In this Force USA G9 review, I will tell you everything you need to know about this all-in-one gym to decide if it’s right for you.
The Force USA G9, previously called the Force USA Monster G9, is one of five all-in-one home gym and functional trainer models sold by Force USA. The combination of the following two features is what distinguishes the G9 from the other models:
- It is warrantied for commercial use, rather than just home use; AND…
- It has plate-loaded pulley system, rather than a selectorized weight stack.
Many people overlook the Force USA G9. But I argue that it’s the best value (bang for your buck) model out of the bunch. It beats the Force USA G3 on overall build quality. And it undercuts the Force USA G6, Force USA G12 and Force USA G20 in price by 20%, 35% and 50% respectively!
…Whether it’s the best model for you is different question. In this Force USA G9 review, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about this all-in-one gym to decide if it’s the right piece of gym equipment for you.
- Force USA G3 in-depth review
- Force USA G6 in-depth review
- Force USA G12 in-depth review
- Force USA G20 in-depth review
- Force USA G3, G6, G9, G12 and G20 review and comparison guide
Use the table of contents to quickly navigate to any part of my Force USA G9 review:
What Comes with the Force USA G9?
The Force USA G9 is a 9-in-1 machine. All exercise stations, attachments and accessories come included standard.
This is different than the Force USA G3, which has several optional attachments sold separately. It’s also different than the Force USA G20, which has a single large attachment sold separately (the G20 Lat Row Station Upgrade).
It consists of the following exercise stations:
- Power rack
- Functional trainer
- Smith machine
- Vertical leg press
- Low row station
- Chin up station
- Dip station
- Core trainer / Landmine station
- Suspension trainer ring
It comes with these cable accessories:
- Short Angled Bar
- Lat Pulldown Bar
- Nylon Stirrup Handles
- Long Straight Bar
- Triceps Rope
NOTE: I’ll talk more about these cable accessories and show photos each, later in this Force USA G9 review.
Also included with the Force USA G9 are the following items:
- 1 pair of quick-release Olympic collars
- 6 pairs of Olympic spring collars
- A 15-link chain with 2 snap links for each end
Force USA G9 Dimensions
|48” (45″ between j-hooks/spotter arms, which are offset by 1.5″ to the inside on each side)|
Force USA G9 Review: Features
Space Saving Footprint
The Force USA G9’s footprint is about a third of the size that you’d need if you instead bought dedicated training equipment for each of its 9 exercise stations.
This is the ultimate type of setup for anyone with a limited amount of training space, who needs A LOT of exercise variety.
This includes home gym lifters who only have access to a small room, or a portion of their garage or basement. It can also include certain commercial settings — from physical therapist offices to small community fitness centers — since the Force USA G9 has a commercial warranty.
With an all-in-one gym like the Force USA G9, you get most of the benefits and capabilities you’d get from having separate, specialized equipment. But you do lose out on some of the marginal benefits of dedicated equipment.
For example, most stations on the G9 will require at least some setup time in terms of moving components around before you can use them (e.g. you need to install the lat pulldown knee pad adapter on the j-hook before you can begin; whereas, you could just add the weight and go if you had a dedicated lat pulldown machine)…
…Similarly, designs on dedicated equipment can make some exercises easier (e.g. a dedicated 45 degree leg press is easier to get into position on, compared to laying down to get under the G9 vertical leg press attachment).
These are the types of unavoidable trade-offs you get when opt for any all-in-one gym over specialized equipment. BUT you gain space efficiency, which is arguably the most compelling reason to buy an all-in-one gym in the first place.
Not to mention, you also get the big benefits of convenience and price savings — Speaking of price savings, I’ll talk about that more in the next section of this G9 review.
Great Bang for Your Buck
The Force USA G9 will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars compared to buying separate, specialized equipment to achieve the same capabilities.
Beyond that, the Force USA G9 is arguably the best bang for your buck model of all the Force USA G-Series units.
At $3499 — before the 5% discount from using discount code KING5 — the Force USA G9 is the second least expensive option available. Only the Force USA G3 is less expensive, by $1300…
…But that’s not the full story. You have to consider that the G9 comes with all of its attachments included standard. Whereas, the G3 has several optional attachments sold separately. The G9 is only about $700 more expensive than the G3 when you add the cost of all the optional accessories to the G3’s price.
You also have to consider that the G9 delivers a higher overall build quality than the G3. Plus it has some key features that the G3 lacks, including:
- a better Smith machine
- a slightly smoother-feeling pulley system
- a dedicated low row station
- a 1:1 pulley ratio
Of course, the G9 lacks a couple features that the G3 has (e.g. Westside hole spacing, band peg holes).
Depending on your preferences for different features, you could make a great case for the G9 being a better value for the money than the G3. You could go even further and say it’s the best value for the money of all the G-Series models (as is my opinion).
The Force USA G9 is about as versatile as it gets. It has 9 different exercise stations. That’s more than any of the other Force USA all-in-one models have.
The only versatility it lacks compared to the other units is band peg holes, which are found on the Force USA G3, Force USA G6 and Force USA G20. Otherwise, the Force USA G9 lets you do as much or more than all of the other units.
You can do hundreds of exercises on this machine when you consider the capabilities of each station:
- The power rack lets you do nearly all of the barbell movements you can do in a dedicated, full-sized power rack. This includes squats, bench press, shoulder press and dozens more. A conservative estimate would be a total of 40+ barbell exercises.
- The functional trainer gives you 75+ different cable exercises. Seventy-five is honestly a low estimate. Many more variations are possible if you get creative because adjustable-height cables let you hit any angle with an unrestricted range of motion.
- The dedicated low row station lets you do 10+ exercises. This includes more than just low row variations. It also includes cable exercises such as biceps curls, bent over rows, upright rows and lateral raises.
- The Smith machine lets you do a Smith machine version of most of the exercises you can do in the power rack. Plus, there are some exercises unique to just the Smith machine. In total, this gives you 30+ Smith machine exercise possibilities.
- The landmine / core trainer is a very small piece of equipment. Yet it gives you access to at least 30 landmine exercises. My favorite is the T-bar row, but there are many more, including lots of core-focused movements.
- You can do 9 types of chin ups just based on the grip combinations of the various chin up bar handles. You can do more chin up variations if you think outside of the box (i.e. using bands, doing holds/hangs, adding weight, etc.).
- The dual-grip dip station lets you do — you guessed it — 2 basic dip exercises: wide grip and narrow grip dips. However, there are plenty of other dip variations possible with this dip setup. You can use it for non-dip exercises like incline push ups and inverted rows, which is a cool bonus!
- You get access to an impressive 80 suspension trainer exercises with the suspension trainer ring. You will need your own suspension trainer (i.e. TRX or other brand) to do these.
- The vertical leg press attachment gives you access to 3 leg press variations: narrow, shoulder width and wide stance. That’s not a lot of variations, but the leg press exercise is one of the most effective leg exercises you can do.
I’ll give you more exercise examples when I discuss each exercise station in-depth later in this Force USA G9 review.
The Force USA G9 is a commercial quality unit. It has a notably stronger and more durable frame than the Force USA G3 and Force USA G6.
It’s built to withstand the higher demands of a commercial setting. As such, it is warrantied for commercial use. Generally, this type of machine wouldn’t be used in a high traffic big box gym. Rather, it’s designed for the following types of commercial settings:
- Small commercial gyms and community fitness centers
- Physical therapy practices
- Personal training studios
- Fire department gyms
- Police department gyms
- Military base gyms
- Corporate/office gyms
- Hotel gyms
Even though it has a commercial warranty, it’s also great for use in a home gym setting.
The Force USA G9 power rack is really a “half rack” since it isn’t a full cage with four columns. Still, you can do virtually any barbell exercise in this half rack that you could do in a full sized power rack. Plus, you get the added benefit a smaller footprint.
There’s dozens of barbell exercise variations you can do in the Force USA G9 power rack. I couldn’t possibly list them all, but here’s several of my favorites (note that some of these require a flat/incline/decline adjustable weight bench):
- Front squat
- Zercher squat
- Split squat
- Bench press
- Close grip bench press
- Incline bench press
- Decline bench press
- Pin press
- Overhead press
- Seated shoulder press
- Push press
- Barbell row / Yates row
- Rack pull
- Snatch grip rack pull
- Romanian deadlift
- Barbell shrug
- Power shrug
- Biceps curl
The Force USA G9 has the same 992 lb weight capacity rating as all the other Force USA all-in-one gym models. This is more than strong enough to handle all but the most elite lifters.
The Force USA G9 is tied with the Force USA G12 for having the widest power rack area of all the G-Series models. The distance between the uprights is 48″ from inside to inside (and 52″ from outside to outside). That’s a full 7″ more than the Force USA G6 and 4″ more than the Force USA G3 and 3.5″ more than the Force USA G20.
This gives you plenty of extra room to work for both power rack exercises and pulley exercises. My favorite part of the extra wide space is that you get a better chest stretch on all chest fly variations because the cables are further apart. It makes the pulley setup more similar to a full-sized cable crossover unit, which traditionally have the pulley towers several feet apart.
The 48″ width between the uprights isn’t the full story when it comes to the power rack. On most power racks, the distance between the j-hooks and safeties is the same as the distance between the uprights. However, the Force USA G9 is so wide that the j-hooks and safety spotter arms needed to be offset, or “indented,” to the inside of each upright by 1.5 inches.
This makes the j-hooks and safeties 3 inches closer together than the uprights. So the distance between the j-hooks (and between spotter arms) is 45″ rather than 48″.
Why is it necessary to make the j-hooks and safeties closer together? It ensures you have enough room to fit the barbell shaft on the j-hooks and safety spotters. If they weren’t indented, the distance between the outsides of the j-hooks/safeties (52″) would be further apart than the length of a typical Olympic barbell shaft (51.5″).
When they’re indented, the distance between the outsides of the j-hooks/safeties is 49″. This gives you enough space to fit the barbell shaft with a little room to spare.
The Force USA G12 j-hooks and safeties have the same design because the G9 and G12 both have the same wide frame.
The Force USA G9 includes a pair of safety spotter arms. These are used to catch the barbell at the bottom of the range of motion in case you fail or have to dump the weight.
Each Force USA G9 safety spotter has a protective rubber insert covering the length of the arm. This helps prevent damage to your barbell when setting it on, or dropping it against, the safeties. The rubber absorbs some of the impact and provides a soft surface to preserve the shaft’s knurling and finish.
The spotters have 15” of usable length. This is all you “need” to squat safely. But an additional ~3″ of length would have been ideal in my opinion. I typically squat in a 30 inch deep power rack, so I’m used to taking a relatively big step back when I walkout my squat. If I took the same sized step back on the Force USA G9 power rack, then I’d walk it past the spotter arms…
…This isn’t a real problem, though. You just have to take a smaller step back and you’ll be fine. You may feel a little closer to the uprights than you’d like at first. But you’ll get used the shorter walkout distance in no time.
The 15″ spotter arm length on the G9 is the same as on the G6, G12 and G20. Only the G3 has longer spotter arms with 17.5″ of usable length.
The Force USA G9 comes with a pair of j-hooks. They have the same exact design as the Force USA G12 j-hooks.
They’re also very similar to the Force USA G6 j-hook design, with the only differences being:
- The G6 j-hooks aren’t “indented” to the inside of the uprights like the G9 j-hooks.
- The G6 j-hooks have a pop-pin mechanism for a redundant layer of security; the G9 j-hooks don’t.
Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice about the G9 j-hooks are the 4 holes on their underside. These allow you to make small height adjustments to the lat pulldown leg holder, which can attach to either j-hook.
The j-hooks have a protective rubber insert that lays across the surface where you rack the barbell. This is the same protective material used on the spotter arms.
Unfortunately, the upper/back portion of the j-hooks lacks any kind of protective covering. There’s also a large bolt head protruding from the middle of it. This makes it easier to scratch your barbell if you slam it into the back of the j-hook.
If you’re careful, it’s pretty easy to avoid hitting the back of the j-hook since the lower portion extends out further than most j-hooks. Still, there will be times when you rack the bar after an intense set and can’t help but to slam it into this unprotected area…
…For the vast majority of lifters who don’t care about getting the occasional minor cosmetic imperfection on their bar, you can ignore this next part.
But if you’re like me and try to keep your barbells in as pristine condition as possible (within reason), then I would recommend covering it somehow. Here’s a couple ideas:
- Simply put some foam tape over the bolt and the back surface. This will last a while, but you’ll eventually need to re-apply as it wears down.
- Use a strong adhesive to cover the bolt with rubber bumpers. I’d recommend cutting a groove into the rubber bumper so that it lays flat across the bolt head. Then add a second bumper on top if needed. This will be a long term solution.
If you’re looking for the model with the best j-hooks, that would be the Force USA G20. It has roller j-hooks that let you effortlessly center a loaded barbell. Plus, they have a tall back, which lets you rack the bar higher up without worrying about hitting the uprights.
Hole Spacing & Hole Accessibility
Each upright on the Force USA G9 power rack has sixteen 1″ diameter holes for installing the j-hooks, safety spotter arms and dip station. The G9 has uniform 3.75″ hole spacing just like the G6 and G12.
A NOTE ON MAX J-HOOK HOLE HEIGHT:
Because of the pulley design, the uppermost two j-hook holes are inaccessible on the Force USA G9 (and G12)…sort of. Let me explain:
The functional trainer is designed such that the j-hook (or spotter arms or dip attachment) should always be below the pulley. This is because the cable runs from the pulley to the top of the rack, and is positioned directly in front of the j-hook holes. In other words, the cable blocks the holes above it, so the attachments must go below the pulley.
When the pulley is at its highest setting, the pulley itself actually blocks the highest two j-hook holes. When the j-hooks are in the highest accessible hole (i.e. 3rd hole from the top), the barbell will be 60″ above the floor. This plenty high for the vast majority of lifters. However, it can be an issue for very tall guys squatting in the power rack; specifically, guys over 6’5″…
…There’s a caveat to this. Technically, there is a workaround for installing the j-hooks in these two otherwise inaccessible holes. You can move the cables to the outside of the uprights and then install the j-hooks. There will be enough slack that the cable will push back with the barbell when you rack it.
However, this is officially not recommended by Force USA because the bar knurling would eventually wear the cable down if you did this regularly. Of course, you could mitigate much of the wear by putting athletic tape around the cable where the bar would hit into.
Bottom line, though — if you use this trick, it should only be an occasional occurrence. For example, it might come in handy if you’re a personal trainer or physical therapist and every once in a while you have a very tall client.
I’ve included a video below showing a 6’4″ lifter using this workaround to install the j-hooks in the second highest hole. He has some trouble getting it over the j-hooks even at his tall stature — And he’s using a high bar position with an empty bar, which means the bar is already as high as possible on his back. He would be better suited using the hole below, which wouldn’t require using a workaround. This is why I say that the G9 power rack is suitable for squatters as tall as 6’5″.
The 3.75″ hole spacing on the Force USA G9 is larger than the G3’s and G20’s Westside hole spacing (1″ in the bench area, 2″ in the squat area).
In an ideal world, I would’ve preferred tighter hole spacing on the G9. But it’s not the end of the world. You’ll just have to accept that sometimes your j-hook or safety arm height setting on a given exercise will be “good enough” instead of “ideal.”
The 3.75″ hole spacing is fine for most lifters. In fact, I consider hole spacing of 4″ or less to be satisfactory for both safety and performance. You can still set the j-hooks and spotter arms accurately enough to bench and squat safely and effectively.
The further you go above 4″ hole spacing, the more likely you are to have to set the j-hooks/safeties in a compromising position: either too low or too high. This means you’ll either have to set the j-hooks much lower than you’d like, which means you waste more energy unracking the bar — and/or you’ll have to set the spotter arms much lower than the bottom of the range of motion, which can be particularly dangerous on bench press.
With 3.75″ hole spacing, the worst case scenario is having to install the j-hooks or spotters ~3″ below their ideal positions. Any performance loss is minimal and safety isn’t significantly impacted.
The Force USA G9 functional trainer is the focal point of this all-in-one gym model. It is easily the most versatile of the nine exercise stations on the G9.
The functional trainer includes two pulleys: one on each of the power rack uprights.
The pulleys are connected via cables to a single plate-loaded weight holder bracket. You can adjust each pulley independently to any one of 16 height settings (same number of settings as on the G12). This is all the settings you need for any cable movement. However, it’s worth noting that the Force USA G6 and Force USA G20 both have 19 height settings, and the Force USA G3 has 22.
The cable is 16″ above the floor at the lowest setting and 73″ above the floor at the highest setting.
The pulley adjustment mechanism only requires one hand to adjust. This is an upgrade over the G3, which is designed for two-hand adjustments. It’s a small detail, but remember — you’ll likely be adjusting the pulleys several times every session. It removes some tedium from your workout by making the transition between exercises more efficient.
The action of the Force USA G9 functional trainer is very smooth. It’s the same smoothness as on the G6, G12 and G20. It’s a little bit smoother than on the G3.
I should note that the Force USA G9 is the only Force USA all-in-one gym model where two people can’t use each pulley column independently for two different exercises. This is because the pulleys are connected to the one weight bracket. Whereas, the G3 pulleys connect to two separate weight brackets. The G6, G12 and G20 all have two weight stacks that their pulleys connect to separately…
…Ultimately, this is a necessary trade-off for the G9 to have its dedicated low row station. Not to mention, if there were two plate-loaded weight brackets, it would take up more space and you’d spend twice as much time loading on plates for double pulley exercises.
The plate-loaded weight holder bracket has two 12″ long weight plate holders. Having such long plate holders is great because it gives you plenty of space to load on a lot of weight.
These holders are slightly angled up. This convenient little feature ensures the plates stay on even if you load plates to the very end — no collar required!
A plate-loaded system like the Force USA G9 may not give you the convenience of selectorized weight stack systems like the Force USA G6, Force USA G12 and Force USA G20, all of which let you adjust the resistance almost instantly. BUT, you do get a couple big benefits with the G9’s plate loaded system as trade-off:
- You can potentially load on much more total weight. Note that the actual max weight depends largely on the thickness of the weight plates you use (i.e. classic cast iron plates or regular bumpers or competition bumpers or etc.).
- You can save A LOT of money. Selectorized weight stacks are expensive. The main difference between the G9 and G12 is that the G12 has a selectorized weight stack, and you pay a premium for that ($5499 vs $3499). You even pay significantly more for the G6 than the G9 ($4499 vs $3499) — and the G6 has a much lighter weight stack than the G12, plus it’s only warrantied for home use.
The Force USA G9 has a 1-to-1 pulley ratio. This means the amount of resistance you feel is the same as the amount of weight you load on. In contrast, the Force USA G3 and Force USA G6 have a 2-to-1 pulley ratio, where the resistance is halved.
So the G9 allows you to use twice as much resistance vs if it had a 2-to-1 ratio. The benefit of this is that you can progress further on exercises that require a lot of weight (e.g. cable squats, low rows and lat pulldowns for stronger guys). And since it’s a plate-loaded set up, it takes less time to load on the plates to achieve the same amount of resistance as a 2-to-1 ratio plate-loaded system like the G3. The only other G-Series models with a 1-to-1 pulley ratio are the G12 and G20.
NOTE ABOUT THE G9 PULLEY RATIO: The G9’s pulley ratio is 1-to-1 when you’re using both sides of the functional trainer at the same time. It’s also 1-to-1 when you’re using the low pulley in the back of the machine (i.e. the low row station). However, it’s a 2-to-1 ratio when you’re using just one side of the functional trainer. This is because each of the two functional trainer pulleys is connected to just one plate-loaded weight holder bracket on the back of the machine. As such, the resistance is halved when using just one side.
The combination of the G9’s 12″ long plate holders and its 1-to-1 pulley ratio, give you the ability to add A LOT of resistance. As mentioned previously, the total amount of weight depends on the types and size of the plates you’re using:
- If you only have super thick crumb bumper plates (45 lb plates are 3.75″ thick), you could fit three 45 lb plates per holder, for a max of 270 lbs.
- If you’re using regular cast iron plates (45 lb plates are 1.5″ thick), you could fit a whopping eight 45 lb plates per holder, for a total of 720 lbs!
- There are many different types of plates with thicknesses between the two sizes listed above (e.g. competition bumpers, rubber coated Olympic plates, regular bumper plates) and some that are thinner (e.g. steel powerlifting plates). However, the point is that even with the thickest plates, most people will be able to load on more weight than they need… which means your strength progression will never hit a ceiling.
The following functional trainer cable accessories come included with the G9 (click to view the full-sized photo):
- Short Angled Bar: This cable accessory is ideal for underhand rows, close grip overhand rows, biceps curls and triceps pushdowns.
- Lat Pulldown Bar: This is your go-to bar for lat pulldowns. Its angled ends make it perfect for using an extra wide grip. You can also do narrower lat pulldown variations by gripping closer together on the straight portion with an overhand or underhand grip. This bar’s utility goes beyond lat pulldowns to many other movements such as low rows (any grip width; overhand/underhand), rear delt rows, upright rows, straight-arm pulldowns, biceps curls and cable pressdowns.
- Nylon Stirrup Handles: This pair of handles is the most versatile cable accessory you can use. You can position them wherever you can position your hand. This allows you to do a ton of unilateral or bilateral movements. Some of the most common stirrup handle movements include chest flyes, unilateral rows, shoulder presses, bilateral or unilateral lat pulldowns, rear and side lateral raises, bench press, concentration curls, underhand triceps extensions and more.
- Long Straight Bar: This bar connects to both pulleys, making it excellent for cable variations of squats, bench press, low rows, standing rows, curls, triceps pressdowns and others. It has a thick diameter with a grippy coating that makes it great to hold onto.
- Triceps Rope: The triceps rope is a classic cable accessory, best known for its application in triceps pushdowns. It’s also an excellent tool for face pulls, upright rows and hammer curls.
The G3, G6 and G20 all come with more cable accessories.
It would be nice if a few more were included with the G9. In particular, I think a close grip cable row handle would have been perfect for the G9’s low row station. Luckily, you can buy good quality cable attachments on Amazon at affordable prices if you want extra accessories for your G9.
Lat Pulldown Leg Holder
The Force USA G9 comes standard with an attachment to hold your legs in place while doing lat pulldowns so that your butt doesn’t come off the seat.
The attachment has 2 roller pads made of foam. They’re both covered in commercial grade vinyl upholstery to protect the foam from coming apart over time.
This leg holder attachment doesn’t come with an actual seat like the Force USA G3 lat pulldown seat attachment. Rather, it’s designed to be used with a weight bench for the seat. I like this better because a bench is 100% stable, whereas the G3’s seat attachment flexes a bit if you use momentum.
It attaches to either of the j-hooks with one pin. It has a secondary pop-pin built into it that you insert into any of the four holes on the bottom of the j-hook to make micro-adjustments to leg holder height. The micro-adjustments ensure you can get a firm fit against your thighs.
Low Row Station
The Force USA G9 is the only Force USA all-in-one gym model that comes standard with a dedicated low-row station in the rear of the rack.
The G20 also has a dedicated low row station, but you need to purchase the optional Lat Row Station Upgrade separately in order to get it.
Note: The close grip row handle shown in the photo above doesn’t come with the G9. If you want one, you can great quality one on Amazon for a good price.
I really see this as a standout feature in the G9 since I’m a BIG fan of cable rows.
All of the other models are capable of low rows. However, the setup is less efficient — For example, on the G6, G12 and G20, you set up by planting your feet on the lat pulldown leg holder pad, which is attached to the j-hook on the base of the power rack. (Note: On the G20, you can bypass this less efficient low row setup if you purchase the optional G20 Lat Row Station Upgrade. It gives you a dedicated low row station in the back of the rack with a built-in foot plate)
Here’s the key benefits of the Force USA G9’s dedicated low row station vs the alternative of using the leg holder pad method:
- You get a faster set up time.
- You take up less space by staying inside the rack.
- You can achieve a stronger and more comfortable stance because the steel foot plate provides a larger and more stable area to plant your feet.
The action on the low row cable is just as smooth as on the main functional trainer cable columns:
The Force USA G9 Smith machine lets you do a variation of nearly all the barbell exercises you can do in the power rack. Plus, there’s a few other exercises you can only do in a Smith machine.
But just because you can do Smith machine variations of certain barbell exercises, does not necessarily mean you that you should. The Smith barbell is on a fixed vertical track. As such, it’s not ideal for certain free weight exercises where the bar or your body needs more freedom of movement (e.g. back squats)…
…That being said, there’s plenty of exercises that the Smith machine is excellent for — despite what you may hear from some of the more hard-headed gym bros out there (I used to be one!).
Here’s a brief list of some of the best uses for the Force USA G9 Smith machine:
- Smith machine front squat
- Smith machine hack squat
- Smith machine kneeling squat
- Smith machine Bulgarian split squat
- Smith machine Jefferson squat
- Smith machine flat bench press
- Smith machine rear delt row
- Smith machine Romanian deadlift
- Smith machine single leg Romanian deadlift
- Smith machine power shrug
- Smith machine rack pull
- Smith machine hip thrust
- Smith machine glute kickback
- Smith machine calf raise (seated, standing or even donkey variation)
There’s plenty more variations than those listed…
…Particularly, there’s a bunch more Smith machine “booty” exercises — Just search for them on Instagram and Pinterest. Many female trainees (and maybe some guys) will appreciate this!
It’s important to note that you can’t do Smith machine incline bench press due to insufficient internal depth inside the G9. There isn’t enough room to put an adjustable bench far enough back while in the incline position. This is a trade off that comes with having a compact footprint. You run into the same issue with the G12. Only the G3, G6 and G20 have enough internal depth for incline Smith machine exercises. However, there is a decent alternative exercise: Incline press on the functional trainer using the long straight bar attachment.
Although you can’t do incline work on the G9 Smith machine, you can do Smith machine flat bench press.
The Force USA G9 Smith machine has the same 770 lb weight capacity rating as the other Force USA all-in-one gym models. That’s plenty for the vast majority of lifters.
It has the same 12″ loadable sleeve length as the other models’ Smith machines. This may only be an issue if you just have super thick bumper plates (i.e. crumb bumper plates/hi-temp bumpers), in which case you could only load on ~270 lbs of plates. But even in this worst case scenario, 270 lbs is plenty of weight for the exercises most people do on the Smith machine.
Most people will have other types of weight plates, whether that’s somewhat thinner bumper plates or the much thinner cast iron weight plate — in which case, you can potential load several hundred more pounds of weight.
The Force USA G9 Smith machine also has safety catches, as do the other models. The safety catches are connected to the Smith track. You set the height by rotating it so it sits atop one of the chrome pegs on the column behind the track. You should set it at or just below the range of motion for whichever Smith machine exercise you’re doing.
I recommend using the safety catches all the time for any Smith machine exercise where you could potentially get stuck under the bar. Do it even if you’re using light weight just to make it a habit.
The Force USA G9 Smith machine has a VERY smooth gliding action. It’s just as smooth as any high-end Smith machine you’d find in a large commercial gym. The smoothness is the same as on the G20, G12 and G6. The G9 Smith machine is, however, notably smoother than the Force USA G3 Smith machine.
The G9 (and G12) has a counterbalanced Smith machine, whereas the G3, G6 and G20 Smith machines are non-counterbalanced. The resistance of the empty bar is less than its actual weight on counterbalanced Smith machines.
The video below shows the G12 Smith machine, which has the exact same counterbalanced Smith machine as the G9:
A non-counterbalanced Smith machine like the ones on the G3, G6 and G20 have a starting weight of 45 lbs. The Force USA G9 (and G12) Smith machines has a starting weight of 0 lbs…
…The main benefit of this is that lifters can perform movements at very light weights. This is something that would be very useful if you’re using the Force USA G9 in a personal training studio to train pure beginners. Similarly, it’s perfect for use in a physical therapy setting for rehab.
Even if never need to use super light weights, there is a bonus benefit to a counterbalanced system: You don’t have to factor in the weight of the bar when calculate the total load. You just add up the weights of all the plates.
Vertical Leg Press
The leg press plate is one of my favorite attachments on the Force USA G9. Really, it’s a favorite on all of the G-Series models.
One benefit of the leg press is the fact that it’s for vertical leg pressing. Vertical leg pressing gives you a similar training effect to a 45 degree leg press machine, but with less weight required.
This is helpful because it takes less time to load on the weight. More importantly, you don’t need as much total weight in your gym. If you had a 45 degree leg press, you’d have to invest in a lot more weight plates once you get strong enough.
The Force USA G9 leg press attachment has the same design as the Force USA G20, Force USA G12 and Force USA G6.
It is different than the Force USA G3 leg press plate, though. It has a more angular shape compared to the rectangular G3 plate shape. The installation mechanism is different, too. And the G3 plate is sold separately, while the G9 plate comes standard.
The G9 leg press attachment attaches to the hooks on each end of the Smith machine bar via pop-pins. They’re very easy to use and make the plate super secure. It’s a better system than the G3 leg press attachment, which uses two pins that go through the leg press plate and through holes in the Smith bar shaft.
Both methods are totally safe, but it’s faster to install the G9’s plate. Plus, there’s zero wiggle room in the connection.
The Force USA G9 vertical leg press plate is 29.5″ wide. This is the same width as the G20, G12 and G6 leg press plates. It’s just a half-inch wider than the G3 plate. This plate width lets you leg press with a wide, medium and narrow width stance:
The G3 leg press plate only has two things over the G9 leg press plate:
- It can be locked into place so that the plate stays parallel to the floor without having to think about your ankle position.
- It has spotter rails that you control with your hands to rack and unrack the weight. Some people find this a bit more convenient.
The up and down motion is super smooth when you’re leg pressing on the Force USA G9. It’s just as smooth as when you’re doing regular Smith machine exercises. This is to be expected since the leg press plate is installed directly on the Smith bar.
The motion is smoother than when leg pressing on the Force USA G3, since the Force USA G3 Smith machine has a noticeable amount of drag (though, still an acceptable amount).
Make a habit of setting the Smith machine safety catches at or just below the lowest point in your range of motion habit to do whenever performing vertical leg presses on the G9 is to . This ensures you won’t get stuck under the weight if you fail at the bottom of a rep.
TIP: You can do leg presses while lying on the floor, too. Lying on the bench just makes it more comfortable because it’s padded. If you use the floor, you may want to get a foam exercise mat to cushion your back and head, especially once you’re pressing heavier loads.
The Force USA G9 dip station comes as two pieces: A left side and right a side. You attach one on each power rack upright at the same height. You install them just like a pair of j-hooks.
It has two pairs of grip handles: wide grip handles (21″ apart) and narrow grip handles (27.5″ apart). This gives you the ability to do a two basic dip exercises off the bat:
- Wide grip dips, which are better for emphasizing the chest
- Narrow grip dips, which will target the triceps more
The handles are rubber coated to give you a more comfortable and non-slip grip. Each handle has a 30mm (1-3/16″) diameter, which is not too narrow and not too thick.
You do dips over the midline of the G9 unit since the two halves of the dip station attach to both uprights. This has a couple benefits over the Y-dip style attachment seen on many power racks and which attaches on a single upright:
- You can lean forward as much as you want without bumping into anything. On some power racks with Y-dip bars, your head will make contact with the upright if you lean too far forward.
- You can face either direction: forward or back. On most Y-dip bars, your legs would bump into the upright at the bottom of the rep if you did dips facing away from the rack.
- The rack is more stable since your weight is distributed over its midline, instead of off to the side on a single upright.
There’s some less obvious exercises you can do on the Force USA G9 dip station:
- Band-assisted dips (by attaching a band to the suspension trainer ring, then looping it around your feet)
- Inverted rows
- Incline push ups
You can check out these creative dip variations to find more creative ways to use the dip attachment.
Chin Up Station
The Force USA G6 chin up station is a multi-grip setup. It has:
- Two oblique bars
- Four short bars that are parallel to each other
- Two longer straight bars that are perpendicular to the short bars; both bars angle downward at their ends
There are several grip position combinations made possible by these bar segments. They let you do all of these chin up variations:
- Normal width pronated grip
- Normal width supinated grip
- Normal width semi-supinated grip
- Close pronated grip
- Close supinated grip
- Close semi-pronated grip (using diagonal and straight segments)
- Wide pronated grip
- Wide neutral grip
- Close neutral grip
The chin up handle diameters are 33mm (1.3″) thick on steel portions and 38mm (1.5″) thick on the padded portions. Both measurements are right in the sweet spot of comfort for most lifters.
This is the same type of multi-grip chin up bar as on the G6, G12 and G20 (though the G20 also has globe-style chin up stations on each side of the rack).
It is different than the “Monkey style” chin up bar that comes with the Force USA G3. And while the G9 and G3 chin up bars look quite different, the exercise possibilities on each are nearly the same — with the notable exception that you can do close neutral grip chin ups on the G9, but not on the G3.
Another difference between the G9 and G3 chin up bars is that the G9 chin up bar has rubber covers to enhance grip on the wide grip portion and smooth powder coated steel everywhere else. In comparison, the G3 chin up bar has knurling on several portions, which enhances your grip.
Ideally, I wish the Force USA G9 chin up station had knurled handles. But that’s a relatively minor complaint and something that comes down to personal preference. All in all, G9 chin up station is great in both feel and function.
Landmine / Core Trainer
The Force USA G9 comes with a landmine / core trainer station. This includes:
- A landmine attachment, which holds one end of the barbell.
- A dual-handle attachment that you can slide over the other end of the barbell. One set of handles is straight (for a overhand grip) and the other set are parallel handles (for a neutral grip). This handle attachment is designed for t-bar rows — which is an excellent exercise for building upper back thickness.
The landmine attachment installs permanently at the base of the rack, in front of one of the power rack uprights. You can install it on either the inside or outside. I recommend putting it on the outside, since it will be out of the way.
This attachment takes up a tiny amount of space, but gives you a ton of exercise variety. Here’s a small sample of 30+ exercises you can do with it. Many are excellent core strength/stability builders:
- T-bar row
- Landmine press
- Landmine floor press
- Landmine kneeling press
- Landmine hand-to-hand pass
- Landmine anti-rotation
- Landmine windmill
- Landmine rear delt row
- Landmine one arm row
- Landmine hack squat
- Landmine deadlift
- Landmine single leg RDL
Suspension Trainer Ring
The suspension trainer ring is a small, but useful little feature. It lets you install a suspension trainer unit to the Force USA G9 with ease.
The suspension trainer ring is located under the upper crossbeam that the chin up station is welded on. The ring is formed by the curved part of a U-bolt. The two ends of the U-bolt insert through the bottom of the crossbeam and come out the top, where they’re secured with washers and nuts. The hardware is robust, making the ring highly secure.
The ring gives you a fast and convenient way to install a suspension trainer:
- You can simply hook suspension trainer clip directly to the ring.
- Or you can loop the extension strap portion through the ring.
The suspension trainer will never slide side to side, which is something you’d have to worry about if you attached it to a power rack beam that didn’t have a ring.
You get access to at least 80 exercises when you use a suspension trainer on the Force USA G9. Here’s a small sample of the many possible movements:
- Suspension trainer knee tuck
- Suspension trainer pike
- Suspension trainer inverted row
- Suspension trainer scapular retractions
- Suspension trainer chest press
- Suspension trainer reverse fly
- Suspension trainer triceps dip
- Suspension trainer biceps curl
- Suspension trainer decline push up
- Suspension trainer pistol squat
- Suspension trainer hip thrust
The suspension trainer ring has a hidden use: You can attach bands to it so you can do:
- Band resistance exercises like band triceps pushdowns, band face pulls, band lat pulldowns and high to low band woodchops.
- Band-assisted exercises like band-assisted dips and band-assisted pull ups (perfect if you can’t lift your full body weight on these exercises)
Note that the Force USA G9 does not come with a suspension trainer. You can get one on Amazon for a reasonable price if you don’t have one already. I recommend the TRX, which is the industry standard.
The Force USA G9 comes with a dedicated area to hang all the included cable accessories as well as other gym accessories you may own.
It is located inside the rack, toward the rear. It includes a large panel with an exercise diagram showing 35 common functional trainer exercises you can do on the G9. There are 6 storage hooks below the panel to hang your accessories on.
This is plenty of storage space for all of the included cable accessories. You’ll have extra room for other gym accessories you may already own (e.g. lifting belt, grip trainers, dip belt, neck harness) since you can add multiple accessories to a single hook.
Additionally, you can drape any of your flexible accessories like resistance bands, wraps or chains over the panel itself. But chances are the hooks will be all you’ll need.
Having a convenient and well placed storage area like this is essential for convenience and keeping your gym clutter-free.
Weight Plate Storage
The Force USA G9 comes with a dedicated weight plate storage section toward the back of the rack on both sides. There’s 3 plate holders on the left and 3 on the right. This gives most people more than enough room to store all the plates in their collection.
Not only can you store all your plates, but having 6 total storage pegs lets you organize the plates by size (e.g. 45/55 lb plates together, 35/25 lb plates together; 15/10/5 lb plates together). You can get the plates you need faster than if you had just 2 or 4 storage pegs. You won’t have to strip off all the weights from the holder just to get to the one you need in the back.
I like that the storage pegs are angled ~30-40 degrees toward the front of the unit. This design is also seen on the G12. However, most other all-in-one gyms or regular power racks have their storage pegs sticking straight out to the sides.
This unique angled plate holder position does two things:
- It puts the weights closer to the Smith machine and power rack. This makes it a bit easier and faster to transfer the plates to and from the Smith bar or the barbell on the power rack.
- It positions the weights slightly away from the plate holders on the pulley system. This ensures the stored weights don’t get in your way when moving plates on or off the pulley bracket.
You can optionally remove the Olympic storage pegs to reveal 1” standard-sized diameter pegs. Many people will have no use for the standard-sized pegs. But there’s more than a few home gym lifters out there who will appreciate it. This includes anyone with spin-lock dumbbells and barbells in their gym, with no place to store the plates.
The Force USA G9 comes with a vertical barbell holder on the outside of the machine, toward the rear. It has spots for an Olympic barbell (~2” diameter) and a standard barbell (1” diameter).
This feature lets you conveniently store your barbell out the way when you’re using another exercise station or after you finish your workout.
Your ceiling needs to be at least 7’11” high to put a full length Olympic barbell in the bar holder. This is higher than the max height of the Force USA G9. This measurement accounts for the distance needed to lift the bar in and out of the storage sleeve.
Most ceilings are 8 feet or higher, so this shouldn’t be an issue for most people. You can find an alternative bar storage method such as this or this if your ceilings are too short. Or you can simply store the bar in the j-hooks when you’re done training.
Olympic AND Standard Compatibility
The Force USA G9 is compatible with Olympic AND standard plates AND bars.
As mentioned in the previous sections of this Force USA G9 review, the G9 is built for use with Olympic plates and bars first and foremost. But it is adaptable for compatibility with standard sized plates and barbells. This includes:
- Weight storage
- Barbell storage
- Smith machine bar sleeves
- Plate-loaded weight holder bracket for the pulley system
This dual-compatibility is something only a minority of users will care about. But those who do care will be very happy that they can use their existing equipment on this machine.
Band Peg Holes
The Force USA G9 has has no band peg holes. Same with the G12. This means you can’t do any band-resisted exercises in the power rack, Smith machine or on the pulley system.
If that’s something essential to you, then you have two options:
- Consider the G3, G6 and G20 instead.
- Or if you are set on getting the G9, there is a workaround for getting band pegs: Buy and install mountable band pegs. You will have to either bolt them to the floor just outside of the G9’s footprint. Or if you have the G9 on a lifting platform, you can bolt them into that.
If you look closely at photos of the G9 (or G12), it may appear that it has a bolt-down capability since there are holes in the feet:
Unfortunately, these were not designed for bolting the unit to the floor. Theoretically, you could put a bolt through them and into the floor, but it’s not built for that purpose. And Force USA doesn’t advertise or recommend doing that.
Why not? A few reasons:
- Those plates with the holes aren’t welded to the frame like on the bolt-able G3, G6 and G20 models.
- There’s only holes on the front of the rack.
- The diameter of the holes doesn’t readily allow for a 5/8″+ bolt, which is standard when bolting racks down.
You’d probably be fine if you wanted to put bolts in simply to prevent the rack from shifting out of place over time. But that’s it.
That said, there’s not much of a reason to bolt down the Force USA G9 in the first place. This is for two reasons:
- It has a stable design by default thanks to its extra wide, flat foot design; and a heavy weight even without weights on it.
- It doesn’t have band pegs. You won’t be pulling up on the rack with band tension from band-resisted exercises.
The Force USA G9 ships to the lower 48 US states. Shipping costs $249, which is a very fair rate considering how large and and heavy the Force USA G9 shipment is.
The unit ships via freight and comes inside a large crate, on a pallet. The total shipping weight is 608 lbs.
Freight shipping is used because it greatly reduces the likelihood of damage vs traditional ground shipping. The freight company will reach out to coordinate a shipping date and time because you have to be home to sign for the delivery. Make sure to inspect the shipment for any damage before you sign.
Note that it’s curbside delivery, meaning the shipping guys won’t be able to bring this inside your home.
Who Is the Force USA G9 Best for?
The Force USA G9 is the “sleeper” of the G-Series. That is, it’s easy to overlook. But it’s one of the best deals considering its price, build quality and features.
So, who’s it for?
There’s a few groups of people who should strongly consider buying the G9.
The first group includes home gym lifters who are serious about strength training but don’t need special features like Westside hole spacing, band pegs or a selectorized weight stack. Here’s why:
- If you’re a serious powerlifter, you may want hyper-precise Westside hole spacing and the ability to use band pegs. The G3 and G20 may be better for you in that case. However, if band work and hole spacing isn’t that important and you care more about being able to lift heavy weight, the G9 is better than the G3 in some ways. You can add more resistance to the G9 since its pulley ratio is 1:1 instead of 2:1. It’s also easier and faster to add weight on the G9 vs the G3. For example, you have to load the plates onto four weight holders for the G3 vs just two for the G9 on any double pulley exercise.
- The G9 saves you A LOT of money ($1000-3500) compared to the selectorized models (G6/G12/G20). It’s an easy choice if you don’t need a selectorized weight stack. Plus, you still get a commercial quality machine with premium features (e.g. extra width between the uprights, 1:1 pulley ratio, dedicated low row station, counterbalanced Smith machine).
The Force USA G9 is also great for fire stations, police departments and military bases with a gym area. Here’s why:
- The G9 is a commercial machine. It can stand up to daily use from multiple people, and has a lifetime commercial warranty to backup that claim.
- These types of places are more likely to already have plenty of weight plates in their gym for their other equipment. In this case, a plate-loaded machine may make more sense.
- These places have limited budgets and all major expenses need to be approved. The lower price of $3499 is easier to justify than the $5499 for the G12 or $6999 for the G20, which are the other commercial models.
Another ideal use case for the Force USA G9 is in small rec centers or fitness centers, office gyms or hotel gyms. Here’s why:
- These places often have limited space. Much of the space is often dominated by cardio equipment. A commercial all-in-one gym machine like the G9 would greatly increase resistance training exercise options for their visitors without taking up too much floor space.
- These smaller gyms don’t get extremely busy. There wouldn’t be an issue of people constantly waiting to use one of the exercises stations, which would happen in a high traffic commercial gym.
The final group of people who should choose the G9 is anyone who loves back training so much that a dedicated low row station is a must-have. Although you can do low rows on all other models with a non-dedicated setup, the G9 has the best and most convenient setup. That is, unless you also consider the G20 with the optional Lat Row Station Upgrade, which gives the G20 a dedicated low row station with a built-in foot plate.
I see the G9’s dedicated low row station as a big selling point since cable rows are a staple of my training. I don’t think it makes sense to pick the G9 only because of this feature, but it can be a tie-breaker if you’re deciding between the G9 and another unit.
Force USA G9 vs G3 vs G6 vs G12 vs G20
If you’ve finished reading my Force USA G9 review and are still weighing the G9 against the other G-Series models, I recommend you read my in-depth Monster G3, G6, G9, G12 and G20 comparison and buying guide.
You can check out all of the Force USA all-in-one gym models by clicking below:
And remember, you can use code KING5 to get 5% off your entire order. It applies to any model you buy: