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Benefits Of A Functional Trainer Machine: In Depth Guide To The Pros and Cons

The Benefits Of Owning a Functional Trainer Featured Image

While most home gym equipment offers a variety of exercise options, a functional trainer is one of the peak options for a versatile and effective addition to any commercial or residential home gym!

This article will delve into the many benefits of owning a functional trainer and provide a brief comparison to other home gym machines.

Covering everything from targeted exercises and workout routines to the average cost of a functional trainer, we aim to educate you on why investing in a functional trainer could be a game-changer for your fitness space.

Before we dive into the advantages of having a functional trainer, it's essential to address some of the cons.

By starting with the potential drawbacks, we can highlight the numerous benefits that make this equipment an invaluable choice for home and commercial gym settings.

Now, let's explore why functional training systems should be at the top of your gym equipment wish list and how they can help you achieve your fitness goals.

What Is A Functional Trainer?

A Functional Trainer Machine With Transparent Backround

A functional trainer is a versatile piece of exercise equipment designed to cater to various fitness needs ranging from strength training, flexibility improvement, and overall body conditioning.

There are dozens of these on the market, each intended to satisfy specific needs better than others; we've also created another resource to help you choose the best functional trainer based on your needs.

One key feature that sets it apart from traditional home gym machines is the presence of two weight stacks or a dual-stack mechanism, giving users more freedom to perform exercises naturally and efficiently.

Functional trainers allow you to perform multiple exercises targeting different muscle groups in a single session by boasting a wide range of adjustable settings.

The equipment's adaptability suits users at any fitness level, whether a beginner, an intermediate trainee, or an advanced athlete.

The customization options available also provide the opportunity to perform specific exercises tailored to individual goals and preferences.

Some common exercises and workout routines you can perform on a functional trainer include:

  • Standing cable rows
  • Cable chest presses
  • Tricep pushdowns
  • Lat pulldowns
  • Single-arm cable curls
  • Leg curls and extensions

Check out our functional trainer exercises resource for in-depth options. 

Regarding cost, functional trainers may vary significantly in price, depending on factors such as build quality, brand reputation, and the spectrum of features offered.

On average, you can expect to spend anywhere between $1000 and $5000 for a functional trainer, with higher-end models offering more advanced features and better durability.

Comparing a functional trainer to a traditional home gym machine, you'll find that functional trainers provide great versatility, allowing you to perform a wider array of exercises, while all-in-one home gyms offer a similar amount of versatility in a different way, combining multiple gym machines into one.

Additionally, functional trainers are often more compact, making them ideal for home gyms with limited space.

Check out: Functional Trainer Vs. Cable Crossover

Cons of Owning a Functional Trainer

The Functional Trainer Dimensions Diagram

While minimal, some things to consider when considering owning a functional trainer might require some thought. 

Initial Cost

The initial investment is one of the main concerns for many people considering purchasing a functional trainer.

High-quality functional trainers can fetch a premium price, ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 or more.

Although this may seem daunting, it's important to remember that a functional trainer is a long-term investment.

With proper assembly, use, and maintenance, functional trainers can last over 10 years!

It offers versatility and potential savings compared to purchasing individual pieces of equipment or a gym membership. 

Space Requirements

Another potential drawback of owning a functional trainer is the space required to accommodate the machine.

While some models boast a compact footprint, they may still require a dedicated area in your home or commercial gym.

This area must be large enough for the machine and all its attachments and provide a comfortable range of motion during exercise.

It's crucial to measure your available space and ensure that it aligns with the dimensions of the functional trainer you plan to purchase.

Maintenance

Maintenance is another factor that must be considered when owning a functional trainer.

Like any piece of gym equipment, your functional trainer will require periodic upkeep for the longest lifetime of the unit.

This includes inspecting cables, pulleys, and other components, as well as lubricating moving parts and tightening bolts if necessary.

While most functional trainers come with detailed maintenance guides, keeping up with this can be time-consuming and require a certain level of mechanical knowledge.

Benefits of a Functional Trainer

While considering the purchase of a functional trainer, it's important to weigh both the pros and cons.

Let's start by addressing some of the potential drawbacks before diving into the numerous benefits of owning a functional trainer machine.

Cons

  • Cost: Functional trainers will require an upfront investment, with prices ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Space: These machines require at least a minimum amount of space, particularly for larger models.
  • Learning curve: For those new to functional trainers, there may be a learning curve as you become familiar with the machine and its exercises.

Now that we've addressed the few cons of owning a functional trainer let's explore the benefits of a functional trainer and why this gym equipment may be a worthwhile investment for your home or commercial facility.

Versatility and Exercise Variety

A functional trainer provides a diverse range of exercises, targeting numerous muscle groups and allowing for both compound and isolation movements.

With countless exercises available, you'll never grow bored or hit a plateau in your fitness journey. 

Especially in combination with other equipment like power racks, home gym machines, smith machines, and others, the functional trainer adds a significant amount of convenient exercises to perform regularly. 

Endless Number of Attachments to Use

Functional trainers are compatible with a plethora of attachments, such as handles, ropes, straps, long bars, short bars, close grip handles, and more!

By switching out the attachments, you can further increase the variety of exercises and add new challenges to your workouts.

Continuous Cable Tension as Opposed to Free Weights

Unlike free weights, functional trainers maintain continuous tension throughout the exercise, providing constant resistance and stimulating muscle growth efficiently.

If you think about a bicep curl with a dumbbell, the resistance at the bottom of the weight is close to zero, while on a functional trainer, the cable maintains all the resistance on the muscle.

This cable tension system helps to prevent injuries associated with momentum and jerky movements found in free-weight exercises.

Quick Weight Selection

With a functional trainer, quickly adjusting the weight is a breeze with a selectorized weight stack and the quick-release pin.

The weight stack and intuitive design make changing resistance levels between sets easy, ensuring an efficient workout.

This allows for easy drop sets, changing between workouts with different weights, and working out with multiple people!

Safety and Stability

Functional trainers provide a stable base and secure setup, minimizing the risk of injuries.

The cables, pulleys, and attachments offer controlled movements, making it a safer option than free weights, particularly for beginners and those recovering from injuries.

Functional trainers provide a sturdy platform for weight training as well as exercises that produce a low chance of injury using the cable system.

Time Efficiency and Convenience

Having a functional trainer in your home, or even a commercial facility, allows for so many workouts to be performed that you could nearly perform your entire workout on one machine. 

At the very least, a good part of it. 

Especially in the home, owning a functional trainer significantly reduces the need for a gym membership as you will access so many potential exercise options. 

Suitable for All Fitness Levels

A functional trainer can cater to your needs regardless of your experience or current fitness level.

With adjustable weight stacks, beginner-friendly exercises, and more advanced movements, this machine can accommodate everyone, from novices to seasoned athletes.

The types of exercises you can perform are simple and easy to learn, plus the weight stacks start very light, meaning all the above-mentioned demographics can get similar utility from the machine.

Beneficial for Rehabilitation

Functional trainers are an excellent tool for rehabilitation purposes.

The controlled movements and adjustable resistance levels enable users to build strength and mobility safely after an injury, surgery, or other limiting factors.

While functional trainers may require some upfront investment and require enough space to own one, the numerous benefits make them a valuable addition to any home gym or commercial facility.

With incredible versatility, safety features, and suitability for all fitness levels, a functional trainer is a worthwhile investment for those looking to optimize their workouts and reach their fitness goals.

Exercises and Workout Routines

Functional trainers offer various exercises and workout routines that cater to different fitness levels and target various muscle groups. 

In another resource, we provide a full guide and over 100 functional trainer exercises you can perform to make some gains with your machine. 

Here are some popular workouts and routines to think about with your potential new functional trainer machine. 

Upper Body

Functional trainers provide an excellent platform for upper body exercises, allowing you to target your chest, back, shoulders, and arms. Some effective upper body exercises that you can perform on a functional trainer include:

  • Chest Press: Work your pectoral muscles by positioning the cables at shoulder height and performing a pressing movement, either standing or seated.
  • Lat Pulldown: Strengthen your back muscles by pulling the cables down towards your chest, seated or standing.
  • Tricep Extension: Focus on your triceps by positioning the cable above your head and extending your arm downwards.
  • Bicep Curl: Target your biceps with the classic curl movement, standing or seated.

Lower Body

Functional trainers facilitate various lower body exercises that help build your leg and glute muscles. Some effective lower body exercises you can perform on a functional trainer include:

  • Squats: Attach a bar or use a cable to perform squats, working your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
  • Leg Curl: Target your hamstrings by attaching an ankle cuff to the cable and curling your leg backward.
  • Leg Extension: Strengthen your quadriceps by hooking your ankle to the cable and extending your leg forward.
  • Glute Kickback: Tone your glutes by attaching an ankle cuff to the cable and kicking back with your leg.

Core Development

A functional trainer can help you develop a strong and stable core, which is essential for overall fitness and reducing injury risk. Some effective exercises for core development on a functional trainer include:

  • Pallof Press: Improve rotational strength and stability by anchoring the cable at chest height, holding it close to your body, and then pressing it out in front of you.
  • Standing Cable Crunch: Strengthen your abdominal muscles by attaching a rope to the cable and performing a crunch movement while standing.
  • Wood Chop: Develop core strength and stability by performing a diagonal chopping movement with the cable from high to low or low to high.
  • Reverse Wood Chop: Complement the wood chop exercise by performing the opposite diagonal movement.

When considering the pros and cons of owning a functional trainer, the benefits certainly outweigh the drawbacks.

As a one-stop fitness solution, functional trainers deliver exceptional value by offering diverse exercises, targeting all muscle groups, and providing tailored workout routines.

Average Cost of a Functional Trainer

While functional trainers provide numerous benefits, it's essential to consider the investment before purchasing one.

The average cost of a functional trainer can vary greatly depending on features, brand, and overall quality.

Typically, functional trainers can range from as low as $1,000 for a basic home gym model to well over $5,000 for a commercial-grade or high-end system.

Here's a basic reference to the cost of a functional train in 3 tiers:

  • Entry-Level: $1,000 to $2,500 - Ideal for home gym use with basic features.
  • Mid-Range: $2,500 to $4,500 - Suitable for both home and commercial use, offering more versatility and accessories.
  • High-End: $4,500 and up - Usually geared towards commercial facilities and heavy users, providing advanced features and top-quality materials.

    It's crucial to choose a machine that suits your price. There are many models on the market and its almost certain that there is one to fit your needs.

    The question, is a functional trainer worth it? is answered in another resource of ours.

    Functional Trainer vs. Home Gym Machines

    Within the topic of versatile workout options from home, the functional trainer is often placed against the all-in-one type of home gym machine.

    Comparison of Features

    Functional trainers are versatile pieces of equipment that allow you to perform a wide range of exercises, targeting different muscle groups. Some exercises you can perform on a functional trainer include:

    • Cable flys
    • Tricep press downs
    • Bicep curls
    • Lat pulldowns
    • Squats
    • And many more

    On the other hand, home gym machines usually offer a limited number of exercises, focusing on specific muscle groups, similar to isolation-based gym machines.

    For a full comparison, checkout: Functional Trainers Vs. Home Gym Machines

    Space Considerations

    Functional trainers are generally more compact and space-saving compared to most home gym machines.

    They can easily fit into smaller spaces and require less dedicated floor space.

    Therefore, if you have limited room or want to make the most of the available space, a functional trainer might be a better choice.

    Wrapping Up

    In conclusion, functional trainers are an excellent choice for those looking for versatile and space-saving gym equipment.

    Though the initial cost and space requirement may seem intimidating, the benefits far outweigh the difference.

    By considering all the clear benefits of owning your own functional trainer whether at home, or for a busy facility, we hope its as clear to you as it is to many other functional trainer users the outstanding value of these machines.

    If you're shopping for functional trainers head over to our collection of functional trainer machines.

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    About The Author

    Matt Gemkow, the author of this content section at Select Fitness USA, boasts more than 15 years of fitness experience. He started out in sports and athletic training for many years and has since 2014 transitioned into heavy-weight training and bodybuilding. As a result, he has become one of the most experienced fitness equipment experts out there, and a valuable source of information.