Functional trainers and barbell cages are both large pieces of equipment. Is it possible to combine the two and save some money and space? It is! There are some really nice ones that don’t only save money and space but are also amazing to use.
Combining a functional trainer and barbell cage is possible and will save money and space. Both training with barbells and cables has its own benefits and they complement each other well. It’s important to select the right piece of equipment that combines both types of training in the right way.
So let’s find out what the pros and cons of combining these pieces of equipment are and what the best options are.
- 1 How We Picked These Racks
- 2 Best functional trainers with power rack
- 3 Why Choose a Power Rack and Functional Trainer Combination?
- 4 How To Select a Power Rack Functional Trainer Combo?
- 5 Other Factors to Consider
- 6 Additional Considerations
- 7 Best Cable Machine Accessories
How We Picked These Racks
Before we get into the best squat racks with pulley system, let’s quickly look at how we picked these combos:
Best functional trainers with power rack
1. Best Overall: BodyCraft RFT
This is actually a power cage first with the pulleys added on later. That means the layout is slightly different from a normal functional trainer but the functionality is the same. Actually, they took advantage of the slightly different setup and increased the functionality.
The cool part of the power cage part is that you can use the inside of the rack for lifting barbells instead of only being able to use one in front. This increases the safety for people lifting heavy. This is possible because the weight stacks are located in the back and so the barbell can go down low on the sides.
Also, while the pulleys on the front posts are slightly limited in movement, (they don’t go all the way up and down). There are separate high pulleys and low pulleys in the rear of the machine so you still have those options.
All in all, this is the best implementation of the combination of power rack and functional trainer you can get.
2. Value For Money: Mikolo M4
The Mikolo M4 is a very good deal for what you’re getting. You’ve got a lot of the same features as the Vortex but for a much lower price. You get a functional trainer, Smith machine, and a barbell rack in one.
Part of that price difference is that the pulleys are connected to a plate-loaded sled instead of a weight stack. That means you have to change the plates to change the resistance and not just put a pin in a different hole. It’s possible to get this machine with a package of weight plates but you can also buy them separately.
While not a very well-known brand, customer service is responsive and tries to fix any issues that arise. This is a great option if you’re on a budget.
There are a few downsides to saving a good chunk of money. The racks uprights have a weird size which means attachments from other racks won’t fit. The pulleys also don’t quite go high enough for lat pulldowns if you’re tall.
3. Alternative: Marcy SM-4033
This machine is a little different. Instead of weight stacks, you use weight plates to load up the pulleys. This has some benefits and drawbacks. It’s more difficult to change weight on the pulleys because you have to change the plates instead of just putting the pin in a different hole.
The plates are changes on the back of the machine so you’ll have to keep some more space free behind the cage than for a functional trainer with weight stacks. Besides pulleys and barbell hooks, this machine also has a smith bar and all of them are loaded with the same weight plates. The weight plates are not included. The maximum load of all the parts of this machine are 300 lbs. For most people this is plenty but if you have plans to get really strong, this is not the one for you.
The pulleys are on a separate rail from the upright posts. That means you can adjust the pulley height without taking the barbell hooks off. The barbell itself still has to be taken off though.
On the other hand, if you want to work out with a barbell, you need a set of weight plates anyways. So if you can use those plates for both the barbell and pulleys, this is more efficient. It’s also cheaper. Weights are surprisingly expensive and a big chunk of the cost of a functional trainer is in the weight stacks. So using the same set of plates for both is quite a bit cheaper.
Why Choose a Power Rack and Functional Trainer Combination?
If you’re considering the idea of combining a functional trainer with a power rack, you might be wondering why it’s a worthwhile choice and whether it’s even feasible. Let’s delve into the reasons behind this choice.
1. Diverse Training Opportunities: To begin with, the decision to combine these two pieces of gym equipment stems from the versatility they offer. Barbells are exceptional for heavy compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses, which are instrumental in building muscle and strength. However, they have limitations when it comes to certain exercises. Functional trainers, on the other hand, employ cable systems that enable a wide range of exercises, targeting muscles differently and enhancing the effectiveness of your workouts.
2. Space and Cost Efficiency: Having both a standalone functional trainer and a power cage can occupy a significant amount of space and come with higher costs. Combining these two pieces of equipment into a single unit is a practical solution, optimizing space utilization and potentially saving you money.
Is It Feasible?
Indeed, combining a power rack and a functional trainer is not only possible but also relatively straightforward. A typical power cage comprises four upright posts, with the front two featuring holes for attaching spotter arms and J-cups (used to hold the barbell).
Similarly, a functional trainer also incorporates four upright posts, albeit arranged slightly differently. In some models, the two front posts are designed to accommodate adjustments for both the pulley height and J-cups, offering a seamless integration of these two functions.
While this combination proves effective and space-efficient, it does have a few limitations to consider. Firstly, adjusting the pulley height may be restricted when the spotter arms and J-cups are in place, necessitating the removal of the barbell and accessories before making such adjustments. Nevertheless, you can still use the pulleys with the barbell in place.
Another notable drawback is the confinement of lifting exercises to the front of the machine, unlike a standalone power cage where you can perform lifts inside the cage for added safety. Additionally, these combined units tend to be larger than either a standalone functional trainer or power rack but still more space-saving than having both pieces of equipment separately.
In summary, the fusion of a functional trainer and power rack offers numerous benefits but comes with certain trade-offs, such as limited pulley height adjustments and spatial considerations. Nonetheless, it remains an attractive choice for those seeking an efficient and versatile home gym setup.
How To Select a Power Rack Functional Trainer Combo?
When shopping for a combined power rack and functional trainer, it’s essential to consider various features and aspects to ensure you select the right equipment that aligns with your needs, preferences, and fitness goals.
Here are some key features and considerations to look for:
Other Factors to Consider
When considering the integration of a combined power rack and functional trainer into your home gym, several crucial factors should guide your decision. These factors help ensure that the equipment aligns with your space, budget, and fitness goals.
1. Space Availability
Of course, you need a machine that fits your space. It’s a basic requirement but people still forget to measure sometimes.
Begin by measuring the dimensions of the designated space, taking into account available floor space, ceiling height, and wall clearance. Consider the layout and accessibility of your gym area to ensure the chosen equipment fits comfortably and allows for safe and efficient workouts.
While often cheaper than buying a separate power rack and functional trainer, these machines are not cheap. And the ones that are relatively cheap don’t always feel nice to use. However, don’t pay more than you can afford.
Also, take into account and other bits and pieces you need for your home gym. For example; flooring, fans a barbell and weight plates, etc.
3. Fitness Goals
When investing in gym equipment, it’s essential to strike a balance between exercise variety and cost-effectiveness. Carefully assess your fitness needs and preferences to identify the most suitable machine for your requirements.
Consider your preferred training methods, such as resistance training, bodyweight exercises, or cable-based workouts.
To align your choice with your fitness goals, opt for a combined unit that offers relevant features and attachments. Ensure the equipment provides the versatility and exercise options needed for your workout routines. Look for customization options, including adjustable pulleys, J-cups, safety pins, and various cable attachments, to tailor your workouts to your specific needs.
When investing in a combined power rack and functional trainer for your home gym, there are some essential additional considerations to keep in mind. These factors go beyond the initial purchase and are crucial for ensuring the longevity, safety, and functionality of your equipment.
1. Maintenance and Durability
Tips for maintaining combo units for long-term use:
Checking for warranties and customer reviews:
2. Assembly and Installation
Guidelines for proper assembly and installation of power racks and functional trainers:
Best Cable Machine Accessories
Make your cable trainer experience even better with these accessories.
- Attachments: No cable machine is complete with a good set of attachments. Click here to find the best set of attachments
- PlateMate: One or two platemates (Amazon link) can help you increase the weight more gradually on your weight stack. Just stick them onto your weight stack.
- Bench: A good adjustable weightlifting bench like the CAP Deluxe (Amazon) adds many exercise options to a cable machine like bench presses and shoulder presses.
Find the most complete functional trainer that includes most of these accessories by clicking here.