The Inspire Fitness FT1 Functional Trainer is an excellent piece of fitness equipment with some standout features that put it ahead of the competition. In this review we’ll be looking at the main features of the machine as well as identifying its one drawback. We’ll also run through some of the main exercises you can do on it to demonstrate the versatility and convenience of the Inspire Fitness FT1 Functional Trainer. We’ll also compare it to it’s cheaper sister-model, the FTX.
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Why The Inspire Fitness FT1?
I’m in the midst of writing a series of articles on functional trainer machines. Partly because I’m considering buying one myself but also because they are a fantastic addition to any home gym.
In a recent article about the best home muscle building machine, I praised the BodyCraft XFT – declaring it the best machine you could buy for a home gym setup.
In the time since writing that article I have done further research into functional training machines and have found several interesting alternatives.
The most interesting of these and the one which most closely competes with the Bodycraft XFT is the Inspire Fitness FT1.
The inspire fitness FT1 is approximately half the price of the body craft XFT yet offers nearly as much functionality.
In this review we’ll take a closer look at what makes the FT1 such a compelling choice.
Inspire Fitness FT1 Workouts
The main benefits of any functional trainer are the variety of exercises available and the convenience of cable training. The FT1 takes this to another level.
Using the standard D handles attached to the cables, users can perform all the familiar exercises from the gym such as chest press, shoulder press, shoulder flyes, lateral raises, bicep curls, cable rows and cable squats.
As you can see, without even changing the cable attachments, you have sufficient flexibility for a full workout.
The cables can be quickly slid up or down the full length of the frame, locking into different points with just the flip of a lever for total flexibility.
For instance, if doing face pulls you want the cables to be anchored towards the top of the machine frame. But if doing squats you’d want to anchor the cables to the bottom of the frame.
There is sufficient cable length to enable users to perform complex exercises such as squat to overhead press, or work on plyometric jumping drills while attached to the cable.
In addition to the standard D handles, the FT1 comes with the following attachments to add to the variety of exercises available:
- Multi-Functional Belt
- Easy Curl Bar
- Straight Bar
- Ankle Cuff
- Swing Handle
- Tricep Rope
- 2 x 5lb add on weights
Rather than bore you with a description of what each attachment offers, watch this excellent demonstration of the Inspire Fitness FT1 in action.
Here is a table of exercises you can look forward to doing on your FT1:
Cable Machine Exercises by Muscle Group
|Cable Chest Press|
|Cable Chest Fly with Twist|
|Single-Arm Cable Chest Press|
|Single-Arm Cable Chest Fly|
|High-to-Low Cable Crossover|
|Low-to-High Cable Crossover|
|Back||Cable Lat Pulldown|
|Cable Seated Row|
|Cable Straight-Arm Pulldown|
|Cable Face Pull|
|Cable Reverse Fly|
|Shoulders||Cable Front Raise|
|Cable Lateral Raise|
|Cable Shoulder Press|
|Cable Rear Delt Fly|
|Single-Arm Cable Lateral Raise|
|Cable Upright Row|
|Biceps||Cable Biceps Curl|
|Cable Hammer Curl|
|Cable Preacher Curl|
|Single-Arm Cable Biceps Curl|
|High Cable Curl|
|Triceps||Cable Triceps Pushdown|
|Cable Overhead Triceps Extension|
The first thing that needs to be stated is that this is an extremely high quality machine. In my research for this review, I was able to find multiple reports from users who have had the machine for years. They all praise the machine for its durability.
It’s clear that this is a machine that will last for years if well maintained. With that said, if you’re going to be storing and using this machine in a cold, damp garage, you’ll need to make sure that you oil the cables and all moving parts regularly.
Were you impressed by the attachments that the FT1 comes with? Then you’ll love the revolving rack which they are all stored on. This sits at the back of the machine and makes it so easy to grab the handle you’re looking for. Now there’s no excuse for losing an attachment!
In my review of the BodyCraft XFT I raved about its unique barbell system. However, when I discovered the XT1 and studied its functionality, I became convinced that it offers pretty much the same functionality.
For instance, with the straight bar attachment, you’ll be able to perform a power clean and even a clean and press.
There’s nothing bad about the FT1!
The only negative comments I have been able to uncover from owners are that the range of movement can be slightly limiting on certain exercises if you’re over 6″2.
The FT1 comes as standard with two 165lb weight stacks. Bear in mind that due to the gearing ratio of the pulleys, you’ll be lifting half that weight at the handle.
For this reason I’d recommend upgrading the stack at the point of purchase. Inspire Fitness offer a 50lb upgrade and I definitely consider it to be worth the additional cost of approximately £150 / $220.
Installation & Dimensions
The dimension of the FT1 are:
- Length (Depth): 207.5cm / 83″
- Width 135cm / 54″
- Height: 203.75cm / 81.5″
- Weight: 246kg / 541lb
If using the chin up bar is a deal breaker for you, then you need to check that your ceiling height will be sufficient not just for the machine, but for your head too.
For this reason, you want to make sure that there is a minimum of 25cm clearance between the top of the machine and the ceiling of the room you’ll be housing it in.
If you’re buying the FT1 predominantly for the cable exercises this may not be a concern to you, but just be aware of the height restriction.
Many owners of the machine report that they managed to assemble the machine single handedly in around 3 hours. The biggest difficulty is handling the weight of the various packages that the FT1 is delivered in. The machine is relatively straightforward to assemble however many retailers offer an installation service if you would prefer.
The Inspire Fitness FT1 comes with a comprehensive warranty for home use:
- Lifetime frame and parts
- 2 years cables
- 90 day upholstery
The warranty, coupled with positive reports from owners who have used the machine heavily over a period of years, gives me confidence in recommending the FT1.
Inspire Fitness FTX vs FT1
Here’s a comparison picture of the FTX and FT1.
The FTX appears to be a slightly more basic version of the FT1, with fewer attachments and without the weight stack covers.
The FTX is approximately 20% cheaper than the FT1. Despite being cheaper, I would personally choose the FT1 with the additional 50lb weight stacks.
You wouldn’t want to shell out around $2,000 for the FTX only to find that within a few months you need the extra weight offered by the FT1. Yes, it’s around $900 more expensive, but spread over the 15 or 20 years that you could reasonably expect these machine to last, the difference isn’t that significant.
If you’re going to make an investment in one of these machines, I’d recommend going for the FT1.
Let’s Raise the Roof
So I’m currently working out how I can either extend my house or increase the height of my garage ceiling to accommodate the FT1!
That may sound extreme, but I REALLY want a functional trainer in my life and pound-for-pound / dollar-for-dollar the Inspire Fitness FT1 appears to be the best machine available.
If you’re as inspired by this machine as I am, let me know in the comments. If you’re an owner and you think I’ve missed something I’d be interested to hear from you.
Before you go… check out Body-Solid Functional Trainers
I recently discovered a range of functional trainers from the manufacturer Body-Solid.
To say that I’m impressed by their machines is an understatement and you may be pleased to hear that they have a model to suit every budget.
You can check out my full rundown here: