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The MaxPro is a gym that fits in a backpack with one big quirk

todayJuly 28, 2021 1

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I like working out, but I don’t like the gym. Even before the pandemic made the idea of being stuck in a closed room with sweaty strangers particularly egregious, being stuck in a closed room with sweaty strangers was still not my jam. In an ideal world, I’d be happy with nothing more than a power rack, a bench, a barbell, and some plates. That’s all I really need.

But in a not-ideal small NYC apartment, finding a compact gym system that could actually provide a decent load and that didn’t need to be mounted on a wall has long been a struggle.

The MaxPro fitness machine is one of the closest things I’ve found to a truly compact, all-in-one gym system. It’s basically like the cable machines you’d find in a gym, except the unit folds down small enough to fit in a backpack. It can handle just about any lift, especially with some optional accessories.

It’s so close to being the perfect portable gym, but it also has one very obvious limitation that means it won’t be for everyone, as well as a few other flaws potential buyers should be aware of. But as long as you can live with its limitations, it could be well worth the $749-$849 sticker shock. Though pricey, it could easily pay for itself if it ends up replacing a gym subscription, and its accessibility and flexibility might just bet the ticket to get you to actually, you know, work out.

Here’s how it works for most exercises:

  • You unfold the MaxPro and put the unit under your feet. Alternatively, attach it to the door or another sturdy vertical surface with the included mount, put it under the optional bench, or mount it on the optional wall rack.
  • You select your grips (the unit ships with a 3-part barbell, 2 handles, and two ankle/wrist straps).
  • You set the resistance dials to the appropriate level.
  • You lift.

That basically it. No fussing around with switching and layering a bunch of elastic bands if you want to lift heavy, or moving heavy plates or barbells before your next lift. Just step on the machine, set the dials, and start lifting. I the simplicity of the whole thing

The MaxPro claims to provide a little over 300 lbs of resistance (158 lbs per side), and though I wasn’t able to test that with precision, by my estimations based on my typical barbell lifts, that seems to be pretty accurate. Notably, that’s way more than you’d get out of most compact systems, and though some elastic bands can reach those levels of resistance, it usually requires stacking multiple bands and the type of workout you get is different altogether.

That was particularly important for me, as I come from a bit of a powerlifting background. Sure, I can’t hit my one-rep maxes for deadlift or squat with the MaxPro, or make much progress with very low reps, but for the typical 8-12 reps of your average gymgoer, the MaxPro should have the vast majority of users covered.

That brings me to the main limitation of the MaxPro itself: it only provides significant resistance during the concentric portion of the lift. In other words, if you do a biceps curl, it’ll provide resistance on the way up, but very little on the way down (about 5-10lbs). The MaxPro creates resistance via friction, only in one direction.

MaxPro Fitness Machine Gym (1 of 3)
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