Underrated gym equipment: Functional trainers

This is the second in a series on underrated equipment in the gym. Today, we feature functional trainers.

When it comes to fitness equipment, functional trainers are among the most versatile strength trainers in the gym. However, a surprising number of people still don’t use them.
Functional trainers are usually less expensive than traditional home gyms, and as an added bonus usually require less space. Functional trainers have weight stacks on their base, but the weights are moved by a cable system that comes with different shaped handles.
The functional trainer provides an almost infinite number of options for working out due to the fact the cable does not have to follow a fixed plane. As a result, more sports specific routines can be implemented.
People of any background can benefit from functional trainers.
“You can perform everyday movements on a functional trainer, like picking up boxes or pushing a shopping c

Chris Heneschen, a fitness consultant for At Home Fitness’ Ahwatukee store, performs a chest exercise on a Hoist functional trainer.

art” said Chris Heneschen, a fitness consultant for At Home Fitness’ Ahwatukee store. “It’s everyday living.
“For sports specific and general fitness training, you can train for just about any movement. Almost any trainer at a gym will use a functional trainer.”
From standing exercises that simulate a bench press, to squats the exercises are just about limitless.
The cable-based system can provide resistance vertically and horizontally, with the latter being an impossibility for traditional exercises such as with dumbbells.
You can even incorporate an exercise ball into your workout, sitting on it and pulling the cable handle toward you at a variety of angles.
Functional trainers can be a little harder to use at first because they don’t move on a fixed plane like traditional home gyms. This can make it a little tougher to know if you’re doing exercises correctly and some people aren’t sure if they’re following the right motions. It’s important that they ask questions when contemplating buying a functional trainer and have correct information on how to use them.
Here are three of the top functional trainers:
* Torque Fitness F7 Fold Away Strength Trainer – This is a dual weight stack gym that offers true independent functional training packaged in a small fold-away footprint. With two adjustable swivel pulleys – each with 30 positions – and two different widths, the F7 accommodates users of all sizes in performing unlimited exercises. (Sale Price: $3,599)
* Life Fitness G7 Dual Adjustable Gym (With Bench) – Inspired by the brand’s popular health club model, the Life Fitness G7 dual adjustable pulley home gym offers you the ultimate in exercise options and customization. The Life Fitness G7 offers exclusive features that allow you to build your own training workouts, track your progress and follow-along with our own certified personal trainer while she guides you through 2 training routines. With these personalized features, it’s easy for any level of use (MSRP: $3,499; AtHomeFitness.com sale price $3,149)
* Hoist V6 Personal Pulley Gym – The personal pulley that is engineered with the innovative excellence that the fitness industry has come to expect from HOIST®. This gym provides a complete range of functional training exercises designed to obtain maximum results and achieve a strong and versatile body. The V6 is engineered to build multiple muscle groups through smooth, rhythmic, and continuous movements that support the body as it moves. (Sale Price: $2,899)

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com

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