Powertec Work Bench Isolateral Lever Gym Review | Is It Everything You Will Ever Need?
Is The Powertec Work Bench Lever Gym everything anyone would ever need for their home gym set up?
Lee Priest seems to think so, using a similar set up (albeit the next model up) in his home gym and trained on it in preparation for the San Francisco Pro – which he won.
Therefore, it should be good enough for anyone else wanting to pack on some muscle and might. I have had one for a about 3 years in my garage.
LAST UPDATED: October 2019 by Ben.
Why did I buy a Powertec Workbench?
If I am absolutely honest, I have always been dead against machines like this which only offer a preset range of movement.
I have always been a fan of using a barbell, bench and rack, this way more muscle groups are targeted and you can use a few movements which will cover all of the body.
As a result you get a nice thick torso and limbs with monster strength whereby machines tend to target specific muscle groups which can leave many trainee’s out of proportion.
That was my initial thoughts of equipment like that offered by Powertec.
However, I had picked up a shoulder injury that was exacerbated with playing rugby, it meant I just could not lift anything with a barbell.
In fact attempting to bench press with just an Olympic bar was not comfortable and then to add plates meant I was in severe pain.
As a result, I had gone from benching over 300lbs followed by months of not benching at all and that meant no shoulder lifts either.
Needless to say I was pretty frustrated.
I was being strapped up while playing rugby and taking ibuprofen but after the game the pain returned which carried on for months on end.
I found that I could perform dips, so I bought some dip bars which attached to my squat rack and built up strength using a dipping belt with weights – this was successful but I wanted to develop more.
By chance I went to a gym using a free day pass with some rugby buddies and used some of the machines.
I noticed that just isolating the chest for instance and not having to rely on stabilizing muscles meant I could start benching again, better still, shoulder press was okay too.
Once I got home I looked in to what machines were available for a home gym set up and Powertec looked good in terms of durability, function and price.
Plus, Lee Priest seemed to like using it as well in his YouTube videos.
What is good about the Powertec LeverGym?
It is a full multi-function device. You can pretty much hit all muscle groups, safely.
One big problem with having a home gym that does consist of a barbell and squat rack means that you almost have to hold back, you cannot go full bore and lift that heaviest weight just in case you can’t get it off your chest, you fall backward or you are crushed by a 500lbs squat.
That fear is there and it can limit you.
Not so with the Powertec Work Bench Lever Gym.
You can really load it up to your limits and inch out that 1 rep max knowing if you can no longer push or pull it will only fall in 1 predetermined route and not collapse around you.
The whole movement is much more controlled and safe while being able to tear those muscle fibers effectively.
While it is not a piece of commercial gym equipment, the whole set up does not feel cheap like some of the nasty products you can find on places such as eBay or Amazon which are fast tracked from China.
There appears to be real quality control throughout the whole process meaning you have a sturdy piece of equipment that should last a long time and retain its value.
The versatility means it doesn’t actually take up much space, you would only real need 9 feet x 9 feet max.
This means it can fit in garages, sheds, spare rooms or even basements.
Lofts may be okay but ensure that the floor can hold the weight of the machine, the plates and the user.
The shape of the grip handles means that you can focus on close grip and wide grip plus use it for shrugs without squashing your cock and balls – you may laugh but shrugs with a barbell is a wretched experience.
It even has space to place your unused weight plates meaning you can keep your gym tidy.
The bench consists of thick padding which means your back is well supported and it is comfortable to lay face down as well when using the row function.
That is also true of the leg extension and hamstring curl pads too.
During the rugby season it is not uncommon for me to feel absolutely battered until around Thursday, by then there’s a field training session and a game on the Saturday.
Sometimes the thought of trying to perform heavy free weights does not seem like the wisest idea, especially if you get a twinge or cramp which has potential for a big injury and some damage.
However, if a part of your body is particularly painful but it isn’t going to affect your quads or chest for example, you won’t be using the troublesome muscle, instead just isolating the one’s that are pain free.
- Flat Bench
- Incline Bench
- Decline Bench
- Shoulder press
- Seated Cable Row
- Lat Row
- Lat Pull Downs
- Upright Row
- Calf Raises
- Sit Ups
- Cable Arm Curls
- Tricep Pull Downs
- Leg Extensions
- Hamstring Curls
- Bent Over Row
- Lateral Raises
- Shoulder Raises
If you purchase additional attachments such as stirrup handles or neck braces you can increase the functionality moreso!
You have over 20 movements that can be performed in a package that is pretty neat and small enough to fit in most rooms, sheds or garages.
What about the negatives?
Okay, so ain’t all perfect. Clearly with buying your own gym set up there will be some negative points.
So, here I will detail the most obvious.
Which ever way you look at it £1000/$1200+ is not cheap.
And, that is before you have even bought any weight plates which can really send the cost soaring – currently have 10 25kg/55lbs plates which were $90/£70 per pair plus a whole plethora or other plates.
However, one thing to note is that although the initial outlay is expensive, the amount of money and time spent on a gym membership and even traveling there or waiting around for the machine you want to use is eliminated.
I am not one to advocate debt, however, if bought on credit the monthly repayments could possibly be equal or less than a gym membership fee.
Plus, if you want to get rid of it in years to come, you will recoup much of the expense as good quality machines retain their value and are sought after.
Being the hero that I am, I would have preferred the weight limits to be higher.
You may think 500lbs is a lot, and it is but you can push, pull and move much more weight on a leverage system like this due to the support offered by the structure.
Therefore, you may surprise yourself on a few movements.
The squat bar attachment, while it can take the weight just doesn’t seem substantial enough, especially if you have been using a nice, thick Olympic barbell.
The bars that the weights slide on to are not long enough – I have five 25kg/55lbs plates on either side and there is no further room to add any more.
For seated row I currently have 160kg/352lbs and the bars are now bending due to the weight.
While it can offer over 20 exercises, due to the precise, controlled range of movement nature, you really will not build that pure raw, core strength offered by free weights.
Plus, to hit all of those muscles it takes more time using this, whereas you are almost covered by perhaps 4 or 5 movements with the barbell.
However, I am being picky,this offers much more safety for a home gym user than a barbell and squat rack.
In many respects I am stronger in certain areas because other parts of my body were not strong enough to let me develop further.
Yet, the biggest area of weakness maybe that you cannot really build functional strength quite as well.
What do I mean by this?
By using the Powertec WorkBench LeverGym I have built some good strength.
Yet, when I was enduring my basic army training I felt I was lacking in functional strength.
Loaded marches (with bergen and rifle) left me with back ache, so did days training with webbing, helmet and carrying a rifle.
Also, basic infantry firing maneuvers felt extremely exhausting.
While I could perform basic strength and fitness testing (assault course, gym exercises etc) with ease, actually rolling around, changing position on undulating ground, leopard crawling carrying heavy weight over long distances were much more challenging.
I also considered multi gyms to be cheap imitations of gym equipment that people who weren’t really serious about building a strong physique bought.
Typically older people or beginners.
However, Powertec have built a very good alternative to driving to the gym and paying for a membership.
The safety aspect and ease of use without requiring a spotter and being able to push that last final rep without concern is a great feeling.
It means I have really been able to develop my chest, shoulders, back and legs.
So, not only has it helped me through injury when the barbell caused aggravation, I have managed to lift some big old weight that I may have just been a little apprehensive of doing before hand.
As a result I have developed some great power and size that translates well in rugby.
Instead of maybe missing my early week training session the additional support of the structure has allowed me to perform movements that I would have had to leave until much later down the line.
Or, due to long standing niggles, I could well of not exercised a full muscle group for months.
Just think of not having to go to the gym again and wait for the machine you need, or having to deal with douchebags or finding that motivation to drive.
Plus, it even fits in the smallest of spaces.
Plus, if you have doubts of its real ability, consider that Lee Priest uses this.
To me, this adaptability and convenience is worth its weight in gold.
Unfortunately today when I was using the gym today I managed to sheer a weld on one of the components that connects the bench to the frame and helps adjust the setting for different exercises.
It seems the weight limitations have been breached and unfortunately puts the equipment out of service for certain exercises that utilize the bench function.
I will still continue to use the squat and shrugs function, plus the seated row. I may still be able to do the overhead military style press.
See the video below…