The craze for connected home gym equipment likely peaked during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with indicators such as Peloton’s fortune pointing to waning interest as people return to using their gym memberships. But the category still has a lot of potential, especially if the gear in question can combine smarts with other key value propositions, including a small footprint that fits into everyone’s home. Vitruvian’s Trainer+ offers that and more, fulfilling the awkward proposition of offering a comprehensive strength-training experience at home while keeping it small and simple.
The Vitruvian Trainer+ is not cheap. At $2,990, it costs about six years of gym membership at the average rate paid per month in the US, and that doesn’t include the recurring subscription fee of Vitruvian All Access for access to advanced workout features, including guided sessions, which is a hefty $ 39 per month after the first 12 months, which are included free with the purchase of the machine.
That the returning sub itself is more expensive than the average American pays for their monthly gym membership is a very steep hill to climb, and Vitruvian clearly knows this, as they don’t make it very easy to find those prices on their website – not even in the FAQ question that specifically asks how much the membership costs. You can choose to pay for a subscription that lasts the life of your machine for a one-time fee of $990, which is definitely a better deal if you actually use the machine consistently and plan to continue. Finally, you can always choose not to use the subscription features, which still gives you a very capable piece of training hardware, as long as you’re good at carving out your own training path.
Speaking of the hardware, it’s actually easy to see why, even with a base price of nearly $3K, Vitruvian also has to charge a hefty recurring fee from its users: the Trainer+ is a fantastic piece of gear that undoubtedly has high levels of development and production went through. cost.
What you get is a compact but solid platform with two clips that connect external accessories, including several handles, a barbell and ropes, to an active resistance mechanism contained within. The platform itself is easy to tuck under a couch or table, measures just about 46 by 20 inches, and weighs just 80 lbs. Considering the range of workouts the Trainer+ offers, and the fact that it can resist anywhere up to 440 lbs, the fact that it comes in such a relatively small package is incredibly impressive.
The Trainer+ is super easy to set up and pair with your smartphone using a QR code on the machine itself, and the quick clip system it uses to connect handles and other accessories is incredibly smart and convenient for quick shifts between different items during structured training.
The resistance is controlled by the app and each time you start a workout, the machine needs three reps to establish your correct range of motion before doing the exercises with actual weight. Once you get into an actual exercise, there are three possible modes for each, including one that adds 1kg (2.2lbs) with each clean rep, one that reduces weight over time, and a sustained mode keeping the weight the same.
At first glance there isn’t much to the Trainer+’s design: the flashiest thing about it is the adjustable LED lighting which also offers some useful visual cues as to whether you’re competing properly or not. Otherwise it looks like an overgrown Wii Balance board if you’re old enough to remember what that is, or really just an elevated standard. The top surface of the Trainer+ is made from a carbon fiber composite, which is great to use with training shoes on its own, but you can also opt to get the extra soft, tacky mat included in the Beginner or Pro Level Accessory Kit ( I received the $500 Pro kit in my sample pack).
As mentioned, the Trainer+ weighs about 80 lbs and comes in one sturdy, pre-assembled piece. Setup is therefore a breeze compared to just about any other home gym equipment, but you’ll probably need to get someone else to help you move around, for example up and down the stairs. To move it around your space, there are wheels on the bottom that come into contact with the floor when you tilt one side up, making it easy to slide across the floor and tuck under a sofa or desk.
Key to Trainer+’s versatility are the two recessed “Quick Connection System” receptors, themselves permanently connected with retractable cables that connect to the device’s programmable active resistance system. Quick-release connectors allow the included handles and ankle straps to be easily clipped on and released via a simple collar press mechanism that won’t loosen during use, but is dead easy to swap between exercises. This replaces a much more cumbersome carabiner system on the Trainer+’s predecessor, and it’s a fantastic, intuitive upgrade.
Another area where Trainer+’s total cost of ownership adds up is with the variety of attachments offered. There’s a ‘Basic’ kit that adds a long bar, a tricep rope, “premium” handles, the aforementioned workout mat, and safety ropes. Then the ‘Pro’ kit I tested the Trainer+ with includes all of that, along with a short bar, strap, and even a bench. You can achieve a lot with the Trainer+ without any of these things, but the truth is that adding them – especially the bench and bar – will greatly improve the experience and you can’t buy them piece by piece.
The Trainer+ works with a special companion app from Vitruvian, which connects to your machine via Bluetooth. The beauty of the expensive All-Access membership is that it is tied to the machine, not the individual. access to all training options and guided workouts. The app itself is great, offering multi-week programs you can follow, trainer-led classes, and a wide variety of individual exercises you can build into your own custom workouts if you’re also a subscriber. I used the app’s guided video on my gym Apple TV via AirPlay and that also worked perfectly.
The Trainer+ will probably feel different from other workouts you’ve tried if you haven’t used an active resistance machine in the past: it’s different from all-in-one cable and weight-based equipment, or free weights. To Vitruvian’s credit, however, the learning curve isn’t steep at all, and it only takes a few sessions before using the Trainer+ feels like second nature.
The Vitruvian app provides everything you need to use the Trainer+ most effectively, whether you’re just starting out or already experienced in personal fitness and looking for something to fit into or complement your existing routine. It’s basically as guided or as self-directed as you like, and everything in between.
The Trainer+ is also great at making real-time adjustments to your workout based on your strength and performance level. There’s a strength assessment that the app will initially ask you to establish your baseline for all the different workouts suggested weights, and you can come back to that at any time to change that calibration, which is useful to do every few weeks as you progress with your training.
In a month of testing, with almost daily use, the Trainer+ has been incredibly consistent. When you’re done with a workout, you can just drop the handles or attachments and retract the cables, without worrying about damaging the durable carbon composite material of the hardware itself. The clips go in and out easily and the platform is easy to clean with soap and water if necessary. The connection is rock solid, remembering your phone as long as you enable that option in the app, and the Trainer+ automatically sleeps so you can always leave it plugged in if you want.
One issue I discovered with the machine: the power cable seems to be quite light in the socket on the machine, and until I learned how to stay well clear of it, it was relatively easy to cut the power to the Trainer+ by even lightly polishing the cord itself. That’s not an issue anymore since I’ve identified it as a problem and avoided any contact with the cord, and it’s possible that this was intentionally added as a sort of safety backup, but I’d appreciate a better connection between cable and machine set.
It boils down
There’s no question that the Trainer+ is a fantastic piece of hardware for home training, with a smart, handy app that’s at the same time much more accessible than something like Peloton, but also much more flexible for people who take training very seriously and want to be able to customize their experience. to fit.
The real sticking point with Vitruvian’s offerings, though, is the price: The Pro kit, which I do recommend, already puts you at $3,500, and that’s before you start adding in the ongoing costs of the app subscription. That could pay for a decent amount of gym membership along with some personal training.
With the Trainer+, however, you get some things that you basically can’t get anywhere else, including a solution that’s so portable that it not only works in just about any home or apartment, but can also be easily stashed in the car for a while. road trip – or pass into your #vanlife if you feel like it. It is much more versatile than other comparable active resistance products such as the Tonal in this regard.
If you value flexibility with next to no sacrifices versus a full set of free weights or a much more cumbersome home tower or full gym then the Trainer+ is easy to recommend. It’s clearly well designed and engineered, with a focus on delivering value to real athletes and fitness enthusiasts who are notoriously hard to please, and yet it’s also a great place for people to start their journey home – as long as they want to get the predetermining the associated costs.
Where to buy: Vitruvian website