The Inspire Fitness FT2 is a pretty popular functional trainer and there are good reasons for this. Let’s dive into what makes the FT2 so popular and what the best alternatives are.
The Inspire FT2 is a very complete piece of workout equipment that isn’t only a functional trainer but also includes a smith bar and several other exercise options that make it unique. While there aren’t any direct competitors that do exactly the same, there are some that come close.
Let’s see which unique features the FT2 has and what the best alternatives are.
What does the Inspire Fitness FT2 do?
A functional trainer is a machine that has two weight stacks that you can lift with the attached cables. The pulleys the cables run through are height adjustable so you can choose the exact height you want the resistance to come from. This means you can train pretty much every muscle in your body in a plethora of ways.
The functional part of the description comes from the fact that you stand on your feet for most exercises. This type of exercise uses your whole body and you create ‘functional’ strength. Some other ways of exercising just target one muscle. That muscle will get stronger and bigger but the muscles around it won’t to the same degree. That means that muscle might be strong but that strength isn’t functional because to use that strength in the real world, all the muscles around it have to be strong as well.
There are plenty of functional trainers on the market so what makes the FT2 special? Let’s look at the features of this machine.
Inspire Fitness FT2 features;
- Height: 88”
- Footprint: 61” (W) x 58” (L)
- 2x 165 lbs. weight stacks (Upgradable to 215 lbs.)
- Includes many cable attachments: Triceps rope, 2 D handles, Straight bar, EZ curl bar, Ankle strap, Belt, Sport handle.
- Machine weight: 825 lbs.
- Includes bench
- 1:2 resistance ratio for pulleys
- Front pulleys are adjustable in 32 positions
Is that is? No, it has a few more pretty unique features
Inspire Fitness FT2 Unique features;
- Dedicated lat pulldown pulley
- Dedicated low pulley
- Built-in Smith bar
- Easily adjustable safety pins for Smith bar
- Weight doubling function for Smith bar (up to 460 lbs.)
- Bench that attaches to the frame of the functional trainer
- Preacher curl bench attachment
- Leg extension/leg curl attachment
Some of those features can be found in other machines but never all in the same machine. The last three features are completely unique to the FT2.
All that combined means that this is one of the most complete single pieces of equipment you can get for your home gym. Because it’s one of those pieces that replaces the biggest amount of equipment you can find in a commercial gym.
Inspire Fitness FT2 vs. FT1
What about the FT1 from the same company? Does that machine do the same things? It’s a lot cheaper so is that the better choice?
Well, the FT1 is a great functional trainer but is a bit simpler. It’s a functional trainer without all the bells and whistles of the FT2. The FT1 just has the typical two height-adjustable pulleys on the front of the machine. These two pulleys are the most important on any functional trainer.
Besides that, the FT1 has a pull-up bar but no other features. It doesn’t have the central low and/or high pulley. No smith bar and no bench with leg extension/curl or preacher curl attachment. Although you can still add a separate bench to the FT1 of course, it won’t have the same functionality.
If you’re looking for just a functional trainer, the FT1 is great and can save you quite a chunk of money over the FT2. However, the FT1 does have a lot more competitors, and some of those are actually a bit cheaper. Check out the BodyCraft HFT for example.
Are there any Inspire FT2 Fitness alternatives?
You’re interested in the FT2 but are wondering if there are any alternatives to take a look at. This is a very expensive piece of equipment after all so you want to do your research.
The fact is that at the moment, there are no alternatives that do the same things. That might seem weird but nobody has thought of doing the same things in the same way and package. There is a reason why this machine is so popular. It does pretty much everything except free weights in one package.
If you care about the Smith bar functionality but less about the leg extension and preacher curls, the BodyCraft XFT. That machine has a barbell function that’s actually better than the FT2 since it can move up and down but also forwards and backward so it gives you a feel much closer to a real barbell but you still have the safety of a Smith bar. So if you want to get as close to a free barbell workout without the risks, the XFT is your best option.
However, it is more expensive than the FT2 and is still missing some features like the low pulley, lat pulldown, leg extension, and leg curl. If those things are important to you the FT2 is a better choice. However, if you prefer a better barbell workout, the FTX is the better option.
What about alternatives that do things a bit differently? Well, there are some options here.
The closest alternative you’re going to find in terms of exercise options is a good multi-gym. Multi gyms are a bit different from functional trainers because most exercises are performed and while multi-gyms do have weight stacks and cables, the movement pattern for most exercises is set whereas functional trainers can move in more directions which requires you to engage more of your body.
A multi-gym is much more like all the machines you see in a commercial gym all put into one piece of equipment. So you can understand the way of training is a bit different since you’re not on your feet and the movement pattern is set. This means you are isolating the muscles more and not integrating your new strength into your whole body as much.
The FT2 integrates parts of a multi gym into a functional trainer which makes it so incredibly versatile. But if you’re looking for another machine that can do leg extensions, leg curls, pulldowns, etc. a multi gym is going to come a lot closer.
However, not all multi-gyms are the same. The low-end ones are much cheaper but also have limited exercise options and limited resistance. The cheaper ones usually also have less sophisticated movement patterns. To get one that works as well, has better movement patterns, and has as much or more exercise functionality as the FT2, you’ll have to pay a price that’s very similar to the FT2.
The BodyCraft Galena is one of the multi-gyms that comes close but is quite a bit cheaper. Check it out on Amazon.
Cheaper functional trainers
If you want something that costs less but still has the benefits of a functional trainer, there are enough other models on the market to find a great one for about half the price. However, while paying less, you’re going to have to give up some of the unique functionality of the FT2.
A high-quality but basic functional trainer will cost $2000 to $3000 so that’s about half the price of the FT2. And it’s possible to find a functional trainer with built-in smith bar for around $3500 to $4000.