Are you planning to set your home gym and looking for an all in one equipment that provides total body workouts? Don’t look beyond the functional trainer – a machine similar to your cable crossover machine but with better versatility.
It comes with a set of weight stacks that help you choose your desired weight range using a pin and height-adjustable cables and pulleys, and picking the right functional trainer could be the best thing you do for your home gym.
With a functional trainer, you can do an infinite variety of exercises that help you build speed, agility, and improve your cardio health with the least impact on your joints and backs (source).
But finding the best functional trainer might be tricky, especially when you don’t know what to look for. This guide will help you walk through all the details that you should know about the functional trainer.
In a hurry? Here are my top 13 picks of the best home/commercial functional trainers:
- Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer—Best Home Functional Trainer
- Inspire Fitness FT1 Functional Trainer—Best Compact Functional Trainer
- BodyCraft HFT Functional Trainer
- XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine—Best Reviewed on Amazon
- Body-Solid Powerline Functional Trainer (PFT100)—Best Budget Home Gym Cable Machine
- Life Fitness G7
- Inspire Fitness SCS Smith System—Most Versatile
- Body-Solid Best Fitness BFFT10R Functional Trainer and Cable Machine with 190 Lb
- Powertec Fitness Functional Trainer Deluxe, Black
- REP FITNESS FT-5000 Multi-Grip Functional Trainer Cable Machine
- FORCE USA Monster G3 Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo Base
- Force USA G6 Monster Functional Trainer, Power Rack, & Smith Machine Combo
- MiM USA Commercial Hercules 1001 Jumbo | Smith Machine & Functional Trainer
See the overview, pros & cons below.
What Is a Functional Trainer?
When you hear the “functional trainer,” you might assume that it is a complex machine. But it is not.
A functional trainer is a cable machine that uses independent weight stacks, pulleys, and cables (with attachments and handles). They provide unique workouts to train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work, or in sports (source).
It is termed functional trainers because they were used in sports medicine clinics for doing functional training. You can find more information on Wikipedia if you are interested.
Even though the machines were used for rehab needs, they are an excellent choice for your home gyms because they improve your body’s ability to work efficiently as one unit and help your body function better as a whole (source).
There are different sizes and shapes that we can find in the functional trainers. They offer a wide range of exercises as per the machine type.
And you can also find a functional trainer combined with a Smith machine, like Inspire Ft2. Another wonderful thing about the function trainer is: they are safe to use.
See Also: Are Functional Trainers Good?
How to Choose the Best Functional Trainer?
Now that you know what functional trainers are let’s walk you through selecting the best functional trainer. Finding the best-suited functional trainer is similar to finding other fitness equipment.
It’s better to focus more on the machine’s specs/features if you want to find a good quality machine. This will help you save money.
These are five things you should look for when buying a functional trainer:
- Weight Stacks
We will break down these factors below so you can get a better knowledge of it.
You need to check the dimensions before purchasing the machine to make sure it can fit in your room or space. Even a compact trainer will take a chunk of places, and it would be worse if you live in a low-ceiling house.
So the first thing you need to do is to measure your space and compare it with the machine’s dimensions.
Commonly, these trainers have the dimensions about 7′ tall, 5′ wide, and 4-5′ long. However, this is the machine dimension, so it doesn’t include the space you need for workouts. You also need extra space if you want to buy other attachments, like a bench, which might take 4′ or more in length.
Many trainers with dual-stack feature weigh between 700-800 lb once they are assembled, making it extremely hard to move.
This is another reason why you need to decide the space before purchasing the machine.
#2. Weight Stacks
Most high-quality functional trainers use weight stacks, whereas certain budget trainers use plates.
When searching for a machine, you need to think about whether you need one or two weight stack system.
If you are interested in purchasing the best functional trainer, we would advise you to buy a machine with dual weight stacks.
You will have more workout choices using a dual-weight-stack functional trainer, such as bench press, cable crossover, and other 100+ movements.
In regards to resistance, the stack’s weight will differ from one machine to another. This is an important factor to consider when you are comparing choices.
Standard weight stacks are 200 lb, 165 lb, or 150 lb.
Keep in mind that the actual resistance you feel is half of the selected resistance due to the special pulley system.
That means if you want to go with 100 lb of the resistance, you should choose a functional trainer with at least 200 lb of resistance.
Due to this factor, most buyers prefer machines with high resistance.
But you are always able to upgrade the stacks by bearing an additional cost. Most of the time, you get the chance to purchase an additional 50 lb or for a stack.
Certain functional trainers, such as NordicTrack Fusion CST, provides 20 digital SMR magnetic resistance to offer smooth operation without the traditional weight stack system, providing more convenience for users to switch the training level.
This is another important factor when choosing a good functional trainer. A high-end trainer must have pulleys that are easy to adjust.
This means that the pulleys should be adjustable for every inch as per the machine’s height.
It is essential because having different (lower and upper) pulley positions can provide more optimal exercises.
If you get a chance to test a machine in a sports goods store, you are lucky. Otherwise, you are not able to know how smooth or hard the pulleys move.
There are different amounts of attachments for different trainers. Certain brands may include a lot, whereas some will not include more than a pair.
This is why you need to check the number of attachments when checking the prices. For example, if you find two models at different prices, you might find more machine attachments.
Below are some of the common attachments:
- Triceps rope
- D handles
- Long bar
- Short bar
- Pull up bar
- EZ curl bar
- Multi-purpose belt
- Sports bar
- Ankle cuff
Benches are not a part of attachment; rather, they are sold individually.
Most trainers can adapt to leg developers and preacher curl attachment, and they are sold separately, too.
This is one of the essential specs that buyers should consider. You need to be cautious about the warranty when purchasing a functional trainer. The longer warranty is better.
It is directly based on the price. If you purchase an expensive trainer, you will get a longer warranty (in most cases).
The warranty is usually divided into parts warranty and frames warranty, which vary from the price.
But it is always advisable to choose a functional trainer with at least a 2-year warranty. If this could not be met, you should think over again.
In short, you should make your decision on whether to purchase a budget machine with a lower warranty to save up money or go with a longer warranty.
Top 13 Best Functional Trainers for Your Home Gym
I’ve made a crisp list of the top best functional trainers that could add value in terms of performance and budget if you decide to purchase a piece of this equipment for home gym use.
Inspire FT2 has a heavy-duty frame, solid, matte black frame; it’s a combination of both functions and appearance.
The trainer offers weight stacks of dual 165 lb, and the dimension is 61 x 57.9 x 87.8 inches.
However, you can get an extra weight stack of 50 lb as upgrades if you need more resistance (with extra cost).
It also has a built-in Smith machine (as a great add-on), making it more versatile.
The adjustable Smith bar, which has a weight multiplier, lets you engage in the bench press or squats you’d be doing using the Smith machine.
It offers eight different pulley starting positions so that you can adjust them smoothly.
This is wonderful because most home trainers come with only two adjustable pulleys, which can only offer limited workout options.
The machine has seven unique handles, one water bottle holder, an exercise booklet, and 2×5 lb additional weights.
You can also find a pull-up bar that can be adjusted accordingly.
Inspire FT2 offers a lifetime warranty for the moving parts and a limited warranty for the frame.
This particular trainer can easily secure the top place on the list. Read the full review here.
- The frame has commercial grade
- Weight stacks of dual 165 lb
- Weight multiplier to double the resistance of the Smith machine
- Eight various pulley locations
- 32 various pulley positions
- A wide variety of accessories and attachments
- The pull up bar is adjustable
- Lifetime warranty
- Bench not added
- Complicated assembling procedures
It’s one of the best compact home gyms for home use.
You will not find the extra pulley positions and the Smith Bar like in the FT2. The reduction of those attachments doesn’t devalue the product; rather, FT1 works great.
You can get the product for the lower asking price.
This machine weight stacks of dual 165 lb even though it would be better if they were heavier. Just like the previous machine, you can add 50 lb with an additional cost.
There are 30 different positions offered by adjustable pulleys. You can also enjoy smooth action with easy adjustments.
The FT1 trainer has similar attachments to the FT2. However, there’s a difference in the pull-up bar, and you will not be able to adjust the height like the FT2.
It is fixed, and this bar helps you focus on chin-ups and pull up with different grips.
Every tower is pre-assembled, so the assembling procedure of FT1 is easier than FT2.
This product is 54″ wide, which could be a good choice for those who have limited space. This is the only narrow dual-stack trainers.
Overall, the FT1 offers a warranty just like the FT2. If you are not planning to spend more, you can go with this option as it has the same quality as the FT2. Read the full review here.
- Dual adjustable pulleys
- Steel frame
- A wide variety of exercises
- Weight stacks of dual 165 lb
- Simple assembly
- 100% lifetime warranty
- Better if weight stacks were 200 lb
It takes a footprint of 55″ x 40″ when the machine is fully assembled.
This is another dual-stack functional trainer with various attachments and s pulls up bar, along with an ideal warranty.
Each weight stack can only provide 150 lb resistance (means can provide 75 lbs resistance to users), which I think is not enough for a high-level trainer.
But the weight stacks can be upgraded to 200 lbs each.
BodyCraft HFT has 31 pulley positions independent and can be fully adjusted (can rotate 180 degrees), allowing you to train at different angles and heights.
There are seven various handles and an exercise booklet that can be used as a guide.
You will also find a multi-grip pull bar with a different shape so that you can use it as a neutral grip.
If you have limited space, you should consider this product.
The warranty of this product is what makes it different from the other functional trainers.
You can get a lifetime warranty for the parts and frame when you purchase the HFT.
This could be the most affordable machine that comes with a lifetime warranty.
Summing up, HFT has similar specs and features of FT1. The stack weight is lower, but when considering the price and its warranty, you will not be able to find a better option.
- Steel frame
- Dual weight stacks
- Two adjustable pulleys
- Excellent warranty
- Easy assembly
- Only 150 lbs on each stack
The frame is made of heavy-duty 11-gauge 2″ x 3″ steel, making it extremely sturdy and solid.
You will be able to enjoy the weight lifting style of the machine.
The XMark trainer has the weight stacks of dual 200 lb. If you are interested in maximizing the resistance, this could be the right option.
The machine has two adjustable pulleys, which can provide 19 positions spaced at 3.5 inches each, allowing you to perform numerous compound or isolated workouts.
There are seven various attachments, although there will be differences in the handle than the previous models.
Also, the XMark has a built-in bar, allowing you to perform pull-up and chin-up.
This machine has a 1-year warranty for parts and a lifetime warranty for the frame.
With a lifetime warranty, 200 lbs dual weight stacks, and an affordable price, I can’t figure out any reasons making me ignore this beast. This is simply the best. Read the full review here.
- Dual weight stacks of 200 lb for each
- Smooth pulley system
- Extremely durable
- Lifetime warranty for frame
- Affordable price
- Assembly could be complicated
At a glance, you might not find the product as pretty as the ones we discussed above. It doesn’t have storage hooks or book holder like other products, so that it may look like a sketch.
This affordable machine has dual weight stacks, 160 lb weight each, and you have the liberty to upgrade 210 lb with an additional cost.
Also, the product has a pair of single handles. You will not find short or long bars or even ankle cuff.
Even though there is no multi-grip option, you will find a straight pull up. This product is pretty easy to assemble.
However, it is wider than the other machines we discussed, and the width is 62.6″.
The warranty period is one year for the parts and ten years for the frame.
Overall, if you have a tight budget and interested in a simple home gym, this could be the best choice.
- Durable and sturdy
- Dual weight stacks of 160 lbs
- Two adjustable pulleys make it switch workout smoothly
- Simple assembly
- Reasonable price
- Only has 1 set of handles
Made of heavy-duty material, Life Fitness G7 will be a long-lasting functional trainer. Its frame is well-coated to avoid scratches and damages.
The weight stacks have two stacks of 150 lb weight, allowing you to engage in regular exercises with this machine.
The dual adjustable pulleys, which accommodate 20 positions, help the user perform up to 55 exercises.
Also, it comes with various attachments, including a long bar, a curls rod, a short bar, thigh straps, handles straps, and a pull-up bar.
The cable is extremely durable and easy to use. And this machine comes with video guides and tutorials, which help beginners start right away.
You will get ten years warranty for the steel frame and three years warranty for the parts.
Overall, this could be a good choice if you want to get a trainer with a reasonable budget. Here is the full review.
- Ideal for heavy lifters
- Durable and sturdy
- Pulleys with 20 various positions
- Provides 55 various exercises
- Dual pulley system for smooth exercising
- Some buyers aren’t happy with the parts warranty
- Limited chest exercises
It provides the possibility of engaging in all kinds of full-body workouts.
Exercises such as pull-ups, lunges, shoulder, chest, wings, biceps, triceps, legs, and rotations are achievable from this home gym.
This trainer will keep you hooked to the workouts. You will also encounter SCS bench press, leg extension, and preacher curl.
Sport handle, triceps rope, ankle cuff, long bar, and curl bar are some of the attachments you can get from the machine.
Made of heavy-duty 2″x 4″ oval and 3″ round 11 gauge tubular steel, the bearing system of Inspire SCS is responsive and efficient, allowing users to engage in a series of smooth exercises.
The dual pulley system has divided tension so you can let all the energy into your workouts.
Not only that, but it also lets you adjust the motion while working out.
You don’t have to purchase an additional Olympic bar as this product offers one.
And you will receive a lifetime limited warranty for residential use or a 10-years warranty for light-commercial use when purchasing this trainer.
Another prominent feature is the adjustable height of this trainer, which helps you set the height according to the way you want.
- Dual pulley system
- The height is adjustable
- Steel bearing offers smooth and efficient exercise experience
- Commendable warranty
- No idea for performing squats
The trainer consists of a 190-lbs weight stack, which should be sufficient when you are a novice or functional.
The BFFT10R trainer features a no-cable design and comes with two nylon cable handles for better grip and enhanced performance. The no-cable design helps you switch between exercises swiftly, which is highly time-saving and easy too.
The Best Fitness trainer comes with adjustable pulleys capable of rotating 180 degrees to offer you various starting positions.
This functional trainer comes with a 3-year warranty on the frame and only a one-year warranty on all other parts when the trainer is solely used for a non-commercial purpose (such as home gym).
Body-Solid is a brand well-known for its high-quality gym equipment. This unit from Body-Solid has been designed to fit your everyday needs focusing on providing you with easy-to-do exercises that bring results and last forever.
- Compact and occupies minimal footprint
- Assures excellent-quality frame and construction at an affordable price
- Simple featuring a single weight stack, which is ideal for beginner trainers
- 190lbs weight stack
- 180 degree swiveling pulley system offers you several starting positions
- Absence of double-stack weight, which could be of help to all types of trainers
- Making adjustments to the equipment is not easy
- The equipment for chin-up is not provided
Powertec has done a commendable job by coming up with a new design for its functional trainer that has now made it one of the best machines available in the market.
This deluxe trainer boasts of increased load capacity to bear up to 1000lbs of unparalleled weight. This machine is also upgraded with a two-stack weight system (ws:190 lbs).
Despite such high weight capacities, you needn’t worry about your safety as the ring stoppers prevent the weight carriages from moving around to undesirable distances.
Besides, the trainer’s use of high-quality materials for its frame and construction guarantees maximum durability and resistance. The twin tower structure is well-suited for easy, safe, and efficient use by any of you.
This Deluxe trainer also uses the cable system’s right combination and easy load slide rods, guaranteeing a smooth and optimal gliding movement.
You can use Powertec’s functional trainer with Olympic weight plates or even upgrade it such that it is compatible with stacked weight plates.
The maximum weight capacity possible with the additional accessories is quite optimal, satisfying your needs, whatever be your training level.
The chin-up bars come with a maximum load capacity of 400 lbs, and the carriage/cables have a maximum load capacity of up to 500 lbs on either side.
- Easy load slide rods and cable system ensure smooth gliding movements
- Maximum load capacity is 1000 lbs
- Premium-quality materials used that promise durability and performance
- Safe to use as the presence of ring stoppers prevent weights from traveling far away
- No possibility to adjust chin-ups
- Some feel that the positioning is quite awkward for squatting
The FT-5000 multi-grip trainer from REP Fitness is one of the best in the market with mammoth durability and heavy-duty construction.
The 11-gauge steel frame used for the frame makes it an indispensable addition for home gym use if you are looking for a machine that promises to last forever.
The pulleys available are large and strong, helping the cable resistance movements to offer a smooth performance.
You could select from the 16 different cable positions to perform numerous workouts and experience versatility in your everyday fitness routine.
The weight stacks are the most integral feature of this FT-5000 trainer as it is much bigger than most other trainers discussed here. The dual 220lbs weight stack offers unmatched resistance levels that’s quite tough even for experienced lifters.
This functional trainer from Rep Fitness features a rotating panel, comes with ten hooks for storing the attachments easily, provides an exercise guide, and also offers you numerous pull-up grip angles that workout on your arms and back.
There is a magnetic tipped weight selector pin for adjusting the weights safely, and the steel weight plates present guarantee higher accuracy.
The unit comes partially assembled and takes around 2 hours for two people to assemble it completely.
- High-quality materials guarantee solid construction and durability of the equipment
- Two strap handles promise easy grip
- Numerous pull-up grip options that come with rubber-coated grips for a non-slip grip
- 220lbs weight stack ensures maximum resistance possible
- There are 10 hooks for easy storage of attachments
- Pretty rugged movements sometimes
If you are looking for a functional trainer with a smaller footprint, the G3 trainer should be your best fit as it occupies lesser space than you imagined.
This could also be your perfect home gym equipment as the trainer combines the functionality of five different machines—power rack, Smith machine, functional trainer, chin-up bar, and core trainer—in one machine.
The power rack is made of steel and consists of premium-quality J-Hooks and safeties that are height adjustable.
You can choose from the 50 different adjustment points available, which help any of you do your bench press, squats, and other exercises comfortably.
Experience a versatile training session performing over 75 exercises that are possible using this trainer.
The Smith machine is set at the right angle to aid you with natural body movements and promise a safe and sturdy workout. The multi-grip chin-up station comes with ergonomic designing and a 770lbs weight capacity.
There is also an attached landmine station for performing torso exercises, but it doesn’t have a weight stack. Instead, there are weight plates.
- An all-in-one machine
- Provisioning of stabilizer bar helps you focus on target muscles
- The machine could be bolted down for additional stability
- Commercial-grade materials with powder-coated finish guarantee robustness and durability
- Most compact
- The pulley ratio of 2:1 gives you only 50lbs of resistance if you load 100lbs of weight
- Absence of low row attachment and suspension training ring
- J-Hooks are inaccessible in the topmost pulley position
This trainer is built to withstand the rigor of professional training as it is constructed using heavy gauge structured rolled steel tubing.
While the G3 trainer discussed above combines five different equipment, the G6 trainer combines nine different equipment.
Beyond what’s present in G3, the G6 has the leg press, dip station, suspension trainer, and low row functionalities.
You can attach the leg press to the Smith machine, thereby targeting different muscle groups in your legs. The multi-grip dip handle attachments help you target upper body muscles.
The power rack positioning also helps you use weight belts or resistance bands during work out.
There is even the provisioning to do rowing exercises using the vertical leg press station attachment and the left pulley system.
- There is plenty of storage space for keeping your accessories
- The G6 has selectorized weight stacks which help you to change weights rapidly
- The pulley positioning is perfect such that the cable doesn’t interfere with the attachments
- Ability to do band-resistant exercises such as squats or deadlifts
- Like in G3, the 2:1 pulley ration is a drawback
- Absence of suspension training ring
- The machine width is narrow compared to other machines in the G series
- The length of the spotter’s arm is only 15 inches
This is a 2-in-1 trainer, including the functionality of a Smith machine and a functional trainer. You get the benefit of doing various exercises targeting every muscle group in your body except for leg extensions using the 1001 Jumbo trainer.
The primary advantage of this machine is that the Smith machine is built with a heavy-duty steel frame. The bars have a powder-coated black paint that protects the machine from any kind of damage.
Lock or unlock in 14 different positions using the Smith machine, and don’t worry about the maximum weight limit as you can lift to 550 lbs.
The Hercules 1000 Jumbo trainer weighs 490 lbs even without any weight stacks, making it a very stable piece of equipment.
So, without weight stacks, you must have weight plates to add resistance to your workouts. If you don’t have them, it becomes essential to purchase one.
The functional trainer comprises nylon pulleys and steel cables. The upright bars can be set in 32 different positions.
- Ample accessories including bench, j-hook, safety bars, V-handle, rotating bar, ankle cuff, dip handle, standard barbell, and more
- Compact and usable by all types of people, including tall and heavy individuals
- Has a Smith machine
- Heavy-duty steel frame provides stability and durability even without anchoring
- You need to purchase weight plates separately
5 Benefits of Using a Functional Trainer
We know that a functional trainer is a versatile machine. They provide functional training that helps people to prevent injuries, improve their flexibility, and other following benefits:
The best use of purchasing your functional trainer is that it allows you to do innumerable exercises using it.
I am not exaggerating but exercising with this equipment leaves out, not even a single muscle group.
While the trainer proves to be an excellent training machine for all types of trainers, it is especially beneficial for athletes as assistance movements.
Be guaranteed of full-body workout or split training depending on your requirement. I’ve given a brief list of the example exercises that you could do using a functional trainer.
- Exercise your chest by doing cable’s fly and chest press from any angle
- Exercise your legs by doing kickbacks, straight-legged deadlift, cable squats, and leg raises
- Exercise your shoulders by doing cable crossovers, lat raise, shoulder press, reverse fly, and upright rows
- Exercise your back by doing pulldowns, rows, single-arm rows, straight-arm pushdowns, and more
- Exercise your arms by doing bicep curls, hammer curls, overhead triceps extensions, and more
The strength of the functional trainer lies in its long list of attachments that come with it. The machine’s design and the cable hooks provided are great provisionings for adding attachments.
You could always make use of rope attachments, straps, harnesses, barbells, handles, tri-bar attachments, and more bring in variations to your workout so that the sessions remain engaging and interesting.
By using an assortment of attachments, you get to target various muscle groups smoothly.
For instance, make use of the rope attachment to do hammer curls or use a straight barbell to do bicep curls, both of which target your biceps.
Free weights are always considered the best friend of advanced trainers, and it is commonly seen that most gym-goers avoid using them.
They are not confident about handling the equipment or haven’t got a spotter to exercise safely.
The functional trainer is a welcome relief to all your worries as it is a simple and easy machine that could be used without getting stuck on a weight bench or being buried under a pile of weight plates.
If you want to change plates, you must simply reposition the pin, and such enhanced safety makes the functional trainer a perfect home gym equipment.
You can be totally in control of your movements and never have to bother about spending extra money on buying weights as the machine is already pre-loaded with all the weights you need.
While I feel good to let you know that functional trainers are good for rehabilitation therapy, it is rather intriguing to realize that functional training is a concept that has evolved from the world of rehabilitation.
The machine is well-equipped to provide mild resistance for most muscles in the body, and you can gradually increase your resistance levels according to your needs.
Use this trainer to strengthen your muscles after an injury or an operation.
Setting a home gym is not a child’s play, and you need to invest a hefty sum in purchasing all your equipment.
So, when you have a single machine that substitutes the need for many others, such as dumbbells and extra weights, it is wise to purchase it.
That way, functional trainers are extremely cost-effective.
Though priced heavily, you get to work out every muscle group nullifying the need for any other equipment in your home gym and saving ample space too.
What Is the Difference Between the Functional Trainer and Fixed-Press Gyms?
The primary difference between a functional trainer and a fixed-press gym is the need for assistance. If you notice, a functional trainer requires minimal assistance, which makes it best suited for home gym use as you are on your own.
A functional trainer’s vital characteristics include the form of your body, stability, and movement with weights.
Because of its design, a functional trainer offers multi-planar (360 degrees) movements, making it important for you to exercise in proper form. For this, you need to know the proper form to target specific muscle groups.
Functional trainers usually have two pulleys which make use of weight stacks or weight plates.
Hence, it becomes indispensable that we learn the proper form and movements to workout using it. Even if you are unaware of the right form, you needn’t worry a bit as there are numerous videos available online.
Otherwise, some functional trainers come with a monthly subscription plan, which helps you get an insight into the variety of exercises possible with the machine and get hold of the form.
On the other hand, fixed-press gyms are on rails, which provides stability to weight, and in fact, the machines enhance your form. This way, all you need to do is to simply do the pull and push movements without bothering about your form.
It is worth subscribing to these, especially if you a beginner during the initial few months.
While a fixed-press gym might sound good to hear on paper, practically, a functional trainer is better-suited as it makes sure that you know the proper form.
In terms of pulley ration, both the machines have a 2:1 weight ratio due to the pulley design and offer provisioning for upgradable weight stacks.
However, functional trainers are becoming more popular than fixed-press gyms.
How to Buy a Functional Trainer for a Compact Home & Small Space
A functional trainer is an excellent exercise equipment choice, even if you have a compact home.
What remains integral is that you closely monitor the footprint/dimensions, your workout requirements, and your flooring before finalizing any model.
Don’t worry about small spaces as several functional trainers occupy a smaller footprint, especially if you are looking for a suitable machine for beginner trainers or your entire family.
Such machines are ideal for doing light-medium exercises.
If your choice is to perform intense workouts, don’t be too disappointed as your compact functional trainer’s choices are limited.
To accommodate your heavy workout needs, you would be required to purchase a heavy-duty functional trainer to withstand any type of workout performance.
Surprisingly, even if your place is not more than 600-650 sq. ft, it is not impossible to fit a wide functional trainer. The only problem is that you need to shift some of your other stuff elsewhere.
Another major concern is the ceiling height. If you plan to set your home gym in your basement or garage, ensure that you have a ceiling height above 7 feet as most commercial or even compact, functional trainers occupy over 7 feet in height.
The wisest thing to do would be to measure the available area in your home for fitting the functional trainer and then choose from the list of machines that suit your space availability.
Also, compare the cost between the trainer you choose and your gym membership fee before deciding which of the two is much cheaper.
How Many Exercises Can You Perform with the Functional Trainer
You needn’t worry about versatility when you use a functional trainer to perform between 150 and 200 movements using it.
This is mainly because of the pulley and cable provisioning that comes with the machine.
Whereas, with fixed gyms, it primarily depends on the number of attachments that you have.
You can hardly perform over 10-15 movements as fixed gyms are unique, limiting the exercising options available with it.
It is mostly compound movements that you use a fixed-press gym, but with a functional trainer, you can perform various isolated exercises.
How to Maintain the Functional Trainer?
I feel good telling you that you need negligible or zero maintenance when you purchase a good-quality functional trainer.
Whatever the model you buy, it is indispensable that you clean dirt and debris everywhere in the equipment. This would be a tough job.
In due course, when you regularly use the trainer, you might be required to re-tighten and re-tension the bolts and cables, which is not so tedious.
A couple of companies could surely help you with your maintenance requirements if you start finding any problems with any of the parts.
An additional advantage is that you could get the parts replaced at zero cost or a discounted price.
You must quite often inspect the cables for splitting, cracking, or fraying. If you find any wear and tear in the cables, it is time to replace them immediately. Never exercise using damaged/worn out parts.
You need to periodically lubricate the guide rods, almost every six months, after wiping it cleanly using a dry cloth.
Can You Build Muscle By Using a Functional Trainer?
Without any doubt, you can build muscle mass using a functional trainer. If your primary goal is general fitness, then a functional trainer should be a versatile choice for your home gym setup. But, after a while, you will be required to shift to higher resistance levels to match your bodybuilding goals.
As most functional trainers have a weight stack anywhere between 165 and 220 lbs. on either side, you are well-equipped to perform a variety of exercises at your desired resistance levels.
With this provisioning, it becomes most useful for beginners and those interested in doing medium-heavy workouts.
Some models come with a 1:1 weight ratio for the Smith machine, a great attribute provided by the manufacturers.
This is because you feel 100% of the resistance instead of the 2:1 weight ratio that provides only 50% of the resistance.
While building muscles comes with exercising on any trainer, as your goal changes or there is a need for you to increase resistance levels, there comes the need to buy additional equipment, including power racks and heavier weights.
Is Functional Trainer Helpful for Weight Loss?
Yes, a functional trainer is a piece of ideal equipment for weight loss. Functional training helps your body move more comfortably and make your workout more effective, which helps you burn more calories (source).
Generally speaking, you can lose weight without a functional trainer, as the principle behind weight loss is to create a calorie deficit.
So, besides exercising, you need to consume fewer calories than your body requires. To consume lesser, you firstly need to know what your maintenance calories are.
Logically, if you consume equal to your maintenance calories, it becomes default that you maintain your weight. To enable weight loss, you must first decide upon your weight loss target and then find out how many calories you need to lose.
After that, choose your desired duration (3 or 6 months) and find out how many fewer calories you need to consume daily to reach your target weight loss goal.
Hence, though the functional trainer helps you achieve weight loss, it doesn’t’ help you solely. You need to combine it with a healthy diet and do certain other cardio exercises such as running to lose weight.
You might already be impressed with the versatility of the functional trainer. But remember, when you decide to buy a functional trainer, your choice should depend on your personal preference.
Buyer’s reviews help, but you should also consider specs, features, warranty, and the price. And most of the trainers we discussed above are in consideration of all these factors.
You can grade each functional trainer by using the buyer guide so you can find the best one that suits you best easily.