Inspire Fitness FT1 Functional Trainer Review – GarageGymPro

Functional trainers are great in home gyms because they let you do lots of exercises with just one piece of equipment.

The only problem is that there are loads to choose from, and when you're potentially paying thousands of dollars, you don't want to get it wrong.

In this Inspire Fitness FT1 review, we'll look at one of the most popular functional trainers on the market.

I'll do a deep dive into the features and share my thoughts on this gym machine so you can decide if it's the right one for you.

Our Ratings

Workout Versatility

9.5

Value For Money

9.5

Ease Of Use

10.0

Ease Of Assembly

8.5

Materials & Durability

10.0


Overall Rating

9.5

Our Experience Using This Functional Trainer

The Inspire FT1 is growing in popularity, and some people are even choosing this trainer over a power rack.

I've been using the FT1 for over 12 months now, and I can definitely see what the hype is about. It's incredibly versatile, with dual pulley cable machines that can be rotated into 30 positions.

What I really liked about the FT1 was that almost all the accessories were included and that you could add extra resistance to the weight stack.

I thought this was what let the Inspire FTX down, and it's clear that the FT1 is a step up in terms of quality.

I also found it good quality and really easy to use. The cables attached to the weight stack moved really well, and I felt I could hit all the major muscle groups.

I only had a few small issues using this functional training machine.

First, I felt like the dual-weight stacks were just a bit close together and that the whole machine was maybe too small. I'm not huge myself, but if you were over 6ft 4", you may struggle to use it.

There’s no denying that this is one of the best functional trainers on the market and a step up from the Inspire Fitness FTX.

Size & Dimensions In The Home

Inspire Fitness FT1 V-shaped setup diagram

The FT1 is compact and fits well in my home gym.

It uses a narrow V-shaped setup, which makes it perfect for sitting in the corner to maximize space.

Despite being compact, it has a sturdy and stable wide base.

I appreciated the narrow fit and the fact it didn't take up half of my gym, but I would say that it's not designed for really tall users.

The FT1 comes with a pull-up bar as standard, but again, it may not be tall enough for all users.

However, this is one of the best functional trainers for a small home or garage gyms and is over 30 inches narrower than other good models like the REP Fitness FT 5000.

Design & Build Quality

This is where the FT1 really impressed me.

It's made with a thick 11 gauge stainless steel frame, protected with an electrostatic black matte powder finish. This protects against dents and scratches, and from what I've seen, it works.

The FT1 isn't insanely heavy at 600 pounds, but it's definitely not a light model. The weight made it a little more tricky to build, but the design means that it doesn't shake at all while I'm using it.

This is a well-designed, well-made, and durable trainer, and I felt confident that it stood up to heavy use.

Workout Stations & Versatility

Inspire Fitness FT1 Functional Trainer

I knew that this trainer would be versatile because Inspire Fitness really know their stuff.

You can adjust it to 30 different positions (even though you may only use 5), and I found it easy to switch between them.

It comes with a triceps rope, straight bar, pull-up bar, curl bar, multi-functional belt, and ankle strap attachment as standard so that you can hit all your major muscle groups.

It is a little bit limited in the lower body department, but you can purchase a leg curl attachment to enhance your workout.

There's also no bench press as standard, so I'd recommend investing in that too.

I did find that for exercises similar to cable crossovers and others, I wasn't getting the full range of motion because of the position of the weight stacks, but generally, the FT1 worked well for isolation and compound exercises.

It had more workout options than the Inspire FTX and was on the same level as the highly-rated Titan Fitness trainer.

Weight Range

The FT1 uses weight stacks instead of weight plates, and it's easy to use the safety pin to shift resistance without interrupting your sets.

It has dual weight stacks, and each weight stack has 165 pounds, though there's a 2:1 ratio, so each weight stack really has 82.5 pounds of resistance.

One of my biggest criticisms of the Inspire Fitness FTX was that you couldn't add extra weight plates to the weight stacks, but this isn't an issue with the FT1 because you can pay extra to upgrade the resistance.

You can add 50 pounds of extra weight plates on each side, and you can buy 5 pound weight plates so you can adjust the load incrementally.

The option of 215 pounds of weight on each side makes the FT1 a great trainer. The extra resistance means you can use it for heavy lifts and makes it a better machine for lifters of all levels.

Related Article - Can You Add Weights To A Home Gym?

Assembling This Product

Inspire Fitness functional trainers are easy to put together, and the FT1 was no different.

It arrived in about 8 separate boxes, and it was just a case of putting them together using the instruction manual and an adjustable wrench.

There are also videos to guide you through the process.[1]

The only challenging part was actually moving the boxes. Even though this functional trainer is split into parts, each box was heavy, and I had to ask a friend to help me out.

With the moving and building, it took me just over 3 hours to finish it.

Price Guide

This is a mid-range functional trainer, which costs around $3000. It's more expensive than the Inspire FTX, but it's tougher and has more versatility, so it's worth the extra cost.

It's about the same price as other mid-range products like the REP Fitness FT3000 and the Titan Fitness functional trainer, but it probably offers a little more durability.

Maintenance

It's really important to look after big pieces of equipment like this, or you can ruin your long-term value.

The strong steel frame won't need much maintenance, but it's worth wiping it down with a cloth after every session to remove any dirt and oils from your sweat that could cause corrosion.

I would also recommend cleaning the whole machine, from weight stacks to the pull-up bar, once a week.

Just wipe over the whole thing and remove any dust or debris which could impact the trainer.

Before you use any functional trainers, you should visibly inspect the whole unit.

For example, check the weight stacks are aligned and that the straight bar and accessories are attached correctly before you use them.

This will help to keep you safe and prevent anything from falling and causing damage.

The Inspire FT1 is fairly low maintenance because it’s made to last. However, it’s worth checking the user manual and following their maintenance instructions.[2]

Shipping and Warranty

The Inspire FT1 can be purchased directly from the manufacturer or through Amazon or other third-party websites.

I bought directly from Inspire, and it was a straightforward process. It took about 6 days to arrive, which is standard, and came in 8 or 9 different small boxes.

The delivery and packaging were ok, but some of the small boxes were heavy. It's not overly surprising because this is a very heavy machine, but I struggled to get them inside on my own.

Just be warned that you may need a buddy to help you out.

The FT1 comes with a lifetime guarantee. This covers the frame and parts against any defects and adds to the long-term value of the trainer.


Pros & Cons Of Inspire Fitness FT1

What We Like

  • High-quality construction - really durable
  • Compact
  • You can add weight plates (up to 215 pounds on each stack)
  • Looks great
  • 30+ different configurations

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy parts - makes it more challenging to build
  • Too small for larger users

Who Should Buy Inspire Fitness FT1?

The ability to add extra weight to the FT1 really opens it up for more experienced lifters. That, combined with the versatility, makes it perfect for lifters of all levels who want a full-body workout.

It's also a really compact functional trainer, so if you have limited room in your home gym, you can use the FT1 instead of having to buy lots of smaller, space-consuming pieces of equipment.


Unique Features of the Inspire Fitness FT1 Functional Trainer

Space-Saving Corner Design

The V-shaped design means it fits tightly into the corner of your gym and doesn't take up much room.

Smooth Gliding Pulley System

Inspire Fitness FT1 Smooth Gliding Pulley System

The ball bearing system helps to operate smoothly, ergonomically designed pulleys.

This makes it easy to use one or more pulleys and gives you even resistance throughout the exercise - making building muscle mass easier.

Tablet Holder

The FT1 has embraced the 21st century and has a pre-assembled tablet holder built into the machine.

This is great for longer workouts or if you're following an online video workout routine.

Dual Independent Weight Stacks

I'm a big fan of having dual stacks because you can do weight resistance exercises on either side. 

You can lift a balanced weight to train both sides at once or focus on building muscle mass on one side at a time.

This feature is great for anyone recovering from injury or athletes doing targeted training.

2000 Pound Tensile Strength Cables

The adjustable pulleys covered in PVC sheets run smoothly on either side and have a lot of tensile strength.

This means that they aren't just smooth; they're incredibly safe and can handle extremely high weight resistance.

Optional Accessories

Inspire Fitness FT1 Optional Accessories

One of the things I like about the FT1 is that, unlike the FTX, it comes with 11 different accessories as standard, and they can be fitted onto the adjustable pulleys easily.

There are also some additional optional accessories that I would recommend getting:

Bench

The bench press attachment allows you to do chest presses, which are often regarded as a key upper-body exercise.

Preacher Curl Attachment

The preacher curl attachments are kind of like an EZ curl bar, and they'll help you do more effective bicep curls to grow your arms.

Even if you don't opt for this attachment, there are plenty of preacher curl alternatives you can do with the cables.

Leg Curl Attachment

There are fewer attachments for leg workouts, and while the ankle strap is good, it's not amazing.

It's worth getting the leg extension/curl attachment so you can engage your hamstrings and quads with the weight plate mechanism and make greater gains.

Even if you're on a tight budget and don't get the leg curl attachment, you can use the lower cables to perform plenty of leg curl substitute exercises.

50 lbs Weight Upgrade

With the Inspire FTX, you couldn't upgrade the weight resistance, so it's great to have this option with the FT1.

You can get an individual 50-pound weight plate or several smaller 5 pound weight plates to up the resistance incrementally.

This extra weight makes the FT1 a much better machine for experienced lifters.


Comparing The FT1 With Alternative Functional Trainers

Inspire Fitness FT1 Vs FT2

The FT1 and FT2 are part of the same range, but the FT2 is a big step up.

There are a lot of similarities between these fitness machines in terms of look and feel, and they are both well-made.

However, the FT2 functional trainer is definitely a more complete piece of gym equipment.

It's bigger, heavier (with a total weight of 800 pounds), and extremely durable - suitable for heavy use from multiple users.

The thick stainless steel frame is designed to handle a lot, and it can accommodate a much higher resistance level of up to 360 pounds.

In addition, it has various attachments as standard, including a lat bar, ab bar, smith bar, tricep rope, and even a full Olympic bar!

This means you can do everything from an abdominal crunch and tricep extension, to cable rows and overhead presses.

In almost every way, the FT2 is a nicer functional trainer, but it's bigger and more expensive.

If you're an experienced lifter looking for a true all-in-one fitness machine, then this is the better choice.

On the other hand, if you're a beginner or intermediate lifter, or have limited space or a limited budget, then you'll be better off with the FT1.

Check out our full review of the FT2 Functional Trainer here!

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Inspire Fitness FT1 Vs FTX

The FTX is the original Inspire trainer, and it's definitely a more bare-bones model than the FT1. It still has a solid stainless steel frame and durability, but it's smaller and not as versatile.

It has two 165 weight stacks that operate with a magnetic weight pin, but there's no option to upgrade the resistance.

It has a smooth operating ball bearing system but is slightly noisier than the FT1. In fact, in many ways, the FTX is just one step behind the FT1.

The FTX also doesn't have as many accessories. There was a tricep rope, straight bar, curl bar, and bar for pull-ups (or assisted pull-ups), but there was an additional cost for almost everything else.

What's good about the FTX is that it's really affordable and compact. It works well for small garage gyms where ceiling height is an issue, and it's a great budget option for beginners.

If you're choosing between FTX vs FT1, it all comes down to your goals.

If you've just started out, then the FTX offers some great value, but because there's no option to increase the resistance level, it isn't as good for intermediate or advanced users.

Don't forget to jump on over to our full review of the FTX trainer for more info!

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Inspire Fitness FT1 Vs Life Fitness G7

The G7 really similar to the FT1 and is roughly the same price, so it’s difficult to separate them.

What I like about the G7 is that you can use it for over 60 different exercises, and it comes with a bench for your chest work.

It also has a training DVD and exercise booklet to help you get the most from it. Just like the FT1, it has some attachments as standard, with bars for pull-ups on the top of every machine.

You can also pay extra for things like a preacher curl attachment.

Where I think the G7 is lacking compared to the FT1 and other functional trainers is the construction quality.

There's nothing wrong with the G7 as a home gym system, but it's not as durable as the FT1, which is basically a light commercial model.

You'll get a lot of use out of both, but the Inspire FT1 offers better long-term value than the G7.

My FT1 Workout Program

The FT1 can be used in a lot of different ways, and the smooth operation makes it useful for athletes or those recovering from injury.

I always recommend that beginners go for a whole-body workout program, and this is one that's worked well for me:

  • Standing Chest Fly 8-12 reps
  • Standing Shoulder Press / Kneeling Shoulder Press 8-10 reps
  • Kneeling Lat Pulldown 10-12 reps
  • Glute Kickback 8-12 reps
  • Mid Row 8-12 reps
  • Tricep Extensions 8-12 reps
  • Kneeling Ab Crunch 10-14 reps
  • Leg Curl (if you have the attachment) 8-12 reps
  • Seated curl 8-10 reps

Make sure you have reasonable clearance around the machine to do the exercises safely.

Keep your movement super smooth, and pull the cables in a controlled motion to maximize muscle gain.

Aim for 30-second rests between sets, and repeat the entire routine 3 times (or until failure).

The FT1 should come with an exercise booklet, too, with more ideas on how to make the most of it in your home gym.


Inspire Fitness FT1 Functional Trainer FAQs

How much is each weight on the Inspire FT1?

Each weight plate is 10 pounds, and you control the resistance with a safety pin.

How much does the Inspire Fitness FT1 weigh?

The whole machine weighs 622 pounds.

Where is Inspire Fitness equipment made?

It’s all manufactured in Corona, California.

Can you do squats with a functional trainer?

Yes, if you set the pulley guide rod to the highest setting, you can squat with the FT1.

Our Ratings

Workout Versatility

9.5

Value For Money

9.5

Ease Of Use

10.0

Ease Of Assembly

8.5

Materials & Durability

10.0


Overall Rating

9.5

Conclusion – Is It Any Good?

Well, I’ve tried it, and I can officially say that the FT1 is a good functional trainer.

The smooth operation, countless exercise options, and overall quality make it great to use, and while it is more expensive than the FTX - it’s definitely worth it.

The FT1 will work well for all but the most elite lifters, and hopefully, this functional trainer review has helped you determine if it's right for you.

References: 

1. https://inspirefitness.com/product/ft1-functional-trainer/#videos
2. https://www.manualslib.com/manual/631146/Inspire-Ft1.html

Last Updated on November 7, 2022