Setting up a home gym occupies space, and what most of us wish is to procure gym equipment that occupies minimum space.
In that case, how about combining two large pieces of equipment, such as a functional trainer and a barbell cage, and saving much space and money?
Firstly, it is possible to make such a combination which will save both money and space.
Secondly, each of the equipment comes with its set of benefits, thereby complementing each other in a good manner.
Thirdly, the main criteria are to try combining the right piece of equipment that occupies dual training benefits.
Having a look at the pros and cons of combining this equipment will help us make a better decision while buying.
Combining a Functional Trainer with a Power Rack
Many individuals wonder whether it is possible to make such a combination and the benefits of such combinations.
Let’s start with why we should combine a trainer with a power rack. There is a huge difference between training with barbells and cables.
By barbells, we are talking about fully free barbells which are not a part of the machine and run on rails (Smith machine).
Individuals interested in heavy weightlifting activities make use of barbells while doing deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, etc.
Such activities help in strengthening and building muscles. Cables are also excellent accessories for accomplishing all those activities that cannot be achieved using barbells.
Cables have a different impact on the muscles, and hence, there are chances for better results from the training session.
It makes complete sense to pack a functional trainer and a power cage into a single piece of equipment as each occupies more space and is also expensive.
But, the primary question is whether or not it is possible practically.
In real life, this is certainly possible and not too difficult. There are four upright posts in a power cage, and the front two posts have holes for attaching spotter arms and J-cups (barbell holder).
A functional trainer also comes with four upright posts where the two front posts have holes but with a different design layout. The two front posts help in adjusting the pulley height.
Some functional trainers have a design to adjust the height of both pulleys and J-cups.
The advantages seem inviting, but there are a couple of disadvantages in combining a power cage and a functional trainer.
Though the pulley height is adjustable, there is a limit to the adjustment range possible as the spotter’s arms and the J-cups are in place.
Hence, we must remove the barbell and any other accessories present before adjusting the pulley height to any extent desired.
The power cage as a standalone unit enables individuals to lift inside the cage (for additional safety), but, in combination, we can use only the barbells in front of the machine, which is a big concern.
Though a combination, the machines together seem much larger than setting up either of them in the home gym. But, the same combination is much smaller than procuring both the equipment and placing them in the home gym.
Some of the pros of combining a functional trainer and a power cage include:
- It saves much space and is cheaper
- There are options to train in multiple ways
Some of the cons of combining a functional trainer and a power cage include:
- With a barbell on the rack, the pulleys are not fully adjustable
- The combination machine is much larger than either the functional trainer or a power cage
- Limited choice of models
- It doesn’t add elegance and looks
- We need to procure the barbells and weight plates at an additional cost
Best Functional Trainers with Power Rack
We are now well aware that combining a functional trainer with a power rack is beneficial, and when you decide to purchase this combination equipment, there are a couple of good options to choose from.
Given below are some of the best options that work optimally for all kinds of individuals:
The model is mainly a power cage where the pulleys can be added. Hence, the basic design of BodyCraft RFT is unlike normal functional trainers, but the functionality remains unchanged.
The change in the layout brings about added functionality to the unit.
Using the inside of the rack for lifting barbells rather than using the front one alone is one of the best features of the power cage.
There is no need to worry about safety when lifting heavy weights as the location of the weight stacks in the back assists in lowering the barbell to the sides.
One main point is that the pulleys don’t go fully up and down as there is a restriction in the pulley movement on the front posts.
High and low pulleys are available in the rear of the machine, which helps in better movement.
Hence, this model is one of the choicest options that combine the best of the power rack and the functional trainer into one.
Even though the Reeplex CX2 looks like a porcupine with heavy steel construction, this model makes the best combination of the power cage and the functional trainer.
Without a doubt, this is more expensive than the previous model though there isn’t an option for a full rack possibility.
But, other features are quite impressive and alluring. For example, the CX2 has an in-built Smith bar besides having the design to use a free barbell.
The manufacturer has smartly constructed this model as the barbell moves on weights, but no instability could arise from free-moving barbells. Some might find this concerning, but there are other ways in which the Smith bar is highly useful.
Feel free to load weight plates and do heavy weightlifting without having any safety concerns.
Pivot Fitness FSR400
A model available only in Europe and Asia as of now, the Pivot Fitness FSR400 is an excellent choice for people residing here.
Besides thriving as a functional trainer fitted with two 160lbs. weight stacks, we can also use the equipment like a power cage.
The functionality doesn’t stop here, but we have a built-in Smith machine making this unit one of the best multifunctional trainers in the market.
Get a pair of dumbbells, and feel free to try any exercise moves possible.
Unlike many models that use weight stacks, the Marcy SM-4033 model uses weight plates to load the pulleys that are both advantageous and disadvantageous.
On the downside, changing weights is a pain as we have to manually change the plates rather than simply fitting the pulley in various holes.
Also, as the plates are changed at the machine’s rear end, we need to set apart some extra free space behind the cage compared to a functional trainer with weight stacks.
Again, this machine also has a Smith bar apart from pulleys and barbell hooks. All of them can be loaded with the same weight plates (not included with the purchase).
We can load up to 300lbs on the various parts of the machine that’s optimal for most individuals, but if you want more, this is not the model for you.
The pulleys are there on a separate rail from the upright posts, and hence, this helps in easy adjustments of the pulley height without disturbing the barbell hooks.
But remember that the barbell must still be removed. Individuals hoping to work out with a barbell require a set of weight plates.
The plates provide dual benefits as they can be used for both barbells and pulleys, making them more cost-effective and useful.
For those unknown, weight plates cost a ton and using the same plates for both helps save a lot of money.
If you are not impressed with any of the options mentioned above, some other options serve the same purpose but have a different working mechanism.
The model isn’t fitted with a real free barbell but does come with an in-built barbell system that’s way better than the regular Smith bar.
A Smith machine has a barbell that can only slide up and down but not forward or backward—this stops the body from moving in a natural motion. The XFT not only allows the bar to move up and down but also in the forward and backward direction, making it similar to a free barbell in its working mechanism.
There is no side-to-side movement possible, though. Individuals can use a resistance level up to 400 lbs., which is on the higher side and hence, serves the purpose of all kinds of people.
All these make the XFT a versatile piece of equipment that’s equally advantageous, like the free barbell.
For those already having a power cage, it is useful to check whether or not a pulley add-on is possible on it.
While some power rack models allow for cable pulleys, the big disadvantage here is that ample space is needed for such a setup. Still, it’s much smaller and cost-effective compared to buying a brand new functional trainer.
Some add-ons are more beneficial than others. For instance, some good add-ons help create a good cable crossover, while single pulleys enable individuals to lift some weight plates only.