There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way we exercise. With many of us turning to home gym equipment to work out, one frustrating aspect is finding the right space for strength training. Lifting weights has traditionally required bulky squat racks or racks full of free weights — two factors that limit what you can do outside the gym to gain. no longer.
The Vitruvian Trainer+ (starting at $2,890) is the latest in a new generation of intelligent strength systems that pack a host of training options into a compact space. Hidden within the carbon fiber shell is electromagnetic technology that generates up to 440 pounds of resistance. Combined with smart algorithms and app-based coaching, it takes the guesswork out of strength training yourself.
I spent a week testing the Vitruvian Trainer+, and here’s what you need to know.
The Vitruvian Trainer+ is ideal for people with limited space who are willing to invest in a compact home fitness system that provides a ton of different strength training workouts in an easily stowable frame.
I live in a one bedroom apartment and have limited floor and wall space that I would like to dedicate to gym equipment. The Vitruvian Trainer+ is only 46″ x 20.5″ x 4.5″ – weighing 80 pounds, it’s basically a cardio step on steroids – with concave wheels for improved mobility. This means I can hide it under my couch and easily pull it out when I need to lift it.
The Trainer+ comes with basic handles and ankle straps, but it’s best to buy the starter kit, which includes a premium handle, long bar, triceps cord, exercise mat, and harness for an additional $237. The Pro Kit is also worth considering, as it includes all of the above, plus the short bar, bench, and belt for an extra $450. Without the Starter Kit, you’ll be able to complete only 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 exercise behavior and adjust weights accordingly. During my initial 15-minute strength assessment, I set benchmarks for movements like deadlifts and squats. Then, when I did my first workout—a full-body class with a long bar—the machine used those benchmarks to program the weight I needed to perform at a maximum of 50 to 60 percent of each workout. (Assume your back squat single rep max is 100 pounds; the app automatically programs 50 to 60 pounds for this class’s back squat.)
The first three reps of any exercise in each class are warm-up reps to measure your range of motion No weight. The purpose of this is to identify where you are at any given moment so that the machine can drop the weight as you work your way to the full range of motion of the workout, or add more weight if you overwhelm the reps too easily. You can also manually adjust the difficulty of the entire class or specific exercises within that class – if you use the app to create a custom workout, you can adjust the weights based on your gains when repeating the workout in the future.
On the fourth rep, weight loads. I did find it a bit jerky at times – during a set of sumo squats the machine instantly added another 15 pounds and caught me off guard – and it did take a few classes to understand how loading up in exercises and sets and unload weight.
Vitruvian Trainer+’s algorithms sync with the Vitruvian app for iOS and Android to provide customized workout performance, with an in-app library of over 200 classes and over 20 strength training programs. But it’s a small library compared to other smart fitness devices that offer live classes every day and new on-demand workouts on a regular basis.
However, I like that I can choose between short (many workouts under 30 minutes) full body options – like full body progression and the bar class mentioned above – and goals like “work your back and biceps” Workouts and “lower body bulk.” And I did find it helpful that the instructor gave instructions to replace the required accessories in each lesson.
There’s also no screen embedded in the device (naturally, since you’re standing on it), and it’s hard to follow a video presentation on a smartphone (I currently own a super-sized iPhone 14 Pro Max). Vitruvian recommends using an Apple TV or Chromecast to cast or stream lessons from the app to your TV for the best experience. I agree it makes the class more enjoyable, but it does take some creativity in setting up my workout space, so I’m not far from the TV.
The Vitruvian Trainer+ is similar to home strength training equipment like the Tonal ($3,495), Tempo Studio (starting at $2,495), and the Arena Platform ($2,495). Arena is the most similar, producing up to 200 pounds of resistance for over 300 workouts and plans created by top trainers and adjusted in real time.But Tonal is a wall-mounted system that produces up to 200 pounds of resistance, while Tempo uses motion-capture cameras to analyze motion done with free weights, providing the added benefit of real-time form feedback and Community engagement through live classes.
Smart fitness equipment is always an investment, but for those who are familiar with strength training and are looking for a way to lift weights at home without littering the floor with dumbbells and kettlebells or dedicate an entire room to a squat rack, the Vitruvian Trainer+ is the home getaway Great way to make money.
I love that I can hide it under the trainer instead of hanging it on the wall, and I can program my strength training trainer’s custom workouts into the app for use with pre-programmed classes. From a storage and education standpoint, this compact machine makes strength training more accessible.