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Multi-tasking home gyms

V is for versatile

Vectra VFT-100: High-end functional trainer.

Likes: Seat pulls out of the way, allowing you to do challenging functional exercises while standing or sitting atop an exercise ball. The two high pulleys can swing into different positions in one motion. The seat bench lies flat for classic supine bench presses and leg curls. Clean look.

Dislikes: Has a small 160-pound weight stack; optional 210-pound stack costs an extra $225.

Price: $3,195. (800) 283-2872; http://www.vectrafitness.com()
Masterful variety

Inspire M2: Gym with color-coordinated seat and weight-stack shroud.

Likes: Wide variety of standard and functional exercises. Approach to functional exercise is different than BodyCraft and Tuff Stuff but still effective. Alternative “free” press arm has a great deal of all-way movement, similar to a cable system, while the mid- and low pulleys let you pull cable out farther than conventional machines, allowing for full-blown functional movements. Seat cushions and unique canvas weight-stack cover are available in black, tan, burgundy and navy blue.

Dislikes: Though comfortable, the waterproof, uncovered seat pads feel sticky on shorts-clad legs. Also, only comes with 150-pound stack, a drawback for heavy lifters; optional 200-pound stack costs an additional $129.95.

Price: $1,999. (877) 738-1729; http://www.inspirefitness.net()
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A hybrid mainstay

BodyCraft Xpress Pro: Combines standard press arms with an adjustable cable system.

Likes: Very versatile, innovative design that debuted several years ago and helped create the hybrid category. Besides offering a standard lat pull and a seated press station with leg developer, it features a pair of 11-position, cable-driven pivoting arms behind the seat. You can use these to do a variety of presses, pulls and other functional movements that replicate golf swings, swim strokes and baseball pitches. Unique connector allows you to link the fixed and cable movements, doubling the resistance. Includes a 200-pound weight stack. Articulating pad on bottom of leg curl station allows easy entry and exit for leg curls and extensions.

Dislikes: None.

Price: $1,899. (800) 990-5556; http://www.bodycraft.com()
Tough enough

Tuff Stuff AXT-3: High-end imitator of the BodyCraft Xpress Pro with more convenient features.

Likes: A burlier feel and look (due to larger diameter tubing) than the BodyCraft. Innovative leg station allows for a rare and convenient seated leg curl. Includes a separate low row station off to the left side. Tough, attractive two-tone upholstery. Includes 200-pound weight stack with extra 2.5- and 5-pound “donuts” that let you customize the weight selection.

Dislikes: None.

Price: $2,499. (909) 629-1600; http://www.tuffstuff.net()
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