Functional Training Equipment: Ultimate Guide (2024)

Functional Training Equipment

This is a review of the best functional training equipment.

Finding out which functional gym equipment you need for your home gym can be difficult and expensive. Choosing the right equipment for the right price is essential.

I undertook 20 hours of research and well over 25 functional training equipment to find the best ones for the home gym. After I completed all the testing, I singled out the best functional strength training equipment based on specific ranking criteria. 

Keep reading below if you want to find out the best functional fitness equipment for your home gym and some vital tips before you purchase them.

Let’s begin!

Quick Summary

  • Some of the best functional training equipment include kettlebells, dumbbells, functional trainers, medicine balls, and resistance bands.
  • With the functional trainer, you can do full-body workouts without buying enormous amounts of free weights.
  • Experienced people should buy functional workout equipment. 
  • Purchasing functional strength equipment without knowing how to use it properly can result in injury.

17 Functional Equipment: The Ultimate List

What is the best functional gym equipment to purchase? 

To find out, read the article below, which contains some of the best tools for functional fitness. 

Before choosing to buy any, take a look at the functional training equipment list below.

1. Kettlebells

Functionality: 5.0

Price: 4.9

Portability: 5.0

An original kettlebell is made out of cast iron or steel. The shape of a kettlebell resembles the look of a cannonball with an attached handle.

There are various sizes of kettlebells ranging from 4 pounds to 175 pounds. Most kettlebells are tagged in kilograms, so pay attention to that before starting the training. 

Kettlebells are very effective due to their structure. They often feel heavier than the traditional dumbbell because of their different center of gravity. 

This is the reason why kettlebells are great functional strength training equipment if you want to improve balance and strength

Also, if you don’t like running that much, you can use kettlebells instead since they activate muscles responsible for respiratory activity.


  • Tick handles will help with your grip strength
  • They don’t require a dedicated space
  • Portable and can be used anywhere
  • Built out of long-lasting materials


  • Pretty expensive per pound

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2. Dumbbells

Functionality: 5.0

Price: 4.9

Portability: 4.9

Dumbbells are one of the best functional gym equipment and also some of the most used functional fitness equipment in the gym. 

One dumbbell is made out of two identical weights attached to a handle, and the weights can be detachable or fixed. 

Many people use dumbbells to grow and tone muscles, and they can develop most muscles in the lower and upper body

Dumbbells can be of different weights and sizes and are made from metal, concrete, or some other material. 

They are one of the best functional strength equipment if you are starting your fitness journey because they can be used for all kinds of different workouts, with limited repetitions and slow controlled movements, or with high-intensity training using light weight dumbbells with lots of reps.


  • You can perform a lot of exercises
  • They are relatively cheap
  • Portable and easy to store


  • It isn’t easy to target specific muscles

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3. Functional Trainer

Functionality: 5.0

Price: 4.7

Portability: 4.9

A functional trainer is a combination of many different, unique machines. It looks like a giant cage with all sorts of bars, pulleys, cables, and weight stacks.

The functional trainer helps people with training different body parts and performing an absurd amount of activities and exercises. 

Most commercial gyms have a functional trainer in the corner of the gym or placed openly in the center.

This is because the trainer is one of the best functional gym equipment and also a multiplanar machine, allowing you to move your body through multiple planes (horizontal, diagonal, vertical, etc.). 

You can move your body in various natural ways because of this. 

It has many adjustable parts, so you can do various workouts and target specific muscle groups

This is one of the most versatile gym equipment you should consider adding to your home gym.


  • It expands your selection of exercises
  • Very safe to train with it
  • Doesn’t need much space for a machine


  • Machine requires maintenance

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4. Barbells

Functionality: 4.8

Price: 4.8

Portability: 4.8

Barbells have been used for centuries to increase functional strength, power, and muscle mass. 

They are made out of a long metal bar with weighted plates attached to either end. 

Barbells allow you a wide variety of exercises which you can do like deadlifts, squats, bench presses, and overhead presses. 

Both sportsmen and fitness enthusiasts should use them because of their versatile and effective way of pushing your body and enhancing muscle growth

Using barbells requires you to have a proper form and technique not to get injured.


  • Simple to use
  • Unlimited progression with weights
  • Stable, so it doesn’t deviate from the normal motion range


  • Using it can lead to muscle imbalance

5. Jump Rope

Functionality: 4.7

Price: 4.8

Portability: 4.7

The jump rope is much more functional than you think. If you want to improve your fitness skills, using jump ropes is crucial.

Train with the rope for 20 to 30 minutes daily to improve your cardiovascular capacity. Also, the ability to control the jump and the momentum will help you with coordination. 

The jump rope is a straightforward and helpful tool for many purposes. 

It is relatively cheap to buy, and with the correct use, it is definitely worth the price.


  • Easy to lose weight with it
  • You can use it anywhere
  • It increases your lung capacity


  • Staled condition after some time

6. Sleds

Functionality: 4.6

Price: 4.8

Portability: 4.7

Sleds became very popular functional fitness equipment used for building strength, endurance, and fitness in general. 

Training with sleds includes pulling or pushing a weighted sled over different surfaces. 

This kind of exercise will help you with your muscular endurance and acceleration while also enhancing muscle endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

Sleds can be used by athletes of various skill levels, from beginners to experts and professional athletes. 

Also, sleds are a great addition to any fitness exercise program, giving you a new, fun, and challenging approach to improving and achieving your fitness goals. 


  • Safe and easy to use
  • Time-efficient workouts by using it
  • It can be used for various training programs


  • Putting a lot of stress on joints

7. Resistance Bands

Functionality: 4.5

Price: 5.0

Portability: 4.7

Resistance bands increase the amount of resistance when you push or pull against them. 

You can attach them to any stable anchor point, depending on the angle and how high you want them. 

This is why resistance bands are great functional workout equipment; the resistance angle is controllable.

With being able to adjust the angle however you desire, you can target the specific weak muscle group you want to develop. 

Resistance band is a great way to recover from injury. That is because bands provide a safe way to work out without the risk of injury.


  • Low-cost investment
  • Creating a unique ascending resistance
  • Compatible with a lot of different movements


  • They can break quickly

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8. Pull-up Bar

Functionality: 4.5

Price: 4.6

Portability: 4.7

Pull-ups are one of the essential exercises you should learn to do, and having a pull-up bar is a great way to do so. 

Doing pull-ups will help you build muscle quickly and improve your body control, emphasizing upper body muscles. 

A pull-up bar is a piece of functional exercise equipment made out of metal with foam or rubber grips. 

You can attach the bar to the ceiling, wall, or doorframe. It is very portable, and it can easily be transported and stored. 

With the pull-up bar, you can do all sorts of pull-ups without leaving your room.


  • There are a lot of grip variations
  • Viable and robust
  • Full stability by mounting it on the wall


  • Requires a lot of space

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9. Plyo Box

Functionality: 4.5

Price: 4.6

Portability: 4.4

The Plyo Box is a piece of functional equipment you have probably seen in the gym. 

It is also a piece you can buy for your own home gym

Plyo boxes are excellent for improving the high jump with plyometric exercises. 

You can also use them for depth jumps when you jump off and back into the air as quickly as you can.

Both of these improve your explosive leg strength.

By jumping onto them with one leg and balancing yourself, you can use plyo boxes to develop hip stability

You can even do the push-ups with a plyo box if you lower the height. 


  • Increases vertical jump
  • Easy to adjust
  • Perfect to develop explosiveness


  • Risky to use for beginners

10. Medicine Ball

Functionality: 4.3

Price: 4.6

Portability: 4.4

Some equipment has multiple uses in functional fitness, and the medicine ball is undoubtedly one of those excellent tools. 

Indeed, the medicine ball can be used as an additional weight during squats or lunges or as a weight that you throw during the wall-ball exercise.

Overall it is a very useful functional tool, which is why it is on my list. 

Medicine balls should be highly durable and sturdy as one of the most ignored equipment.


  • Easy to store
  • Cost friendly 
  • Replicates functional movement


  • Easy to get injured if not used correctly

11. Battle Rope

Functionality: 4.2

Price: 4.6

Portability: 4.4

Battling rope is an entertaining way to get an intense workout. 

You can get a full body strength training and cardio workout by getting your hands on the ropes. 

Try performing several battle rope exercises as a full workout on your own for maximum performance

Alternatively, you might add a few battle rope exercises at the end of your regular workout program. 

Battle rope exercises are great for everyone, regardless of whether you are a new or an experienced gym goer.


  • Suitable for every fitness level
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Burning huge amounts of calories


  • Using it can cause a big noise

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12. Cable Machine

Functionality: 4.2

Price: 4.5

Portability: 4.4

The cable machine allows you to select your preferred weight by inserting a pin into a stack of weights before lifting the stack with a cable pulley system.

It is easy to change the weight by pulling the pin in and out, with the top of the stack being the lightest and the bottom being the heaviest weight. 

Also, there are adjustable pulleys attached to the pole, which you can adjust up or down according to your height or exercise.

You can set it higher for exercises like triceps extension, for cable rows in the middle, and lower for glute kickbacks. 

This can be adjusted by pulling the lever to release it, moving it to the desired weight, and then locking it on the hole.


  • Multitude exercises can be done with it
  • Constant tension while lifting and lowering the weights
  • Good at targeting muscles


  • Doesn’t offer the most well-rounded training

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13. Exercise Balls

Functionality: 4.2

Price: 4.5

Portability: 4.2

Exercise balls test you by putting your body in an unstable environment

When you lie on the ball, your abdominal muscles and legs begin to contract to keep you from sliding off the ball.

If you want to do an even more intensive workout, add an exercise like a chest press or crunch.

 Exercise balls are useful and versatile enough for a wide range of activities:

  • Weight training sessions: Utilize the stability ball as your new weight bench to make an exercise more challenging and incorporate your glutes, core, and leg muscles.
  • Core training sessions: Performing crunches, twists, and other classic exercises on the ball adds difficulty to the move by using more muscles during this core workout.
  • Exercise for yoga, pilates, and flexibility: You can use the ball to stretch and relax or try a yoga session. 

My general recommendation is to use exercise balls to improve your core stability and strength.


  • Versatile for wide-range of motions
  • It can be used in yoga
  • A great addition to your room


  • Discomfort when sitting for a longer period on it

14. Weighted Vest

Functionality: 4.0

Price: 4.4

Portability: 4.3

A weighted vest is a low-impact way to improve your fitness level. It adds additional weight when performing body-weight exercises like walking, running, or push-ups.

Moreover, a weighted vest can increase the difficulty of an exercise by making it harder to perform. 

You don’t need to be a professional athlete to use and benefit from a weighted vest; everyone can use it for daily tasks.

Taking on additional weight can help you burn more calories and even enhance bone density.

Your bones are put under extra strain when using a weighted vest while doing a workout.

In response, they build more bone mass, which results in denser bones, connective tissue, and a stronger musculoskeletal system

Remember to increase the weight gradually; if you train with the same weight over a longer period, your body will get used to the resistance and stop experiencing results.


  • It can increase your bone density
  • Burns fat and calories
  • Adds something new to old workouts


  • Affects the body’s balance

15. Suspension System

Functionality: 4.0

Price: 4.3

Portability: 4.3

Suspension training is a workout that uses a system of ropes and cables that enables you to use your own body weight as resistance against gravity. 

Typical suspension equipment you could see at your gym includes TRX accessories and rings.

It makes any exercise more challenging because the unstable platform requires much more core engagement and aims to improve your strength, balance, coordination, cardio endurance, and power in one workout. 

The benefits of implementing a suspension trainer include improving your balance, core strength, and muscle strength.

Additionally, a suspension strap is one of the most flexible pieces of equipment, enabling you to do more than 50 exercises

Also, it is easily adjustable for a wide range of skill levels.


  • Adaptable to all fitness levels
  • Portable
  • Enhances core strength


  • Decreases the intensity of a workout

16. Clubbells

Functionality: 3.8

Price: 4.4

Portability: 4.3

Clubbells or Indian clubs are names that refer to an accessory that was used during the Persian era for exercising. 

Consequently, it found its use in the circus, as a complement for light exercises, and in some countries as a tradition, like India. 

When kettlebells started gaining popularity, around the same time as military workouts, functional training, and cross-training converged, they finally fused and created Crossfit.

Despite advertising itself as a unique functional fitness training, the reality is entirely different. 

It resembles a long kettlebell or a dumbbell with an unevenly distributed weight. 

The clubbers work on strengthening the core and upper body.


  • A comfortable grip
  • Great for rehabilitation
  • Work on muscular imbalance


  • Limited amount of exercises

17. Macebells

Functionality: 3.8

Price: 4.4

Portability: 4.2

A maceball is essentially a steel frame shaped in a circle with a ball at the end. 

There is a light variation of maceball, which is only 4kg, and it is used for stability and mobility

The center of gravity is different from a barbell or dumbbell, and it may feel a bit heavier when you pick it up for the first time.

The maceballs head contains the majority of the weight. 

Moving your grip lower or further away from the head increases weight due to the longer lever. 

They usually come in the matted or coated form of finishing, both of which are comfortable to use. 

But, if you sweat a lot during a workout, you should choose a matt finish over a sleek coated one. 

That will help you because matt texture will give you more grip over a more extended period.


  • It can be used for a full-body workout
  • Low-impact option on joints
  • Relatively easy to transport


  • Techinqal dependent equipement

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What Is Functional Training Equipment?

Functional training equipment is equipment that allows your body to move naturally. Equipment like stability balls, dumbbells, kettlebells, and cable machines are notable pieces of functional tools.

You would think you need thousands of dollars to get started, but luckily that is not the case. 

You can buy functional equipment for your gym with minimal expenses.

Buyer’s Guide

When it comes down to functional tools, there are a lot of factors to consider. 

I will try and help you with choosing the right one for you. 

Below are things to think about before choosing to buy equipment.

How to Choose Functional Training Equipment?

To choose the right functional training equipment, consider your personal goals. Some other things to consider are budget, durability, etc.

Here is a list of my recommendations about what you should look for before purchasing any equipment.

Personal Goals

The first factor you should consider is your fitness goal

Selecting the equipment that aligns with your goals is crucial, whether you want to build strength, work on your flexibility, or improve your overall endurance.

If you want to build your upper body strength, you should consider dumbbells.

Read our guide on types of dumbbells to learn everything you need before choosing the appropriate dumbbell type.

A balance board or a stability ball is more suitable for improving core strength and balance.


Budget is another essential factor you need to consider. 

Functional fitness equipment can range drastically from cheaper options like resistance bands to a couple of thousand dollars for a single machine

Choosing how much money you are willing to spend before purchasing anything will help you decide without going overboard.


When selecting the equipment you want to buy, it is crucial to evaluate its durability.

If you purchase equipment built to last more extended periods, you will get a better return on investments since you won’t need to replace it for a long time. 

When buying the equipment, choose the ones built from high-quality materials that can resist extensive use.


Equipment can be used in various exercises, saving you money and space in your gym

An example would be a kettlebell, which can be used in lunges, squats, and swings. 

Like kettlebells, resistance bands can be used for various upper and lower body exercises.


Before buying the equipment, you should take into consideration your experience. 

Beginners should start with equipment that is easy to use, like resistance bands, and then progress to the more complicated tools, like dumbbells and kettlebells. 

Doing functional exercises is also a great alternative before spending money. 

More experienced gymgoers may want to use heavier weights to push themselves to the next level.

Based on Your Age

The last thing you should consider before selecting functional fitness equipment is your age. 

Some equipment like plyometric boxes could have a too high impact on older people or those with joint problems. 

Likewise, younger people still developing proper technique and form may not be suitable for heavier weights at the moment.

Who Should Buy Functional Training Equipment?

People who exercise for longer periods should buy functional training equipment. Buying it can be a considerable expense, so it is not worth it if you are not devoted to the training.

These tools will help you implement new challenging exercises into your workout. 

If you want to build a home gym where you can do any movement, buying functional fitness equipment is the way to go.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Functional Training Equipment?

Beginners shouldn’t buy functional training equipment. Purchasing equipment without knowing how to use it properly can result in injury or unproductive workouts.

People who are tight on the budget and don’t have much space shouldn’t also purchase the equipment. 

It is not essential to buy anything to start working out; you can do push-ups, lunges, squats, and other functional exercises before spending cash. 

Also, people with some medical conditions are couscous because some exercises may stress their unhealthy joints and cause an injury.

Functional Training Equipment Exercises

Here are some great exercises you can implement with some of the equipment in functional fitness training.

Medicine Ball Slam

Man performs medicine ball slams

Medicine ball slam or med ball slam is a simple but challenging functional fitness exercise designed to build your core while improving cardio

This involves a simple overhead movement with the weighted ball used in various strength training workouts. 

Usually, the ball doesn’t have a bounce; however, rubber slam balls are designed explicitly for medicine ball slams. 

You can choose whichever you want out of these two options to use in an exercise.

Battling Ropes

Man does bilateral battle rope exercise

The excellent part about the battle ropes workout is that you don’t limit yourself to training only one muscle group at once

These sessions are designed so that your whole body engages. 

You will work your arms, core, back, legs, and chest depending on your chosen variation.

Adding ropes to your training will also provide excellent cardio without the monotony that usually comes with these types of activities. 

If you desire to use ropes to get more strength, you can also do that by focusing on the power of the slams. 

Kettlebell Rows

Man performs kettlebell rows

Kettlebell rows are a pulling movement exercise where you are in a bent-over row position while hinging forward at your hips. 

This exercise is typically done in a staggered stance to add stability

Kettlebell row is a great movement to target your posterior chain (muscles supporting your posture) and stabilize the core. 

It is a compound exercise that targets both your back and your arms.

Alternative Functional Equipment Exercises

There is a lot of functional equipment you can use to perform different exercises. 

Here are some alternative functional activities you can implement in your daily workouts.

Trx Push-Ups

Woman performs TRX push-ups

The TRX push-up is an exercise that involves doing push-ups with the TRX Suspension system. 

This kind of push-up will allow people to use their body weights as resistance while doing the movement. 

The TRX push-up is simple to learn and perform; imagine it as doing an ordinary push-up while being in the air. 

The benefits of both push-ups, the standard and the TRX are the same. 

Doing the TRX push-up is a great way to enhance and challenge your body while having a variety in your training.

One-Arm Kettlebell Snatch

Woman performs one-arm kettlebell snatch

The one-arm kettlebell snatch is a popular functional exercise that involves lifting the kettlebell from the floor to the overhead position in one movement. 

This complex, full-body exercise primarily targets the back and shoulders while engaging grip strength and the core.

Sled Push

Man pushes the sled in the gym

The sled push is a full-body power, strength, and exercise that boosts performance, increases speed, and burns calories

While doing sled push, you target your quads, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, calves, core, triceps, biceps, shoulders, and chest. 

Depending on the goals you have in mind, there are variations on how to do an exercise. 

You can use longer durations with lower weights or stack and push the weight for shorter periods.

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What Is the Difference Between Regular Weight Training and Functional Training?

The difference between regular weight training and functional training is that the first one targets more bodybuilding and muscle growth, while functional tends to combine free weights with cardio. Functional training would increase strength dramatically but would increase efficiency in everyday life.

Can a Functional Trainer Replace Free Weights?

Yes, a functional trainer can replace free weights. The functional trainer allows you to do full-body workouts without buying huge amounts of free weights.

Can You Get Fit With Functional Training?

Yes, you can get fit with functional training. Functional training will help you burn calories, build a lean physique and enhance muscle development.

What Is the Most Functional Training Equipment?

The most functional training equipment is kettlebells. Using a kettlebell in a workout works for multiple muscle groups and enhances power, strength, and endurance.

You can use kettlebells for numerous exercises like swings, snatches, and cleanses, giving you full-body training. This will enhance your coordination, mobility, and balance. 

With the correct form and effectiveness, kettlebells can give you a safe and efficient way to meet your fitness goals and improve overall health.

Read our guide on different types of kettlebells to choose the best one based on your needs.

Let me know which functional training equipment you will purchase next.

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Vanja Vukas

Student at the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education and a hardcore functional training enthusiast. Heavily inspired by Michael Boyle, a strength & conditioning specialist, and by Adam Sinicki, the founder of Bioneer. Vanja believes that transitioning to a movement-based exercise program can drastically improve your fitness, balance out your muscles, and support your current lifestyle.

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