There are many things that people have come to accept as the norm in the 21st century.
Of the many things, most people have come to accept small, petite and curvy bodies to be signs of beauty for women and bulky and ripped bodies a sign of beauty for men.
Overall, fitness is a must have in this millennial century.
But truth is, in as much as fitness and hitting the gym is the new trend, it is not an easy process.
Paying for gym memberships every year does not guarantee your gym attendance for the rest of the year.
Also, hitting the gym does not guarantee that you will experience results that everyone around you will be envious of.
Several factors come into play while getting that perfect body – factors that you have to be aware of and take advantage of if you want to be trendy.
One of the factors that you have to bear in mind is having the right equipment and performing the right exercises.
Two years ago, I used to be a regular at a local gym. I did everything right and experienced some results, but they did not get to the level that I was hoping for them to get to. I did not have a gym instructor to guide me nor a gym workout partner.
Things got worse when I got busier and could no longer attend the gym sessions anymore. Things went from bad to worse. The little progress I had made in fitness was lost in a matter of months following up my absenteeism from the gym.
Suddenly I wished I could have the progress I did not appreciate back. Start of this year, when everyone is all about making promises, I made on to myself to get back on the horse (fitness in this case), despite the situations and hurdles on my path.
I would work around the many responsibilities at home and with the family as well as work around the little time I had.
I did some bit of research and came across workout equipment that were designed for home use. You can imagine my relief. With these home workout equipment, I did not have to squeeze in the gym into the little time I had.
I could achieve my desired fitness levels from the comfort of my home. Of the many equipment available, I settled on choosing the cable crossover machine which has worked wonders for me so far.
If you are in the market searching for the best fit, I have compiled a list of some of the top units available today to save you time.
I did my research, spent countless hours to get the best so that you do not have to (well the research wasn’t so that I could write this piece, but all the same, the knowledge gained during that time will come in handy).
What is a Cable Crossover Machine?
The very first cable workout machine was created and designed by Jack Lalanne a fitness legend and guru. After him came another fitness guru by the name Harold Zinkin who in the 1950s improved on the very first design.
The exercise cable machines we use in our homes and at the gym today are just but improvements of these. They are constructed from steel, have weight stacks on either side and adjustable pulleys that can be set to any height.
The cables are designed to run through the pulleys to the weight stacks and lift them. The fact that cable crossovers can be pulled from different directions only means that they work out different muscle groups which make them one of the most versatile units in the fitness industry.
But how do they work you might wonder? Well, when you work out using a cable home gym equipment, you are applying pressure to the muscles. The direction in which you apply the force can be altered as can the weight (resistance).
The weights are usually rectangular and weigh either 20 or 10 pounds each. To use any weight, all you have to do is run a pin through the weight plate and through the guide rod for the stack you want.
For variation purposes, the unit features different handles including the short and horizontal bar, the V or U-shaped press down bar, the double handed low row bar, the ankle collar and the single handed D-grip.
These machines are divided into two; the fixed and the adjustable. The difference between the two is evident from the naming.
With the fixed type, you only have one specific weight to work with in all the workouts on the machine while with the adjustable type, you can vary the weight stacks and consequently the resistance of the unit when pulling from different positions.
Benefits of the Cable Crossover Machine
Sure the unit is larger than most home gym equipment available. But do not let the size fool you. The unit has been designed to be easy to use. That said, below are some additional reasons why you should get yourself one of these units.
It is versatile
This machine does almost everything. You can name any exercise or muscle group you want to exercise, and instead of getting many different machines for the various muscle groups, the cable crossover will enable you to work the said muscle groups. This is undoubtedly by far the most versatile of all workout equipment.
Spend less time working out
This unit will allow you to work from different angles and directions for endless variety. It is just like a one stop shop for exercises you might need to work out the various muscles.
If you are like me and have very little time to work out, this home gym equipment will first and foremost save you time by not having to make trips to and from the gym.
Second, given that the machine is versatile and has exercises that will work out most if not all of your muscle groups, you will not have to move from one machine to the other to have an all-around workout.
The only thing you will be needed to do is change the weight/resistance when changing from exercise to exercise, but this only takes a few seconds.
Get the best of both worlds
The weight machines are perfect for beginners while the free weights are slightly more advanced. It is designed in a way that it feels as though it is a hybrid of the two. It is safe and offers a greater and better challenge than most units.
Bilateral exercises use both the left and right sides of the body simultaneously. An example of a bilateral exercise is the bench press or the standard squat. Unilateral exercises, on the other hand, work each body side at a time. Examples of these include the single leg squat.
And given the fact that many people have a muscular imbalance between their left and right sides, bilateral exercises allow the weak side to cheat during exercises. Isolating one side at a time will ensure that each side puts in the work thus ensuring the symmetrical growth of muscles.
Buying Guide - Factors to Consider When Choosing a Crossover
With the wide range of cable pulley machines, picking the perfect unit becomes a difficult task.
To get a unit that will perfectly fulfill your needs and requirements for a home gym, you will need to do your homework and research. So before you make a purchase, consider the below-listed factors.
- Muscle Groups
The width and height are quite significant.
Not only does the size affect the setup process, but large units also demand to have a considerable amount of space for a workout.
As such, before you get into purchasing a unit, you should look at the dimensions as well as the weight of the unit.
Be sure that the machine can fit in the space you have in mind.
While they are versatile exercise machines, you still have to recheck the exercises that they allow.
There are those that have been built with fewer exercising positions and abilities.
That said, you should choose a machine that lives up to the versatility cable crossovers are known to have.
The features of the unit will shed some light on the exercises that the unit will accommodate.
Always before making a purchase, check the security options of the workout machines.
The details on the machine will shed some light on the security and safety of the unit.
If you make your purchase online and from reputable sites like Amazon, you will have the chance to compare the features of one unit to other units on sale.
Some machines feature additional accessories. These accessories most often than not, come included with the first purchase.
However, not all of these may come in the packaging. For such, you will have to incur an extra cost to purchase the accessories separately.
This is by far one of the most important for most individuals. No one wants to get a unit that will only fail them after a while.
No one wants to get a substandard unit with just okay efficiency and performance.
Everyone wants the quality and the price of the unit to compare.
With so many online shops, you are bound to come across a deal that suits your financial status and that presents you with a great quality unit as well – great value for your money.
Review of the Top 5 Fitness Functional Trainers
65”W x 43.5”L x 83” H
112"L x 39"W x 82"H
56"L x 52"W x 80"H
74.5"L x 40.5"W x 83.5"H
68" L x 84" W x 85" H
1. XMark Functional Trainer
This is a perfect addition to any home gym. The XMark, Functional Trainer Cable unit, is rated as one of the top home gym cable machines available on the market. This unit is specifically known for its precise and isolateral base movements.
The unit also allows for a variety of unilateral workouts that target specific muscle groups and helps to avoid cheating during a workout.
This unit is adjustable meaning that it will provide several benefits which include fitting to your different body moves along with the different column adjustments. The unit features a total of 19 different columns and as such can change up the settings as per your needs and requirements.
The machine has been constructed using an 11 gauge rectangular steel measuring 2” x 3” and features non-skid feet that are also scratch resistant thus protecting your home floor when working out vigorously. Courtesy of the steel construction, the unit is strong, sturdy, and above all, durable.
The weight capacity of this unit is 200 pounds on every side. This is slightly limiting since an average man with some bit of training can comfortably lift this weight and more.
But aside from that, you will be pleased to note that the unit features 2 long strap handles and 2 hand strap handles along with short, long, and triceps bars.
- Strong and durable courtesy of the steel construction
- Has adjustable resistance
- Versatile with 19 different settings
- Has a limiting weight capacity at 200 pounds
- It is heavy making it hard to move around
2. PowerLine PCCO90X
Many of the top crossover equipment in the market sport many different features and have shocking price tags. This unit is however different and unique from the rest.
Sure it is part of the top grossing cable crossover machines available on the market, but it’s nothing like the others. As a matter of fact, it is one of the cheapest units you will ever own. The price of this unit matches with the quality which is perfect for most.
This unit provides conditioning exercises that have an 180-degree motion range. Additionally, the metallic construction of the unit gives it strength and durability allowing it to withstand some considerable amount of rough use. The performance is smooth as is the operation.
The machine measures 88” high and 166” wide. It has a length of 39” which is perfect sizing for most rooms in homes.
Purchasing this unit, you get weights that you can adjust to your liking as well as two chrome handles. The grips on these handles are perfect and provide great comfort. Additional accessories include chin-up handles and an ankle strap.
- Adjustable handles
- Perfect measurements for normal sized rooms
- You have to assemble the unit yourself
- The assembly has to be done with the image as the only reference – no user manual is provided
3. Valor Fitness BD-61
This is yet another great unit. The unit comes with perfect strength training and functional fitness exercises. The machine has been constructed from heavy duty steel which ensures that it is strong and durable.
With the steel construction, the unit will withstand some considerable amount of rough use and be resistant to rust.
Additionally, the unit features a multi-grip and pull up station and has a lower as well as upper body puller system. This ensures that you have a full body workout.
Speaking of a full body workout, the unit features a whopping 17 adjustable positions on each side. Last but not least, the unit comes inclusive of 2 hand straps, row bars, and a lat bar handle.
- Is strong and sturdy
- Comes inclusive of curl and lat bars
- Has smooth operation and performance
- The pulleys are constructed from cheap materials though
- The weights have to be even on both sides for stability during workouts
4. Body-Solid Functional Training Center
This unit is designed to impress. It comes with a pulley system that moves 80 degrees, and that has a bigger ratio. This allows for users to move even further with the plates.
The resistance movement on the unit is however at a minimum providing for a smooth operation. The unit comes with a chart that helps beginners to understand the capabilities of this unit. The handles on the machine are superior and comfortable.
The weight and resistance are variable. It comes with two 160 pounds weight stacks and a 0.5:1 ratio. The overall design of the unit is sleek, and the unit is reasonably priced.
- Strong and sturdy
- Flexible to use
- Smooth performance and operation
- Adjustable resistance
- Difficult setup
- The weight stack slide is flimsy
5. Caribou III Home Gym & Smith Machine
Smith Machine mechanism sports iolite bushings which slide over solid chrome rods to provide a piston-like action. The quick turn of the hand, more specifically the wrist, allows the user to lock out any time.
This unit has been designed complete with dual bar handles, safety rail spotter arms, a chin up bar and a lat pull down unit. The unit courtesy of its solid build can handle a total of 800 pounds. This alone is impressive enough to make most persons to purchase and take it home.
- Self-oiling bushings
- Dual bar holders
- Chin up bar
- Sports a dip station
- Smooth motion and operation
- The linear sides need regular lubrication to prevent binding
- Some users complain that the ends of bars have thicker diameter compared to the Olympic plates and as such have to be ground down to fit
With that, you should now be able to make a choice of the unit that best fits your workout and financial needs. The unit you choose should be well rounded.
With the above information also, your research time should be cut by more than half, and you should still be able to land the best there is.
My recommendation is the PowerLine PCCO90X. With its high specs and performance and surprisingly low price, this unit is a winner to even those working with a tight budget.