
Predictably Body Solid have added a pec deck to their beefed up EXM2500S, as it was something that the EXM1500S just didn’t have. In the mid-range price range it’s very much a standard feature amongst home gyms.
The pec deck station itself is actually totally separate from the chest press station which gives you lots of room and nothing to get in the way one either exercise.
We have a little bit of a gripe about the fact that Body Solid have labelled it a pec deck at all, in our opinion it is actually just a flye movement. This is all down to the handles and arm position during the moment. On a true pec deck you would place you forearms from you elbow up to your wrist, vertically against pads. This forces your shoulders to rotate externally and the chest to open up. The bulk of the tension will therefore be applied to you inner chest muscle fibres. Whereas in a fly movement where you grasp vertical handles, your should remain in a neutral position allowing the anterior head of the deltoid to become incorporate into the movement. This will draw tension outwards and across you chest as a whole, as well as your delts.
As you can see from the photograph the Body Solid EXM2500S has vertical handles rather than pads, but we have more important things to talk about other than a name.
What we did like about the “pec deck” is that there are two handles each side. This allows you to choose a high or lower grip when you perform your flys. A lower grip will work the chest as a whole and a higher grip will work the upper portion of the chest a little more.
HIGH, MID AND LOW PULLEY STATIONS
Rather than talk about all of these separately it makes sense to lump them all in together in this instance. The low and mid pulley station are situated on the pec deck side of the EXM2500S and the high pulley on the opposite side where the chest press is.
The high pulley just as the EXM1500S did has a leg support attached to the bottom of the back rest which you can extended outwards to keep you on the seat as you perform lat pull-downs and other vertical pulling exercises. As with all cable machines you have the option to use different handles and attachments (which are not included) to do different exercises.
The Mid pulley is used primarily for mid row type excercise or utilising the strap attachments you get with the Bodysolid EXM2500S to perform weight cable crunches to really add some resistance to your ab workouts. Unlike doing regular sit up or crunches where you lose tension past a certain angle the cable crunch keep constant tension on the abdominal muscles resulting in a far superior workout.
The Low pulley was what we criticised in the reviews of the EXM1500S or rather the foot plate. Whilst the mechanism remains the same we are happy to report that the flimsy foot-plate is not featured on the Body Solid EXM2500S insteads you now use part of the solid steel structure which provides a much more stable and useful base.
LEG EXTENSION/CURL STATION
The leg extension and leg curl station remains the same as most of the other home gyms out there, you simply get a padded bar which either moves in a downward move when you leg curl and contract the hamstrings or in an upwards motion if you are doing leg extensions and contracting the quadriceps. The function is good and the use of a 210lb stack for the two exercises is more than you are likely every going to need.
What is missing from this whole setup is a leg press station of some sort, although maybe that’s pushing it a bit within this price range.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
As with all Body Solid products you get a limited lifetime warranty which is going to protect you against breakages on pads, pulleys and cables for the entire time you own the Body Solid EXM2500S. This guarantee offers peace of mind and is a clear indicator that Body Solid belive in their products, so you should too!
- This home gym is very versatile and allows users to do the exercises available in health clubs.
- It is lasting and sturdy which gives less worry from experiencing problems such as wear and tear.
- The EXM 2500S has a lifetime warranty covering every piece of equipment.
- The product can be used by all body types and sizes.
- It takes up much space in the house and unlike the others, this is not foldable.
- Assembling can be a problem that takes about 4 to 6 hours, and can be very frustrating. This product is packed in 7 boxes which may be quite a handful.
- This home gym does not include leg press and there is none available in the market since the company stopped manufacturing.
- This gym seems to work better on the upper body part and abs although it includes lower body exercises.
Has the Bodysolid EXM2500S improved on the EXM1500S? For the most part yes it has. It’s great the the whole structure has been built much more solidily on the EXM2500S and a few new nice features have been added, like the ‘pec deck’. Everything works just the way it should and there plenty of space around each station on the gym.
Theres plenty of variety in the excercises you can perform and the 210lb weight stack should be more than adequate for the vast majority of gym goers. The only slight let down is that it doesn’t have a leg press station but that is really just something that would have been nice to have.
All in all it’s a solid piece of kit and would work fantastically well in an home gym setup.