What Is a Functional Trainer, Exactly?

Functional trainer is a relatively new term, but the equipment that it represents is not. As the fitness world evolves, the naming of certain equipment evolves with it. A functional trainer could range from a squat rack, a cable machine, or one of those “all-in-one” training machines you’d see at the gym.

Functional training is the act of training for physical activities performed in daily life. The term was first introduced towards the end of the 1990s, with its roots originating from the injury rehabilitation world. ‘Functional training’ exercises would be prescribed to patients by physical therapists, in order to regain a previous fitness level after sustaining an injury.

Benefits of Using a Functional Trainer

Functional trainers are great for getting into shape if you need to tone and improve a specific part of your fitness. The term functional implies that you area trying to improve the function of a specific range of motion that needs improvement. Improving your functional fitness is great for reducing the chance of injury, greatly improves your mobility, and of course, gives a huge boost to your athletic performance.

Athletes with prolonged use of a functional trainer are in better shape overall. They are able to build strength in a more balanced way.

What Kind of Functional Trainers Are There?

fuunctional trainer

Because of the vague wording, a functional trainer can mean any kind of machine that helps with improving the core function of any muscle group or joints that you’re working with. That being said, there are several different types of functional trainers available for you to choose from. The one you use comes down to the functional training you’re seeking. See the product page for the functional trainer pictured above.

Cable or Dual Cable Functional Trainer

A cable functional trainer is a large, upright machine. They can feature a single pulley, or one attached to each side — making it a dual cable trainer.

Athletes enjoy using a dual cable functional trainer because it allows them to recruit all major muscle groups, exercising various ranges of motion. Cable functional trainers are enjoyed by many for their smooth motions and the momentum they provide. This makes it much easier to lead one repetition into another. They are also much safer to use for less experienced athletes or athletes prone to injury.

Cable and Dual Cable functional trainers are a staple for every gym. Most public gyms will have at least one cable machine for their patrons to use. Most home gym enthusiasts who buy a functional trainer are always pleased with their purchase.

Functional Trainers That Use Plates

A functional trainer that uses plates is less common. Since most functional trainers that use a pulley system have a weight stack, you can simply use an attachment that mimics the motion of any exercise equipment that uses plates. Using the pulley system and weight stack is a parallel equivalent to using weight plates. Find the right attachment or handles to work the same muscle groups.

Must-have Accessories

When it comes to your functional trainer, there are a few accessories that you absolutely need. From helping you exercise easily and safely, to making sure you execute your activities perfectly, here are a few accessories we have listed that will change the way you exercise:

Curl Bar

curl bar

A curl bar is essential for any kind of bicep or tricep workout. The curled bar allows your various ranges and gripping positions to exercise each of the muscles in your bicep, tricep, and forearms. Get yours here.

Ankle Strap

ankle strap

Ankle straps are great for working out the lower body, especially the thighs and butt. By lower the cable pulley on your functional trainer, you can pull up or to the side with your leg muscles. This is one of the easiest ways to make sure you never skip leg day. Get yours here.

Long Bar

long bar lat pulldown

A long bar is used for getting a well-rounded exercise for your back, abs, and arms. Doing lat pull-downs with a long bar on a functional trainer is an exercise that leaves many feeling stronger and more motivated. Adding exercise with a long bar is almost always a permanent part of everyone’s routine. Get yours here.

Tricep Rope

The tricep rope is one of my favorite attachments ever. The instant feedback you get from using a tricep rope is exactly the burn you look for when working out. This is probably one of the fastest ways to make gains on your tricep muscles. Get yours here.