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Inspire Fitness FT2 review: Learn how this popular functional trainer crushes the competition with versatility

By James Jackson
Last Updated on 17th August 2020

Functional trainers are one of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment that you can buy—especially for home workouts. However, as useful as cable machines are, they often lack that familiar free weight feeling that so many of us know and love.

So when I came across the Inspire Fitness FT2 Gym, I was intrigued. Could this compact functional trainer really replace a cable crossover, Smith machine, squat rack and virtually all other gym equipment?

I decided to put it to the test. Inside my Inspire Fitness FT2 review, you'll find out all the benefits and drawbacks of this cable machine—even the ones that might not seem apparent at first glance. I'll also compare it to two of the market leaders in the functional trainer category to give you some perspective.

compact cable machine for working out
Pros
  • Huge amount of accessories
  • Smith machine provides up to 208kg of fluid resistance
  • Adjustable bench has a 450kg capacity
  • Frame is stable without being bolted down
  • Pulleys have 32 height positions
  • Includes an additional 6 pulleys for pulldowns, low rows and more
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Weight stack upgrade costs extra
  • No neutral grip for pull-ups

Inspire FT2 Functional Trainer facts and figures

The Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer consists of a Smith machine, pulley system, pull up station, adjustable weight bench and a leg attachment. With it, you can perform any exercise that you'd typically do in a commercial gym. And yes, that includes free weight exercises like bench press and squats.

With the convenient weight multiplier, the Smith machine provides a massive 208kgs (460lbs) of constant tension resistance. And like a trustworthy gym spotter, its clever adjustable safety catches enable you to test your limits without fretting about getting trapped under a loaded barbell.

full body workut machine with bench and cable attachments

The cable system is equally impressive. There are 8 pulley locations, and the two widest pulleys have 32 adjustable positions. Naturally, this enables you to work your muscles from different angles while also allowing for precise adjustments so that you can make each exercise feel just right.

Inspire Fitness includes their highest quality weight bench in the FT2 Functional Trainer package. It has an outrageous 450kg (1000lb) weight capacity, 5 backrest positions and 4 seat positions. Best of all, it quickly connects to the leg extension kit so that you can achieve faster results by adding more variety to your lower body workouts.

  • Dimensions: 148cm L x 155cm W x 211cm H
  • Unit weight: 374kg (825lbs)
  • Inspire Fitness FT2 accessories: triceps rope, straight bar, EZ bar, ankle strap, 2 x d handles, sport handle, multifunction belt, 2 x 5lb add-on weights, 2x water bottles, exercise booklet
  • Warranty: lifetime
  • Estimated assembly time: 4-7 hours
  • Price: Click For Lowest British Price

Inspire Fitness FT2 workout stations

This part of my Inspire FT2 Functional Trainer review looks at the 5 workout stations in more detail so that you can fully understand the pros and cons of this cable machine.

Smith machine

In all the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer reviews that I've read, it's always the Smith machine that gets the most praise.

a man and a woman training chest

It's incredibly easy to use, not least because of the low 9kg (20lb) starting weight. More importantly, however, you don't have to spend time and energy loading weight discs onto the bar—you just slot the pin into the stack and lift. It's that simple.

But the most significant benefit, at least if you lift heavy like me, is definitely the weight multiplier. With a simple hook, the weight multiplier more than doubles the Smith machine's resistance from a respectable 86kg (190lbs) to a colossal 208kg (460lbs).

What this means for you is that, unless you're a professional strongman, you always have a new weight to aim for. Of course, this is highly motivating, and it definitely encourages you to push harder in your Inspire Fitness FT2 workouts.

lifting barbell

The Smith machine bar itself is also highly adjustable. For example, you can raise it to the top lockout position while you're using the cables. But you can just as easily do Inspire Fitness FT2 exercises like Romanian deadlifts and bent-over rows by making use of the FT2's 15cm (6") minimum height, which, unlike other Smith machines, allows you to get a full stretch and build more muscle.

Pulley system

man doing cable tricep extensions

The Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer has a total of 8 pulleys: 2 high, 2 wide and 4 narrow. Although they each serve different functions, every pulley produces friction-free movement for a more natural range of motion. This motion enables you to recruit more muscle fibres and stimulate faster growth because you don't have to fight any annoying sticking points

Likewise, the cable pulleys all feed off the same 75kg (165lb) commercial weight stack, which you can instantly increase to 98kg (215lbs) by investing in the 32kg (50lb) weight stack upgrade.

cable pulley system including handle attachments

However, because the weight stack ratio is 1:2, you only get half of the stated resistance. This means that with the upgrade, the maximum resistance is 50kg per pulley (110lbs). Considering that you can use the Smith machine for your heavy compound movements, this is plenty of resistance for 99% of isolation exercises.

Plus, since this is cable resistance, your muscles are challenged through the entire range of motion, making the pulleys feel much heavier than free weights.

Because the upper cables are fixed, they immediately increase your strength levels by providing extra stability. This sturdiness is especially useful on exercises like lat pulldowns and triceps pushdowns, where you don't want the cable columns swinging from side to side.

cable adjustments

Likewise, the 4 lower pulleys are also fixed. They hook up to the adjustable bench, providing quad extensions and lying hamstring curls. But you can also perform upper body movements like cable rows, bicep curls and lateral raises, which all help to bring up your lagging body parts.

The final two pulleys are characteristic of a traditional cable crossover machine. You can adjust each cable column over 32 positions, enabling you to trigger more muscle growth by hitting each body part from a variety of angles [1].

Adjustable weight bench

When Inspire Fitness said they were including their highest quality bench with their FT2, I thought it was just marketing hype. But when I realised that It had an outrageous 450kg (1000lb) weight capacity, I knew they weren't exaggerating.

workout bench

The SCS Adjustable Commercial Bench measures 183cm L x 66cm W x 120cm H and weighs 34kg (75lbs).

Additionally, it has 5 backrest angles— minus 20, flat, 30-degree incline, 45-degree incline, 65-degree incline, 85-degree incline—so that you can emphasise all the heads of your chest and build more proportional pecs.

In a like manner, you can also adjust the seat over 4 angles. This adjustability is especially useful for incline presses because a raised seat provides you with extra stability, thus making you stronger.

Leg attachment

leg extension and black padding

The leg attachment measures 50cm L x 53cm W x 81cm H (max height) and connects to the adjustable bench to provide you with back support, which means that your spinal erectors won't tire before your quads during leg extensions.

You also get a conversion kit to connect the leg attachment to the two bottommost pulleys. This accessory gives the station an air of health club quality while also providing a very high maximum resistance for you to challenge your quads and hamstrings with.

Alternatively, you can add plates directly onto the weight horn, which is a smart (but probably unnecessary) way to increase the resistance even further.

conversion kit for the leg station

And with all that potential resistance available, it's a good job that Inspire Fitness includes 6 dense foam roller pads to protect our shins and calves from bruising.

Pull up station

Like most cable machines, the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer includes a pull-up station.

However, as I found out recently, this isn't just any old pull up station—it's height adjustable.

front view including the smith bar

You can set the bar between heights of 211cm (83") and 224cm (88"). This adjustability is great if you have low ceilings like me (or if you just have really long arms) because you can do full range of motion pull-ups without banging your head on the ceiling.

But if you can't do full range of motion pull-ups (yet), then you can also do assisted pull-ups with the help of the multifunction belt. Here's how it works:

Simply connect the belt to each side of the pulley. Then, select the weight that you want to counterbalance your body with. Finally, push the multifunction attachment down with both hands and place your knees or feet in the middle of it.

Viola! You have your very own assisted pull-up machine.

Inspire Fitness FT2 parts and frame

In this section of my Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer review, I'll share my findings regarding the build quality so that you can see if it's up to par with the versatility of the workout stations [2].

lower cable pulleys and attachment points

Like all commercial-grade gym equipment, the Inspire Smith machine functional trainer is made from 11 gauge precision steel for a lifetime of durability (hence the lifetime warranty).

The frame also benefits from an electrostatic powder coat. What this means to us is that our functional trainer can more easily fend off wear and tear and remain in pristine, out-of-the-box condition for much longer than regular home gym equipment.

man performing lying hamstring curls

On the training side of things, Inspire has equipped the pulleys and Smith machine with precision steel ball bearings. Aside from being naturally durable, these ball bearings also eliminate friction and are the main reason why the pulley and barbell lifting motions feel so smooth.

Finally, the cables have a 907kg (2000lb) tensile strength, which is the maximum resistance they can withstand without snapping (suffice to say I wasn't strong enough to put this to the test!). [3]

Inspire Fitness FT2 size and weight

Measuring 148cm L x 155cm W x 211cm H and tipping the scales at 374kg (825lbs), the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer is undoubtedly a heavyweight in the home gym category.

While you might think that the weight is excessive, it actually has some overlooked benefits. And yes, you can almost certainly use the FT2 upstairs without any issues.

First, its large mass makes the unit remarkably stable, to the point where you don't even need to bolt it down. Not only does this slash your assembly time, but it also makes you feel safer (and thus able to train harder) since you know that the unit will never tip forwards and cause injury.

muscular man doing back squats with a bar

Further, the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer isn't as heavy as some people make it out to be. Once you factor in the weight plates that you'd have to buy for a regular home gym, you're looking at a comparable weight to the FT2—but without the efficiency of weight stacks.

Just make sure that you install it in a room slightly taller than the height of the frame (211cm/83") so that you have head clearance for pull-ups (presuming you care about pull-ups, that is).

Related post: Inspire Fitness SCS review

Inspire Fitness FT2 safety features

As mentioned, the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer is incredibly stable. It's like that dependable life partner who always has our back when the going gets tough.

This stability is important because all the high-tech safety features in the world can't save a home gym (or relationship) from a poor build quality.

After all, if you have to hold your breath in anxiety every time you lift, is training at home really worth the investment?

close up of the pulley system

But despite perfecting the basics—stability, durability, versatility—the FT2 still has some rather exciting safety features that I'd never seen before.

Essentially, the pulleys act as safety catches whenever the Smith machine is engaged. What this means to us is that we never need to worry about getting stuck underneath the barbell because the pulleys will take the strain—at any point during the rep.

So It's unsurprising that we also have a total of 32 lockout points, which is more than any of the other 43 Smith machines that I tested have.

Related post: Weider Pro 8500 review

Inspire Fitness FT2 assembly

The Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer arrives in 11 boxes and requires only basic tools for the assembly. Here's what you'll need:

  • Metric socket set: including 17mm, 18mm and 19mm sockets
  • Metric 17mm, 18mm and 19mm spanners/wrenches
  • Adjustable spanner/wrench
  • 8mm, 6mm, 5mm and 4mm Allen keys/wrenches
  • Rubber hammer/mallet
  • Tape measure

Partly because of the clear instructions and partially because I've assembled so much gym equipment before, the Inspire Fitness FT2 installation was pretty straightforward.

man doing curls with an EZ bar

There are 17 steps in total and the most essential parts (such as when to tighten the bolts) are bolded for extra clarity so that you're less likely to make mistakes.

You also get a series of clear, zoomed-in diagrams so that you know precisely where to attach each part. These pictures minimize mistakes and help you to avoid the common frustration of having to redo entire sections.

Additionally, Inspire Fitness includes a detailed maintenance guide and accompanying schedule to remove the guesswork from looking after your functional trainer.

Related post: Tunturi SM80 Full Smith review

How does it compare?

Without a doubt, the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer is better than the likes of the Tunturi SM60 Half Smith. But how does it compare to other commercial quality machines?

Inspire FT2 vs Inspire FT1

Let's compare Inspire Fitness FT1 vs FT2:

cable machine with a bench

Despite being roughly half the price of the FT2, the Inspire FT1 still benefits from the same solid construction, the same resistance level and the same number of accessories.

However, it's significantly more compact than the FT2, measuring just 117cm L x 137cm W x 211cm H compared to the FT2's larger 148cm L x 155cm W x 211cm H footprint. As such, the Inspire FT1 Functional Trainer is a better choice if you have limited space.

Also, it has a longer pull up bar. But unless you're incredibly tall, this has no tangible benefit.

back view of a cable gym machine

Despite its compact footprint, the FT1 has just 2 cable pulleys whereas the FT2 has 8. If you just want to do regular cable crossover exercises, however, this isn't a big deal.

That said, the extra pulleys are useful for doing low rows, lat pulldowns and other exercises that work best from a fixed cable position [4].

Additionally, the Inspire FT1 doesn't come with a Smith machine, adjustable bench or leg attachment.

gym accessories including a bar and rope

You can't add a Smith machine a later date, but you can buy a bench, leg attachment and preacher attachment. However, this will make the cost comparable to the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer (albeit still a bit cheaper).

Overall, go with the Inspire FT1 Functional Trainer if you're on a tight budget, have limited space or if you don't need the fixed cable pulleys and Smith machine [5].

Inspire FT2 vs Life Fitness G7

Now we'll compare the Life Fitness G7 vs Inspire FT2: which is most worth it for home workouts?

weight training cable machine with a bench

The Life Fitness G7 and the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer are comparable in size. The G7 measures 124cm L x 177cm W x 211cm H whereas the FT2 is 24cm longer but 22cm narrower (they're both the same height).

The G7 also has a neutral grip pull up option whereas the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer doesn't.

You can buy the G7 functional trainer with and without an adjustable bench. And without the bench, it's around £1250 cheaper than the FT2.

Life Fitness has also been in business much longer than Inspire Fitness. Yet both companies are known for delivering commercial quality products.

man using a cable machine for resistance training

However, the G7 functional trainer has 12 fewer cable adjustments (32 vs 20) and doesn't have the option for a leg attachment or Smith machine, which significantly reduces your workout options [6].

Overall, the Life Fitness G7 is a better choice if you're on a budget but still want a quality cable machine.

FAQ

What are the dimensions of the FT2?

The Inspire Fitness FT2 dimensions are 148cm L x 155cm W x 211cm H.

How much does the Inspire Fitness FT2 weigh?

The Inspire Fitness FT2 weight is 825lbs/374kg.

How smoothly does the Smith bar glide up and down?`

Inspire Fitness has equipped the FT2 with a precision steel ball-bearing system. As such, both the cables and the Smith machine feel incredibly fluid. There's no annoying friction that diverts the tension away from your muscles and onto your joints [7].

Do I need to bolt it down?

No, the Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer is completely stable without being bolted down.

What's the difference between the regular and fully loaded versions?

full body workut machine with bench and cable attachments

The Inspire FT2 Full Package comes with a cable crossover, 6 extra fixed pulleys, a Smith machine, adjustable bench and a leg attachment.

The regular version has all of the above minus the bench and leg attachment.

Is the weight stack upgrade worth it?

upgrade kit

If you're a beginner or aren't training for mass, then you probably won't need the weight stack upgrade. However, if you're aiming to build muscle, then I definitely recommend investing in the upgrade.

Will I need to buy any other equipment when I get the Inspire FT2?

No. The Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer replaces a Smith machine, squat rack and virtually all other gym equipment. You can use the adjustable bench for dumbbell and barbell exercises, but free weights aren't necessary by any means.

I see this is a British website, where can I get this in the USA?

We always pride ourselves on securing the best price for our British readers. And this Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer review is no different.

However, if you're ordering from America, Canada or elsewhere, then you can click here to check the current price.

Should you invest in the Inspire FT2 Functional Trainer?

The Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer combines the versatility of a cable crossover with the safety of a Smith machine into a what is truly a one-of-a-kind workout station.

And for me, it passes the test with top marks.

Being able to mimic every barbell exercise without needing free weights is incredibly convenient.

The first thing that you'll notice (after the smooth resistance) is how much better your workouts flow. You don't have to constantly break off to fiddle around with weight discs—you just set the pin and lift. And I really like it.

That said, if you're on a tight budget or don't need a Smith machine, then the Inspire Fitness FT1 is probably a better choice.

But if you're anything like me—and love having different kinds of workout equipment at your disposal—then you'll thrive on the variety of the FT2. Like a delicious post-workout meal, It makes your training sessions something to look forward to.

I hope that my Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer review was helpful. And hopefully, you can get your hands on one while they're still in stock.

Editor's Choice
Inspire Fitness FT2 Functional Trainer
compact cable machine for working out
  • Tons of accessories as standard
  • Pulleys have 30+ adjustable positions
  • Enjoy 6 additional pulleys for pulldowns, rows, curls and more
  • Get 200kg+ of fluid Smith machine resistance
  • Lifetime warranty

 

James Jackson
I'm a former academy rugby union player who specialises in strength and conditioning for competitive athletes. I split my time between coaching the next generation of British talent and creating hands-on gym equipment case studies at Smith Machine UK.
At Smith Machine UK, we create in-depth tests of the latest and greatest gym equipment on the British market so that you can create your dream home gym.
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