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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    What are the considerations for a functional trainer?

    Hey all,

    You probably saw this thread coming. I've got (or at least ordered) the basics and am now looking at getting a functional trainer (or perhaps a Tonal????? - just kidding on that, would like to wait until it's out awhile longer before putting faith in it but the option to adjust concentric vs eccentric is enticing).

    I realize cost, space, and the weight of the weight stacks are all important variables, but anything else you guys would consider when choosing one?

    I do not need to get one any time soon, I'm just trying to plan and see what's out there.
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    OG Duplicitous's Avatar
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    The primary considerations are probably space (footprint, height), cost, ratio (1:2, 1:4 or adjustable between the two), adjustability (Do you want fully articulating arms or is the adjustability of a traditional FT sufficient?) and of course smoothness (Generally speaking, the big box brands are going to be very jerky compared to the full/light commercial units.).

    If buying new and cost is a factor, the Inspire FT1 or FT2 (if you want a Smith also) will be your best bet. If buying used and/or if money is no object, there are a lot of good options out there imho - Cybex Bravo, Life Fitness CMDAP, Star Trac instinct, Prime Fitness FT, Legend FT, Paramount Fitness PFT-200, etc.
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Duplicitous, thank you.

    Question for my understanding regarding weight stacks and the ratio, looking here: https://www.cybexintl.com/functional...avo-specs.aspx just as an example it says the compact heavy has 325 pound stacks but maximum effective load of 82.15 pounds with a minimum load of 2.5 pounds. Does that mean that the most weight I'll be able to actually pull with the pulley is 82.15 pounds; there is no option to make it heavier?
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    OG Duplicitous's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    Duplicitous, thank you.

    Question for my understanding regarding weight stacks and the ratio, looking here: https://www.cybexintl.com/functional...avo-specs.aspx just as an example it says the compact heavy has 325 pound stacks but maximum effective load of 82.15 pounds with a minimum load of 2.5 pounds. Does that mean that the most weight I'll be able to actually pull with the pulley is 82.15 pounds; there is no option to make it heavier?
    Correct. The Bravo comes in 1:2 and 1:4 iterations, but I think the 1:2 tops out at 85 lbs resistance or thereabouts. The Inspire FT1 has a heavy stack option (210 lbs), which provides a max resistance of 105 lbs per stack. The Legend FT has 3 weight stack options with the largest being dual 300-lb stacks for a total of 150 lbs max resistance per stack. Of course you can join the 2 pulleys on all of these machines (most come with a joiner bar to do so, but you can purchase or make one out of steel pipe if they do not).
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    Duplicitous, thank you.

    Question for my understanding regarding weight stacks and the ratio, looking here: https://www.cybexintl.com/functional...avo-specs.aspx just as an example it says the compact heavy has 325 pound stacks but maximum effective load of 82.15 pounds with a minimum load of 2.5 pounds. Does that mean that the most weight I'll be able to actually pull with the pulley is 82.15 pounds; there is no option to make it heavier?
    You're correct, the heavy stack Bravo's come with a 4.1 pulley ratio, hence the actual load will be approximately 25% of the weight pegged on the stack. Personally I don't care for the feel of 4.1 ratio units

    I have the Bravo with 2.1 ratio, approximately a maximum of around 85lbs at the attachment point, this is perfectly sufficient for the sort of work I do on the Bravo, but it's certainly not going to cut it for heavier work, but I have my lat/low row .
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    Weight stack and ratios are a combined consideration IMO since you need both to have a good idea of total resistance. The other major factors are going to be if you want adjustable arms or a traditional FT and then footprint, cost, "smoothness", and availability. I wanted adjustable arms and was looking at the Freemotion machines but they were 1:3 and the Prime was 1:2. Since this was a buy once cry once and have forever type purchase for me the Prime was unmatched in my book. If I were to get a traditional type FT I would have gone with the FT1 after the research I had done.
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Thanks all. The Bravo looks very nice and versatile, and if I got the compact version it would easily fit. The FT1 also looks good and is likely a lot cheaper, obviously without the adjustable arms. Seems like one of those 2 may be the best option for me but I'm in no rush and will definitely think about this more.

    Googling around for the Bravo I see a wide range of prices listed:
    https://progymsupply.com/cybex-bravo...l-trainer.html - $3,295
    https://atlanticfitnessbrokers.com/p...ional-trainer/ - $2,000-$4,000
    https://www.fitnesssuperstore.com/Cy...cybexft450.htm - $5,699
    https://www.gymsource.com/equipment/...vanced-compact - $7,123

    Can anyone make sense of that? Are some of those likely not trustworthy sources?
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    Registered User C123C's Avatar
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    If there's a gym store around you, they probably carry Inspire and you can try out an FT1. I was honestly really impressed by it and I think that's a homogenous impression throughout the forum. I found it super smooth and at least from my own messing around a little weight goes a long ways. Just because you can press 100lbs dumbbells doesn't mean on a 2:1 machine a 200lbs stack will be easy. I found it very different. That said, I didn't spend a few weeks acclimating so maybe my impression is wrong (never owned an FT) so someone with usage could clarify.

    I wasn't seriously considering Inspire FT1 until I tried it. Very impressed. So unless I "Go Big" and get the Prime...I'll probably end up with one of these. Pre-Covid you could find them used for $600-800 range but not so much now.
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Cool, thanks C123C. Wish I'd bought a home and built a home gym 1 year ago, lol, but timing just worked out this way as I moved in with my fiance into this home this year.
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    Thanks all. The Bravo looks very nice and versatile, and if I got the compact version it would easily fit. The FT1 also looks good and is likely a lot cheaper, obviously without the adjustable arms. Seems like one of those 2 may be the best option for me but I'm in no rush and will definitely think about this more.

    Googling around for the Bravo I see a wide range of prices listed:
    https://progymsupply.com/cybex-bravo...l-trainer.html - $3,295
    https://atlanticfitnessbrokers.com/p...ional-trainer/ - $2,000-$4,000
    https://www.fitnesssuperstore.com/Cy...cybexft450.htm - $5,699
    https://www.gymsource.com/equipment/...vanced-compact - $7,123

    Can anyone make sense of that? Are some of those likely not trustworthy sources?
    I think the $7k Bravo is new, the others appear to be used.

    Originally Posted by C123C View Post
    If there's a gym store around you, they probably carry Inspire and you can try out an FT1. I was honestly really impressed by it and I think that's a homogenous impression throughout the forum. I found it super smooth and at least from my own messing around a little weight goes a long ways. Just because you can press 100lbs dumbbells doesn't mean on a 2:1 machine a 200lbs stack will be easy. I found it very different. That said, I didn't spend a few weeks acclimating so maybe my impression is wrong (never owned an FT) so someone with usage could clarify.

    I wasn't seriously considering Inspire FT1 until I tried it. Very impressed. So unless I "Go Big" and get the Prime...I'll probably end up with one of these. Pre-Covid you could find them used for $600-800 range but not so much now.
    The FT1 is a great unit for the money, all of the Inspire cable machines are extremely smooth.

    If my experience is anything to go by, pressing 70lbs on the FT feels heavier than benching a 70lbs dumbbell, of course this is exacerbated by the instability when pressing away from a swivel pulley, this is not the case with rowing movements, I can row the whole stack on my Bravo with one hand, but this is not the case when pressing away from the pulley.
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    Originally Posted by gym62richard View Post
    I think the $7k Bravo is new, the others appear to be used.



    The FT1 is a great unit for the money, all of the Inspire cable machines are extremely smooth.

    If my experience is anything to go by, pressing 70lbs on the FT feels heavier than benching a 70lbs dumbbell, of course this is exacerbated by the instability when pressing away from a swivel pulley, this is not the case with rowing movements, I can row the whole stack on my Bravo with one hand, but this is not the case when pressing away from the pulley.
    Thanks. I'm going to go with the FT1. Brand new the Bravo is more expensive than I'm wiling to pay for the increased functionality over the FT1 and I like the warranty aspect that comes with the FT1. Also the positive feedback from several members here is quite encouraging, and as I'm a mostly free weights type of person the FT1 should provide plenty of functionality for me.

    As always, thanks to everybody for the help.
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    Thanks. I'm going to go with the FT1. Brand new the Bravo is more expensive than I'm wiling to pay for the increased functionality over the FT1 and I like the warranty aspect that comes with the FT1. Also the positive feedback from several members here is quite encouraging, and as I'm a mostly free weights type of person the FT1 should provide plenty of functionality for me.

    As always, thanks to everybody for the help.
    I have an Inspire FT2 and I love the damn thing.. very smooth and versatile. I think you will like the Inspire
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    Another one to consider is the inspire ftx. You’re limited to 165lb stacks...but it’s only $1299 delivered from Costco. That’s a steal.
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