Functional trainers or cable machines are very versatile and are often the only thing you need for a home gym. However, how much do they weigh? Can you put them in place yourself and is it safe to put one upstairs? Let’s find out.
Functional trainers with two weight stacks range in weight from 493 to 1301 lbs. with an average of 720 lbs. To safely place a functional trainer upstairs and use it without worries, a functional trainer that weighs less than 600 lbs. is a good choice.
For a full list of popular functional trainers, what they weigh and why you should care, keep reading.
Functional trainer weight list
Below you can see a list of popular models of functional trainers. These are functional trainers with built in weight stack. It’s by no means an exhaustive list but includes the most popular models. We’re talking about the total weight of the machine here, including the weight stacks.
|Brand||Model||Machine weight (lbs.)||# Weight Stacks||Weight stack/side (lbs.)|
|Life Fitness||G7 Home Gym||2||160/210|
|Life Fitness||Signature Dual Pulley||1301||2||390|
|Reeplex||Commercial Dual Arm||870||2||200|
|Pivot Fitness||Functional Trainer HM3360||600||2||160|
|Pivot Fitness||Cable Smith Machine FSR400||588||2||160|
The average weight of a functional trainer is 695 lbs. A lot of that weight is concentrated in the weight stacks. Cable trainers with a single weight stack are not very common but are a bit lighter at an average of 493 lbs. Functional Trainers with two separate weight stacks weigh an average of 720 lbs.
Cable gym machines range in weight from 309 lbs. to 1301 lbs. The lightest machine has a single 190 lbs. weight stack while the heaviest machine has dual 390 lbs. weight stacks.
The majority of functional trainers for home use weigh 550 lbs. to 850 lbs.
Is it safe to put a functional trainer upstairs?
It’s clear that functional trainers or cable gyms are very heavy pieces of equipment. Nobody expects gym equipment to be light weight but these are among the heaviest things you can buy. Is it Ok to put a functional trainer upstairs? Is it safe?
First off, putting a cable gym upstairs can be a big pain just because they are big and heavy. While they usually get delivered in separate boxes and assembled in place, those boxes are still pretty heavy although not impossible to move up a flight of stairs.
Now onto if it’s a good idea to put a one upstairs. Besides if it’s practical or not, is it safe? You might be worried the weight of machines like this is a bit too much for your floors upstairs.
Load limits and home gyms
An upstairs floor in a building that’s up to code in the USA will be able to handle 30 to 40 lbs. per square foot.
That’s 30 to 40 lbs. of a uniform load. That means 30-40 lbs. on every different square foot. Of course a functional trainer or other types of gym equipment don’t spread out the weight over the whole floor.
Floors should also be able to handle a concentrated load of at least 300 lbs. That means if the rest of the floor isn’t loaded, any small area of the floor can handle at least 300 lbs. You can have multiple of those spots in one room as long as they’re not too close together and you don’t exceed the total limit.
A uniform load of 30 lbs. over a 150 square foot bedroom is 4500 lbs. you can put in the whole room as long as it’s spread out. However, a functional trainer usually has four feet. Those are the places where the load is transferred to the floor.
A cable gym machine usually has four feet that are spread out reasonably well. That means you have a limit of 4 times 300 lbs. or in other words 1200 lbs. That’s the upper limit though. To stay safe, try to stay under about 1000 lbs.
There are plenty of functional trainers that weigh less than 1000 lbs. as you can see in the chart above. However, the problems with this 1000 lbs. safe limit is that it’s for stationary weight. While a functional trainer shouldn’t move, the weight stacks inside certainly do.
Those weight stacks usually weigh 150 or 200 lbs. and there are two of them. Those move up when you pull the cable. That means they fall down when you let go off the cable. And you might think you’ll always lower the weight slowly but sometimes there will be situations where you just let go and the stack comes crashing down.
And as anybody who paid any attention in physics class knows; a weight that has a certain speed at the time of impact creates a much larger force. This means that while placing a 1000 lbs. functional home gym is OK, actually using it could be a problem.
For that reason, I’d get a functional trainer that weighs 600 lbs. or less so you have safety margin to actually use the machine. While that does limit the choice a little, you can still find some good options. My choice of functional trainer under 600 lbs. would be the BodyCraft HFT or PFT.
Maybe this machine isn’t the only thing that’s going into your home gym room. In that case, you’re probably better off finding a place on the ground floor to build your home gym. Of course if you live in an apartment this isn’t feasible so in that case, you’re going to have to do some good research into the total weight of all the equipment and think about asking the advice of a professional engineer.
Meanwhile there are some things you can do to make things as safe as possible though.
Placing a functional trainer upstairs and working out with it can push the limits of what your floor can handle. Here are some ways you can make things a bit safer.
- Find a joist/supporting wall: If you know where the supporting walls or joists are in the floor under you, place your home gym cable machine on top of them. On top of one of those, a floor is going to be much stronger. Keep in mind, the building code only specifies the minimum load the floor should be able to handle: (1) if you load the whole floor. (2) at the weakest spot. So some parts will have to be much stronger.
- Close to the wall: If there are no supporting walls under you, the closer to the wall you are, the more load a floor can handle. Think about a toothpick. Put both ends on something solid but keep open space in the middle. Now try to break it by pushing down. You’ll see it’s much easier to break by pushing in the middle than by pushing near the edge.
- Get a lighter functional trainer: There are good home gyms available that weigh a little less than the others.
- Lower the weights slowly: Functional trainers weight stacks are pretty heavy. Most models have stacks that weigh 150 or 200 lbs. each. If you drop those down from the highest position, that’s a lot of force. You don’t want to do that for the sake of your machine anyways but your floor might also have a thing or two to say about that. And even if it’s not damaging, think about the sound and vibrations that’s going to cause in the room below.
- Use thick gym flooring: Good gym flooring under your home gym is a good idea no matter what equipment you have. With a functional trainer it can help to spread out the load a little bit. Use thick rubber flooring for good results.
- Be mindful of other equipment: A functional trainer is very versatile but maybe it’s not the only piece of equipment you want in your home gym room. Other equipment can be heavy too. Combining multiple pieces of heavy workout equipment can be problematic.
- Get professional advice: Not all houses and apartments are the same. If you’re not sure about your floor, ask a local engineer that is certified for advice. It might cost you a little bit but if you look at the prices of most functional trainers (and floor repairs), it’s a small expense.
Can you move a functional trainer by yourself?
Since the average functional trainer weighs about 700 lbs. it’s safe to say you probably can’t move this by yourself. Even if you’re someone that’s able to deadlift 700 lbs., these machines are so big and unwieldy you won’t be able to actually move them. Even with two or three very strong people it’s going to be very difficult to move a machine like this any meaningful distance, it’s just too big.
If you already have the functional trainer, your best bet is to take it apart and move the parts around on a dolly. Most of these machines aren’t too difficult to take apart. They basically consist of two columns with a few braces in between. Take off the braces and the parts that are left over are much easier to handle.
For people that are looking into buying a functional trainer for their home gym, make very sure you pick the right spot to put it in. When buying a cable machine like this, you spend a lot of money but usually delivery and installation is included (if it isn’t buy somewhere else, you don’t want to deal with this yourself). After it’s assembled and installed, it’s very difficult to move it so make sure they put it in the right spot so you don’t have to bother later.