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Fitness Education

10 Functional Trainer Muscle Building Exercises

When it comes to strength and resistance training, a functional trainer is one of the most effective and versatile pieces of fitness equipment you can have in your home gym. This machine not only enables you to work different muscle groups, but they’re also safe to use for anyone of any age.

The Bells of Steel Functional Trainer comes with 16 cable heights, dual 160lb weight stacks, and two handles included. The amount of exercises you can perform using a functional trainer is amazing! 

In this article, we’ll take you through 10 functional trainer exercises that you can do with your Bells of Steel Functional Trainer. 

Standing Rows

Standing rows target the upper back and shoulders while increasing strength and stability in the lower body and core.

How To Perform Cable Standing Rows:

  1. Connect both handles onto the same clip and select your desired weight.
  2. Take a few steps back so that you’ve got tension on the cable. 
  3. With your feet about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, chest up, and shoulder blades back, use your back muscles to pull the weight by driving your elbows behind your body. You should be pulling the handles just below your chest.
  4. Slowly extend your arms forward while maintaining the same body position and repeat.

Single-Arm Tricep Pushdowns

This isolation exercise is great for strengthening the three muscles on the back of your upper arms. It also works your shoulders, abdominal muscles, and upper back.

How To Perform Single-Arm Tricep Pushdowns:

  1. Attach a single-handle attachment to the highest notch of the cable pulley.
  2. Stand facing the pulley and grip the handle with your left hand.
  3. Leave your upper arm at the side of your body. Push the cable straight down and keep your upper arm stationary. 
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  5. Then, do the same with your right arm.

Pronated Tricep Extension

The pronated tricep extension works every muscle in the triceps. Pronated means ​​your palm should face the floor during the entire movement. And because you can fully focus on each tricep muscle, this type of training allows you to establish a stronger mind-muscle connection with both of your triceps.

How To Perform Pronated Cable Tricep Extensions:

  1. Take a second handle and clip it on your cable pulley. 
  2. With a pronated grip, press down and place your hand with the cable behind and your elbow positioned upward.
  3. Use your triceps to drive and control it back up.
  4. Repeat for reps. 

Single-Arm Rear Delt Fly

A powerful back with rear delts that pop is one of the most impressive features of a lifter and the single-arm rear delt fly is an isolation exercise that lets you truly focus on the muscles that need it.

How To Perform Single-Arm Rear Delt Fly:

  1. Stand in front of a double pulley functional trainer. Set the pulleys so that they are at the height of your head.
  2. Adjust the pulleys to the appropriate height and adjust the weight. The pulleys can be just below your shoulder.
  3. Grab the cable handle attachment with your right hand, crossing them in front of you. 
  4. Initiate the movement by putting more focus on your rear delts. Try to not use your trap.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  6. Then, do the exercise with your left arm.

Standing Cable Chest Fly

The standing cable chest fly is an exercise used to strengthen the chest, triceps, and shoulders muscles. This movement can be included in your chest workouts, push workouts, upper body workouts, or full-body workouts.

How To Perform Standing Cable Chest Fly:

  1. Set both pulleys directly at (or slightly above) shoulder height and select the desired weight.
  2. Grasp both handles with a neutral grip and take a step forward to split the stance.
  3. Slightly bend your elbows, making sure not to let them behind your shoulders. Keep your core nice and tight. 
  4. Pull your hands toward each other right in front of your chest, pausing when your hands touch before slowly returning to the starting position. 
  5. Alternate your forward foot with each set.

Single-Arm Cable Lateral Raise

The single-arm cable lateral raise is an exercise for strengthening shoulder muscles. This workout focuses on the medial deltoid, which is crucial for developing a powerful pair of shoulders.

How To Perform Single-Arm Cable Lateral Raise:

  1. Drop the pulley at the lowest position possible and attach a single handle.
  2. Reach across your body and grab the handle with a neutral grip.
  3. Keep the elbow slightly bent and pull the handle across your body and raise your arm laterally. Pause at the top (just briefly) just to get that connection.
  4. Slowly lower the handle back to the starting position under control.
  5. Repeat for reps. 

Pull-ups on the Multi-grip Pull-up Bar

Pull-ups are an effective bodyweight exercise for developing upper-body strength. It involves grasping a pull-up bar with your hands facing away from you and lifting your complete body up using your arm and back muscles. 

Our Bells of Steel Functional Trainer has a multi-grip pull-up bar that provides three different handle options giving you the benefit to develop insane strength and body coordination.

Cable RDLs

RDLs are one of the most beneficial exercises you can include in your workout. They mostly work the legs, glutes, back, and core. If you don’t like lifting dumbbells or barbells, Cable Romanian Deadlifts can be a great alternative.

How To Perform Cable RDLs:

  1. Start by attaching two cable handle attachments to the pulley. 
  2. Select the resistance you want to start off with.
  3. Facing the pulley, grab the handle, and step a few feet away from the machine.
  4. Slowly bend your hips (this is a hinge movement) while simultaneously extending your arms forward with a slight bend in your knees.
  5. While pulling your elbows back (as though completing a bent-over row), feel a stretch in your hamstrings and glutes, then push your hips through to come back up.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Note: To achieve full hip extension, pull with effort and continue to squeeze your glutes at the top. Make sure your core is engaged.

Cable Pull-throughs

The cable pull-through is excellent for developing the muscles in the glutes and the hamstrings. It’s also useful for protecting the muscles in your lower back if you often suffer from lower back pain when deadlifting or doing other exercises.

How To Perform Cable Pull-throughs:

  1. Stand with your back to the Functional Trainer, the handle of the cable between your legs, and your arms straight down. Hold firmly and evenly with each hand.
  2. Take a step or two away from the machine. Your feet are about a hip-width apart. 
  3. Sit your hips back and push forward. Your back should not bend and your spine should remain neutral.
  4. Squeeze your glutes at the top and pause before repeating for the next rep.

Cable Front Squats

The cable front squats mimics the movement of the traditional front squat. It’s a great inclusion to your workout routine if you want to build some serious leg muscles.

How To Perform Cable Front Squats:

  1. Set up the cable machine by dropping the pulley at the lowest position possible and attaching two handle attachments.
  2. Set the handles up and down and grip them with palms facing out.
  3. Stand in front of the Functional Trainer with a shoulder-width stance.
  4. Squat down slowly until your thighs are parallel to the floor. 
  5. Repeat for reps. 

Skater Lunge

The side lunge is a great exercise because it works the sides of the glutes, which are important stabilizer muscles for the hip joint.

One of the great benefits of the Functional Trainer is that it can provide sideways resistance for your skater lunges.

How To Perform Cable Skater Lunge:

  1. Set the cable pulley to the lowest level and hold the handle sideways using a single-handle attachment. 
  2. Position the handle with both hands in front of your chest and lunge sideward to the machine. Your right knee and hip should be at a 90-degree angle. Your left leg should be straight.
  3. Keep your torso upright, exhale and return to the start position with an explosive push-off on the right leg.
  4. Then, do the exercise with your left leg. 

10 Functional Trainer Muscle Building Exercises Summary

Our Bells of Steel Functional Trainer is an excellent addition to your home gym. It’s also more cost-effective in the long term because the amount of workouts you can do with this machine is unlimited.

Because of its versatility and safety, you can work any specific part of your body with comfort and convenience, making it one of the greatest pieces of equipment you can invest in.

Bells of Steel Canada Contact

Bells of Steel HQ
7880 66 St SE Unit 114
Calgary, AB, T2C 5V2, Canada
Phone: 403-819-3917
Bells of Steel Toronto
39 Haist Ave, Unit 2,
Woodbridge, ON L4L 5V5
Phone: 437-372-5403
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