As we move into springtime here in the UK, my wife had been talking to me about our next project around the home. One of the things we’re planning is a small extension to accommodate our home-office and workout space. This got me thinking about my dream home gym setup and inevitably to the question of what would be the best all-in-one machine for muscle building?
The BodyCraft XFT is the best home muscle building machine on the market. It features a revolutionary design which combines the experience of free-weight barbell training with the safety and ease-of-use of a cable multi gym. The BodyCraft XFT enables the user to benefit from full-body olympic bar style weight training without the space requirements of an olympic set of weights, barbells and power cage.
A Home Muscle Building Machine – What’s Wrong With Free Weights?
I’m a huge fan of free weights and even when I was a gym goer, I would gravitate to the dumbbell rack and avoid the queues for the pec-deck and cable pulleys. So when I gave up my gym membership over a decade ago, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.
The main problem that I have with gym-machines, is that they force you to move the weight along a fixed plane of motion – and this plane may not be suitable for your body’s natural biomechanics. Just ask my left shoulder what it thinks of the smith machine a decade-and-a-half after it was injured on one!
So while I love my home workout setup that consists of resistance bands, PowerBlocks and kettlebells, there are times when I miss working out with a full barbell setup. Certainly my chest misses barbell bench presses which have been proven in multiple studies to be the most effective chest exercise.
What To Look For In A Home Muscle Building Machine?
We’ll consider this question in the context of four crucial factors:
Any fitness machine that’s going to be occupying valuable space in your home gym needs to offer sufficient benefits to warrant the space it takes up.
For instance, a rowing machine potentially takes up a large amount of space, but it engages around 85% of muscles and radically improves cardiovascular performance. So, if general fitness were your priority then it would be perfectly sensible to choose a rowing machine as your main piece of home workout equipment.
Range of Movement
A lot of home workout equipment suffer from the same weakness: in the process of scaling a piece of commercial gym equipment down to enable it to fit in the average home, they inevitably lose out on the range of movement offered by the machine.
I’ve experienced this twice: once in a rowing machine that just didn’t have quite enough travel to feel as natural as say, a Concept 2 rowers. I also once bought a lat pull down machine for my garage gym that was pretty good, but had I been any taller than my modest height of 5’8″, I would have been unable to extend my arms fully at the top of the lat pull-down movement.
When considering investing in any home workout equipment, it’s important that you consider how reliable the machine will be. You don’t want to be in a position where you’re forced to return a large piece of equipment to the retailer / manufacturer. That could prove to be a huge inconvenience and seriously disrupt your fitness plans.
It pays to check the reviews of the equipment and the manufacturer before buying to make sure that their equipment is well regarded and also that after sale care is good.
Value For Money
It goes without saying that value for money should be paramount to your decision-making process. But don’t make the mistake of confusing “value for money” with “buy the cheapest”. In the UK there is an old adage that says “buy cheap, buy twice” and nowhere is this more apt than in the field of gym equipment.
In this article about selectable dumbbells I make the point that any purchase needs to be made in the context of the length of time over which you intend to use the equipment. A piece of equipment that has cost you several thousand pounds or dollars seems expensive in the moment, but against its lifespan of say, 20 years plus, and all those years of saved gym fees, it starts to look much better value.
What Makes the BodyCraft XFT So Good?
Applying the four criteria that we discussed above, let’s find out what makes the BodyCraft XFT the best home muscle building machine:
In terms of utility, this machine scores very highly. Every muscle of the body is capable of being trained as it would in a gym with an olympic barbell setup, yet you can also enjoy the benefits of cable pulley based exercises.
The barbell training functionality is available thanks to a unique system where the barbell handle can move fore and aft as you lift the weight (mimicking the action of free weights).
The machine features a multi-grip chin station for regular pull ups or assisted chins. This also has inbuilt functionality for using with hanging ab straps or inversion boots.
The machine has lower fixings onto which battle ropes or resistance bands can be attached.
So the BodyCraft XFT truly is a total body weight training machine as well as a fitness station, capable of providing both cardio as well as full-body muscle building workouts.
If I haven’t yet convinced you how good this machine is, watch this video from the manufacturer:
I’ve done a fair amount of research in writing this article and conclude that Bodycraft are a top manufacturer of fitness equipment. Whether it be treadmills, rowers or multi gyms their equipment appears to be of the highest quality and this reflected in the glowing reviews left by customers.
Bodycraft are a manufacturer of commercial gym equipment so they understand what it takes to create a machine that will withstand the heavy usage that can be expected in a commercial gym environment.
Range of Movement
The complaints that I had with the rowing machine and lat pull down which I mentioned earlier will not be complaints you will have with the BodyCraft XFT.
The machine has been designed to provide a full range of movement across a natural plane of motion on all exercises performed on it.
In fact, the only limitation I can think of with this machine is that a full clean and press would not be possible. In fact, it appears that any overhead pressing with the olympic bar would need to be done from a seated position – so, not a problem, providing that standing overhead barbell presses are not a deal breaker for you.
As for the cable pulley system, this is incredibly flexible with the pulleys being adjustable so that you can pull from the high / low extremities of the machine as well as incrementally over the length of the framework. Standing overhead presses can be performed using the cables.
Value For Money
There is no getting away from the fact that this is an expensive machine. The BodyCraft XFT retails for over $5,500 in the US and around £4,000 in the UK.
That’s a lot of money. But in terms of what you get for your money, I still maintain that the XFT is a great buy.
It offers a total replication of a workout you could expect in a commercial gym, yet all within one relatively compact unit and in the comfort of your own home.
Furthering the point made above, over a 10-year period, the BodyCraft XFT should have more than paid for itself in terms of saved gym fees.
Can I Do Cardio On The BodyCraft XFT?
If you’re happy for your cardio to consist of powercleans and battle ropes, then yes!
Otherwise it would be wise to think of the BodyCrft XFT as a strength training machine which has some ability to allow the user to undertake some cardio / HIIT exercises.
I Don’t Have That Kind of Money! What’s The Best Alternative?
If you want the benefits of comprehensive full body training but don’t want to spend a huge amount of money on a machine, a fitness inventory as listed below would provide you with sufficient flexibility to thoroughly train the whole body, quickly and conveniently:
- Adjustable Dumbbells
- Resistance Bands
- Push Up Bars / Mini Parallettes
- An appropriately weighted Kettlebell
All of the above would cost around 1/8th of the BodyCraft XFT.
What Are You Going To Buy?
That concludes this overview of the BodyCraft XFT – the best home muscle building machine money can buy. True, you’re going to need a lot of money if you decide to buy one, but I’m sure that the user experience and results will be excellent and worth the outlay in the long run.
If you own one of these machines, please get in touch and let me know how you are getting on with it.