Major Fitness 2-in-1 Leg Press & Hack Squat Machine REVIEW!

My Experience with the Cobra AH-1 Home Gym Leg Machine 

by Alec Enkiri | 5/31/24

Major Fitness is running an early bird sale for the Cobra AH-1 Dual Leg Press and Hack Squat Machine! Anyone who purchases an early bird ticket for the Cobra AH-1 between now and June 10 gets a $100 discount and priority fast shipping. The first 200 orders will ship immediately on June 10!

Purchase a Cobra AH-1 early bird ticket here

Other Major Fitness equipment featured in today's article

Raptor F22 power rack | Monolift Attachment | Leg Extension/Leg Holder | Multifunctional Handlebar


Use discount code ENKIRIELITE for 5% off all Major Fitness products!

I was recently offered the privilege of reviewing a sweet new piece of equipment from Major Fitness before it has even publicly launched yet!  The COBRA AH-1 is the Major Fitness version of a 2-in-1 dual hack squat and leg press machine.

So what I would like to do today is discuss the assembly process, some of the specs & features of this machine, the build quality and how it's engineered, the pros & cons, and talk about my experiences with actually using it as well as my overall impression of it.

ASSEMBLY

Before we jump into the meat of everything I want to just touch briefly on the assembly process for the Cobra AH-1, as it was a somewhat involved process. Now, there weren't that many pieces when I unboxed everything and laid it all out, but there was a heck of a lot of hardware that needed to be put in place and secured. Due to the way everything fits together (which is quite crafty when all is said and done if I'm being 100% honest) some of those bolts and nuts weren't the easiest to get all buttoned up, snug, and tightened down.

So between the 50 or 100 bolts (I have no idea how many it actually was, but it was a lot) it ended up being a little bit of a tedious process. I started the assembly at 10:00pm and I called it a night at 2:00am after making some solid progress but still not quite getting to the finish line. A few of the steps took a considerable amount of time to work through, as first I had to make sense of everything to make sure I was actually putting all the pieces together correctly, and then, as already noted, some of the bolts were quite difficult to get a good hold on and actually get buttoned down.

Parts

Hardware

So after 4 hours I called it a night and then picked back up at noon the following day. On day two I wrapped it up by 2:00pm. So that's 6 hours total of assembly time mostly just spent bolting down bolts and tightening nuts, where some of those had limited accessibility that made them a bit difficult to get secured in full.

Again, there really weren't an overwhelming number of parts in this assembly, but there was a somewhat overwhelming amount of hardware to secure. So with that volume, and the accompanying stubbornness of some of the aforementioned bolts, the assembly process here was a little bit of a challenge. Not insurmountable, probably not unwarranted (all things considered), but definitely a bit of a challenge.

But I got the job done! And now I've been rewarded with what I will say is a pretty darn sweet dual leg press and hack squat machine!

SPECS & FEATURES

Let's talk about some of the specs and features of the Cobra AH-1.


EXERCISE SETUP & CUSTOMIZATION

Going a little bit more in depth into the set up of the exercises. As noted above, the backrest on the leg press (or the foot plate on the hack squat, depending on which exercise you're doing) has 4 different angle settings that it can be set to. This is nice because it gives you options for tweaking things depending on the type of movement that you're doing. For example, I found that when I was doing hack squats I preferred the foot plate to be a little bit less angled and closer to in line with the floor, but then when I was doing reverse hack squats I preferred for the foot plate to be a little bit more angled and tilted upward.

And it's the same deal with the upper foot plate when you're doing leg presses. As noted, that plate can be set to 5 different angled positions. This is just really nice because it gives you options in terms of how you are able to set up and customize these movements to make them work a little bit better for your build.

The defining characteristic of machine exercises is that they are very rigid. This rigidity provides stability, which can be nice, but it can also pigeonhole you into patterns that might not feel the greatest for you. So having some leeway here with how you can set them up is a welcome addition. When I'm leg pressing on this machine I actually prefer having the foot plate tilted away from me slightly, making the bottom a little closer to me than the top (as opposed to it being more flat or in line with the back pad, as would be the case with most machines). Setting it up this way just gave me more freedom and made the movement feel much better and smoother for me as compared to other available setups.

The footplate on the Cobra AH-1 is also wide enough that I am able to set my stance at a width that is appropriate for my hip structure (the foot plates on some home gym leg press machines are too narrow) and actually makes the leg press feel pretty good, which is uncommon for me. I tend not to like leg press machines because they often make my hips feel like shit, whereas that is not the case with this particular machine.

TRANSITIONING THE MACHINE

As noted above, transitioning from the leg press into the hack squat and vice versa is also very simple with the Cobra AH-1. All you have to do is pull the pad off by sliding it up and out of the divots that it rests in, and then you can slide it into the other slot in the exact opposite fashion. Place it on top, slide the bolts in the holes, and then drop it down into the divots so that it's secure.

This setup is crafty and simple. Obviously it's not quite as stable as a pad that has been bolted down, but as far as creating a seamless transition between machine types goes this was a really good way to do it and you can't really feel the difference when you're lying on top of or standing on top of the pad anyway.

NYLON BEARING ROLLERS 

One thing that's really cool about this machine is how the weight sled is engineered to slide smoothly and seamlessly. The typical engineering that you'll often see with equipment like this is that the sled will be attached to a hollow cylindrical tube, and those hollow cylinders will be designed to slide over top of a guidepost. This works ok, but it doesn't create the smoothest movement.

The good news is that this is not how the Cobra AH-1 is designed. Rather, in this case, the sled is equipped with nylon bearing rollers, basically wheels, and those bearings roll up and down the guideposts (instead of sliding up and down it). This takes the Cobra AH-1 up a level as compared to its competitors in terms of smoothness during use. The movements just feel better with this design. Essentially you will not find a smoother feeling hack squat or leg press machine, even amongst really expensive ones that you often find commercial gyms.

Nylon bearing rollers in action

BUILD QUALITY

Overall, the Major Fitness Cobra AH-1 2-in-1 leg press and hack squat machine is quite impressive in terms of build quality. It's very solid, it's sturdy, it's stable, and it's heavy duty. There's no creaking or shaking or jankiness while you're pressing heavy weights on it, the sled itself is super smooth, and the engineering overall is quite impressive.

There really are a lot of aspects to consider with a 2-in-1 machine like this, in terms of having the capacity to be both different types of leg machines without having one ruin the other, and this machine pulls off both very well without making sacrifices or creating a subpar movement in either category. So I'm honestly quite impressed with it!

It's worth noting that it does have a little bit of a footprint, so it's taking up a bit of space in my gym, but I'm going to do my best to figure a way to keep this thing assembled so that I can put some good work in on it because I really like it!

ASSESSMENT OF EXERCISES

As far as usage goes I tested out the leg press, the hack squat, the reverse hack squat, and then calf raises from both the leg press position and the hack squat position. 


LEG PRESS

I actually like leg pressing on this machine. I don't often enjoy leg pressing because the rigid machines usually feel pretty bad on my hips, but with this one I was able to tweak it to find a set up that worked really well for me and had my legs lit up, man. I did one set of 15 with just 180lbs on the sled to kick things off and I got a pretty nasty quad pump from it! 

The range of motion is awesome here as well. I think this is the only leg press machine that I've ever used where I physically could not bottom out the machine. Of all the ones I've used in commercial gyms I can usually get a pretty good range of motion on them, but by going just a little bit deeper I can invariably always bottom out the machine. Here I literally cannot do that unless I move the band pegs into their secondary function as an additional safety stopper.

Big weight and big ROM!

Banded leg press

This is nice because now I have the option of freeballing it, which allows me to take my reps essentially "ATG," as deep as my anatomy allows, without being impeded by the constructs of the machine. Or I can use those band pegs as safeties instead, which obstructs the range of motion slightly but gives me the option of maximizing safety by making sure I can't get pinned under the weight.

So it's the best of both worlds! 

REVERSE HACK SQUAT

Moving on to the reverse hack squat! I typically prefer a reverse hack squat over a standard hack squat due to the hip freedom that it provides. However, these movements are slightly different and both have their place depending on one's training goals.

The reverse hack squat on the Cobra AH-1 is solid overall. It feels like a nice power squat movement, and I am able to push myself quite hard here and get in some very productive work with it. My only complaint is that I am a little obstructed in terms of the depth that I'm able to achieve with the reverse hack squat. I wish I could get just a little bit more!

Now obviously, if I want, I can alter the machine to add a few inches onto the range of motion and hit some true ATG reverse hack squats, but even without altering the machine I feel obligated to note that it is still an acceptable range of motion for me on the reverse hack squat. It is still a movement that I can train productively and intensely, and for most people it would be more than adequate. I just like taking most of my leg movements through my maximal range of motion.

Reverse hack squat bottom

STANDARD HACK SQUAT

The standard hack squat is a similar deal as the reverse hack squat. I am able to bottom out the machine on this variation as well, and I wish I could get a little bit more ROM out of it, but overall it still feels nice.

A cool thing with the hack squat is that I'm able to get two distinct variations out of this one movement. I can either place my feet up higher on the footplate and keep them planted flat while getting a nice range of motion through the knees and an overall balanced movement. Or I'm able to place them lower on the foot plate, let myself come up on my toes, and focus on really driving the knees way far forward into maximal flexion - absolutely obliterating the VMO's.

Feet high and flat

Feet low and heels up

So even this here is technically just one exercise, but I can get two distinct and effective variations out of it. So that's pretty cool!

CALF RAISES

As far as calf raises go, well they're really just calf raises! You can make it work from either the hack squat position or the leg press position. I prefer the leg press position because you can let your heels drop off the bottom of the foot plate and get a big range of motion and big stretch on the calf muscles/Achilles tendons.

Calf raises can be performed slow and controlled for hypertrophy or rehab, and they can also be performed a little bit more ballistically for potential athletic gains. Incorporating a mix of both styles is probably best for long term comprehensive development.

PROS & CONS

Before we wrap up with a final rating let's just touch on some of the major pros and cons of the Major Fitness Cobra AH-1.

Con #1: range of motion on hack squat & reverse hack squat

Ultimately, this is really my only issue with the machine. I want to be able to go ATG on all 3 primary movements (leg press, hack squat, and reverse hack squat) without having to make any alterations to the machine after I have purchased it.

In the case of the Cobra AH-1 I can get that max range of motion that I crave on the leg press, but not on the hack squat or reverse hack squat. In order to do that I have to add boxes, or mats, or plates onto the bottom foot plate in order to eke out those couple extra inches of range of motion that I'm chasing after.

This is not the end of the world, and making the adjustments for more ROM is pretty easy, but it does need to be mentioned. Also worth nothing is that your mileage may vary, as these things are going to vary from individual to individual based on one's build and how that relates to the constructs of the machine. That is to say, you may not have these same issues!

Either way, this is really the only con I have for this machine! 

Pro #1: maximize precious space in a home gym setting

It's hard to put a price tag on being able to get two machines out of one! Most of us have a limited amount of space in our home gyms and there are several boxes we want to be able to check in terms of mandatory equipment that we own, so getting two different pieces while only taking up the space of one piece is hugely beneficial.

Pro #2: seamlessly transition from one machine to the other

In about 10 seconds you can go from doing leg presses to doing hack squats, and vice versa. Simply lift the pad off the divots on one plate, then pop it into the divots on the other plate. Simple, straightforward, crafty.

Pro #3: customization

With 4 different angle settings for the backrest and 5 different angle settings for the upper foot plate you can customize the machine to your liking and get the absolute most out of your leg exercises! 'Nuff said.

Pro #4: wheels!

Thanks to the wheels you can easily roll this thing wherever you want in your home gym without any issue whatsoever, and without risking damaging your floor or the machine itself. This goes back to Pro #1 in that it allows us to maximize precious space in our home gym setting as frequently moving the machine around is not going to be some hassle that you have to dread.

Pro #5: super smooth performance

The Major Fitness Cobra AH-1 has nylon roller bearings that give it an incredibly smooth feel during use, that rivals or even surpasses many commercial gym leg press and hack squat machines. The movements feel great on this machine.

Pro #6: band pegs

The addition of band pegs is a nice touch that allows you to add accommodating resistance onto your leg presses and hack squats. This is an uncommon feature, but one that is cool to have access to.

Additionally, the band pegs double as a set of secondary safety pins. Simply remove them from the bottom slot and place them into their slot slightly higher up on the machine, and now there is no risk of getting pinned.

Pro #7: leg press range of motion

Or you can keep the band pegs as band pegs and go for maximal range of motion on the leg press instead. Being able to hit that full ROM is going to allow you to get more out of less weight and it's going to make it so that you aren't another one of those quarter repping knuckleheads who loads up way more weight onto the leg press than they can actually handle, and ends up giving their ego way more of a workout than their muscles.

Pro #8: heavy duty AF

The Cobra AH-1 is solid. It's stable, it's strong, and the engineering is very impressive. You'll feel comfortable and safe while you're using it.

THE EVOLVING MAJOR FITNESS HOME GYM ECOSYSTEM

Between a machine such as this Cobra AH-1 and the Raptor F22 power rack that Major Fitness sent me a few months ago I have a pretty decked out home gym these days! So what I've started doing is figuring how I can work these different types of things into my Conjugate style programming.

For example, just this past week I got in some really solid Conjugate inspired work that allowed me to make use of an array of different valuable attachments and movements.

Let's briefly discuss some of these attachments Major Fitness has created as part of their home gym ecosystem that allow me to put together workouts like this right from my home gym without the need for multiple different pieces of bulky equipment.

MONOLIFT ATTACHMENT

A monolift attachment is now available on Major Fitness power racks! This is awesome because it's essentially the same as a traditional monolift, except you don't need a person there to move the pins out of the way for you like you do a mono lift. Instead they have a spring mechanism which causes them to retract themselves and eliminates the need for walking the weight out.

ATG pin squats on the Raptor F22 with monolift attachment

RACK MOUNTED LEG HOLDER/LEG EXTENSION

Another attachment they recently sent me that I'm very stoked to have is the leg holder attachment that doubles as a leg extension. So now I can do heavy pulldowns again, which is something I've been craving lately, as well as leg extensions, leg curls, and chest supported rows all thanks to this one attachment!

The leg holder is really nice. The cushioning is high quality and the pad locks you in really nicely. My only gripe with it is that I can't quite get a full range of motion when I do pulldowns with it. Even if have the seat as low as it can go and the pulley attachment as high as it can go, I still bottom out the stack before I'm able to get as big of a stretch on my lats at the top as I would like to be able to get. I'm still getting in productive work, and the pulldowns feel really nice and smooth, but I definitely would like to see some tweaks to future models so that I can get a bigger stretch and make that work even more productive!

Pulldown

Leg extension

Row

Leg curl

MULTI-FUNCTIONAL HANDLE

They also sent me a multi-functional handlebar, which is freaking sweet. In a recent workout using this handle I did 5 sets of cable rows and I did not use the same grip on any of the 5 sets. I switched between different widths and different hand angle orientations on every single set!

Multifunctional handle

72 possible grips!

The multi-functional handle has 12 different grip widths that you can set it to (just by popping a little pull pin in and out), along with 6 different angles of rotation. This means that at each respective grip width there are 6 different types of angles that you can take there, depending on whether you want to work something that is more pronated, or supinated, or neutral, or some combination of those things. 

That means that with this one handle attachment you are getting 72 different possible grip styles that you can use, which is pretty awesome! And it's something that I plan to take advantage of myself. Another neat aspect is that this handle attaches to both a pulley as well as a landmine setup, so it's quite versatile as well.

SUMMARY

I'm really loving the creative attachments that Major Fitness has been coming up with for their power racks, and have very much been enjoying all the extra versatility that has provided my training. I'm excited to see what new attachments they might come out with in the future! It's been cool to watch their equipment ecosystem evolve and expand over these last few months as I have been reviewing their products, and with all this expansion and ingenuity I think they're even making a case for becoming a powerhouse in the home gym equipment industry in the near future.

COBRA AH-1 FINAL RATING

So far I really love the Cobra AH-1 2-in-1 Leg Press and Hack Squat Machine by Major Fitness! Overall, I have to give it a standout 4.5 out of 5 stars! Everything is really solid, the machine is engineered very well, and the movements all feel really smooth and really great. The only reason I docked it that half star is because I can't quite get the absolute full range of motion that I'm craving when I do hack squats and reverse hack squats, but if they come up with a way to fix that (without me having to personally modify the machine as I have done with many of my other pieces of equipment) than I will happily bump this rating up to a perfect 5/5 stars.

If you decide you want to purchase one for yourself be sure to use the link above along with discount code ENKIRIELITE for 5% off your order (and all other Major Fitness products)!

I hope you found this review helpful. If you did and you want to support the production of more content like this please consider purchasing one of my training programs! As always keep training hard, and I will catch you guys next time.

This article in video format on my YouTube channel!

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