This is a comprehensive review of the Victory FT-5000, Rep Fitness’ take on one of (if not the most) versatile pieces of gym equipment available – the functional trainer.
For those of you who knew this review was coming and have been waiting patiently for me to complete it, I apologize for the longer than usual wait. I really wanted to be thorough with this review and that meant getting a lot of time on the FT-5000 before publishing anything. I also wanted a good amount of feedback from others who were using it in my gym. That too required slowing down the review process a little. A functional trainer is a major investment and I just wanted to detailed as possible with the content of this review.
FT-5000 Functional Trainer Review – Introduction
Functional trainers offer up an ridiculous amount of variety in terms of what movements are possible. There are far too many to list, but for those of you with a typical rack, bar, weights, and bench set up, the movements that are probably the most appealing include things such as weighted ab crunches, cable chest crossovers, reverse delt flyes, tricep pressdowns and kick-backs, cable curls, leg curls, single-arm rows, lateral and front shoulder raises, and the whole collection of cable-based, rotator cuff rehab/prehab exercise; all great exercises that are difficult (and even sometimes impossible) to replicate with a barbell.
Technically, a functional trainer could provide one a full-body workout. I mean there really is no shortage of exercise options with the FT-5000 – core, chest, shoulders, arms, back, legs and more can be hit many different ways with multiple attachments. Still, I’m not going to try and make an argument for centering your training around a functional trainer. That may be suitable or even appropriate for a small sect of the population, but I don’t think you guys are all that interested in ditching the power rack and barbell (Lord knows I’d never do that).
No, rather I believe that a functional trainer should compliment existing gyms, as it provides access to so many great movements that could not otherwise be performed in the standard garage or home gym – at least not without having access to a whole plethora of other gear. I’m talking like a large selection of resistance bands, a full dumbbell set, multiple kettlebells, and probably even some other kind of cable machine. I’m not kidding you.. the total amount of exercises possible; the level of versatility that a functional trainer offers; is just insane.
In any case, in this review I’m not so much going to try to convince you of why you’d benefit from owning a functional trainer, I’m going to tell you about the Rep FT-5000 specifically so those of you who are in the market for a functional trainer know whether or not the FT-5000 is a good choice for you. I’ll be covering features, specifications, functionality, quality, prices and comparisons, and much more. I’ll let you know what I like (and even dislike) about this machine, how happy I am with it, and things you should know before purchasing your own.
I hope you find this review helpful. If you have any questions about this review, want to sing your praises of the FT-5000 (or voice your concerns), or just leave a comment for the sake of leaving a comment, please feel free to do so in the section following the article.
FT-5000 Review – Table of Contents
- FT-5000 Specifications & Dimensions
- FT-5000 Functional Trainer Full Review
- Rep’s FT-5000 vs FT-3000
- FT-5000 Pros and Cons List
- FT-5000 Review Summary
Rep ‘Victory’ FT-5000 Functional Trainer Specifications
- Frame Details
- laser cut, robot welded, 2″ x 4″, 11-gauge steel frame
- minimal amount of hardware needed for assembly
- bolt heads are all capped for safety and aesthetics
- frame is two-layer electrostatic powder coated; very attractive and resilient
- lifetime frame warranty
- laser cut, robot welded, 2″ x 4″, 11-gauge steel frame
- overall: 85″ high x 72″ wide x 45″ deep
- depth (for wall placement): 36″
- wall length needed for corner placement: 65″ per side
- 561-lb machine with (2) 220-lb weight stacks (1001-lbs total)
- overall: 85″ high x 72″ wide x 45″ deep
- Cable Specifics
- weight stacks are 220-lbs with a 2:1 ratio (110 effective load per stack)
- weight stacks adjust in 2.5 kg / 5.5 lb increments
- minimum effective load is 11-lbs per stack
- maximum cable travel distance is 81″
- 16 pulley settings per side; laser numbered
- weight selector pin is magnetic and secure
- two grippy, urethane D-handles (stirrups) are included with the FT-5000
- Other features
- pulleys are reinforced fiberglass; very smooth with no catching or dragging
- 3 sets of rubber-coated, pull-up/chin-up handles at different heights
- Two horizontal crossmembers offer six storage pins for your attachments
- a steel placard demonstrates 12 of the many possible exercises
Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Shipping
When you order the FT-5000, it will ship freight. What that costs you obviously depends on your location. Fortunately, Rep is located fairly central; in Denver, CO; so shipping is never really bad when dealing with them (no cross-country freight rates.)
It only took four days to receive my FT-5000 (here in Texas). On day one I placed the order, on day three I was contacted by the freight company to schedule my delivery, and the very next day it was delivered. I have zero complaints regarding the shipping.
Your functional trainer will arrive in a large, wooden crate. This crate; rather than the usual corrugated boxes stacked on a pallet; does wonders in terms of making sure no damage is done to the product en route (though you will have to figure out what to do with the crate!)
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Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Assembly
As it turns out, the assembly process is not bad at all. I did it in only a few hours without any help! Rep claims that assembly should take about two hours with two people, and based on my experience of assembling it solo I can definitely see how getting it up and running in that short amount of time would be possible; that is, assuming you have all the proper tools prior to starting assembly. Here’s what you’ll need:
- a metric hex key set (Allen wrenches)
- a metric wrench set
- a metric socket set
I highly recommend you figure out where you’re putting this monstrosity before you finalize assembly. It does not move easily once completely assembled. Remember, it weighs in at 1000-lbs!
Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Build Quality
The Rep Fitness FT-5000 is a commercial-quality piece of gym equipment; not a light-duty, low-quality home product. You could just as easily stick this machine in a commercial gym as you could in your private gym, and truth be told, commercial-quality equipment is exactly the sort of equipment you should always try to purchase for your gym if your goal is to have access to safe and reliable equipment that won’t wear out and need to be replaced.
So what makes the FT-5000 a commercial piece rather than a home unit?
The FT-5000 is made from high-strength, 11-gauge steel tubing. Aside from a couple cross-members that are attached via large bolts, the frame is almost entirely welded. This minimal amount of assembly hardware makes for a very strong & durable piece of equipment. Were it not for the fact that the thing still needs to be shipped, I’m certain that the frame of the FT-5000 would be entirely welded and require no frame assembly at all! In any case it doesn’t matter because the frame is as solid as a rock.
In addition to thicker steel frames and welds versus hardware, commercial-grade machines tend to have larger, more stable footprints, higher-quality hardware (where hardware is still being used), higher-load cables, more adjustment settings, larger weight stacks and higher maximum capacities, and so forth. Yes, you can buy a functional trainer for less than $2000 but it’s going to leave a lot to be desired. Even Rep’s own, less costly FT-3000 didn’t appeal to me when compared to the FT-5000 (which I’ll get into later.)
In any case, the FT-5000 is an excellent piece of high-quality equipment. It’s strong enough for the global gym, meaning it should literally last forever in your garage. Nothing about this product feels cheap to me – I’ve never been concerned about it breaking or failing, and I’ve never been concerned about my safety while using it.
Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Stability
The FT-5000 is over a thousand pounds fully assembled. This thing is extremely heavy and it is extremely stable. It does not move around or shift at all during use no matter how much total weight you are pulling or what angle you are pulling the weight from. Rest assured that there are literally no stability issues with this product.
Speaking of heavy, let me just remind you to think really hard about where you intend to put yours before you finalize assembly. The FT-5000 is not a very easy product to move around after the fact. What I suggest is getting the frame itself assembled and then move it to your preferred location. Only when you are happy with where it is going do you begin to drop the weight plates in and complete the assembly. I’m telling you, the difference in moving a 560-lb frame and a 1000-lb completed unit is far from subtle.
Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Dimensions
Functional Trainers are fairly large pieces of gym equipment; requiring quite the floor space commitment (about as much space is needed as what’s required for a power rack and your 7′ barbell.)
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Fitting what basically amounts to two power racks into a single garage gym may be a bit of a challenge for those with smaller garages or those who don’t have an entire bay to commit to their gym. That said, consider how many garage gyms have; in addition to a power rack; a GHD, reverse hyper, or a lat tower. These too are very large units, and people make them work in their space all the time. I actually have a smaller-than-average garage, yet I have a Monster Power Rack, a full-sized lat tower, and the FT-5000 lined up.
Additionally, most functional trainers; including the Rep FT-5000; have the added benefit of being shaped like a trapezoid. That is, they are angled outward from the rear; meaning they can be backed into a corner. Setting a functional trainer up in the corner doesn’t make your machine any smaller, but it does make better use of the space. Not many pieces work well in a corner because most things require a certain amount of working space around them. A functional trainer doesn’t require you to be anywhere else but in front of it. I started with my FT-5000 backed against a wall, but I ultimately moved it to the corner. It made a difference.
In terms of height, the FT-5000 is not overly tall at 85″ high (just a hair over 7′.) It will easily fit in homes and garages with 8′ ceilings while also giving plenty of head room for chins and pull-ups. It should even fit under the open garage door; giving you more placement freedom than you get with most power racks (though you’ll clearly want to confirm this in your gym).
The FT-5000 should even fit in the vast majority of basement gyms with zero issue.
Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Cable & Pulleys
The FT-5000 has very smooth, fiberglass reinforced pulleys and 3/16″ high-strength, nylon-coated steel cables. The entire system is very fluid; there is no catching or dragging on the line regardless of where you set your handles on the column.
There are 16 vertical settings on the columns, with the handles able to be set mere inches from the ground, and about 10″ from the very top of the unit. The pulley component of the handles (the half moon-shaped things that the cables poke out of) pivots about 180º, which allows you to position yourself nearly anywhere around the front half of the machine.
The handle carriages themselves are on wheels; which is apparently a new addition to the V2. I don’t know how the original version performed, but these carriages are very simple to move up and down the column with just one hand.
The travel length of each cable is over 80″ – or over 6½” feet. If that is not enough distance for you, I’d be curious to know what exercise you are trying to perform.
I don’t have anything negative to report regarding the pulleys or cables. Again, there is no dragging or catching on either cable, and one side never feels any different from the other side when using both handles (flyes, pulldowns, etc.) The system is smooth and perfectly balanced.
Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Attachments
The FT-5000 comes with two urethane, stirrup-style handles. These are pretty solid handles from what I can tell. The handles rotate, they’re surprisingly grippy, and they weigh close to nothing. I like these a lot better than the cheap, chrome-finished stirrups that you commonly come across in the global gyms (you know the ones I’m talking about.)
You don’t really need to replace these included handles; they work well and feel great. Now I wanted to sample some of Rep’s Pro-line Attachments so I did indeed replace mine with a pair of Pro D-Handles, and yes I like them more because of how they pivot and rotate, but I don’t think it’s necessary to upgrade.
Of course being a functional trainer and having access to so many different exercises, you’ll really need to pick up a few more attachments. I recommend at the very least: a Spud Strap (instead of the classic rope), a curl bar, and a V-shaped tricep bar (preferably rotating). You may also want to ankle cuff for hamstring curls, and a lat or row attachment of some sort.
Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Weight Stacks
Each weight stack of the FT-5000 has 220-lbs worth of weight. Each individual plate weighs in at 11-lbs; or 5 kilograms.
Unlike simple cable machines (like the lat tower), functional trainers operate at a 2:1 weight ratio. This means that the total effective load of each 220-lb stack is 110-lbs, and the weight can be adjusted in 5.5-lb (2.5 kg) increments.
It should be pointed out that the first plate of each stack on the FT-5000 is not 5.5-lb like all of the others, it’s actually 11-lbs; or the equivalent of two plates. I am assuming that this is a result of there being a pulley and some other small components affixed to that first plate. No matter why it weighs 11-lbs, it’s important to know that it does.
To put all that another way, the minimum load of each cable is 11-lbs, not 5.5 lbs.
Included for each weight stack are two small, round weights that fit around the base of your guide rods. Each of these small weights is 2.75-lbs; or 5.5-lbs for the pair (which is 2.75-lbs effective weight, or exactly half of what a full-sized plate weighs). These basically allow you to make smaller jumps in weight when necessary.
It’s also worth pointing out that the included pins for the stack are magnetic, which helps to keep the pin in place in-between reps. It’s not a very strong magnet, but it’s strong enough to do its job. I’ve never had the pin slide or fall out.
Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Pricing
The Rep Fitness FT-5000 is a little over $2000 delivered. This is a commercial-quality unit with two of the heaviest weight stacks available; heavier than the $4000 Precor FTS Glide, heavier than the $4000 Free Motion EXT, and way heavier than the $3000 Life Fitness G7 Gym (and these are all major commercial players.) The Rep has the heaviest stacks at the most competitive price.
Below are a handful of the alternatives to the Rep FT-5000; including the three commercial functional trainers I just mentioned. Body Solid actually offers the most competitive price to the Rep FT-5000, but it is still more expensive than the Rep, and even with a 50-lb upgrade to the weight stacks, it’s still 10-lbs shy of the Rep. Still, not a bad alternative.
|Rep Fitness FT-5000||220-lbs||2:1||85″||$1899|
|Life Fitness G7 Gym||160-lbs||2:1||83″||$2999|
|Precor FTS Glide||200-lbs||2:1||85″||$3999|
|Free Motion EXT Dual||210-lbs||3:1||84″||$3995|
|Inspire Fitness FTX||165-lbs||2:1||85″||$1799|
|Body Solid GDCC200 FT||210-lbs||2:1||83″||$2170|
If you are seriously in the market for a functional trainer then I hope you took a few minutes to look at these other models. It should have been pretty evident that regardless of the cost differences there is not much difference between all of these trainers. They’re all made with 11-gauge steel frames and have the same general frame design and total footprint, they all (save for Free Motion) use the same 2:1 pulley configuration, and they’re all within a couple inches of one another in terms of height. Yes, some of them have a water bottle holder, and some have more available carriage positions, but functionally there is little to no difference.
Now if $1899 is still too much for you then you can cut your cost down even more by going with the lighter-duty units that utilize your existing weight plates rather than having a pair of selectorized weight stacks. A unit like the Powertec Streamline Functional Trainer ($1599) is a great example of such a machine.
To be completely honest, cable machines that require weight plates gets old fast. Even the plate-loaded lat towers that only have one pair of pins to load gets old; imagine loading and unloading two carriages day-in and day-out. Even worse, you aren’t even saving that much money by getting rid of the weight stacks. Deal with loading plates over a $300 difference? I don’t think so! You’re going to regret it
The fact is that the Rep Fitness FT-5000 is priced about as brilliantly as possible. $1899 is extremely competitive. You cannot ask for more machine for less money without seriously sacrificing something – stability, quality, versatility, capacity, ease-of-use, something. Don’t take my word for it though, do your research. Be thorough about it too, and you’ll see.
Rep FT-5000 versus the FT-3000
The Rep Fitness FT-3000 Functional Trainer is a more compact alternative to the FT-5000. At $1599 versus $1899, the FT-3000 is shorter (78″ tall vs 85″), narrower (53″ wide vs 72″), and has slightly less weight per stack (180-lbs per stack vs 220-lbs.) The FT-3000 is a nice alternative for those with very limited space, but it wasn’t for me. Why not, you wonder?
All three of the differences that I just mentioned mattered to me. I’m too tall for a functional trainer that’s just 78″ high if I want to make use of the pull-up bar, the columns are simply a little too compact (too close together) for my 75″ wingspan, and truth be told, having access to 40-lbs more per stack was huge. 220-lbs versus 180-lbs matters; at least to me.
Keep in mind that my preference for the FT-5000 is based entirely on my height and weight and ability to utilize all of the available weight. You probably aren’t as tall as me. You might not care about the available weight at all because of what you intend to use your functional trainer for. In other words, the FT-3000 may be absolutely perfect for you and your space.
If that’s the case, then by all means go with the FT-3000 instead of the FT-5000. In terms of function and design these units are the same. I don’t think the 5000 is inherently better than the 3000, it just has a bigger footprint, has more available weight, and costs a little bit more. The only thing I’d ask you to consider if you’re leaning towards the FT-3000 is this…
Will anyone else besides you be using this functional trainer? Will it be enough machine for them? If you’re a personal trainer or putting this in a gym with actual members, I say spring for the FT-5000 just to be safe. It’s just not a huge price difference when you think about it.
Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Pros and Cons
- Assembly is very straight-forward and relatively simple. Minimal tools are required, and one can technically assemble the entire unit by themselves. I personally assembled my FT-5000 alone, but I’d still recommend calling up a friend for help as there are a couple of challenging steps to do solo.
- The FT-5000 is a commercial piece of equipment being sold for much less than what all the mainstream commercial dealers ask for their light–commercial functional trainers (to say nothing of what they charge for their full-commercial machines.)
- The weight stacks are ample at 220-lbs each with a 2:1 ratio. This about is 20-lbs more per stack than the average functional trainer. There are bigger stacks out there, but be careful when comparing other units as all the units I found with stacks heavier than 220 operated at a 3:1 ratio, which results in much less effective resistance (Free Motion is a great example of this sort of functional trainer.)
- The entire cable system is incredibly smooth. The cables don’t drag or catch, and they travel pretty far from their origin (81″). Considering how competitively this unit is priced, I have to say that I’m really quite impressed. Nothing about the pulleys or cables seems cheap or half-assed.
- The FT-5000 does not require anchoring, yet even unanchored it feels like it’s one with the Earth. It does not budge! No shaking, shifting, wobbling, and so forth. Pull at all 440 lbs of available weight and you will still not feel the unit shift in the least. The downside to this is that you better get it where you want it before you finalize assembly, because good luck moving it later.
- The FT-5000 has three pairs of pull-up/chin-up handles, with two of those pairs offering two different hand positions. That’s five possible hand positions – much better than what is found on many other functional trainers, including even the FT-3000.
- Aesthetically this machine looks great. The finish is flashy yet incredibly resilient. You’ll have to go out of your way to chip the metallic powder coating. The FT-5000 also ships with a big package of plastic caps that cover up all of the bolt heads – which also helps a lot with the overall look of the machine.
- There are a number of minor features that add to the overall user experience, such as a magnetic selector pin in each stack, laser etched numbers in the cable columns, decent urethane handles being included rather than those generic metal stirrups, two horizontal crossmembers with storage pins rather than just one, and so forth.
- The end of each cable has both the little rubber ball that’s typical of cable machines and also a large rubber gripper that is great for movements that require no attachments; like say standing reverse delt flyes or tricep kickbacks.
- Did I mention the price? The FT-5000 is not only competitive with the entire commercial industry, it’s on par with and even less expensive than many inferior functional trainers. But hey, you don’t think I spent my money on the Rep because I thought I was getting a bad deal, do you? I like to think I know what I’m doing here.
- The first plate is heavy; weighing in at 11-lbs (and this is with the 2:1 ratio). This can be pretty heavy for beginners when it comes to certain exercises; namely exercises for the shoulders / rotator cuff. However, depending on when you see this review, it’s possible that this has already been addressed and is no longer the case.
- The two large Victory stickers on the outside of the FT-5000 both seem to want to come unstuck in the exact same place. It’s just a little section in the middle of the sticker (so it can be pressed back down easily enough), but it catches my eyes and bothers my OCD a little.
In the couple of months that I’ve had the FT-5000 I have not run into any issues, and it gets used very regularly; not just here and there. The issue with the heavy first plate is not even an issue for me, I just happen to be aware of the fact that an 11-lb minimum may indeed be too heavy for one new to resistance training. The thing with the sticker is nothing. Honestly I added that con because it felt ridiculous to have so many pros and just one con (and it truly does trigger my OCD a little.)
The FT-5000 is just a solid, well-designed and refined piece of equipment. I have literally no regrets about this purchase, and while it may be priced extremely well in the market, it’s still no small purchase by any means. Still, no regrets.
Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer – Summary
Of all the new equipment that I’ve added to my gym in the past couple years, the FT-5000 has got to be the most interesting, the most versatile, and the most well-received piece by far. It offers up so many exercises that are either hard to do with a typical power rack set- up, or just plain impossible. Seriously, the possibilities are endless.
I absolutely love having this machine. I completely dig it, and so do all of my friends. I have no doubt that the Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer is a permanent fixture in my garage gym.
Having said that, would I change anything? Functionally, no. The FT-5000 works beautifully and with no issues. Some functional trainers have more holes in the columns, but we don’t really need such precise vertical settings on a machine like this so it really doesn’t matter if there are 20 total holes rather than 16, or something like that. Honestly I think this machine is about as great as it can be for this kind of money. Matter of fact, it is better than it should be for this kind of money. I’ve got no real complaints.
I highly recommend the Rep FT-5000 Functional Trainer for any gym. A commercial gym, a garage gym, you name it!. No other single piece of equipment gives you access to so many movements, and no other company gives you so much functional trainer for your money. As I said before, I have no regrets. Neither will you.