There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way we work. And with so many of us transitioning to exercise using home gym equipment, one frustrating aspect has been finding the space to train properly. Traditionally, weightlifting has required bulky squat racks or racks full of free weights — two factors that limit what you can do to make gains outside of a gym. Not anymore.
The Vitruvian Trainer+ (from $2,890) is the latest in a new generation of smart strength systems that pack a host of workout options into a compact size. Hidden inside a carbon fiber shell is electromagnetic technology that can generate up to 440 pounds of resistance. Combined with smart algorithms and app-based coaching, it takes the guesswork out of strength training on your own.
I spent a week testing the Vitruvian Trainer+, and here’s what you need to know.
The Vitruvian Trainer+ is a good choice for people with limited space who are ready to invest in a compact home gym system that offers tons of different strength workouts in an easily collapsible frame.
I live in a one bedroom condo and have limited floor and wall space that I am willing to dedicate to fitness equipment. The Vitruvian Trainer+ measures just 46 inches by 20.5 inches by 4.5 inches — and, at 80 pounds, it’s basically an aero stepper on steroids — with recessed wheels for maneuverability. This means I can store it out of sight under my sofa and easily pull it out when it’s time to lift it.
The Trainer+ comes with basic hand grips and ankle straps, but you would be better served by purchasing the entry kit, which includes premium hand grips, long bar, tricep rope, exercise mat drive and safety cables, for an additional $237. The Pro kit is also something to consider, as it includes all of the above, plus a short bar, bench, and belt, for an additional $450. Without at least the entry kit, you’ll only be able to do a fraction of the more than 200 exercises supported by the machine.
The Vitruvian Trainer+ uses artificial intelligence to learn from your short and long term training behavior and adjust the weight accordingly. In the initial 15-minute strength assessment, I set benchmarks for moves like deadlifts and squats. Then when I did my first workout – a full-body class using the long bar – the machine used those cues to program the weights I should perform at 50% to 60% of my max for each exercise. (Let’s say your one-rep max for a back squat is 100 pounds; the app would automatically program 50-60 pounds for a back squat in this class.)
The first three reps of any exercise in each class are meant to be warm-up reps that measure your range of motion without ballast. The point is to figure out where you are at any given time so the machine can decrease the weight if you’re struggling to reach the full range of motion of an exercise, or increase it if you crush reps too easily. . You can also manually adjust the difficulty of an entire class or specific exercises within that class – and if you’ve used the app to create custom workouts, you can adjust the weight based on your gains as you repeat this training in the future.
On the fourth rep, the weight loads up. I found it to be a little jerky at times – during one set of Sumo Squat the machine momentarily added an extra 15 pounds and caught me off guard – and it takes a few classes to learn how the weight loads and discharge during exercises and sets.
Vitruvian Trainer+’s algorithm syncs with the Vitruvian app for iOS and Android to deliver personalized training performance, and within the app is a library of over 200 classes and over 20 strength training programs. But it’s a small library compared to other smart fitness equipment that offers live classes daily and regularly offers new on-demand workouts.
Still, I liked being able to choose between short options (most workouts are less than 30 minutes) for the whole body – like the full body progression as well as the barre class mentioned above – and Targeted workouts like “Build Your Back and Biceps” and “Lower Body Bulk”. And I found it helpful that the instructors outline how to redeem the required attachments in each course.
There’s also no display built into the device (naturally, since you’re standing on it), and it can be difficult to follow video demos on a smartphone (and I currently have the iPhone 14 Pro Max oversized). Vitruvian recommends streaming or streaming lessons from the app to your TV using an Apple TV or Chromecast for the best experience. I agree it made classes a lot more enjoyable, but it did require some creativity in setting up my practice space, so I wasn’t even a foot away from my TV.
The Vitruvian Trainer+ is similar to home strength machines like the Tonal ($3,495), Tempo Studio (from $2,495), and Arena Platform ($2,495). Arena is the most similar, generating up to 200 pounds of resistance for over 300 workouts and programs created by top trainers and making real-time adjustments. But Tonal, a wall-mounted system that generates up to 200 pounds of resistance, and Tempo, which uses a motion-capture camera to analyze movements made with free weights, offer the added benefit of time-based fitness feedback. real. and community engagement through live classes.
Smart fitness equipment will always be an investment, but for anyone familiar with strength training and looking for a way to lift weights at home without cluttering your floor with dumbbells and kettlebells or dedicating a room whole to a squat rack, the Vitruvian Trainer+ is a great way to make gains at home.
I loved that I could store it out of sight under my trainer instead of mounting it on my wall, and that I could schedule custom workouts from my strength trainer into the app to use alongside the pre-programmed classes. From a storage and education perspective, the compact machine makes strength training more accessible.
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