Home Gym Machine Vs Functional Trainer: Which is Better Suited for You?

Getting yourself a home gym can be a great investment. It means you can workout no matter the weather. However the range of options for fitness equipment can be pretty overwhelming. So what should you know before buying a home gym or functional trainer?

Home gym machines will be cheaper but functional trainers will have more workout variability. A home gym machine doesn’t really deliver on several fronts whereas functional trainers allow you to do many workouts properly.

I’ll explain what the differences are and features of home gym machines and functional trainers. I’ll take you through what exercises are great and what can be done with each machine. I’ll also highlight some reasons which piece of equipment may be better for you.

What Is A Home Gym Machine?

A home gym machine is generally a reference to a single piece of workout equipment that has many different uses and attachments.

They have lots of different names depending on the manufacturer, but look for keywords like multistation, all-in-one workout machine, multi-function, and home gym.

Extremely basic versions are quite affordable but some home gym systems can be quite expensive. The cheaper versions tend to just be a bench that may have some attachments to do exercises like leg extensions.

More expensive versions will come with enough attachments to do full body workouts. For example you can get preacher curl attachments, lat pulldown bars, pec decks, adjustable bench to do shoulder workouts, and many other exercise possibilities.

There are two main types of home gym machines. One is the usage of weight plates that are put on or removed from certain sections to adjust the resistance on the exercises. The other method is to use resistance bands.

Both will work well but perhaps there is more flexibility with being able to add and remove plates. You’ll also end up with a big collection of weight plates that you need to store. Resistance bands however means the machine is a lot easier to use and convenient.

What Is A Functional Trainer?

Functional trainers are very similar to home gyms. They allow a variety of different exercises to be done on the one piece of equipment. It is a combination of many different workout machines. It will run via a pulley and cable system and be around 7 feet high.

Alternative names include cable machine, a cable gym, or sometimes a cable crossover gym. This type of workout equipment can be found in almost all commercial gyms.

The reason for the name functional trainer is because it simulates functional movements. For example as it is a multiplanar machine, you can move your body through horizontal, diagonal, vertical, and forward planes.

As the resistance is via cables, it tends to simulate a more natural form of resistance as opposed to weights on bars.

Functional trainers are popular for many exercises. One of the most common is the cable crossover chest fly. However it is also possible to do pull-ups, row variations, and arm exercises like tricep pushdowns.

Adjustability is one of the best features of a functional trainer. Not only can the various attachments be put to the top, middle or bottom of the machine using pins, but the weight stacks are changeable in very small amounts so that you can get the perfect weight for your exercise.

Functional trainers are great in that they have so many options for different exercises. A look through training videos will show you people do abdominal exercises, arm workouts, hip abductor training and many more.

If you have a good imagination so much is possible with a functional trainer. If you're sold on it, do check out our cable machine recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Else To Consider For A Home Gym?

Both pieces of equipment can come with upgradeable functions. For example you may have a chin-up bar but need to purchase various cable attachments to allow you to do more exercises.

It’s important to understand when considering the pricing that the entry level products will be quite limited. Make sure you research carefully all the equipment needed to do the exercises you want and ensure that what you want to do is possible with the setup you purchase.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy Home Gym Equipment?

Workout equipment ranges from affordable to very expensive due to many considerations including construction materials, machine style, and options. These machines need to take a lot of weight and stress and so are likely to be made of steel.

Steel is going to be heavy which will lead to high shipping and transportation costs. As the end consumer, you will be the one that pays for these increased costs.

Steel’s production process is also expensive. Large lengths of metal will need factories experienced in this type of construction, leading to higher prices. It’s also important to understand that even the raw inputs have to be organized and are heavy themselves.

Such pieces of equipment are going to be durable and long lasting. While you may need to undertake the occasional repair, the equipment itself is basically going to last forever.

This means suppliers are not constantly selling large orders of this equipment, which normally would put downward pressure on prices. Instead, limited supply means the price has upward pressure on it.

Unfortunately this equation is made worse as the demand for training equipment has been going up. Higher demand and limited supply combined with high transport costs is only going to push the prices up.

Basic versions of a home gym or functional trainer can be pretty reasonable price wise. However additional or different features will quickly double the price.

Home gym areas are usually quite space limited and so you want one piece of equipment that can handle many exercises. To get that one feature-packed piece of equipment will likely cost upwards of the $1500 range. Second hand options will be significantly cheaper.

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