Are you looking to improve your fitness without spending thousands of dollars? The Marcy MWM-988 is one of the most affordable home gyms on the market.
After using it for over a year, I found this all-in-one gym offered a wide variety of exercises, was easy to use and compact enough to fit in a small space.
In this Marcy MWM 988 review I cover all aspects of this home gym machine so that you can decide if its right for you and your fitness needs.
Table of Contents
- Our Quick Thoughts On The Marcy MWM 988
- My Review Of The Marcy MWM 988 Home Gym
- Who Is The Marcy MWM 988 Home Gym Best Suited For?
- Unique Features Of The Marcy MWM 988 Home Gym
- Add-Ons & Accessories For The Marcy MWM 988
- Comparing Different Marcy Home Gym Models
- Comparing Marcy With Other Home Gyms
- Unboxing & Assembling A Marcy MWM 988 Gym
- Disassembling, Moving & Storage
- Maintenance Tips For This Marcy Home Gym
- Marcy Stack MWM-988 & Exercise Programs
- Common Questions About The Marcy MWM-988
- Conclusion - Should You Buy It?
Our Quick Thoughts On The Marcy MWM 988
My Review Of The Marcy MWM 988 Home Gym
150 lbs (10 lb increments)
68 x 42 x 78 inches
Dual (Upper & Lower)
Preacher Curl Pad
Maximum User Weight
Marcy, aka MarcyPro, is a brand of Impex Fitness.
Marcy offers an affordable line of home gym systems, stationary bikes, Smith cages, weight plates, and workout accessories—and, of course, stack gyms like the Marcy MWM-988 reviewed here.
I've been using the Marcy MWM 988 for over a year now, and I've really got to grips with all the strengths and weaknesses. Let me take you through my experiences.
Our Experience Using This Home Gym
The Marcy MWM-988 is simple and effective for beginners.
The cables pull smoothly and the weight plates give a consistent level of resistance throughout the lift - which is much better for developing different muscle groups.
I was a bit worried the concrete weights would be loud, but the vinyl coating seems to work well and it's one of the quietest weight stack home gyms I've used.
I know that some other brands use different resistance methods (like the Bowflex power rods), but I much prefer the weight stack on the MWM-988. It's easy to adjust the resistance with the weight pin and I found I could keep my workouts shorter.
The various handles and the seat are cushioned and comfortable, and this gym equipment was comfortable to use every day.
One thing I would say about the MWM-988 is that it's not built for very large users.
The seat isn't adjustable, which makes some of the seated exercises ineffective for those with long legs. The chest press movement was a little challenging with longer arms, and I found it harder to do exercises which worked my core muscles.
I'm almost 6 ft and it was mostly ok, but if you're over 6 ft 3 then you might struggle with this home gym.
All in all, this budget home gym is good to use and gives a great workout. It isn't made for experienced lifters, but if you're a beginner it should be easy enough for you to jump on, lose weight, and tone up.
Size & Dimensions In The Home
The MWM-988 is one of the most compact home stack gyms, both in floor footprint and height.
At under 6 ¾-ft. high, it fit perfectly in my low ceiling garage gym, but it should fit in most home gyms or even in a single person apartment.
Plus, it removes the need for other gym equipment so it's a great solution for home gyms where space is at a premium.
Design & Build Quality
The MWM-988 is a fairly sturdy machine considering it's a budget model.
It's made using steel rods and they seem fairly durable. Despite this home gym being lighter than most, I didn't experience any wobbling or moving while I used it, and it seems solid.
The one thing I do have reservations over is the weights. Instead of iron or steel, they are made with concrete covered in a layer of vinyl. This doesn't impact the functionality of the home gym, but I wouldn't expect it to last as long as standard weight stacks.
The metal cover on the back of the weight stack seems thin too, so make sure to check it isn't damaged or dented when it arrives.
It's not perfect, but it's certainly higher quality than most other budget models.
Workout Stations & Versatility
The MWM-988 home gym lets you do up to 30 different exercises.
There's an upper and lower pulley system (no mid pulley station) which lets you work your whole body, a leg extension attachment for your lower body, and it comes with a lat pulldown which benefits the shoulders and back.
What I found most useful about this home gym was the dual function press arm which lets you target one side of your body at a time. I found it great for isolated bicep exercises, but it's useful for anyone rehabilitating after an injury and wanting to strengthen specific areas.
The MWM-988 might not let you do as many exercises as some popular Bowflex models like the Xtreme 2 SE - but it has six workout stations with everything you need, and I think it's a well balanced home gym.
The MWM-988 has weight plates which provide a max weight level of 150 lbs.
This is about average for budget home gyms, but it's certainly less than a lot of other models.
The weight plates can't be upgraded, but the max weight should be enough for beginners looking to lose weight and tone up. It's probably not enough for intermediates and certainly not enough for advanced lifters.
Assembling The Product
The MWM-988 is fairly complicated to put together.
There are a lot of different parts to this gym equipment and even I found it a bit daunting at first.
The instruction manual is good though, and you get everything you need to assemble it yourself (you won't need any power tools, don't worry).
Just be sure to give yourself a few hours at least (some people may take 4-5 hours), and ask a friend to help you if you haven't done it before.
The MWM-988 offers some amazing value for money.
You'll get the best prices on Amazon and can find it for under $300. To put that in perspective, I've used some 'budget' models which cost over $1000, and the MWM-988 is still good enough to compete with them.
This makes the MWM-988 home gym one of the best for those building a garage gym on a limited budget.
Shipping & Warranty
You can pick up the MWM-988 home gym from a range of retailers, but you'll usually get the best price on Amazon.
I ordered through Amazon and because I'm a Prime member I got free shipping too (though that may vary depending on region).
The home gym arrived in 2 days - which is fast - and it came in 3 separate boxes. They were each fairly manageable to carry in on my own, but if you're older or suffer from any mobility issues then you may need help.
Some of the individual components within the boxes can be easily damaged, so it's important you check them all over when they arrive. I didn't have any issues, but I know other people who've reviewed the home gym have.
Marcy offer a 2 year warranty on their home gym which covers all the materials and parts. Some premium models offer a longer warranty (sometimes lifetime cover), but this is good for a budget model and provides you with a bit of extra protection.
Who Is The Marcy MWM 988 Home Gym Best Suited For?
The MWM-988 home gym is best for beginners on a tight budget looking to get a regular whole body workout at home.
The simple and compact nature of this machine makes it perfect for small home gyms. It's great for anyone looking to lose weight and tone up, and removes the need for a lot of smaller gym equipment.
This home gym is particularly useful for older users, or those rehabilitating after an injury as it's great for improving mobility and functional strength - with a dual function press arm to isolate muscle groups.
However, the MWM 988 isn't a good choice for experienced lifters. The resistance isn't high enough for serious strength training, and even though the home gym is versatile, you can't use it for some key compound lifts.
The MWM 988 isn't for seasoned gym veterans, but in my opinion, it is the best value gym equipment around for beginners and budget conscious people wanting to work out at home.
Unique Features Of The Marcy MWM 988 Home Gym
The MWM-988 makes a great addition to almost any home gym.
It offers all of the basic weight stack exercises you would typically get at a public gym, all on one reasonably priced stack gym made for private residential use.
High Quality Build
Despite the reasonable, or even sometimes bargain, price of the MWM-988, it is truly durable and well-made.
The frame is 14-gauge steel, and the stack weights are vinyl-coated, so they do not clank at impact. As a result, few users complain of breakage, wear, lack of stability, or excess noise.
Weight Stack Lock
The weight stack is composed of the standard selectorized weight stack as opposed to weight plates.
It is similar to what you would see at the gym, where you can remove and insert a rod to adjust how much weight/resistance you want for a given exercise.
However, with Marcy Stacks, the adjustment has a 3-number combination lock to provide you with safety and exclusivity—only those who should be adjusting the weight stack can do so.
This is an unusual feature in home weight stack machines.
Comfortable Seat and Roller Pads
A seeming drawback of this Marcy stack gym is that its seat is not adjustable. However, almost all users—a wide range of heights and weights—find it works fine for them.
Users generally find that the seat is not only durable but also adequately stable, supportive, and cushioned. The same goes for the roller pads of the leg developer and arm fly station.
Double Pulley Station
The MWM-988 is rigged with two basic pulley outlets: the upper, which gives all of the arm and shoulder exercises, including lat pulls; and the lower, which gives the leg workouts, as well as a variety of possible curls, pull-ups, and standing rows.
Many Exercise Options
The Marcy MWM-988 has an easy-to-understand workout chart on the back plate above the weight stack with diagrams of basic exercise options matched with targeted muscle groups.
However, you can easily exceed the basic options by purchasing alternative attachments, such as D-handles, V-bars, and other wrist/ankle braces.
These potentially give you more row/pull options and also might make some exercises more comfortable for some people.
Add-Ons & Accessories For The Marcy MWM 988
There are a lot of different add ons and accessories you can get to get a total body workout from the Marcy MWM 988. The most popular additions include:
- Protective Floor Covering - ½-inch-thick Marcy MAT-20 Interlocking Flooring Mat and the 3/4-inch-thick Marcy MAT-39 Interlocking Floor Protector both work well
- Curl Bar - for bicep and upper body workouts
- V-Bar - for upper body workouts specifically targeting your back
- Double D Bar - for pec fly exercises, chest press, and rows
- Z - Bar - you can use with the bicep pad for arm exercises
- Ankle Brace - this can be used alongside the leg attachment for lower body workouts
- Heavy Duty Nylon Triceps Rope - for tricep development
It's easiest to pick up accessories through Amazon, and Marcy have a store front here.
You can also find sets of accessories, like the A2ZCARE set of attachments, which is frequently bought with the MWM-988 on Amazon.
if you want more help you can check out the Marcy Blog. It's full of various reviews, specialized instructions, product selection aids, and fitness advice to help you develop the right workout plan and overall health routine.
Comparing Different Marcy Home Gym Models
Marcy Stack MWM-988 Vs MWM-990
Essentially, the MWM-990 and the MWM-988 have the same dimensions, build, features, and exterior design.
The only difference is the color scheme—the Marcy MWM-990 is predominantly black and red, while the MWM-988 is black and gray.
Marcy Stack MWM-988 Vs MKM-81010
The MKM-81010 has a 200-lb. weight stack, so it is intended for a more advanced weightlifter.
Not surprisingly, the MKM-81010 extends a few more inches in the length and height dimensions, and the price is $100-$200 more than the MWM-988.
Appropriate in a machine for more advanced lifters, the MKM-81010 comes with a single handle and shiver bar, in addition to the lat Z-bar and ankle/wrist strap.
Lastly, the MKM-81010, unlike the MWM-988, has a textured footplate built into the base to stabilize the feet for seated rows.
Marcy Stack MWM-988 Vs MWM-4965
These two are essentially the same build. However, the Marcy MWM-4965 also has a mid-level pulley, which effectively gives it an ab station.
A special included collar fits around the user and attaches to the mid pulley for ab crunches/curls.
Also, like the MKM-81010 above (but unlike the MWM-988), the MWM-4965 has a bottom footplate to facilitate seated rows, and it comes with a single handle (in addition to the usual lat Z-bar and ankle/wrist strap).
Unfortunately, these added features add as much as $400 to the cost, compared to the MWM-988.
Comparing Marcy With Other Home Gyms
Marcy Stack MWM-988 Vs Bowflex Revolution
Bowflex are a really well known brand and the Revolution offers a unique way to work your entire body.
Instead of weight stacks, the Revolution uses power rods - which act similarly to resistance bands. You get a greater weight capacity with the Revolution, but it does feel quite different and most people prefer a weight stack.
The Revolution is also more complicated to use. It takes longer to adjust the resistance and it's more complicated to reconfigure it with different exercises.
The Revolution is also a lot bigger than the MWM-988, almost 3 ft more if you include the folding bench.
The Bowflex Revolution is bigger, has higher capacity, and supports more exercises - but it's more complicated. The MWM-988 is cheaper and simpler, and better suited to complete beginners.
You can check out our full review of the Bowflex Revolution.
Marcy Stack MWM-988 Vs Weider Pro x 2980 Home Gym
The Weider Pro x 2980 is around the same price as the MWM-988 150 lb. stack gym but offers less quality and versatility.
It only has an 80 lbs weight capacity, (though you can pay extra for it to be upgraded to a 210 lb. weight capacity), and doesn't support as many exercises.
The two builds do have some similarities. They have 2 pulley systems, allow you to work each major muscle group with a preacher curl attachment, leg developer, ankle strap, and stations for pec fly exercises.
Both of these home gyms will let you work your entire body, but the MWM-988 offers better value for money. It's more affordable and can do more, so if you're a beginner it's the obvious choice.
Marcy Stack MWM-988 Vs Body-Solid G1S
The Body-Solid G1S is generally higher quality and has more features than the Marcy MWM-988.
It has a 3-pulley system and a base footplate, both of which facilitate a greater variety of rows, pulls, and curls.
It comes with a workout DVD, a straight bar, and ab/triceps rope, along with a lat bar and ankle strap. For added comfort, the back frame has a towel-and-bottle rack, and the seat is adjustable.
It's sturdier too, and can support a slightly higher weight capacity at 160 lbs.
The downsides of the G1S are that it doesn't have the capacity to support pec fly exercises, and it is a lot more expensive.
If you've got a big budget then the G1S does offer more functionality and quality than the MWM-988. However, if you're a beginner who just wants a basic home gym then the MWM-988 offers greater value for money.
You can check out our full review of the Body Solid G1S.
Unboxing & Assembling A Marcy MWM 988 Gym
Purchase & Unboxing Preparation
Make sure you have both the floor space and the ceiling clearance before purchasing.
Ideally, allow at least a few inches of clearance in all dimensions, especially the length, since many exercises involve standing in front of the Marcy gym.
Most people receive it in 2-3 separate boxes that do not necessarily come at once. Upon complete arrival, consider registering your Marcy Home Gym to get the 2-year warranty.
Carefully look at both the Marcy Home Gym MWM-988 Assembly Manual as well as the Marcy Home Gym MWM-988 Owner’s Manual to get a full sense of how to assemble your Marcy 988.
The Owner’s Manual is the ultimate source of information on safe, effective assembly and usage.
The Assembly Manual will help you stay organized and avoid confusion throughout the assembly.
In addition, some common sense advice: Start by laying out all parts in an intuitive, organized way (potentially with self-made labels); this not only expedites assembly but also gives you a chance to be sure you actually have all intended parts before you start.
You will need the included hex key, but unfortunately, you will also need to have some sort of adjustable wrench of your own.
The manual recommends adjustable wrenches and Allen wrenches; some reviewers, however, report success with a socket wrench kit.
While the manual recommends having at least one other assembler to help, many seem to do fine alone. The Marcy Home Gym MWM-988 Assembly Video might help with this.
Safe And Effective Usage
The Owner’s Manual also includes common-sense safety advice:
- 1Do not let anyone put fingers near moving parts
- 2Do not use in wet or uneven places
- 3Stretch your muscles before exercising
- 4Do not wear clothing that could get caught in the mechanism
- 5Do not try to add weight/resistance by attaching dumbbells or other separate weights anywhere on the mechanism
- 6Stop if you feel sickness or pain
If you run into problems, the website has a Support Center and Replacement Parts Request Form.
Disassembling, Moving & Storage
Study the Marcy 150 Stack Home Gym Assembly Manual and Owner’s Manual for a safe and efficient disassembly.
Unfortunately, there are no disassembly instructions, so you will need to use assembly techniques in reverse.
Use the included hex wrench along with your own wrench set. A helper is recommended.
The assembled gym is very awkward to move, so disassemble it before relocating it. Ideally, the machine should be clean and dry prior to disassembly/storage.
The component materials are not overly sensitive to temperature or moisture but store the MWM-988 in interior spaces only.
Related Article - Disassembling a Marcy Home Gym
Maintenance Tips For This Marcy Home Gym
The Marcy Home Gym MWM-988 instruction manual recommends three basic maintenance actions to be performed regularly:
- 1Check the machine for worn, broken, or loosened parts before use. If you need to re-tighten something, then do so before you start your workout. Parts that have worn out or slipped out of place could cause injury to the user.
(Note: If a part wears out or breaks, you can get replacement parts, under warranty or otherwise, on the Marcy website.)
- 2Periodically lubricate your Marcy Home Gym’s moving parts with WD-40 or another light oil - or silicone-based oil. This not only preserves the mechanism; it also ensures a smooth, comfortable workout.
- 3Sweat and other residues can cause stains and odor over time. So, clean the exterior with a damp cloth; you may use a mild detergent if needed.
Marcy Stack MWM-988 & Exercise Programs
Check out the workout chart on the back panel of your MWM-988. It will tell you the basic exercises you can do on the Marcy Stack MWM-988—and the accompanying muscle groups you can build with each movement.
Common Questions About The Marcy MWM-988
Can you add more weights to a Marcy home gym?
No, the manufacturer recommends against adding weights to the weight stack or otherwise affixing weights to the apparatus. However, you may safely use hand weights or a barbell of your choice for bicep curls on the preacher curl pad.
How much is the Marcy Stack MWM-988 Home Gym?
It is occasionally priced as high as nearly $800, but some reviewers report purchasing it for a little under $250. It most normally is priced between $500 and $600.
How tall is a Marcy home gym?
Between 78 or 79 inches. Therefore, it is safe to assume it is a little over 6.5 feet tall. This still allows it to comfortably fit in rooms with low ceilings. Ideally, you should have a few inches of clearance between the top of the home gym and the ceiling.
Where can you buy Marcy Stack MWM-988 and all its replacement parts?
The MarcyPro website has the full line of products reasonably priced, as well as replacement parts potentially under warranty. Amazon is the best source for Marcy products at competitive prices. Recently, Walmart also has the MWM-988 at a competitive price.
Conclusion - Should You Buy It?
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Last Updated on November 9, 2022