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When it comes to building your at-home gym, you want that ideal blend of practicality and multipurpose. And nothing screams this more than a functional trainer. Whatever body part you want to work on, however you want to work out, this piece of equipment has got you covered.
In this article, we’ll go over what a functional trainer is, as well as why NOW is the perfect time to get your hands on one.
What Are Functional Trainers?
They are, as the name suggests, pieces of training equipment that help you develop functional strength. Functional fitness or strength is the ability to move your load-joints -- shoulders, hips, knees, ankles -- in a full range of motion without pain or restriction. Not only that, it’s fitness that you can use in day-to-day life (picking up heavy objects, pushing away from things, etc.).
Functional fitness is a great goal to go for, especially with an at-home gym. And, of course, the aptly named functional trainer is the best tool to achieve that goal.
For an in depth look, check out our Ultimate Guide to Functional Trainers.
This piece is an absolute beast when it comes to how many movements you can do with it. Most of them have “Monster” in their product title, and for good reason; whether you do full-body workouts or split up your muscle groups, a functional trainer can assist you with all of it.
Want to pump up your chest? Grab the handles and get some flyes in.
Doing supersets for your biceps and triceps? Take the rope and complement rope curls with rope pushdowns.
Thinking of building up your back? Pull-up bar. (With multiple hand grip variations, obviously.)
With a functional trainer, you’ll have an abundance of exercises, keeping your workouts fun, ever-changing, and challenging.
The number one way to build muscle is by using progressive overload. This is the gradual increase of stress placed on a muscle over time. For instance, if in one workout you do four sets of 10 reps, then in the next workout you do four sets of 11 reps, you’ve progressively overloaded your body to accommodate four additional reps over time.
All that mumbo-jumbo aside, progressive overload is how you get bigger and stronger, period. Functional trainers have multiple ways of tracking your progressive overload. There should be (at least) two separate cables where you can select the load. Each and every workout, you can keep your reps, sets, and rest periods the same while bumping the pins up to the next highest load.
You can even progressively overload your calisthenics as well. Add reps to your push-ups and pull-ups, add more time under tension (how long it takes to complete a single rep), add whole sets, add weight to yourself. The options are endless!
Functional trainers come with a plethora of attachments to switch up your hand grips and angles. Usually, you get a rope, a couple of single-hand grips, a straight bar, an EZ-bar, and straps. They all attach via carabiners that are hooked up to the cables and weights.
As if you already didn’t have enough variation, this can spread your training out even further. You can do unilateral movements (work each side of your body separately) to remove any asymmetries. You can adjust your hands to work different areas of a muscle. And you can opt for a harder angle to assist with your progressive overload.
In short, the machine that had everything in the first place gets more dynamic.
Coming off of injury or need to take it easy? No problem! Functional trainers make exercises easier too. Whether you have to change the angle, work slowly with low load, or ease up on the eccentric part of the movement, cables found on these trainers are there to help you get back to 100 percent.
Odds are, your doctor prescribed you some rehab exercises to do on a regular basis. What easier way to go through such a tough journey back than in the comfort of your own home, on your own time, at your own pace?
Make physical rehab easier. Get a functional trainer.
As far as exercise equipment goes, functional trainers are extremely cost-effective. For one thing, they are durable, which means you can use the same trainer for years and years, making the cost-per-year super friendly. For another, the abundance of exercise selection gives you exactly zero excuses for not having peak functional fitness for your entire body.
If you were to put it in terms of price-per-possible-exercise, you’re spending pennies on the dollar when compared to something else, like a weight bench, power rack, or pull-up bar. A functional trainer is all of these, rolled into one. And it costs roughly the same.
Functional trainers range from $1500 USD to over $4000 USD for high-end models, but most of them fall around $2500. Again, split up over ten years, and you’re spending $250 per year, which is about the cost of a low-end gym membership.
If you keep a consistent workout habit and use it often, your functional trainer will pay for itself. (The mirror will show you the gains.)
There isn’t really a con to getting a functional trainer for your personal gym. It gives you everything you could ever want in a piece of training equipment. It helps you build lean, packed muscle. It brings you back from the depths of injury. And it’s worth the investment.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to make the commitment and select your functional trainer.
Your body will thank you.