Inspire’s SCS Smith Cage System takes all the most useful weight lifting equipment and combines it into a single, highly-versatile home gym.
More specifically, the SCS offers a Smith machine, a power cage, and a rather sophisticated functional trainer with multiple pulley stations.
The result is a beast of a gym that lets you do any weight training move you can think of.
This heavy-duty gym system is also backed by a lifetime warranty, so you won’t have to worry about unforeseen costs down the road if something breaks down.
Long-story-short, there’s not much to complain about here, the SCS is kinda awesome.
But it’s not cheap.
Before you make an investment like this, you need to know exactly what to expect and that’s where I can help.
In this review, I’ll go over everything this impressive home gym has to offer, but I’ll also try to compare it to some of the other similar systems out there to see how it stacks up.
After reading, you’ll know whether or not the Inspire’s SCS is worth investing in.
The Inspire SCS Smith Cage System
If you’re unacquainted with the Inspire brand, allow me to introduce you.
Inspire’s part of the larger Health in Motion, LLC family and they’ve been creating fitness equipment since 2003.
In that time, they’ve come out with a lot of impressive fitness equipment, but it’s their unique functional trainers that really set ’em apart from most fitness brands if you ask me.
Inspire’s FT2, for example, is likely their most famous machine and it cleverly incorporates a Smith bar that utilizes the built-in weight stacks for its resistance.
Anyway, the SCS we’re here to talk about now is their largest home gym system. It takes their functional trainer/Smith machine design and adds a power cage to it.
As I’m writing this, the SCS is selling for around $4800, give or take a few bucks depending on where you buy it.
There’s a lot going on with this gym, so let’s take it one component at a time.
- Full power cage
- Smooth acting Smith bar
- Adjustable pulleys
- Additional upper/lower pulleys
- Heavy-duty steel construction
- Ton of exercise options
- Pull up bars
- Sleek design
- Compatible with weight stack upgrades
- Reasonably priced
- Lifetime warranty
- Weight stacks could be heavier
- Would be nice if more attachments were included
In terms of its frame, the SCS is comprised of 11-gauge steel, which is about as thick and heavy-duty as you can expect any home gym to be.
The frame is mostly made out of 2″ x 4″ oval and 3″ round beams, so you shouldn’t have to worry about this system feeling flimsy.
But as the images likely suggest, this is a large gym.
Specifically, the SCS takes up a footprint of 75″ x 61″ (W x L) and requires a ceiling height higher than 87″, meaning you’ll need a room with at least 8′ ceilings to safely fit this gym.
And keep in mind this is just how much space the gym itself takes up – you’ll need additional floor space to actually use the pulleys or a bench.
I also want to point out that the SCS weighs 817 lb assembled, so if you do decide to purchase, make sure you know where you want it before assembly.
Because this thing will not be easy to move once it’s put together.
But personally, I like that this is a big, heavy piece of equipment because it’s going to make it feel more secure during use.
The functional trainer component of this gym simply refers to the 2 adjustable pulleys located on the front uprights.
Each pulley can be adjusted along the entire upright and also swivels for added accessibility, so folks of all heights should be able to find comfortable positions to do any pulley exercise they like.
Each pulley is connected to its own 165 lb stack, which is seamlessly integrated into the back of the frame as well.
The SCS, like most functional trainers, utilizes a 2:1 pulley ratio, meaning that the resistance you feel is actually half the weight loaded on the weight stack.
This means that selecting 100 lb on the stack, will feel like lifting 50 lb.
Taking the pulley ratio into mind, that means the SCS can offer 82.5 lb of resistance per side before purchasing any add-on weights.
The SCS is compatible with a 50 lb stack upgrade as well as a 5 lb add-on per side (sold separately), bringing the total possible resistance per side to 110 lb.
This isn’t bad, but the price, it would be nice to see larger stacks included.
For example, Force USA’s X20 Pro comes with dual-289 lb stacks… although it doesn’t come with a Smith machine.
Anyway, the SCS also comes with a set of fixed lower pulleys and a set of fixed upper pulleys, both of which are connected to the same weight stacks.
Having these extra pulley positions just makes it easier to switch between exercises and perform moves (like lat pulldowns) that can be harder on traditional functional trainers.
Overall, the weight stacks on the SCS could be a little heavier, but the functional trainer component itself is quite nice. And the inclusion of the additional pulleys is a great feature.
People have mixed emotions about Smith machines and I understand why a lot of trainers and purists don’t like ’em, but I think they can be helpful.
Having the bar fixed to guide rails allows you to perform barbell moves safely by yourself and they allow a lot of people to do exercises they may not otherwise be able to do.
Anyway, if you weren’t interested in a Smith machine, you probably wouldn’t be considering this gym, so I don’t have to sell you on their value.
The Smith machine on the SCS is located at the front of the cage and you can’t miss that red Smith bar.
The Smith bar utilizes rotating locks that allow you to park the bar anywhere along the front uprights by simply rotating the bar.
Inspire also offers safety stops that connect between the front and rear uprights, creating a true power cage, that can be used with either the Smith bar or when using your own barbell.
The Smith bar uses weight plates, so unlike some of Inspire’s other trainers, you’ll need to purchase plates to use with this gym.
Overall, nothing too crazy going on with this Smith machine, but it’s smooth-acting and easy to use.
You’ll notice there’s another rack on the rear uprights – well, this one’s designed to give you a place to rack your own barbell if you like.
This means the SCS lets you choose between using a Smith machine or doing your barbell moves independently.
And technically speaking, since you can used the safety bars with the power rack station too, I guess I should call this component a “power cage”.
Power cages are great because the adjustable safety bars allow you to perform moves like squats, bench presses, and other move with the safety of a built-in spotter.
If worst comes to worst and you lose control during a lift, the safety bars will catch the bar before it lands on you on the floor.
I don’t see where Inspire lists the rack’s weight capacity, but given the 11-gauge construction, I’d guess it’s somewhere between 800 – 1000 lb (I’ve reached out to Inspire for specifics and will update this when I hear back).
Overall, it’s awesome that the SCS gives us the option to choose between the Smith bar or our own barbell.
The Inspire SCS Smith Cage Machine comes with the following included accessories:
- 2x multi-ring D-handles
- 2x rubber D-handles
- Ankle strap
- Multi-function belt
- Pull up bar
- Pull up handles
Ok, this gym doesn’t come with a huge selection of included handles, but it’s got the basics to get you started.
The D-handles are versatile and be used for most single arm exercises and the ankle strap can be utilized for a lot of hip strengthening moves.
The belt can be used for assisted pull-ups, donkey kicks, walking against resistance, and more.
It would be nice if Inspire included a few extra handles too, most notably a triceps rope, a short straight bar, and a lat pulldown bar (but I guess lat pulldowns would be hard without a seat).
There’s also a built-in pull up bar, as well as built-in multi-grip pull up handles, so you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to your pull ups.
Overall, the SCS doesn’t come with many attachments, but these handles can be purchased separately for little cost.
If you decide to purchase this gym, you’ve got a decision to make – do I want to spend all weekend putting it together or hire some pros to do it for me?
If you’re pretty handy, I could see it being fun to grab a pal and a case of beer and enjoy the process – but personally, this is one I’d pay for professionals to assemble.
This is a large gym with a ton of parts and it’s going to take a while to put together.
There’s a lot of hardware and several cables that need routing and I wouldn’t want to take the chance of screwing something up.
Plus, keep in mind how heavy this thing is – I wouldn’t want to be responsible for getting all the parts into my room of choice either.
Luckily, if you purchase through Johnson Fitness, they offer white glove delivery and assembly for a very reasonable price ($199 I believe, which is awesome for a gym of this size).
Inspire Fitness offers the following home warranty on their SCS:
- Lifetime frame
- Lifetime parts
Yeah, the entire system is covered with a lifetime guarantee, so there’s no room for complaining here.
And yes, this even includes all the moving parts, cables, pulleys, and any upholstery if there was any.
A lifetime frame warranty is expected in this class, but few offer lifetime parts warranties too.
Overall, seeing such a generous warranty shows that Inspire is willing to stand behind their craftsmanship.
Alright, there ya have it, the SCS in a nutshell.
Again, there’s not much to complain about here.
The SCS is a heavy-duty home gym with quality components throughout. And the fact they were able to get a power cage, a Smith machine, and a functional trainer into a single machine is impressive.
I really like the additional upper/lower pulleys with the functional trainer and the fact that it comes with a fully-functioning power cage is next level.
The only downsides I see is that it would be nice if the weight stacks came with more weight and I’d like to see Inspire include more attachments with purchase.
But these are small offenses at best.
I also want to say that I like how clean and sleek the SCS is – some of the budget-friendlier “multi-gyms” are so busy and garbled looking it makes it hard to figure out what’s going on.
There aren’t a ton of similar quality systems to compare the SCS to, but there are a couple I want to mention and they all come from Force USA.
Force is known for their “all-in-one” gyms and they’re of great quality – I own their X15 Pro myself and couldn’t be happier.
The first gym I want to mention is Force’s X20 Pro.
It’s a little cheaper (~$4200) and it comes with a full cage, a functional trainer, a ton of attachments, and dual-289 lb stacks – but there’s no Smith machine.
There’s also Force’s similarly-priced G12, which comes with a functional trainer (dual-200 lb stacks with a 1:1 ratio), a Smith machine, and ton’s of included attachments.
It doesn’t come with a full power cage, but it does offer a power rack that can be used with barbell exercises.
If you don’t mind losing the cage and are looking for more functional trainer resistance, the G12 with its 1:1 pulley ratio could be worth checking out.
Any way you look at it though, I think its fair to say that the SCS can hold its own with any similarly-priced gym system out there (and based on the comps, I’d say it’s priced reasonably as well).
So, if you’re looking for an all-in-one home gym system that’ll last a lifetime, I could see the Inspire SCS being a great investment.