Force USA G9 Review - SI Showcase - Sports Illustrated

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A reputable name in the strength training industry, Force USA offers weight lifting accessories such as bumper plates, weight benches and barbells. However, the company has mostly made a mark with the all-in-one trainers or combo home gyms. The Force USA G9 is the upgraded version of the G3, featuring tons of included attachments and an upgraded one-to-one pulley ratio for the cable machine pulley system. Bumper Plate Storage Rack

Force USA G9 Review - SI Showcase - Sports Illustrated

Force USA’s G9 All-In-One Trainer is widely considered to be one of the best plate loaded versatile trainers. In this thorough Force USA G9 trainer review, we will discuss the benefits and features of the G9, how to use the G9 trainer, specs, dimensions and important purchasing considerations.

The Force USA G9 is designed to be an Eight-In-One strength training system that offers maximum versatility in a functional, compact and usable way. It combines a power rack, smith machine, cable pulley function system, chin-up station, dip station, vertical leg press, low row and core trainer. It's essentially like having eight exercise machines in one. 

The G9 also has built-in storage for barbells, weight plates and cable attachments to help keep your workout space tidy and organized.

There are nearly two dozen attachments and fitness accessories that come with the Force USA G9 including a multi-grip chin-up bar, suspension training ring, lat pull-down bar, a small grip frame bar, a pull-down rope, multi-grip dip handles, a functional training bar, a leg press attachment and foot plate for the leg press and Low Row, a Pull-down Knee Holder and a Landmine Handle.

It also comes with J-Hooks, Safety Spotter Arms, two adjustable nylon stirrup handles, two Olympic lock collars, six weight plate holders, six Olympic spring clips, two spring snap clips, an extension chain and an exercise chart. According to Force USA, aammer arms will be available for the G9 in the next couple of months.

The G9 is engineered in the USA for home use, though it can stand up to heavy-duty use akin to commercial grade gym equipment. 

Rather than being a single-use purchase for your home gym, the Force USA G9 gives you the functions of multiple pieces of strength training equipment in one compact trainer.

Working out with the Force USA G9 can be done entirely on your own, even if you want to max out your lifts, due to integrated safety features. For example, you can safely do squats on both the power rack and smith machine even without a spotter. You can squat using the J-hooks and spotter arms (and your own barbell) outside of the rack, or you can use the built-in safety hooks and stoppers on the smith machine.

There are over 250 exercises you can do on the trainer, utilizing all of the included attachments and eight exercise stations. Force USA G9 combo trainer workouts can be geared towards muscle hypertrophy, strength or endurance, and may involve compound exercises or isolation exercises that target the muscles of the lower body, chest, abs, back, shoulders and arms. You can do total-body workouts or split routines, supersets, circuit training and drop sets.

The versatility in the machine allows you to perform exercises in different ways to maximize the variety in training stimulus. For example, you can use the vertical leg press attachment on the bench or the floor, or you can do cable chest presses on the cable crossover or bench press on the Smith Machine to vary the way you work your chest and triceps.

One of the benefits of working out on the Force USA G9 is that it offers a one-to-one pulley ratio. This means if you have 100 pounds loaded up, the resistance you get is also 100 pounds. The weight rating of the entire unit is 992 pounds, while the smith machine and chin-up machine each have a weight rating of 772 pounds. The cables have an impressive weight rating of 2000 pounds.

Unlike the Force USA G3 all-in-one trainer, the G9 has a counterbalanced Smith Machine. This means the machine automatically counteracts the weight of the bar when you load it up so that you don’t have to subtract the weight of the bar when you’re trying to calculate how much you are lifting. For example, if you load up two 45-pound weight plates per side for your squat, the counterbalancing means that you are lifting 180 pounds; the machine will adjust to eliminate the weight of whatever barbell you are using.

The Force USA G9 is relatively compact given all that it can do, but it’s still a sizable piece of exercise equipment. The external dimensions measure 79 inches wide (side to side), 58 inches deep (front to back) and 89 inches tall (up and down). The internal dimensions of the G9 measure 43 inches wide, 34 inches deep and 79 inches tall.

Note that you will need to have a minimum ceiling height of eight feet and three inches (99 inches) to be able to do a full pull-up, bringing your head above the bar.

The shipping weight of the product is 608 pounds.

One of the top benefits of the G9 is its versatility. Because it combines eight strength machines into one, you can do virtually any type of strength training exercise with one of the attachments or stations. Plus, each of the multi-station areas of the trainer are designed to be versatile as well.

For example, the Power Rack allows you to do bench press or squat, and even the Vertical Leg Press attachment allows you to do the leg press from on a bench or the floor. The Chin-up Station is super study, with a weight rating of 772 pounds, meaning you can load up your pull-ups and chin-ups with plates or chains. The chin-up bar is wide enough for classic grip, hammer grip, pull-up grip, narrow grip or even wide-grip chin-ups. The Dip Station has similar versatility, capable of accommodating different width options and it can be adjusted if you want to use resistance bands for assistance or a weight belt.

Here are the specific functions of the G9:

The G9 Power Rack Station functions like a squat stand and allows you to perform any type of barbell exercise, such as bench presses, overhead presses, squats, lunges,  etc.

With the trainer's J-hooks and innovative safety spotter arms, you can vertically position the barbell and spotter arms at the right place along the uprights based on your height and the exercise you are performing. The uprights can also be adjusted up and down in two-inch increments.

However, although the Force USA G3 comes with Westside hole spacing, the G9 does not. Westside hole spacing means that the holes along the uprights of the power rack or squat rack are closer together toward the bottom of the rack and further apart as you ascend toward the top of the rack. It’s mostly beneficial for precise safety bar positioning for bench presses. With that said, with two-inch spacing, you should be able to position the bar at a comfortable height on the G9, and none of the customer reviews mention difficulties setting up the system.

With a maximum load capacity of 992 pounds, the power rack station on the G9 should be more than sufficient for most home gym users, but competitive and elite powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters might be better suited with a premium, heavy-duty power rack with a weight rating closer to 2000 pounds. However, bear in mind that these standalone commercial-grade power racks will not have all of the versatility of the G9.

The functional trainer and cable crossover comes with six functional trainer attachments, which together allow you to perform more than 75 different exercises. The cable crossover and functional trainer station can be used for exercises that target muscles the shoulder, arms, chest, back, core and legs, such as cable flys, triceps push-downs, cable crunches, cable curls, reverse flys, lat pull downs, rows and cable lunges.

The pulley uprights are spaced 48 inches apart, and the pulley themselves freely rotate on the uprights. With this design, you can effectively perform chest flys, even with a wider angle, if you step outside the cage.

There are 16 adjustable height positions along the length of the uprights and a dual cable pulley system that each connects to weight plates. Each of the two 12-inch sleeves can hold up to 12 standard Olympic weight plates or 12 two-inch bumper plates.

One of the best features of the cable crossover station is the commercial grade pulleys and the 6.2-millimeter nylon coated mil-spec aircraft quality cables that are rated up to 2,000 pounds. Not only are the pulleys and cables crafted from high-grade materials, but customer reviews also note that the pulley systems move smoothly, fluidly and can be easily adjusted vertically on the uprights using just one hand. This makes for more convenient and efficient transitions and adjustments during use.

The one-to-one pulley ratio means you are actually lifting the weight you load. Note that the ratio refers to both sides being used simultaneously. So, performing unilateral exercises with one cable pulley gives you a two-to-one pulley ratio.

The counterbalanced smith machine is also commercial-grade. Reviewers note that the bar slides smoothly up and down the guide rails for natural, unencumbered movements during your lifts. The innovative built-in safety catch ensures that you can safely max out on your own even without a spotter. The integrated bar on the Smith Machine bar features aggressive knurling for a reliable grip.

One unique feature of the Force USA G9 is the vertical leg press attachment that can be used either on a bench or on the floor, giving users maximum adjustability and versatility in how to perform the exercise.

The chin-up station, which can also be used for pull-ups, includes an ergonomically-designed pull up bar that is wide enough for chin ups or pull-ups with any type of grip, including a wide grip hand position. The weight rating is an impressive 772 pounds, allowing you to load up your own body with additional weight plates or chains attached to a weightlifting belt. The bar has integrated knurling grips positioned for classic grip, narrow grip, wide grip, hammer grip and pronated grip, so that you can safely and comfortably perform any variation with secure anti-slip protection.

Like the chin-up station, the multi-grip dip handle attachments for the dip station allow you to adjust the width of your dips. You can also adjust the height of the dip handlebars so that you can use the dip station with resistance bands or a weight belt.

One of the unique benefits of the vertical leg press attachment is that it also can be converted into a footpad for the low row station footpad. You simply attach the low row foot pad to either side of the cable pulley system, enabling you to work both your upper body and lower body.

The Core Trainer is essentially an attached landmine station that can be used for any type of rotational core training, such as landmines, Pallof presses and anti-rotation pulses. If you add a barbell, you can perform a variety of upper-body exercises as well.

Outfitting your garage gym, home gym or even commercial gym can be a costly process if you want to have high quality exercise equipment for serious strength training. Additionally, each individual piece of strength training equipment takes up a lot of room, so unless you have quite a bit of floor space to work with, you will likely end up needing to pick and choose whether to buy a functional trainer versus a power rack, or a squat rack vs. a leg press machine a power rack and so on.

However, an all-in-one trainer that combines the functions of multiple types of resistance training equipment can be more economical and feasible both from a money and space standpoint, and much more functional for your training.

Particularly, if you were doing any kind of powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, bodybuilding or heavy strength training workouts on your own, safety needs to be your top priority. The G9 Trainer has several key safety features built in to keep both you and the machine safe as you exercise. For example, the cables are crafted from aircraft grade materials, enabling them to have an impressive 2000 pound rating. One nice feature of the cable pulley system is that you can adjust the cables vertically with just one hand.

One of the best safety features of the trainer that enables independent workouts is that the Smith Machine features a safety catch so that you can safely max out on your bench press or squats without needing a spotter. The Smith Machine bar has premium commercial-grade knurling, for a reliable anti-slip grip.

A Smith Machine basically has a built-in spotter because the barbell is attached to the rail so you can’t lose control of it even when you are maxing out. Plus, if you realize that you can’t complete the lift, you can use the integrated safety latches to immediately lock the bar in place.

Finally, the Force USA G9 trainer can be adjusted to fit a variety of body types and fitness goals. By using a barbell, for example, you can perform even more upper body exercises. Or, the J-hooks allow you to adjust the height when squatting and lifting depending on your own height or the bench you are using.

The Force USA G10 is a new release in the lineup of plate loaded multi-trainers from Force USA, and has a few notable upgrades over the G9. Unlike the static cable pulley ratio in the G9, the G10 features a patent-pending interchangeable pulley cable system that enables you to switch between a two-to-one and four-to-one pulley ratio to modify lifting heavier vs. lighter loads. It also upgrades the thickness (gauge) of steel used in the construction to 11 gauge instead of the 12 gauge steel used with the G9.

The Force USA G10 trainer also comes with additional attachments and offers the option to buy jammer arms in the upgrade kit. Jammer arms are lever attachments that allow you to do Hammer Strength-style machine exercises. Rather than having the vertical leg press attachment and core trainer like the G9, the G10 has a designated lat pull down station and suspension trainer. With that said, you can get the vertical leg press, core trainer and jammer arms for the G10 with the upgrade kit, which you can purchase at checkout.

Additionally, the holes on the uprights are spaced every one inch rather than two inches, enabling more precise positioning for J-hooks and spotter arms during your lifts compared to the G9. One other difference is that you can also add additional storage shelves to augment the built-in weight storage space that you get with the G9.

In general, the G9 is designed to be more robust, durable, and functional for commercial purposes as opposed to a more affordable home gym model such as the G3. In other words, the G9 is designed for heavier-duty use.

Compared with the Force USA G3, the G9 also comes with all of the necessary attachments, including everything you need from the vertical leg press attachment and the landmine attachment to the lat pull down bar, multi-grip dip handles, Olympic barbell holders and all other necessary attachments for each of the eight machines. Most of the attachments for the G3 are sold separately. Plus, some of the included attachments and functions of the G9, such as the vertical leg press station, dip station and low row station are not available on the G3.

Unlike the G9, the G3 does not offer a counterbalanced smith machine. 

Moreover, the G9 has a one-to-one cable pulley ratio, whereas the G3 has a two-to-one pulley ratio. From a practical perspective, this means that the G9 has a heavier weight limit, and you only need half as many plates to lift the same weight as you would with the G3, which means you can set up, transition and re-rack your weight plates more quickly.

The G9 is similar to the Force USA G6 All-In-One Trainer, in that it offers all eight of the same training systems, but the G9 is a plate weight model and the Force USA G6 is a stack weight model that comes with two 221-pound weight stacks.

Additionally, the G6 unit offers a Suspension Trainer. Therefore, the Force USA has a higher price point, making the G9 a more affordable option with virtually identical versatility and functionality; you’ll just need to buy your own weight plates or bumper plates.

The majority of customers on the Force USA website have rated the G9 with five stars. Customers note that the machine “exceeds expectations,” and they point to specific features they appreciate.

One user review says, “As far as the machine itself, it exceeded expectations. Solidly built, and a very smooth pulley system makes exercise a joy for the entire family.”

Another customer says that assembly is difficult but everything comes individually wrapped in pristine condition. They also mention the smooth cable crossover function: “As far as performance, it does literally everything as advertised. It’s a fantastic piece of equipment that feels extremely sturdy and high quality. Pulley system is phenomenal, smith machine is very smooth and feels sturdy compared to cheap stuff and the attachments are all good quality. My only complaint is the rack is wide so it’s a tight fit when racking a barbell.”

One G9 customer review says: “Absolutely love this home gym. The quality, utility and space saving footprint while giving me a ton of exercise variety for bodybuilding has been amazing.”

Like other Force USA equipment, the G9 trainer comes with a limited lifetime frame warranty, a 10-year cable and pulley warranty and a one-year attachment warranty as long as it is used in a home gym, basement gym, garage gym, etc. For commercial gym use, the frame warranty is still lifetime, but the cables and pulleys are only guaranteed for five years, and attachments are only guaranteed for six months.

In addition to the warranty, everything you buy from, including the G9 and any additional weightlifting accessories, is backed by a “No Questions Asked” 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. As long as you contact customer service to receive a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number, you can return the G9 for any reason within 30 days of purchasing it. However, you will be responsible for the return shipping charges, which can be costly given the size and heft of the machine. The product must also be in new condition in the original packaging unless you are returning it due to a defect.

There are over 250 strength training exercises that you can do with the Force USA G9, enabling you to perform total-body strength training, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting and bodybuilding workouts.

Your G9 workouts can include compound exercises and isolation exercises, concentric and eccentric exercises, power exercises and plyometric exercises. Ultimately, the G9 workouts can be geared towards hypertrophy, building muscular strength or muscular endurance.

The included Force USA G9 exercise chart shows 35 exercises you can do, but there are plenty of variations to keep your workouts challenging.

There are no additional attachments that you need to buy for the Force USA G9. Unlike the Force USA G3, the G9 comes with everything you need.

However, you purchase additional accessories to use with the Force G9 all-in-one-trainer, such as a barbell, weight bench, bumper plates, weight plates, resistance bands and specialized flooring to provide a stable, slip-resistant floor surface for your machine. It does not come with weights or a bench.

Ultimately, the Force USA G9 All-In-One Trainer can be a fantastic complete home gym for your home or garage gym. User reviews are all extremely positive, with customers appreciating the high-quality construction, training versatility, ease of use and safety features. Although the G9 is a large and expensive piece of strength training equipment, as an all-in-one trainer, it can be an economical and compact way to outfit your home gym with a complete strength training system.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.

Force USA G9 Review - SI Showcase - Sports Illustrated

Plate Loaded Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer and USATF level 1 running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, Amber likes running, cycling, cooking, spending time outside and tackling any type of puzzle.This author is writing sponsored content paid for by Pillar4 and not affiliated with Sports Illustrated.