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The Functional Trainer Vs. Cable Crossover Machine | Gym Equipment Cousins

Functional Trainer Vs. Cable Crossover Feature Image

 

When it comes to "functional Trainers", there are two machines people refer to most.

Functional trainers and cable crossover machines.

Both machines belong to the same family of equipment, but they have some notable differences in their design and functionality.

Understanding the pros, cons, similarities, and differences between these machines will help you decide which one is better suited to your specific fitness goals and circumstances.

A cable crossover is essentially a functional trainer cable machine, in a larger, more spacious set up, with a long connecting cross beam.

In contrast, a traditional functional trainer is not a cable crossover machine, as it to provide a more compact and versatile weight training experience.

Despite their differences, both machines can be highly effective in providing a full-body workout, allowing users to target specific muscle groups and incorporate various functional movements into their training.

Throughout this article, we will delve deeper into the unique advantages and limitations of functional trainers and cable crossover machines.

Understanding Functional Trainers and Cable Crossovers

Functional trainers and cable crossover machines, while being in the same family of equipment, have some differences and serve specific purposes in fitness training.

Let's dive into the details of these machines and help you choose the right one for your situation.

A functional trainer is a machine that allows for adjustable cable positioning and can be utilized for a wide range of exercises targeting various muscle groups.

It is designed to help you perform functional movements, which mimic everyday activities and promote overall muscle balance and stability. 

On the other hand, a cable crossover machine is technically a functional trainer cable machine but is more specialized, blown up version.

It consists of two weight stacks and pulley systems placed on opposite sides just like the functional trainer, with a space in between for performing exercises.

Cable crossover machines are focused on exercises that involve crossing the cables over and pulling them from different angles.

This makes them ideal for targeting specific muscles, particularly in the upper body.

  • Functional Trainers:
    • Compact and space conscious 
    • Generally less expensive
    • Fit in many homes and commercial facilities
  • Cable Crossover Machines:
    • Larger, wider design
    • Generally more expensive
    • Fit in some homes and most commercial facilities

When examining these two machines, consider factors such as room size, training goals, and personal preferences.

A functional trainer may be more suitable for those who want to focus on full-body workouts and functional movements, while a cable crossover machine is an excellent center piece in any gym as versatile tool for many exercises. 

Similarities Between the Two Machines

Although functional trainers and cable crossover machines have some differences in their design and functionality, both share a common thread: they are part of the same family of equipment.

They utilize cable systems, which allow for versatile and dynamic movements during strength training exercises. Here are a few key similarities between the two machines:

  • Pulley systems: Both functional trainers and cable crossover machines use adjustable pulley systems, which enable users to target specific muscle groups and perform a wide range of exercises. This makes them particularly versatile and useful for full-body workouts.
  • Weight stacks: Each of these machines comes equipped with weight stacks that allow for resistance-based training. By adjusting the amount of weight, users can control the intensity of their workouts and progressively increase resistance over time, promoting muscle growth and strength gains.
  • Muscle targeting: The cable systems employed by both machines permit users to train the same muscle groups in multiple ways by altering the angle, position, and grip. This feature allows for customized and targeted workouts, resulting in more effective training sessions.
  • Exercise Potential: Both functional trainers and cable crossover machines versatile and useful platforms to perform many exercises across all types of workouts and user demographics.

Differences in Design and Functionality

Although functional trainers and cable crossovers belong to the same family of equipment, their designs and uses showcase prominent differences. 

Cable crossovers feature a longer horizontal beam connecting two weight stacks with pulleys attached to either end.

This setup allows users to perform a series of exercises, including chest presses, tricep extensions, and lateral raises, with a focus on muscle isolation.

Cable crossover machines are particularly suitable for those with plenty of room in their fitness space.

While both machines are effective for a variety of exercises, users should consider their individual fitness goals and available space when deciding on the ideal option.

Functional trainers offer more exercise variety and adaptability, making them a popular choice for beginner and advanced fitness enthusiasts.

In contrast, cable crossover machines cater more to users with plenty of space look to offer a large amount of exercises to be performed with the space of the actual machine. 

Features of A Functional Trainer

Body Solid PFT100 Functional Trainer Machine

In this section, we will discuss the benefits of functional trainers and the disadvantages compared to a cable cross machine, helping you make an informed decision when choosing between a functional trainer and a cable crossover machine.

Advantages

Functional trainers offer several benefits, including:

  • Versatility: Functional trainers allow for a wide range of exercises, targeting various muscle groups. They are ideal for total-body workouts and can accommodate multiple users simultaneously.
  • Adjustability: With adjustable pulley systems, functional trainers enable users to tailor workouts according to their needs, fitness levels, and exercise goals.
  • Space-efficient: Functional trainers often have a compact design, making them suitable for home gyms or smaller training spaces.
  • Safe and user-friendly: Functional trainers offer controlled, smooth movements, reducing the risk of injury compared to traditional free-weight exercises.

Features of A Cable Crossover

Body Solid PSS90X Cable Crossover Machine

Cable crossovers offer several benefits that make them a popular choice for many gym-goers:

  • Versatility: Cable crossover machines offer a wide range of exercises and movements, allowing you to target multiple muscle groups during your workout. 
  • Large Platform for Exercise: The large nature of the cable crossover allows for user to perform exercises inside and underneath the machine itself. If you have the space for it, a cable crossover can be advantageous.
  • Controlled movements: The continuous tension provided by the cables ensures a smooth and controlled movement, reducing the risk of injury and promoting better form.

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced athlete, understanding the nuances of each machine will help you make a well-informed decision about the equipment best suited for your needs.

Choosing the Right Machine for Your Goals

Functional trainers and cable crossover machines are part of the same family of fitness equipment.

Although they look slightly different, both machines can contribute to a great workout.

While a cable crossover is technically a functional trainer cable machine, a traditional functional trainer is not a cable crossover machine.

To decide which piece of equipment is best for your fitness needs, consider their pros, cons, similarities, and differences.

Who Should Buy a Functional Trainer?

Functional trainers are versatile and suitable for a wide range of users, from beginners to advanced athletes. These machines offer several benefits:

  • Home gym users 
  • light commercial facilities with limited space
  • commercial, light commercial, or home users with space for both

If your goal is to build overall strength, improve balance and stability, or simply maintain a well-rounded fitness routine, a functional trainer may be an ideal choice.

Check out Guide to the best functional trainer

Who Should Buy a Cable Crossover Machine?

Cable crossover machines are perfect for gym enthusiasts who want to focus on isolation exercises that target a specific muscle group. These machines provide:

  • Home owners with space enough to fit a cable crossover machine
  • facilities with capacity for a cable crossover machine's larger dimensions

If your goal is to build muscle mass or focus on specific muscle groups, a cable crossover machine will be a valuable addition to your workout routine.

Conclusion and Recommendations

As we've explored the differences and similarities between a functional trainer and a cable crossover machine, it's clear that both pieces of equipment have their unique benefits and drawbacks. To make an informed decision, consider the following points:

While both machines belong to the same family of equipment, functional trainers and cable crossovers are not identical.

Each offers distinct advantages, and selecting the most suitable option for your needs will depend on your training goals and available space.

For those with limited room, a functional trainer is generally more compact and takes up less floor space. On the other hand, a cable crossover machine typically requires a larger area for safe and effective use.

Also check out our other functional trainers comparisons!

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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.