Force USA Monster G9 Review: All-in-One Gym Machine


The Monster G9 is one of four all-in-one home gym and functional trainer units offered 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 Monster G9. But I argue that it’s the best value (bang for your buck) model out of the bunch. It beats the Monster G3 on overall build quality, and undercuts the Monster G6 and Monster G12 in price by 20%+ and 40%+ respectively!

…Whether it’s the best model for you is different question. In this Force USA Monster 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.

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Use the table of contents to quickly navigate to any part of my Monster G9 review:

What Comes with the Force USA Monster G9?

The Force USA Monster G9 is a 9-in-1 machine. All exercise stations, attachments and accessories come included standard. This is different than the Monster G3, which has some optional attachments sold separately.

Monster G9 All-In-One Gym - What's Included

It consists of the following exercise stations:

  1. Power rack
  2. Functional trainer
  3. Smith machine
  4. Vertical leg press
  5. Low row station
  6. Chin up station
  7. Dip station
  8. Core trainer / Landmine station
  9. 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 review.

Also included with the Force USA Monster 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 Monster G9 Dimensions

External Width 79”
External Depth 53”
External Height 88″
Internal Width
(Between Uprights)
48” (45″ between j-hooks/spotter arms, which are offset by 1.5″ to the inside on each side)
Internal Width
(Smith Machine)
43”
Internal Depth 34”
Internal Height 79”

Force USA Monster G9 Features

Space Saving Footprint

The Monster 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 Monster G9 has a commercial warranty.

With an all-in-one gym like the Monster 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.

Great Bang for Your Buck

The Monster G9 will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars compared to buying separate, specialized equipment to achieve the same capabilities.

Beyond that, the Monster G9 is arguably the best bang for your buck model of all the Monster G-Series units.

Monster G9 All-In-One Gym Gives You the Best Bang for Your Buck

At $3199 — before the 5% discount from using discount code KING5 — the Monster G9 is the second least expensive option available. Only the Monster G3 is less expensive, by $1000…

…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 $400-500 more expensive than the G3 when you include the optional accessories in 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).

Versatile Design

Force USA Monster G9 All-In-One Gym - Versatile Exercise Selection

The Force USA Monster G9 is about as versatile as it gets. It has 9 different exercise stations.That’s more than any of the other Monster all-in-one models have.

The only versatility it lacks compared to the other units is band peg holes, which are found on the Monster G3 and Monster G6. Otherwise, the Monster 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 Monster G9 review.

Commercial Quality

The Monster G9 is a commercial quality unit. It has a notably stronger and more durable frame than the Monster G3 and Monster 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.

Power Rack

The Monster 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.

Monster G9 Power Rack

There’s dozens of barbell exercise variations you can do in the Monster 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):

The Monster G9 has the same 992 lb weight capacity rating as all the other Monster all-in-one gym models. This is more than strong enough to handle all but the most elite lifters.

The Monster G9 is tied with the Monster G12 for having the widest power rack area among the four 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 Monster G6 and 4″ more than the Monster G3.

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.

Monster G9 Power Rack Uprights - Internal and External Widths

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 Monster 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″.

Monster G9 Power Rack - Distance Between J-hooks

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 Monster G12 j-hooks and safeties have the same design because the G9 and G12 both have the same wide frame.

Spotter Arms

The Force USA Monster 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.

Monster G9 Spotter Arms

Each Monster 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 Monster 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 and G12. Only the G3 has longer spotter arms with 17.5″ of usable length.

J-Hooks

Monster G9 J-hooks

The Force USA Monster G9 comes with a pair of j-hooks. They have the same exact design as the Monster G12 j-hooks.

They’re also very similar to the Monster 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.

Hole Spacing & Hole Accessibility

Each upright on the Monster 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.

Monster G9 Power Rack Hole Spacing

A NOTE ON MAX J-HOOK HOLE HEIGHT:

Because of the pulley design, the uppermost two j-hook holes are inaccessible on the Monster 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.

Workaround for Extra Tall Lifters Squatting in the Monster G9 and G12

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.

However, if you’re over 6’5″ yourself and plan on frequently squatting in your all-in-one gym, you may want to look into the Monster G6 or the Monster G3 instead.

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 Monster G9 is wider than the Monster G3’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.

Functional Trainer

The Force USA Monster 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.

Monster G9 Functional Trainer

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. This is all the settings you need for any cable movement. However, it’s worth noting that the Monster G6 has 19 height settings and the Monster G3 has 22.

Monster G9 Laser Engraved Numbers for Functional Trainer Height Settings
16 height settings with laser engraved numbering

The cable is 16″ above the floor at the lowest setting and 73″ above the floor at the highest setting.

Monster G9 Single-hand Pulley Height Adjustment Mechanism

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 Monster G9 functional trainer is very smooth. It’s the same smoothness as on the G6 and G12. It’s a little bit smoother than on the G3.

I should note that the Monster G9 is the only Monster 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 and G12 each 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.

Monster G9 Plate-loaded Weight Holder Bracket

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!

Monster G9 Has Angled Weight Holders on Plate-loaded Bracket

A plate-loaded system like the Monster G9 may not give you the convenience of selectorized weight stack systems like the Monster G6 and Monster G12, 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 ($4999 vs $3199). You even pay significantly more for the G6 than the G9 ($3999 vs $3199) — and the G6 has a much lighter weight stack than the G12, plus it’s only warrantied for home use.

The Monster 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 Monster G3 and Monster 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 model with a 1-to-1 pulley ratio is the G12.

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):



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