Are Functional Trainers Worth It? – Top Benefits You Need To Consider

I’ve received a ton of questions about whether functional trainers are worth it for your home gym. 

This is going to depend entirely upon the space that you have as well as if you’re doing resistance training for bodybuilding, powerlifting, etc. 

So, is a functional trainer worth it for your home gym? Let’s find out!

RELATED – Top 15 Best Functional Trainers For Your Home Gym (2023)

What Is A Functional Trainer?

Functional trainers are a piece of fitness equipment very similar to a cable machine in a commercial gym for pulldowns, cable crossover, pushdowns, and various others. 

The main difference is that they tend to have dual cable pulley systems to allow for a ton of different exercise variations.

RELATED – Best DIY Pulley System For Home Gym

Functional Trainer Pros And Cons

Functional trainers, like all fitness equipment, have their pros and cons. 

I think the pros outweigh the cons on this one, so let’s go over them and see what you think!


#1 — It Expands Your Exercise Selection Tremendously

The sheer number of exercises you can do with just a functional trainer is insane! 

You can do pulldowns, pushdowns, rows, extensions, curls, different pressing and fly variations, and a lot more!

By having a functional trainer machine in your home gym, you have a tiny area that is dedicated to dozens and dozens of different exercises.

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With the standard barbell and squat rack, you have a lot of options as well. 

But compared to a functional trainer, you’re going to be limited in the number of exercises you can do. 

If you want to build as much muscle as possible, adding a functional trainer to your home gym equipment is one of the best investments you can make.

This reason alone makes a functional trainer worth it in my eyes.

#2 — Relatively Small Footprint Compared To Other Machines

Compared to all the different variations of exercises you can do on functional trainers, you would need a bunch of different machines, a power rack, barbells, benches, and more.

You don’t need that much space for a well-designed functional trainer in your home gym.

If you only have room for one piece of equipment, a functional trainer doesn’t take much room at all.

#3 — Safety

Everyone knows that if you want to get as strong as possible – a barbell, dumbbell, and squat rack setup is going to be the best you can get. 

RELATED – Do I Need A Power Rack To Complete My Home Gym?

However, if you want to train as safely as possible, functional trainers are going to be better for most people out there.

Especially those that haven’t trained for a very long time and don’t know what needs to be done to ensure their technique is optimal. 

Plus, to get as big as possible, you want to have the most amount of stability you can. 

Cables and machines are going to be better than free weights if your main goal is to build more muscle for this very reason.

The more stable you are during a movement, the safer you’re going to be and the more muscle you’ll build.

A functional trainer is definitely one of the best pieces of gym equipment you can get if that’s your main goal.


#1 — Price

This should be obvious, but a lot of solid functional trainers are going to cost a decent amount of money, especially if it has weight stacks built into them. 

There are a couple of plate-loaded versions you can get, but usually, they won’t be worth it depending on who makes it. 

However, if you want to fully deck out a power rack with a pull-down cable machine setup, iso lever arms, and more, it might be comparable to functional trainers.

Add in the price of a barbell, plates, benches, and more; the trainer might be cheaper.

If you’re trying to invest in budget home gym equipment, a functional trainer with a full weight stack might not be in the cards for you.

But if you can find a high-quality plate-loaded version, it might be worth it.

#2 — They Require Maintenance

With a typical power rack, barbell, and plates, you won’t have much maintenance at all.

Functional trainers have a lot of moving parts though, so you’re going to have to do some maintenance over time.

However, if you just plan on getting a functional trainer for your home gym and that’s it, then a little maintenance is going to be worth it.

#3 – May Require A Learning Curve

Functional trainers allow you to do a ton of different movements. 

However, for many people, this is going to mean learning how to do a bunch of new exercises you’ve never even thought of before.

Machines are going to be a little easier to learn and perform because they lock you in. 

With cables though, you have a lot more wiggle room to move the cables around.

If you get past this, you’ll realize the full potential of having a functional trainer for your home gym.

Functional Trainers Vs Free Weights

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If your main goal is bodybuilding or just building muscle, a functional trainer is a great option!

They allow you to do various exercises for your different muscle groups without a ton of extra fitness equipment.

Plus, if it has a weight stack, you won’t even have to invest in separate plates which take up more space in your home gym.

On the flip side, if you’re into strength training, powerlifting, or strongman training – getting fitness equipment like free weights, a squat rack, and dumbbells are going to be a better buy overall. 

The price is going to be something that you have to consider as well. 

Functional trainers are going to cost a little more than just standard free weights.

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A solid squat rack, weight plates, and barbells run anywhere between $500 to $2,000+ depending on the quality.

Whereas functional trainers are going to cost anywhere between $500-$5000+ depending on the quality and whether or not they have a weight stack.

Again, as I mentioned before, safety is also going to be a major concern for resistance training in a home gym by yourself.

If you just have to choose between a functional trainer or free weights, a functional trainer might be a better idea.

After all, cables are usually a lot safer to train with compared to free weights which require a lot more stabilization to train effectively and safely.

It definitely makes a functional trainer worth it if you want to build the most muscle possible though.

Frequently Asked Questions


So what do you think?

Is a functional trainer worth it for your home gym?

If so, which one are you interested in getting for yourself?

Let me know in the comment section below!

Until next time,


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