Why choose a functional trainer for your home gym?
Functional trainers are a great addition to any home gym. They can be a cost effective way to gain versatility in your workouts.
Functional trainers allow us to focus on exercises that are more dynamic than those completed on a traditional home gym. These exercises tend to lead to functional strength that can be useful for the general fitness enthusiast and athletes alike.
What is the Difference between Home Gyms and Functional Trainers?
As fitness trends continue to evolve, so does the equipment used in home gyms. Traditional home gyms are designed to isolate muscle groups through leaning or pressing against weight stacks that resist your movement with weight stacks. The design of functional trainers encourages movement by allowing for unilateral or multi-joint movements that provide additional instability hence more functional muscle development.
Functional trainers are designed to encourage functional movements, which can focus on the recruitment of multiple muscle groups at a time. The result is a faster workout that requires less equipment and will have you feeling stronger in no time.
What Exercises Can I Do?
Some of the best functional trainers can be used for exercises that focus on making you stronger, faster, and more agile in addition to improving strength training through use of the weight stacks. Functional trainers are useful for athletes hoping to improve explosiveness (vertical or horizontal), increase coordination, agility, and flexibility.
Examples of functional trainer exercises include: standing chest press, pull ups, rows, squats, bicep curls, tricep push downs, walking lunges and more.
Additionally some premium functional trainers such as the Inspire FT2 or the FitWay FTS+ include a smith machine which allows you to combine the benefits of a functional trainer with those of traditional training methods without sacrificing space with the addition of a separate power cage / half cage.
What Functional Trainer is Right for Me?
Functional trainers come in many different sizes and include different feature sets. The functional trainer that is best for you really depends on the type of workouts you are looking to complete. For example if you would like the additional of a smith bar the Inspire FT2, Inspire SCS Ensemble or the FitWay FTS+ Functional training system may be best for you. If you are looking for something with a longer cable travel for more dynamic movements the Hoist Mi6 Functional trainer would be a great choice.
Another factor to consider when trying functional trainers is the smoothness of the cable system. Some more entry level units utilize cheaper pulleys and cables which will not provide as smooth of a feel.
What accessories do I need?
Although a functional trainer alone can provide you with a fantastic, complete workout some users will benefit from a few different additions to the home gym to pair with the functional trainer.
A flat or Flat / Incline / Decline bench would be the most common addition to a functional trainer purchase. A bench that can be easily rolled out of the functional trainer to allow for easy transition between exercises with a bench and exercises without is key. Some benches are specifically designed for certain machines and will have the option to connect to the cable system. This is one of the features that has become popular for people wanting to do leg extension and leg curl exercises.
Additional weight stack plates can be another welcomed accessory either at the time of installation or once you progress in your fitness journey. These additional plates will take a common 150lb weight stack and increase it too 200lb per side on most common functional trainers.
One final group of accessories to consider would be cable attachments. While some functional trainers come with a complete set of options others may only be available as an additional purchase. Most machines will come with handles, although some people prefer certain types of handles that may not be included. If there is a certain attachment you want, most cable attachments are universal, however some attachment points may not be compatible on your machine. For example, carabineer sizes may vary so it's important to look at this before purchasing.
Space is often a limiting consideration when choosing your exercise machine. If there is a pull up bar you need enough clearance at the top of the machine to do pull up exercises. Space on either side of the machine is also a good idea.
Warranty will vary depending on the brand you choose. Inspire Fitness has limited lifetime warranty on most of their cable machines. It's important to note that while the cables and parts may be covered for lifetime, you may still have to pay labour fees. Choosing a trusted brand that will be around for a while is helpful for when you need to service it, because it will be easier to source parts. Fitness Experience has their own in house service team, which makes warranty claims easy and stress free. All you need to do is call us and we will have all your warranty information on file.
Delivery and Installation
After you've chosen the exercise machine that's right for you, you will be presented with optional delivery and installation for a calculated price. It is not the most straight forward piece of fitness equipment to assemble and installation is worth every penny.
If you need your product shipped to you shipping prices are calculated at checkout. We utilize LTL services and have a variety of carriers we work with. Your machine will arrive on a pallet. The carrier will not be responsible for getting the product into your house and to the desired location. If these services are required and you're not in a city where we have a local Fitness Experience team, we can assist in trying to find one of these local services. Shipping support will be available along the way and we strive to ship your unit as soon as possible.
Pulley attachment points should be fully adjustable up and down. This is one of the greatest attributes of this type of resistance machine and what makes it so versatile. Since the pulley is adjustable on both sides, this makes it possible for multiple users to be exercising at one time.
Cables vs. Plate Loaded
Plate loaded machines are typically lower in price and serve the same function. The down side is that you need to purchase plates, have more room on the sides in order to load the plates, find storage for these plates and overall it is a little less convenient to plate load rather than adjusting the weight on the pulley. Some people prefer the feel of a plate loaded machine if they are avid lifters.
Some functional trainers only have two side pulley attachments, whereas some more expensive machines will have a high and low attachment point. High attachment points are helpful in order to do lat pull down, which is an extremely popular exercise. Low attachment points allow you to do exercises like low rows