Get Ripped: The Best Functional Training Machines
Whether you’re looking to set up a gym in your neighborhood or want to work out without leaving the comfort of your home, a functional training machine is a must consider, and even possibly, a must have! Cable crossover machines or cable gyms, as they are sometimes referred to, are not only perfect for full-body workouts but are also extremely versatile and durable. Basically, they’re a gym all in one, which also means that they’re a much cheaper option to build strength in all those muscles instead of buying different individual pieces of gym equipment.
If you’ve been considering getting a functional training machine or just want to know what’s selling hot on the market right now, you’ve come to the right place.
Getting one without knowing what to look for is obviously not the best thing to do and even with functional trainers, one size may not fit all! This article will not only cover ‘Functional Training Machines 101’ but also tell you why having one could be advantageous and what to look for when getting yourself this equipment.
As Maria von Trapp famously sang, “let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start!”
XMark Functional Trainer Cable Machine
- 200-pound dual-stack system
- Quick-adjust pulleys that come with 19 different settings (spaced at 3.5 inches)
- Interchangeable accessories
- Included accessories are:
- A pair of 17-inch long strap handles
- A short bar
- A 42-inch long bar
- A pair of 8-inch hand straps
- A 23-inch triceps rope
- A leg extension curl strap
- An ankle strap
- A workout poster (with 36 different exercise options)
- A heavy-duty 11-gauge 2x3 inches steel mainframe
- Commercial-grade pulley system and pull-up rig
- Cables extend 81 inches from the pulley
- Weight of 827 pounds (65 x 43 x 83 inches)
- Space between pulleys and weight stacks is 60 and 48 inches, respectively
- Powder-coated scratch-resistant equipment and rubber-coated weights
With over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry and well reputed for its large product line and quality product offerings, XMark is an obvious choice when it comes to gym equipment. This functional trainer from the company is highly versatile, catering to users of all age groups in the household/gym, and comes with an array of impressive features!
Extremely durable and smooth, the equipment presents unlimited training opportunities, including isolateral-based movements, muscle targeting, pull-ups and chin-ups. The equipment can be bought at its most basic or upgraded version and with a bench, as well; the price varies accordingly, though around $2,100 seems to be the base. Overall, an excellent option!
What Is A Functional Training Machine?
Despite the fancy-sounding name, a cable machine or a functional training machine first found popularity among rehabilitating athletes and specialists at sports clinics for their use in functional training, where the goal is to perform day-to-day activities or Activities of Daily Living (ADL)in the safest way possible while applying the least amount of effort. And like they say, practice makes perfect, which is what a functional training machine enables, with its adjustable pulleys and unlimited range of motion (more on this later!).
Cable cross over machines are a great addition to any gym. They offer a wide variety of exercise options in a small amount of space. Increasingly, these machines have found a wide fan base among home-workout enthusiasts, possibly for the range of exercises you can do on them.
This is the piece of fitness equipment that every gym owner has and everyone uses.
You literally can do so many exercises with it. Some common ones are the triceps extensions with the rope or cables. You can do chest cross overs, triceps kickbacks, pull ups, curls, use the leg attachments on the cables to do glut kicks, shoulder shrugs and on and on...... You can throw an Olympic workout bench in there too and you will have everything you need!
For an ever-wider variety of workouts, there are combination units that can be used with power racks and smith machines. This is simply a must have for any gym owner or any homeowner who has the cash to take their home gym to a level they will never need to leave it to work out!
Best Functional Trainer Cable Machine Reviews
REP FITNESS FT-5000 Multi-Grip Functional Trainer
This functional trainer boasts 16 different selectable cable positions and a 220-pound dual-stack system; a great challenge even for the Paul Anderson aspirants! Bigger, better and easy on your pocket, the FT-5000 is strong and reliable.
- One of the biggest weight-stack options in the market
- An 11-gauge steel-constructed frame for durability
- Larger pulleys
- 16 different cable positions and multiple pull-up grip options
- Included exercise guide
- 6 hooks for additional attachments
- Dual-layer electrostatic metallic-black powder coating
Accommodative of users regardless of their age, height or fitness level, the FT-5000 is great for full-body workouts as well as split training. Its heavy-duty construction doesn’t restrict its range of motion and smoothness. For its price, it’s a worthy investment.
Body-Solid Powerline PFT100 Functional Trainer
One of the cheaper options, the Powerline Functional Trainer is a great buy regardless of your fitness level. The dual weight-stack system is designed for extraordinary performance and has a ton of features to back it up.
- A dual 160-pound weight-stack system that can be upgraded to 210 pounds.
- Pulleys that can be adjusted vertically and have a 180-degree motion range.
- A no-cable change design for seamless transitioning between exercises.
- 20 different starting positions, spaced 3.2 inches apart.
- Two adjustable nylon cable handles that facilitate a range of exercises.
- A knurled chinning bar included.
- Weight of 509 pounds (42.3 x 62.6 x 83 inches).
- 10-year warranty on the frame and 1 year on all other parts.
With or without an added bench or stability ball, this functional trainer facilitates a variety of different exercises, such as fly and crunch movements and isolateral-based movements. Whether your goal is performance, flexibility, rehabilitation or strength training, the Powerline Functional Trainer is a must consider!
HFT Functional Trainer
- Independently adjustable cable columns that can manage 31 different positions.
- 180-degree range of motion in the cable columns pulleys.
- The cables can extend 79.5 inches from the machine.
- Flexible nylon-coated construction combined with heavy plate steel and 11-gauge platinum-gray-coated oval steel tubing.
- Powder coating for an excellent finish.
- 7 x 19 strand aircraft cables that can max out over 2000 pounds of tensile strength.
- Dimensions of 56 x 40 x 82 inches.
- Accessories include:
- Long and short bars
- An assisted pull-up/push-up strap
- 2 chains
- An ankle strap
- A triceps rope
- An attached exercise book
- Two single handles
- Built-in multi-grip chin-up bar.
- 150-pound dual weight-stack system (that can be upgraded to 200 pounds each).
Despite its weight of 710 pounds, the HFT Functional Trainer is one of the more compact options available. Whether the goal is strength building, sport specific or functional training, this trainer has you covered and even better, lets you customize the machine based on your needs and speed.
Designed specifically for home usage and light commercial workouts, the HFT is a great buy. It is ergonomically designed and its aesthetic appearance screams “quality”! Just as a side note, don’t fall for cables that provide significantly higher amounts of tensile strength than 2,000 pounds; these have a much less effective stack weight.
MiM USA Functional Trainer and Smith Machine Combo
- Combo multi-functional trainer.
- Weighs 480 pounds.
- Dimensions of 60 x 80 x 87 inches.
- 555-pound weight-plate storage.
- Includes a solid weight rod, copper bushing and adjustable cable length.
- The chrome-plated sleeves enable barbell bars, lat bar storage, curl and straight bars storage, plate positions and standard and Olympic bars storage.
- Spring clips of different sizes.
- Rubber stopper and long slide tube for a smooth slide.
- Knurling handles with a variety of grips and angle design that facilitate a variety of pull-ups.
- Safety hook.
- Short and long safety catch.
- Alloy knobs and study dip grips.
- Digital adjustable height.
Another excellent functional-trainer-option, the MiM USA Functional Trainer is a safe bet for strength training and rehabilitation. Its asymmetrical design facilitates better weight balance and space saving while its “all-in-one” nature can facilitate a range of exercises such as chest presses, squats, tricep extensions, arm curls, seated rows, chest flies, morning exercises and the like.
Remember, as we’re sure you’ve figured, it’s a Smith Machine Combo, which means you’ll have to use olympic weight plates instead of stacks. You can either buy the machine combo or the machine-and-bench combo.
Inspire Fitness FTX 7
All of 544 pounds and 40 x 54 x 85 inches, we have the Inspire Fitness FTX 7 in the blue corner, ladies and gentlemen! This functional trainer is the epitome of “simple yet effective”, versatile and durable in every sense. With a heavy-duty steel construction powder coated to a matte black finish, the FTX 7 is as pleasing to the eyes as Holly Flax is to Michael Scott.
- 165-pound dual weight-stacks
- 30 pulley positions
- Accessories include:
- A pair of deluxe D-Handles
- A curl bar
- A chin/dip belt
- A triceps rope
- Facility to isolate each pulley to allow independent movements
- Limited Lifetime warranty on the frame as well as the parts
The FTX 7 is every bit a one-stop-shop as its award-winning sibling, the FT1. Especially great for functional training, this functional trainer has found fans among critics and users alike!
Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer
- Two 165-pound weight stacks with magnetic weight pin for ensured safety.
- Accessories include:
- A triceps rope
- 2 rubber D-Handles
- A dual-hook straight bar
- EZ curl bar
- An ankle strap
- 2 water bottles
- A sport handle
- A multi-function belt
- 2 5-pound additional weights
- An exercise booklet
- The option of adding a preacher curl, leg extensions, leg conversion kit, abdominal bar and SCS bench.
- Precision steel ball-bearing system for seamless and maintenance-free action.
- Dimensions of 61 x 58 x 83 inches.
- 32 pulley positions.
- Height-adjustable pull-up bar.
- Residential: Limited Lifetime warranty on the frame and parts.
- Light Commercial: Limited 10-year warranty on the frame and parts.
Like its awesome elder brother, the FT2 trainer is guaranteed by its manufacturers to be the “take her home to meet your mom”, “cream of the crop” functional trainer. Uniquely designed to integrate a Smith machine with Olympic weight stacks and a bar, this trainer comes with a dual pulley system and lets you achieve any fitness goal, be it strengthening, weight loss, rehabilitation, functional training, or sport-specific improvement through exercises that incorporate your core and stabilize your muscles.
Despite its slightly pricey tag, the FT2 is sure to be a great addition to your gym!
FORCE USA Monster G3 Power Rack, Functional Trainer & Smith Machine Combo Base
- Highly space effective.
- Includes commercial-grade adjustable J-Hooks and Safeties.
- 992 pounds and 51 x 55 x 87 inches.
- Includes a multi-grip chin-up station with knurling.
- Includes a landmine (with handle) to meet core training needs.
- Compatible with Olympic and standard barbells.
- Band pegs for increased resistance.
- Built-in storage for accessories and weight plates.
- 2 mm nylon-coated aircraft quality cables with the ability to withstand 2,000 pounds of tensile strength.
- Optional attachments include a stability bar, lat pull-down seat and a leg press.
- 50 different adjustment options.
- Accessories include:
- A cambered bar
- A straight bar
- A small-grip frame bar
- A V-Type Handle
- An ankle strap
- Nylon Stirrup Handles
- A triceps pull-down rope
Few functional trainers come as loaded as the Force USA Monster Functional Trainer; its range of included accessories truly make it a one-stop-shop! The trainer manages to perfectly combine a Smith machine, a cable pulley system and a power rack to give you the best of all worlds, facilitating 75 different exercises!
Coming in at a very competitive price, the deal doesn’t get much sweeter than this; the Monster G3 functional trainer can definitely meet all your training needs!
What to Look for in a Functional Trainer
The best functional trainers should be able to run longer than The Simpsons has on television, have pulleys smoother than MJ and be backed by a superb warranty. In addition to this, they should offer a wide range of exercise possibilities and fulfill their intended function of a home gym system perfectly. The right equipment will negate the need for you to ever step into a gym again!
Here are some features you should look for while choosing your functional trainer.
Safe to say, these are the most essential parts of a cable gym which means they should be smooth in functioning and fully adjustable.
Most high-end trainers will let you adjust the pulley by 3 inches or so.
Also, ensure that you can access both the lower and upper pulley positions to make the best use of the system for a varied exercise regime. Additionally, look for long pulleys; these offer a larger range of motion and will facilitate better lunges and weighted sprints.
Unless you’re buying the machine straight from the store, you won’t be able to try out the pulleys prior to your purchase; in such cases, user reviews will tell you everything you need to know!
Benefits of Using a Functional Training Machine
Here are four reasons why you should use a functional trainer:
1. Endless Choices
One of my favorite benefits of using a functional trainer is that it comes with endless exercise options. Whether you want to work out your full body or just go for split training, functional trainers can help you work out every part of your body.
For example, if you want to work your arms, you can do bicep curls, hammer curls, or overhead tricep extensions. Similarly, if you want to train your legs, you can do cable squats, leg raises, or glute kickbacks.
Whether it's your back, shoulder, or chest, there’s hardly any part of your body that you cannot tone using a functional trainer.
2. Safe for Beginners
Beginners often have a hard time wrapping their heads around how each gym equipment works. And even when they do figure it out, they shy away from finding a spotter to help them during the routine.
But with function trainers, you don't have to worry about getting stuck under the weights. All that you will need to do is move the pin on the weight to adjust.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution, functional trainers are a great choice. For starters, you don't have to worry about buying weights again because these machines come with all the preloaded weights you’ll need for your training.
You don't need to invest separately in any additional equipment — everything you need will come pre-fitted with the functional trainer. And since they don't take up too much space, there’s no need to rearrange your home either.
Functional trainers are a single, upfront investment, unlike gyms that require monthly fees and an additional payment for trainers.
4. Ideal for Rehabilitation
Functional trainers are great for rehabilitation. In fact, that’s how the idea of these all-in-one training machines was developed. It's perfect for people on therapist-prescribed exercise routines to slowly train their muscles, gain strength and get back into shape.
Since functional trainers offer varying degrees of workout, you can start from the basics and slowly work your way up.
The Last Word
Though this guide gave you a list of the best functional trainers available in the market, the only opinion that matters finally is your own. This doesn’t mean you discount user reviews and guides such as this one, but remember that one size doesn’t fit all and finding the right functional trainer requires an investment of research and a little effort.
Consider your training needs, your budget and the available space before you decide on the final candidate. Most importantly, know what to look for! Once you have that sorted, you may not even need a guide or list of the best functional trainers in the market (though we’ve always got your back!) and can even start to look outside of these.
That being said, there’s very little room for error if you go with one of our picks, honestly. These machines are super easy to use, highly effective, easy on the wallet, and most importantly, all-in-one gyms. Think of the money you could save on gym memberships throughout the years! What more could one ask for, right?
Additionally, especially if you’re still learning the ropes, take it slow! Make sure you have ample space to work out, ask for assistance if you need, check your purchased equipment carefully for any sign of damage and don’t modify the equipment if you don’t know what you’re doing! Keep these in mind to prevent injuries and safety hazards.
So, then! Let the workouts begin!