Vitruvian Trainer+ review: The ultimate home gym solution?


There’s little doubt about the importance of weight training, and it’s backed by plenty of science. Resistance based training, otherwise known as strength or weight training, is an essential ingredient to a long and healthy life. Benefits include increased muscle mass, bone health, improved metabolism, better posture and balance, and much more. However, not everyone knows how to weight train, has the time, or is even comfortable going to a gym. And having a home gym requires the equipment, a place to exercise and somewhere to store it all when you’re done.

It’s these pain points that Perth-based fitness tech company Vitruvian aims to address with the Trainer+. I have been using the first generation of the Trainer for around two years, and with a new version out called the Trainer+, it was time to take another look. For this review, I’ve focused mainly on what’s new, with a quick refresher on how it works. Be sure to check out my original review of its predecessor, the V-Form Trainer, for more details.

Vitruvian Trainer+ specifications

All access membership$AU49 month
Warranty2 years
Resistance Weight Range6lb/3kg to 440lb/200kg
Maximum length of the ropes10ft / 3m
MaterialsExtruded aluminium frame, carbon fibre reinforced shell
Dimensions1170 x 520 x 115mm
Max Power1000 Watts
Weight of Device80lb/38kg
TransportWheels and handle on one end
VoltageUS, Canada, and Japan orders will run on 110 volts. For the rest of the world, the Trainer+ runs on 220–240 volts.
ConnectivityBluetooth protocol; requires the Vitruvian App to function (compatible with Apple iOS or Android OS, Apple TV, Google TV, Amazon Fire TV)

What is the Trainer+?

In a nutshell, the Trainer+ is an all-body resistance-based training machine that enables you to lift weights without the weights. Instead, it consists of a sturdy base that you stand on and two motor-driven cables that you pull. However, this is much different than a traditional cable machine that you might find at the gym. First off, the Trainer+ uses special sensors and software to control the motors rather than weights at the end of strings. Call it adaptive, algorithmic or AI, whatever the buzzword, the Trainer+ senses and adapts to your body’s movements up to 40 times a second, loading and de-loading the weight for each rep. 

At the beginning of an exercise, it also measures the range of movement you’ll be doing and then provides resistance until your target reps or time is complete. There are a variety of different training modes to challenge your fitness, and some adapt to your strength in real-time and some are more like traditional weightlifting – but more on this later. And since the technology eliminates the chance of using momentum, as it maintains tension through the entire range of motion, your workouts can be shorter than what you’d spend at the gym, even just 20 minutes!

Home gym without the mess

An outstanding benefit of the Trainer+, and the model before it, is that you don’t need to have a collection of dumbbells, plates, bars, kettle bells, medicine balls or what have you cluttering up your house or garage. The Trainer+’s motors and pulleys can deliver a total resistance of 440 pounds or about 200 kilos, which should be plenty for most people. Bear in mind that this is split across each cable, so that’s 100 kilos per side, and this has increased from the original model’s 90 kilos. All you need is a power outlet to plug it in, and when you’re done training, the base is just 12cm high so you can roll it under a sofa or bed when you’re not using it.

What exercises can it do?

In terms of exercise types, the two cables connect to a range of attachments including handles, triceps rope, short and long bars, and ankle and waist straps. There’s also a bench press accessory that opens up even more exercises, but overall, there are about 300 movements you can do, with the exception of vertical back exercises, such as overhead lat pull-downs. You can work your back other ways however, such as kneeling and bench-based pulls, and Vitruvian says that there is a prototype vertical back attachment that’s being tested.

Vitruvian Trainer+ with bench press accessory

Smart training modes

There are two key training modes that influence how the cables deliver resistance. These are ‘adaptive’ and ‘non-adaptive’, and also designed to set limits to your total resistance, how you progress, and keep you safe from overloading injuries.

When you start out there’s a strength test to set your personal bests across 12 different exercises. After which, you can choose your own weights, say for squats or bicep curls, or when you build your own training programs.

Vitruvian app showing strength assessment

In adaptive mode, the machine senses your strength and adjusts the load accordingly. When you get stronger, it allows you to lift more. In a gym context, you would probably quit at your point of failure, however, the Trainer+ allows you to push through and get more out of your repetitions. It’s also quite safe to do on your own, as it knows not to overload you, avoiding dangerous situations like bench pressing more than you can handle and needing a spotter to get you out of trouble. 

There are some different ‘flavours’ of adaptive training including ‘Time under Tension’, where the Trainer+ will adjust the weight according to how slow or fast you move. Then there’s ‘Pump’, where speed and velocity is key so that the machine loads up to the weight you have selected. The faster you drive up, the closer you will get to the set’s resistance.

Non-adaptive modes are more like what you’d experience in the gym, where the weight stays consistent and will not lighten off if you’re struggling to complete the rep, or let you progress past your set weight if it’s too easy. There are some different ways to train here too including ‘Old School’, where you set the desired weight and train like you would with metal weights, and ‘Eccentric Only’ which is weight-loading only on the lowering phase of an exercise.

You can also further tune your workouts with the ‘progressive’ or ‘regressive’ toggles, meaning that an additional 1 to 3 kilos is added on or taken off your weight at the end of each rep. Then there’s ‘Beast Mode’, which is a real burner by loading the weight fast, and taking it off slowly.

What’s new with Trainer+?

The Trainer+ has a lighter base that’s made from an extruded aluminium frame and carbon fibre reinforced shell. I found that the original V-Form Trainer was a bit over designed with more carbon fibre and a heavier duty frame. Now weighing 38kg, the Trainer+ still feels as sturdy but is easier to lift up on its wheels and move it around.

Another major improvement is the updated cable motors. These have a higher total resistance, adding about 10 kilos per cable, and seem both smoother and quieter. While it might not seem like a big deal, they operate with a minimum weight of around three kilos, rather than the five or so of the V-Form Trainer. This is much better for exercises like lateral shoulder raises, where I found that the original Trainer was just too heavy at its lightest setting. Also, I was recovering from a shoulder injury and really needed to use lighter resistance. Now, this is much more comfortable.

The Trainer+ also sees a new ‘Quick Connection System’ for affixing handles and other attachments to the ends of the cables. The first version had simple carabiner type clips and loops. While these were fine, it did take a little bit of fiddling to get them connected, and during training classes you would often need to pause the video to get the next attachment in place. Now, the Trainer+ has custom attachments that are essentially a plug and socket with a retractable release ring. I’ve found it much easier to swap attachments now, and I don’t even need to pause the training classes. 

Vitruvian app enhancements

On the app front, the Vitruvian app has come a long way since the earlier builds that I used with the original Trainer. To start, the old setup disabled the ‘pure’ adaptive mode, limiting access to all weights for safety reasons. Now, it appears that as long as I am strong enough, the machine will keep getting heavier up to its maximum weight limit. 

You can use the app to set up your own customised training plans, where you build your own program depending on the types of exercises, resistance modes, and time intervals in between each set. The interface here has much improved, and it’s much easier to repeat sets, or even import a workout from a training class. 

Better classes

Personally, the way I like to train is with the pre-recorded training classes rather than building my own workout. This is because I don’t have to think about the type of exercises I need to do with the classes. I just tune in and follow along without having to plan anything beforehand.

In general, the classes are excellent, usually take less than 20 min, and feature knowledgeable trainers, each with their own personality and exercise focus. I’ve noticed that there are much more classes to choose from, and trainers, since I started using the OG V-Form trainer.

When you take a class, your Trainer+ will automatically set the resistance to match each exercise that the trainer is doing, so you can just follow along without having to set up each exercise. I like to choose a push or pull or legs class, and rotate these per week, however you could really boost your performance with the goal-oriented programmes. These can run from 4 to 24 weeks to help keep you motivated and level up your fitness.

I normally watch classes via my Apple TV so I can put it on the big screen while training, however it works perfectly well from an iPhone or tablet. The app also works on Android devices as is now supported via Google TV and Amazon Fire TV.

How much does it cost?

The only downside of the app driven training system is that you need to pay a monthly subscription of $AU49 for the “All Access” membership to get all the features. This includes access to over 300 classes and goal-oriented programmes, workout history tracking, 200 exercises, exercise sharing, and feature updates. You also get unlimited user profiles so other members of the household can enjoy the same features without having their own subscription. 

If you don’t want to subscribe, however, you can still create custom workouts, access the 200+ exercise library or use the different training modes.

When you factor this into the cost of the machine itself, which is $AU4,190 – that’s $AU4,631 for the first year. You do get free shipping and 3 month’s of the full membership is included. Also, you can save a bit with an annual membership, which is currently on sale for $AU602 and there’s a lifetime membership for $AU1,690.

Ultimately, the total cost of ownership should be considered in the context of what a gym membership might be for those who want to train at home for the long term. Still, the original Trainer was just under $AU3,000, so prices have gone up. Otherwise, you could assemble your own home gym setup and buy a few machines to access the same range of exercises.

What’s in the box?

In the box you get the Trainer+, along with two handles, two ankle straps and a metal connector that joins both handles to one cable. While you can do most exercises, if you want variations, you’ll need the extra attachments. For example, you can do chest flys while lying on the Trainer+’s base, the bench accessory is more comfortable and gives you a better range of motion. Or you can use the handles for ‘suitcase’ squats but the long bar attachment rests across your shoulders to distribute the load and ideal for lifting heavier weights.

There are two accessory kits including the Entry kit, which is $AU490 or the Pro kit for an eye-watering $AU840. For more details, check out the store page on the Vitruvian site.

The Entry kit includes:

  • Long Bar
  • Tricep Rope
  • Premium Handles
  • Workout Mat
  • Safety Cables

The Pro kit includes: 

  • Long Bar 
  • Short 
  • Pump Handles
  • Tech Mat 
  • Bench
  • Belt
  • Safety Cables
  • Rope

Should you buy it?

I’ve used the Trainer for more than a couple of years now and the latest version is definitely a step up with better design, smoother motors and the new Quick Connection System. The Vitruvian app is also much more refined and easier to use, with extra training classes and new things like goal driven programmes and quick workout features being added along the way. 

At the end of the day, what I really love about the Trainer+ is that it gives me the ability to do resistance weight training at home without the mess and expense of having my own home gym. It’s easy to pull out and use, leaving me a few excuses to not work out, even if it’s getting late. I also really love its advanced training modes, meaning I can smash out a workout in around 20 minutes and really feel the effects the next day. And lastly, I don’t need a spotter to handle heavier weights, especially when squatting. All up, I’ve exercised more frequently than I ever did with just a gym membership.

Who’s it for?

Anyone older or younger who values the benefits of resistance / weight training, is time poor or has limited space and would rather train at home rather than at the gym.

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Vitruvian Trainer+
The Vitruvian Trainer+ improves on the original design with a better design, motors and plenty of software updates. New training classes and trainers are welcome too, however, it's more costly than the original model.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Stylish, compact, sturdy and made with carbon fibre, now lighter than the original
High intensity, science-backed resistance modes including eccentric and progressive training - now with smoother motors
Improved app experience with better onboarding for new users and improved user interface
No need to have a pile of weights at home for a great resistance-based workout
Over 300 classes and 200 exercise movements to keep you challenged
New Quick Connection System makes it a snap to swap handles and other attachments
Price has gone up significantly since the original V-Form Trainer model
There's a monthly subscription fee to unlock all of the classes and some features, but you can still access the training modes and exercises without it
You can't do vertical pull exercises such as lat pull-downs due to the design