Is It the Best All-In-One Gym?


This is the most in-depth Force USA Monster G12 review you’ll find anywhere online on this piece of gym equipment.

The Monster G12 is the most premium model available in Force USA’s series of all-in-one gyms. What makes the Monster G12 the highest end model? A lot of things. But its two primary differentiating features are that:

  • It has a commercial warranty rather than a home use warranty thanks to its extra wide, reinforced frame; AND
  • It has a selectorized weight stack pulley system as opposed to a plate-loaded system (both stacks have a 1:1 pulley ratio and provide up to 201 lbs of resistance each)

Read on to find out about ALL of its features, specs, attachments, pros and cons. By the end of this Monster G12 review, you’ll know if this machine is the best all-in-one gym for you.

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Use table of contents below to jump to any section of the G12 review:

What Comes with the Force USA Monster G12?

The Force USA Monster G12 is an 8-in-1 machine. Here’s a high-level overview of its main components:

  1. Power rack
  2. Functional trainer
  3. Smith machine
  4. Vertical leg press
  5. Chin up station
  6. Dip station
  7. Core trainer / Landmine station
  8. Suspension trainer
Monster G12 All-In-One Gym - Whats Included
Weights, barbell and bench not included.

The Monster G12 comes with the same functional trainer accessories as the Monster G9. This includes the following items:

  • Short Angled Bar
  • Lat Pulldown Bar
  • Nylon Stirrup Handles
  • Long Straight Bar
  • Triceps Rope

NOTE: I’ll provide exercise examples and show photos of each of these accessories later in this Monster G12 review, when I go in-depth on the functional trainer station.

Force USA Monster G12 Dimensions

External Width 79”
External Depth 49”
External Height 90″
Internal Width
(Between Uprights)
48” (45″ between the j-hooks & safety spotters; they’re indented 1.5″ to the inside of each upright)
Internal Width
(Smith Machine)
43”
Internal Depth 34”
Internal Height 89”
Unit Weight 950 lbs

Force USA Monster G12 Features

Space-Efficient Design

The Force USA Monster G12 is very compact when you consider all of the exercise stations contained in its design. It packs 8 different training stations into about a third of the footprint you’d need if you instead bought dedicated equipment for each station.

Being compact while delivering tons of features is a design priority for an all-in-one gym like the Monster G12. The Monster G12 actually has the smallest external depth footprint of all the G-Series, at 49″ (vs 55” for the G3; 63” for the G6; 53” for the G9).

External depth is probably the most important footprint dimension for space efficiency. External width isn’t as important, since you’ll need a little over 7 feet of width anyway to use a barbell and the Smith machine, regardless of which model you buy.

On top of the smaller depth footprint, the Monster G12 is the only model you can position flush against a wall. Whereas, the other models all require at least a few inches of clearance to fit the weights on the plate storage area, or on the plate-loaded weight bracket in the case of the G9. This makes the Monster G12 even more compact in practice compared to others.

Monster G12 All-In-One Gym Can Be Positioned Flush Against a Wall
Note how the back of the machine could go right against a wall. There are no long feet in the rear, and the plates are angled to the front, out of the way.

The G12’s space-efficient design is perfect for anyone with limited space who does NOT want to compromise on exercise selection. This includes:

  • Home gym lifters with only a small room in their house, or with limited space in their garage or basement.
  • Certain commercial settings, such as personal training studios, physical therapy offices and many other places that I’ll cover below. The G12 is one of the two Monster all-in-one models designed specifically for this type of commercial use.

In a lifter’s utopia, everyone would have dedicated gym equipment instead of an all-in-one gym. You obviously get more out of dedicated equipment since it’s designed for a single purpose. Whereas, equipment companies sometimes need to make slight design compromises on all-in-one exercise stations to ensure all components fit together and function properly…

…For example, a dedicated power rack has a deeper space to squat inside, with uprights protecting you in both the front and back. In comparison, the G12’s power rack uses just the uprights in the front. Similarly, it’s easier to get into a reclined seated position on a dedicated 45 degree leg press machine compared to laying flat on the G12’s vertical leg press; plus, you can load on more weight.

However, we don’t live in a utopia. As such, there’s plenty of reasons why buying separate equipment doesn’t make sense for a lot of people. Limited space, budget and convenience are the big ones — You get these 3 major benefits as a trade-off when you get an all-in-one like the Monster G12 instead of dedicated equipment.

You still get the most important benefits and capabilities of specialized equipment. You lose out on the marginal benefits. But you also get a more space-efficient, budget friendly and convenient solution.

Cost Saving Design

Yes, the Monster G12 is the most expensive G-Series model. Yet it will still save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars compared to buying separate pieces of comparable quality equipment that replicates the G12’s functionality.

Monster G12 All-In-One Gym Saves Money Compared to Dedicated Equipment

With a price tag of $4999 — before the 5% discount from using code KING5 — the G12 will be out of some peoples’ budgets. However, when you pay more, you get more. Even at the higher price, you still get a lot of value out of the G12 for what you pay.

The most expensive part to manufacture on the Monster G12 is also its most attractive feature: the two 201 lb selectorized weight stacks.

Changing weight on these weight stacks is orders of magnitude faster than it is on the plate-loaded G9 and G3 units. And they have almost twice as much resistance as the G6’s selectorized weight stacks (201 lbs vs 110.5 lbs per stack). No other unit lets you train as efficiently and with as much resistance.

If you have the budget for it, then I’d definitely recommend choosing the G12 to get its weight stacks — You’ll love how efficient it is and you’ll enjoy its convenience every single workout.

However, if you’re on a tighter budget, the G9 will get you every other feature that the G12 has but for $1800 less. Or, you could pay $1000 less and still get a selectorized weight stack system by opting for the G6 if you’re okay with less resistance.

Versatile Design

The Force USA Monster G12 is built for versatility. That is the point of an all-in-one gym, after all.

Monster G12 All-In-One Gym Versatility

It has a total of 8 exercise stations that let you do some version of nearly every movement you could do in a fully outfitted commercial facility.

The only feature it lacks that detracts from its versatility is band peg holes. So you can’t do band-resisted exercises like you can on the G6 and G3. Though, there is a DIY workaround to this, which I’ll explain later.

Here’s a breakdown of the hundreds of exercises that are possible on the Force USA Monster G12 all-in-one gym:

  • The power rack gives you access to 40+ free weight barbell exercises including variations of the squat, bench press, overhead press and many other movements.
  • The exercise station that puts the biggest dent in exercise selection is the functional trainer. It allows you to do an impressive 75+ cable exercises. The secret to its versatility is that you can use any hand position at any pulley height using any number of accessories — allowing you to hit any angle through an unrestricted range of motion.
  • You can do a Smith machine variation of most power rack barbell movements. There’s also some movements you can do only in the Smith machine. In total, you have an easy 30+ Smith machine exercises at your disposal.
  • You can do 30+ exercises on the landmine / core trainer. One of the most powerful movements is the T-bar row, but there’s also several core-focused movements and many landmine variations of traditional lifts (e.g. squats, deadlifts, press).
  • You can do 9 basic chin up variations based solely on the various ways you can grip the handles. You can do several more chin up variations if you get creative (e.g. static holds, explosive/clapping, side-to-side, weighted, band assisted).
  • The dip station has 2 pairs of handles that let you do 2 basic dip variations (wide and narrow grip). Other dip variations are possible if you think outside the box (e.g. side-to-side, weighted, band-assisted) as well as some non-dip exercises like inverted rows and inverted shrugs.
  • The suspension trainer ring is the perfect place to install your own TRX (or other brand) to take advantage of 80 suspension trainer exercises. A cool “off-label” use involves looping a band through the ring so you can do resistance band exercises (e.g. triceps extensions, face pulls, assisted chin ups and others).
  • The vertical leg press attachment is a powerful leg training tool that lets you do 3 leg press variations: narrow, shoulder width and wide stance leg press.

Later on in this Force USA Monster G12 review, I’ll give you many more exercise examples when I talk about each exercise station in-depth.

Commercial Quality & Warranty

The G12 is built and warrantied for use in commercial settings. It has a stronger, wider and more durable frame than the residential units. This allows it to better stand up to the rigors of more demanding training environments.

While the G12 is warrantied for commercial use, it is not ideal for a high traffic big box gym setting. This is because it is an all-in-one gym, which doesn’t make sense in that type of environment because:

  • You could potentially have too many people waiting to use any one of the many stations.
  • Big box gyms will already have tons of dedicated training equipment, which makes an all-in-one machine redundant and thus unnecessary.

However, the Monster G12 is perfect for other types of commercial settings, including:

  • Small local gyms or community fitness centers with limited strength training equipment
  • Personal training studios
  • Physical therapy practices
  • Boxing/MMA gyms
  • Police department gyms
  • Fire station gyms
  • Military base gyms
  • Office gyms
  • Hotel gyms

The Monster G9 is also great for all of these commercial settings. However, the Monster G12 has an edge because each cable column can be used independently; meaning two people can do different cable exercises at the same time. You can only use one cable column at a time on the Monster G9.

Power Rack

Monster G12 Power Rack

The Force USA Monster G12 power rack is technically a “half rack” because it has just two columns in the front. It isn’t fully enclosed with another two columns in the back.

Nevertheless, you can do nearly all the same barbell exercises in a half rack as you can in a true power rack. And you get the benefit of taking up much less space in your gym area.

The Monster G12 power rack gives you access to 40+ barbell exercises. Here’s some of my favorite ones:

Note that some of the above movements require an adjustable weight bench, which is not included with the Monster G12.

The Monster G12 has a 992 lb weight capacity rating. This is the same as all the other Monster G-Series models. It’s more than strong enough for you unless you’re truly an elite squatter.

The Monster G12 has the same extra wide power rack frame as the Monster G9. It also shares the same exact j-hook and spotter arm designs. You can see just how wide the unit is in the video below — I’m using a super wide grip on bench press and I still have a lot of extra space on each side:

To be specific, the Monster G12 power rack has a 48″ internal width, which refers to the distance between the insides of the uprights. Its external width measures 52″ from the outside of one upright to the outside of the other. This beats out the width of the Monster G6 by 7″ and the Monster G3 by 4″.

Monster G12 Power Rack Uprights - Internal and External Width Measurements

One benefit of the wider frame is that you feel a deeper pec stretch at the top of the range of motion when doing cable flyes because your arms can open up even further. It’s closer to being like a dedicated cable crossover machine, which have the cable columns spaced several feet apart.

Another big benefit of the wider power rack uprights is that it makes the entire unit more stable since the base of the frame is wider.

The distance between the j-hooks and the safety spotter arms is actually less than the distance between the uprights. The j-hooks and spotters are both spaced 45″ apart (49″ from outside to outside). This is because they’re “indented” 1.5 inches to the inside of each upright.

Monster G12 Power Rack - Distance Between J-hooks

This indented design was made to ensure an Olympic bar could fit on the j-hooks and spotters. A regular Olympic barbell has a shaft that’s 51.5″ long. If the j-hooks/spotters weren’t indented, their outside to outside width would be 52″, which would mean the bar wouldn’t fit. By being indented, the outside to outside width is 49″, which leaves enough room to fit a 51.5″ bar shaft.

Spotter Arms

Monster G12 Spotter Arms

The Monster G12 power rack comes with a pair of safety spotter arms. The primary function of these is to catch the barbell at the bottom of the range of motion in case you fail on squat, bench press and other exercises.

It has a protective rubber insert along the entire length of the top surface. This will protect the bar from scratches and also absorb some of the impact when you set down or accidentally drop the weight.

The Monster G12 spotter arms are 15 inches long, just like the ones on the Monster G6 and Monster G9. If they were just a bit longer — like the G3’s 17.5” spotter arms — it would be perfect. I usually take a fairly large step back when walking the weight out since I’m used to squatting in a full power rack. If I do the same walkout on the G12, I end up with the bar just past the end of the spotters at the bottom of the range of motion…

…Of course, the solution to this is easy. You just have to do a shorter walkout. It may be slightly annoying at first because you’ll be closer to the uprights. But you’ll get used to it within a couples sessions.

J-hooks

Monster G12 J-hooks

The Monster G12 comes with a pair of j-hooks for racking and unracking the barbell on power rack exercises.

They’re the exact same pair of j-hooks as the ones used on the Monster G9. And they’re very similar to the Monster G6 j-hooks; except the G6 j-hooks have a redundant pop-pin security mechanism and are not indented to the inside of the uprights. Only the Monster G3 j-hooks are markedly different.

Monster G12 J-hooks with 4 Holes on Bottom for Leg Holder Attachment

The thing that stands out most when you look at the Monster G12 j-hooks is the series of 4 holes on the bottom of each one. These are used to make micro-adjustments to the height of the pads on the lat pulldown leg holder, which is another attachment that connects to the j-hooks. I’ll talk about the leg holder later on in its own section.

The j-hooks have a protective rubber insert just like the safety spotter arms. It lays across the top surface of the lower portion of each j-hook where you rack the bar. It helps prevent scratches or dings to the bar’s finish and knurling.

The G12 j-hooks have the same issues as the G6 and G9 j-hooks:

  • There’s no protective backing on the upper/rear portion. It will experience minor scratching scratching over time and so will your bar. Nothing major, but it could’ve been avoided.
  • There’s a bolt head sticking out of the upper/rear portion. This poses a risk for scratching or dinging your bar if you slam the bar directly into it.

Most people won’t care about minor cosmetic damage from these issues…

…However, if you’re like me and are obsessive about keeping your barbell(s) looking as new as possible, I’d recommend putting some type of protective covering over it. Here’s some easy DIY ideas if you want to do this:

  • You could buy some cheap foam tape to cover it. You’d need to reapply it every so often.
  • A longer term solution would be to buy some rubber bumpers (also cheap) to cover the bolt head. You might have to use a use a utility knife to carve out groove in the bumper to fit over the bolt head. This way, it would cover the bolt head and you’d be able to lay it flat against back of the j-hook. You could add a second bumper atop the first bumper for good measure if extra padding is required.

The G3 j-hooks are better than the G12/G9/G6 j-hooks because they have neither of these issues:

Monster G12 J-hook vs Monster G3 J-hook

While the Monster G12 j-hooks could be better, they do serve their basic function of being able to:

  • hold a heavy bar
  • remain secure when installed in the uprights

Hole Spacing & Hole Accessibility

The Monster G12 power rack has 16 holes on each upright. The holes are 1″ in diameter and are spaced 3.75″ apart center-on-center.

Monster G12 Power Rack Hole Spacing

A NOTE ON MAX HOLE HEIGHT / HOLE ACCESSIBILITY:

The top 2 j-hook holes on the power rack uprights are inaccessible…unless you use a workaround, which I’ll explain in a second. But first, let me explain why the two holes are inaccessible under normal circumstances:

Regardless of which hole you’re using, the cable pulley needs to be above the j-hooks (or spotter arms, or dip handles). This is because the cable runs directly in front of the power rack holes, extending from the pulley up to the top of the rack. So, the cable blocks you from installing any attachments above the pulley. Usually, you can solve this problem by simply moving the pulley to a higher setting…

…But when the pulley is at its highest possible setting, the pulley itself blocks the uppermost two j-hook holes.

Now, I mentioned that there’s a workaround. I’ll explain that now:

First, set the pulleys on a low height setting. Then, move each cable slightly to the side of its upright; just enough to install the j-hooks in one of the top two holes. There will be enough slack for the cable to run along the side of the j-hook. There’ll also enough slack for the cable to move back when you rack the barbell in the j-hook, as shown below:

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

I should stress that Force USA does not recommend or advertise doing this, as it could cause the cable to wear down over time from the contact with barbell’s knurling (though, you could temper this by wrapping the cable with athletic tape around the area of contact for protection).

While this isn’t officially advised, my thinking is that you’d be okay if you only did this occasionally — For example, if you’re using the Monster G12 in a personal training or physical therapy setting, you could get away with doing it the few times you have a client squatting who’s taller than 6’5″.

Below is a video of one of the guys at Force USA demonstrating this workaround. Note that he’s 6’4″ and using a high bar position with no weights on the bar — even at his tall stature with the bar as high on his back as possible, he still has a little trouble getting the barbell cleanly over the j-hooks. This is why I say this workaround would only be useful for squatters who are over 6’5″.

The same issue exists on all of the G-Series racks except for the G6. And on the G3, just one hole is blocked.


The Monster G12’s 3.75″ power rack hole spacing is the same as on the Monster G9 and Monster G6. It does not have the narrower “Westside” hole spacing that many powerlifters have come to know and love.

If you’re unfamiliar, Westside spacing consists of ⅝” diameter holes spaced 1” apart in the bench press region and 2” apart everywhere else. This allows for extremely precise j-hook and spotter arm placement on all exercises, especially bench press.

You should consider the Monster G3 if Westside hole spacing is a must-have for you. It is the only Monster all-in-one gym model with this feature.

It would’ve been nice if the Monster G12 had Westside spacing as well. However, its 3.75″ hole spacing is still acceptable for most lifters. You’ll be able to set the j-hooks and spotter arms at the appropriate heights for safety and performance. You just won’t get the absolute “perfect” height on every single exercise.

I consider hole spacing less than 4″ to be adequate for most use cases. Even a little more than 4″ can be okay. But you’ll quickly run into issues the further you go above that. The first issue being performance loss from unnecessary range of motion during the unrack (e.g. unracking from a quarter-squat position). The second issue being a decrease in safety because you have to set the safeties much lower than the bottom of the range of motion to stop the bar in case of failure.

Functional Trainer

The functional trainer is the focal point of the Monster G12 all-in-one gym. It’s the single feature that delivers the greatest amount of versatility in terms of exercise selection.

Monster G12 Functional Trainer

The functional trainer consists of two pulleys, each on its own column. The pulleys connect with cables to two separate weight stacks.

The pulley columns are the same columns as the power rack uprights. The pulley, though, does not insert into the large j-hook holes on the front of the uprights. Rather, it inserts into the smaller holes on the inside of the uprights for its height settings.

There are a total of 16 pulley height settings on each column. In comparison, the G9 also has 16 height settings, the G6 has 19 and the G3 has 22. Sixteen settings is plenty to do all the movements you need, at whichever angle you want to hit.

The cable is 16″ high at the lowest pulley setting and 73″ high at the top setting. All the other settings are distributed evenly throughout these min and max heights.

The pulley adjustment mechanism is designed so you can easily change the height setting with one hand. Considering how much you’ll be adjusting the pulley height, this is a nice feature to have. It makes every workout a little bit smoother and less tedious. The G6 and G9 have the same design. The G3 has a different mechanism designed for two-hand operation.

The Monster G12’s standout feature is its selectorized weight stacks. Only the G6 shares this feature. The G3 and G9 are both plate-loaded.

No other feature will improve your workout efficiency more than selectorized weight stacks. The speed at which you can change the resistance is almost instant. You just move the pin to a different hole in the stack. Whereas, a plate-loaded machine can take 20+ seconds if you’re adding or removing a lot of weight.

The weight stack lets you very easily perform drop sets or super sets with virtually no rest between sets. It also means less moving around and handling weights between your sets. It makes you more efficient so you can focus more on actual training instead of preparing to train.

It should also be pointed out that 2 people can use the pulleys at the same since each pulley cable is connected to its own weight stack. This is super helpful if you’re ever training with partner. You save time because you don’t have to wait for each other to finish. This is also possible on the G3 and G6. But it’s not possible on the Monster G9.

Are selectorized weight stacks a “necessary” feature? No. But it is very convenient that can save you lots time, energy and focus.

Obviously, it is a premium feature. So it comes at a cost compared to a plate-loaded setup. It’s $4999, whereas the G9 plate-loaded unit is $3199 and the G3 plate-loaded unit is $2199.

However, if you have the budget and want the convenience and efficiency it affords, it’s worth it! You WILL love it, especially if you do a lot of bodybuilding style training where drop sets, super sets and short rest periods are essential.

Why go with Monster G12 vs the Monster G6? They both have selectorized weight stacks, but the G6 is a full $900 less expensive…

…Well, there’s a few benefits of the G12 over the G6. But the primary advantage is that Monster G12 has a 1-to-1 pulley ratio. This means the amount of resistance is the same as the weight you select.

So if you put the pin in the 81 lb hole for cable curls, then you’ll actually be curling 81 lbs of resistance. This might seem obvious, but many pulley systems have a 2-to-1 ratio, which means the resistance is half of the amount you select.

The G6 has a 2-to-1 pulley ratio. So even though the G6’s weight stacks go up to 221 lbs, you can only get a max of 110.5 lbs of resistance from each one.

The Monster G12 has two 201 lb weight stacks. Thanks to the 1-to-1 pulley ratio, you can get the full 201 lbs of resistance from each stack (up to 402 lbs on double pulley exercises!). That’s plenty of resistance even for very strong lifters.

Monster G12 Functional Trainer with Selectorized Weight Stacks

If you’re really advanced, it’s possible you may need a little extra weight for a bigger movement like cable rows — in which case you can simply do a double pulley version of the movement to take advantage of the second weight stack, or you can buy some 5 lb weight stack add-on plates. But again, most people will never max out this weight stack on any exercise.

So, what does the functional trainer experience feel like? One word: SMOOTH.

It’s the same smoothness as on the Monster G9 and Monster G6, but it does feel a bit smoother than the Monster G3. I think this is because the weights on the G12, G9 and G6 models slide on a track constructed with two cylindrical solid steel rods. Whereas, the weights on the Monster G3 slide on a track made of a single large steel square tube. The G3 is still smooth, just not as smooth as the other models.

Basically, the Monster G12 functional trainer’s smoothness is comparable to that of the pulley units you’ll find in big commercial gyms. You won’t be disappointed.

The Monster G12 functional trainer comes standard with the following cable accessories (click the images below to enlarge them to their full size):

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