TuffStuff CDP-300 Functional Trainer

Functional Training: Cable Ratio

By Tom Woodman
Regional Manager, Seattle Area

Vectra Fitness VX-FT-1 Functional TrainerPerhaps the most important decision to be made in selecting a cable machine is, “do you want a machine with a 1:2 cable ratio or a 1:4 cable ratio?”

Depending on the market they’re designed for, functional trainers come, or can be ordered in, a variety of cable ratios. Here’s some information to help you decide what which ratio will meet your needs best.

1:4 Ratio

This is ideal for people who want to work on explosive speed.  They will do plyometric movements for sports where quickness is important.   For example, for baseball, if you train at a slow speed, your swing is going to be slow.  You need strength AND quickness, so plyometric movements would be a critical part of your training.  The 1:4 ratio because it minimizes issues with wt. stack momentum, allowing you to train at much faster speeds than a 1:2 ratio allows.

Another advantage of 1:4 ratio is you have twice the length of cable travel that you have in a 1:2 ratio machine.  This allows you to do full body movements.  For example, some of the full body movements I do require 8’ of cable travel.  If I were to try this on a machine with a 1:2 ratio, the weight stack would hit the top of the machine before I completed the movement.

A third advantage of a 1:4 ration is in rehab settings.  Since you are able to go up in 2.5lb increments, rehab patients are more easily accommodated.

1:2 Ratio

On the other hand, some manufacturers make functional trainers that are a 1:2 ratio.  This is ideal for people who are focusing more on lifting heavy for strength.   The advantage: you can get twice the resistance per arm vs. with a 1:4 ratio.   For example,  with a 150 lb stack you can get up to 75 lbs resistance per arm, rather than 37.5 max resistance on a 1:4 ratio machine.


What we recommend for you:

Know what ratios you want!   Ideal for most home gyms and training studios would be the ability to do both!  The variety of training you can do and the variety of users you can accommodate in a small footprint is maximized.  So rather than put yourself in a box with one cable ratio or the other, I recommend  a machine that offers both.

TuffStuff CDP-300 Functional TrainerThat is the beauty of the Tuffstuff CDP300 and CXT200. They offer BOTH 1:2 AND 1:4 cable ratios.  This way you can accommodate everyone doing the whole spectrum of functional training,  without  having to buy two machines!


Here is a link to the CDP 300, their entry level machine.   Even this machine is extremely heavy duty.  Try shaking the machine and you will see how sturdy it is compared to others!


Tuffstuff also makes a more advanced CXT-200 that has some additional features and the option to add a smith machine.  Here is a link to that machine.


If you are still not sure which functional trainer to purchase, ask us for a competitive analysis sheet that compares all the important points on the models you are considering!