This article talks about the Bodycraft functional trainer from the perspective of someone who’s owned it for almost five months.
If you want to skip directly towards the product review, click here. The next section talks about my motivation for wanting to buy a functional trainer. Although That being said, You might find some value in learning my motivations behind making a $2300/£2000 purchase!
My Home Gym Story
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been spending a lot more time at your home these days.
After going a full two months without visiting the gym (An occurrence that hasn’t happened in many years). I snapped and hit the Internet to find home equipment that would replace my regular gym visits.
Being your typical thirty something male. Tech Savvy Millennial. I set forth on a virtual journey to learn all I could about home gym equipment and what equipment would be right for me.
That journey started at the most obvious place, my local sports superstore. In this case, decathlon. A huge European company that provides everything from affordable bikes to horse riding gear. Of course, like all things in 2020 this was done via their website and not in person.
But what I found there was a repeating pattern for a bunch of other stores that didn’t quite cater for what I was after. In that they had “doitall” poorly made plastic coated adjustable weight bars and benches. But nothing in the “prosumer” bracket.
To be fair, they were fine for what they were intended for and they were quite affordable, but. They’re never going to replace the quality and feel that you get when you go to a professional gym.
What I wanted was as close to a commercial grade piece of equipment as I possibly could get without remortgaging my house and selling my car to finance it.
That led me to. Finding the body craft functional trainer.
This piece of kit is awesome!
I can’t overstate the feeling of elation that it got when I did the first all body workout on this truly amazing piece of Kit. It effectively blurs the lines between home and commercial grade equipment.
However, settling on this piece of equipment was not straight forward and my budget considerations fluctuated wildly from a few hundred pounds for the most basic of kit too over £4000 for the FT-2 functional trainer (Which is the gold standard for home gyms).
I think the body craft functional trainer strikes a good balance value for money and professional grade durability. Not to mention that it opens up a huge number of exercises due to cable machines being so versatile.
I’ve been using it virtually everyday for the past five months and I’ve got to be honest. I think the gains from the ability to simply walk to my garage have resulted in a much better workout than I used to get going to my regular gym.
I mean, think about it, you don’t have to:
- hop in your car and
- drive to the gym,
- get changed,
- then wait for equipment to be available and
- then drive home.
All of that’s gone. You simply walk out your house, go to your garage and 40 minutes to four 2 an hour session later you are done! You get back on with your life.
The result for me is that I’m doing far more sessions than they used to. I love it. I may never go back to a gym again!
Anyway, that’s the brief Storey of why I said I settled on the body craft functional trainer. Now for the real review and what you should expect if and when you decide to order this piece of kit…
The Body craft Functional trainer
I’m going to keep the overview brief because I think you can gain more value from reading the individual sections of the article.
I’ve broken this down into the various stages that you will go through from:
- Receiving your body craft personal trainer
- Assembling it
- Doing your first workout
- A long term perspective
- Any extra accessories that I found myself buying
Because of the sheer size and weight of the body craft functional trainer. The logistics of getting it delivered to your home is a little bit more than with a regular delivery.
This thing weighs over 400 pounds. So if you live in an apartment block without an elevator, you can see why this becomes a little bit of an issue.
Me personally, I live in a house in the suburbs. All I had to do was move the boxes from the front of my driveway into my garage. But even then, it’s a lot of weight to move. So you might want to give some thought and consideration about how you’re going to move the shipment packaging from.
One thing that really impressed me was the level of care and attention that went into the packaging for the Bodycraft functional trainer. When yours arrives, it will come on a pallet and then it will be split up into 2 boxes. In my case, those boxes were shrink wrapped in black plastic. Which meant they were very stable and secure and work gonna fall off anytime soon.
When you open the boxes themselves, you can see that the parts that make up the functional trainer are carefully arranged in assorted and. Smaller boxes and packaging wrap the individual components to protect them from scraping against one another during shipment.
Tip: I took photographs of the packaging as I was unboxing it. You don’t really need to do this, but from my point of view I wanted to take photographic evidence of the unpacking just on the off chance that there’s a missing component and I have to get in contact with my supplier to get that component shipped reshipped.
The majority of the packing is recyclable in the form of cardboard and wood pallets. So if you do have the ability to recycle some of this in your refuse or a local recycling centre then you’re all set. Although there is a small amount of polystyrene to dispose of.
I was super impressed with the whole shipping process. Initially I had some apprehensions, considering I’ve never really had anything of this size, or indeed value delivered to my house.
But thankfully the process was painless and I was kept informed of the progress every step of the way. In my case, I chose powerhouse fitness as my gym supplier. They are a great company with solid reputation and are one of the largest suppliers for both commercial and home grade gym equipment.
They are also one of the only companies that I could see that actually had this piece of equipment in stock. It seems like in these strange times gym equipment for the home is in high demand.
From the time I placed the order, too it arriving in my doorstep was seven days. This is exactly the amount of time I was told to expect for the shipment to take to be delivered. Which is great. Not only that, I was provided with a tracking number that allowed me to see the progress of the shipment on a day to day basis.
And on the day of the actual delivery I was provided with a real time tracking number that allowed me to see exactly where my particular delivery was. So I could roughly anticipate when the shipment would arrive at my house.
The only small hiccup was that the delivery driver attempted to deliver it to a house across the road from me. But I quickly realised and went over and told him where I lived haha.
I’m including the customer support section under delivery, as I didn’t really have that much interaction with the company themselves. The only bit where I did was where powerhouse fitness made a courtesy call. They let me know that the delivery would be expected in the next few days and if I had any trouble then they should just call me on this number as a personal contact.
I thought this was a great piece of custom service. You find nowadays allot of the time as you end up speaking to computer or an email address. However with powerhouse fitness I got to speak directly to a human and not only that they volunteered to call me, which is a massive selling point because when you’re spending this kind of money you really want the human touch.
So I was really impressed with the customer support and that counts for a lot.
When you put together something this complex, you hope and pray that the instructions are both clear, concise and to the point. Not only that, they don’t leave any ambiguities and let you know if there’s any pitfalls they should be aware of.
Mercifully, the instructions for the Bodycraft functional trainer were decent and I had no problems interpreting them. There’s an abundance of diagrams. That make it easy to orientate yourself in the various stages of constructing the trainer.
Not only that, one of the first steps that they give you is to do a quick stock count to make sure that you have all the various components required to assemble your body craft functional trainer.
The steps themselves are broken down into the logical stages that you would need to construct the trainer. Meaning, at any point you can choose to take a break at during that when upon completing a stage of construction.
Included In the box
Not only do you get instructions to build your body craft functional trainer. You also get a number of other items. The One I was most impressed with was the equipment usage guide. Which actually comes pre assembled as part of the body craft functional trainer.
It is a laminated thick grade book which looks like it can take a beating. It’s mounted on centre point of the functional trainer so that as you do you workout, you can see it and cheque your form as you are doing your exercise.
The usage guide itself is broken down by body part. Showing various exercises you can do using your bodycraft functional trainer to target that particular body part. Such as back arms, chest, legs, etc.
I thought this was a great thing to include in the functional trainer. And means that you don’t have to wrack your brain to figure out what exercises to actually do. You’re given a nice guide that you can use from day one.
They also shows the two positions with the starting position and then also the finishing finishing position of the exercise. Also, the movement you need to achieve to take from the start position to lien position.
There’s also a little write up underneath the diagram as well, giving you a more in depth explanation of the muscle group that this particularly exercise targets and the appropriate form that you need to correctly carry out the exercise.
You get a DVD included in the box as well. How cool is that? Bodycraft really go to the ends to explain how to use their equipment effectively. So with the combination of the laminated paper book that you get mounted to the body craft personal trainer and the DVD to give you an actual video of the exercises being carried out. I think this is a great extra and super useful to be included in the box.
The absolute last step you have to do when assembling your body craft functional trainer is to apply the stickers that denote the numeric value of the weight that you’re lifting.
Once you got this far, it’s a joy to put these stickers on, but I would advise that you take your time and make sure they’re aligned correctly. The stickers themselves are high quality and have a plastic textured feel to them, which is also slightly course as well. To me, that gives a sign of these are quality and will last a long time.
I’m sure you could probably get some replacement stickers but but they look like they’re designed to last, so this is probably not going to be an issue. Aesthetically as well, once they weight, stickers are applied to the weight stacks. It really does make the body cross functional trainer look complete and you can smile after setting it up.
Lastly, in terms of packaging, the individual boxes that make up the shipment were very well labelled and from each box you could tell without opening it. What exactly was in the box? For instance, the weight stacks were labelled with their actual weights in total, and the number of plates to expect in each box. This can save time during assembly.
Before we get into this, if there’s one tip I can give you in terms of the Assembly of the body craft functional trainer, it’s this.
You need two people!
After setting this up with my dad. I can’t imagine the difficulty I would have had trying to do this all by myself. Even with two people it took us almost an entire day. So yeah, you definitely need two people to put this thing together. When you get it delivered, you probably want to factor that in.
As for the assembly process itself, I would advise patience and not rushing the steps. Take your time and really read through each step piece by piece. Make sure that you fully completed the steps required before moving on to the next page of the instructions.
This is because you’ll be kicking yourself if you find that you skipped some minute detail on Step 3, only to discover step 16 that you need to go back and make fine tunings.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the end of the world and I myself had to tweak a certain part after realising that I hadn’t quite put it together as instructions intended and it wasn’t a deal breaker.
In fact, I’ll go into that next and discuss my little troubleshooting tip that I found when putting together the bodycraft functional trainer.
Overall, the process of assembling their bodycraft functional trainer was pretty smooth. There was, however, one particular part of the setup process where I made a mistake. I think you could quite easily make this mistake yourself as well so here it is.
That is the screw assembly that attaches the weight stack to the cable mechanism. I found that when I was assembling the piece of equipment, I screwed that in as far as it would go into the weight stack.
At the particular point in the construction. This didn’t seem like a big issue however, five or six steps further down the line, you’ll find that when you are putting the cables together you’ll see that they’re not quite long enough.
This is because the screws that attaches the weight stack was screwed into far too short. I lost about an inch in the cable length and that inch meant that overall I couldn’t actually wire up the cable!
This totally confused me at the time and I had to go back to the instructions to figure it out. And after about 5 to 10 minutes of thinking I realised Oh yes, I needed to. not screw that in so much.
After loosening the weight screw by about an inch that gave me the length in the cable required to fully complete the circuit and attach the other end of the weight cable to the grips that you used to complete your exercises.
I can’t really think of any other troubleshooting tips that generally was one that caught me out. Everything else was pretty straight forward in plain sailing.
Actually, as I write this, I realised there is one last tip.
That is the you need to be aware of. Once you’ve assembled it, assembled the trainer, it’s going to be very difficult to move it, so I advise that you give a few moments to think where you actually want to install the trainer. Because you’re not moving it once it’s assembled.
Extra things I purchased
After you’ve been using your body craft functional trainer for a few months, you start to realise that you might actually want to invest in a few extra grips and handles. That is not to say that you don’t get a bunch of great accessories included in the box, you do.
But for me at least, it was sparking my curiosity and maybe a little bit of excitement about adding additional straps and bars to enhance the number of different types of exercises I could do on my bench.
The ones that I decided to purchase were a neck rest for the straight bar. I bought this because it made doing squats and calf raises allot easier and a little bit more comfortable.
These things can be purchased relatively cheaply on Amazon. The One I bought is okay. But there’s other ones out there that will do just as good a job.
The second piece of equipment that I purchased was a armbar. This was because I want to do bicep and tricep exercises on a single weight stack rather than using the straight bar. You can get this kind of equipment on Amazon or a specialist gym supplier.
Just make sure that it’s a two way armbar which allows for greater range of exercises.
Lastly, the final bit of extra accessory equipment I purchase was to ankle straps. Because I found when I was doing leg exercises it became a bit of a chore changing over the single leg strap that’s applied when I wanted to swap legs on an exercise.
So now the functional trainer is complete without a decent bench to compliment it. Bodycraft themselves have their own bench made for this functional trainer. However, at the time of purchase, it wasn’t in stock.
So I decided to go with an aftermarket bench.
At the time of me purchasing. I was quite limited on a stock. This meant that I needed to basically, find out what was available and then choose from that selection. I know for me I wanted something that would be adjustable. I don’t want to fix bench and ideally had a seat that was also adjustable.
Fortunately, I found that Amazon that had a pretty decent selection of weight benches. My budget was roughly $300. I chose this budget because there is a bench that comes with the body craft functional trainer as part of a package that is roughly costs this.
I settled on a bench that cost $300 exactly and would cover the vast majority of the exercises that I wanted to carry out.
The bench itself, in all honesty, doesn’t matter too much. The most important thing is that you have a bench in the first place. The reason is that doing standing exercises can get you quite far with the cable crossover, but bench will allow you to do more static movements and lift heavyweights for when you really want to push yourself.
I found this particularly useful when doing chest and back exercises.
Long Term Review
Flash forward five months an I’ve now owned the trainer and used it almost everyday for that time. Do I regret my purchase?
No, absolutely not. This piece of equipment is amazing and I’m so happy that I made this purchase. Yes, it’s a big investment, but overall, on a long enough timeline ironically you save money, if you decide to cancel your gym membership.
But also in terms of your actual gains and in physical appearance, I believe that having the convenience of a highly flexible piece of equipment in your own home means you’re that much more likely to go and exercise.
And that’s the most important thing when you think about it, the regularity of exercise. I always found the rigmarole of going to the gym, driving there, finding a parking space, wiping down equipment, finding my pass to get through the gate a bit of a pain.
All that is gone when you just need to step out your house and go into your garage. I found that my gym sessions went from before a three per week to pretty much six days a week. It became so convenient just to pop in, do a gym session, come back and carry on with whatever you are doing.
Especially if you have children or a busy home life, then taking an hour or two out to go to the gym could really be difficult and you might end up not doing it more than doing it. So having an option like this in your home just makes sense to me.
My advice is go buy it. If you’re thinking about this, go buy it. If you’re toying around the idea of setting up a home gym, go by this machine. It’s awesome. And I think that the next six months I’m going to continue just as I have done making regular trips to my home gym.
Incidentally, since then, I’ve actually purchased a fridge to put in my garage and filled it full of protein shakes. I guess trying to make my gym a little bit more like a professional gym, but it’s cool. I’m essentially building up a man cave. Ha ha. Oh and also the obligatory picture of the Rock on the wall was motivation.
A question I had was ‘Which type of flooring is best for your garage?’ I’ve written a few articles covering this question on Houshia, check them out, you might find it useful when deciding what flooring is best for your home gym:
Can you do legs?
This is something I was a little concerned about when buying a cable machine. Because you see a lot of the exercise advertised their upper body. What about if I wanna do a leg with routine? Can I still do this?
After experimenting with various leg exercises, the answer is in his and in Fattic Yes.
This is absolutely the way that you can do a full leg workout using this machine. I’ve done squats, hack squats, leg extensions, calf extensions, car raises, you name it. And when you start going online, you can find a bunch of examples of leg exercises using cable machines. In fact, i’ll list of you in this article as I found them super useful and hope you will benefit from them too.
As I mentioned earlier in the extra accessories that I purchased. I found that the neck brace and the ankle straps were super useful just to make it that much more convenient to do lates exercises and avoid the dreaded skipping leg day.
Is this the best single piece of equipment you can buy?
I guess this question is subjective and is going to depend on the individual. But for me at least. I’m if I had to purchase one particular piece of equipment for my home gym and nothing else. Then the body craft functional trainer wins hands down.
There are plenty of other super versatile pieces of equipment you can buy, such as a squat rack and yes, these things cover a bunch of different exercises. But you’re also going to have to buy lots of other things, such as weight bars and weight plates, further adding to the cost of your squat rack. There’s also a bunch of questions you might need to or want to ask when buying these things. And it’s easy to potentially spend a bunch of money on stuff that you don’t need to.
With the body craft functional trainer, allot of those questions arn’t needed. You can buy it, assemble it and then come up with a bunch of weight exercises and routines afterwards. You might say it’s idiot proof.
There is, however, the gold standard for functional trainers in the FT-2 functional trainer. This incredible piece of engineering combines traditional weightlifting exercises on the bar and cable crossover machine. And only that it has a bench that directly integrates with the machine itself, allowing for addition or weighted exercises on your legs.
You might be asking why didn’t I purchase this particular piece of equipment. Or the simple answer is it costs twice the price of the bodycraft functional trainer. Yes, that’s right, it costs $4000!
When you start getting into that price range, you either have to really be into working out and know exactly what you’re going to get out of that particular piece of equipment. Or you’ve just got money burning a hole in your pocket.
I decided that I could use the $2300/£2000 to spend on other things such as accessories or a holiday to Hawaii for instance. Ha ha.
That being said, this machine is great, but it doesn’t do everything. And if I were to purchase another piece of equipment, it probably would be some form of squat rack in an Olympic bar, because you can really lift heavyweights with those pieces of equipment.
But for now I’m happy with my purchase.
What other machines could you consider?
As I mentioned earlier, the FT-2 functional trainer is truly an amazing piece of a kit. However, the price for me a $4000, is just too prohibitive. But if your budget does stretch that far, then in all honesty, I would tell you to just buy that because, well, it just solves so many problems. It is a one stop shop for exercise.
If space is a problem, then I’d look at adjustable dumbbells. I found out about these when I was researching functional trainers. They basically work in a very clever way where you have a stack of weights or connected to each other, which can be easily and quickly adjusted to the particular exercise you want. For instance, you could switch a 5K dumbbell to a 10K in literally 2 seconds of adjusting.
That being said, there is a vast range of products that cater to this. However some of them are better. They are not all created equal and there is. Ones that have a lot better build quality and I worry about the longevity of a product with so many moving parts, that’s getting thrown around on the gym floor.
There’s also slightly more cheaper alternatives to the body craft functional trainer such as the Body Max functional trainer which is a. I think it’s $500 cheaper. And this allows for very similar so. Exercises, however, I believe that the weight stacks aren’t as heavy on the body craft. Functional trainer is £200 per stack. Whereas on the cheaper alternative the body Max is 150 pounds I believe.
Things I wished I’d known
I guess the main thing is that. Knowledge is super useful in these things. I found that there’s not a lot of information on the Internet about specific functional trainers. With the exception of the FT-2, which I think is probably down to a lot of marketing. So that’s why I wanted to put this article together to hopefully give the next person thinking of purchasing a do all home gym a piece of equipment abit more information about just exactly what the pros and cons of these pieces of equipment are.
Second thing is that when I was drawing up a budget for my gym, I thought that I needed things that I actually didn’t. One of which is that at the time I believed that I needed gym flooring to make my gym home gym usable.
This turned out to not be the case and ironically, all I used now is an old rug that I had in the gym anyway. For the vast majority of the exercises I do, the rug is perfectly fine.
I could have potentially spent hundreds of dollars on the flooring for my gym, when I didn’t really need it in the first place. I mean, sure, it would have looked cool, that’s that’s for sure.
But ultimately, if you’re on a budget like I was, then you really need it. A Rug will suffice, or some piece of old carpet. It just provides a comfortable place to stand as you’re doing your exercises.
Okay, that’s pretty much the longest article. If you are interested in learning more about home gyms, smart Lightings, home security, cool gadgets you can put in your house in your garden, then maybe you should checkout a few more articles on house here.
We do cover a few more ideas on home gyms and specifically lighting for home gyms and also alternative budget flooring ideas and for that matter.
High quality gym flooring if you do want to stretch your budget to get the complete look. I also recommend checking our articles on fridges for gyms because I find it super useful. Ironically enough, storing all of my protein shakes in there and I can have one during or after my workout. Super useful.
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