April 17, 2024

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The TUT Fitness review: Do you need this affordable mini home gym?

5 min read
TUT Fitness ankle.
Mark Stock / The Manual

By now, you know fully well that you can get a gym-level workout at home. But with so many options on the market, from Peloton stationary bikes to adaptable dumbbells and any number of cardio machines, what’s one to do?

TUT Fitness has a lot to like in the home gym department. The dynamic resistance-based apparatus, otherwise known as the Trainer Gym, offers a whole host of workouts without eating up much space. This is an attractive option if you’re looking to sculpt muscle without going too hard in the impact realm.

TUT Fitness accessories.

How TUT Fitness works

The TUT acronym stands for “time under tension,” the theme of this fitness machine. The philosophy is built around motion under resistance and holding certain positions for maximum results. Think low and slow vs. hard and fast. The TUT gym works a lot like a cable machine, swapping the weights for rubber resistance bands (or plates, as the TUT refers to them). Perhaps you’ve worked with resistance bands before, either through physical therapy or a lower-impact workout routine. Either way, it’s a great way to get a lower-impact workout with potentially big results.

The tower houses pulleys and attachments for exercise equipment ranging from workout bars and ankle bands to rowers. There are three connection areas — the middle one being adjustable — and accessories are added or swapped out via carabiners. The resistance plates easily clip in and out, with color-coded resistance weight levels of varying degrees (2, 5, 10, 20, 40). Note: One of the coolest aspects is the ability to stack multiple bands to find your sweet spot, inching all the way up to about 200 pounds worth of resistance.

For $999, the basic setup includes the trainer, an aluminum bar curl, a carabiner, two handles, two ankle straps (which can velcro together into a waist belt), a cable lock, and a pair of wall-mount plates. An app, which includes more than 250 exercises and on-demand workout sessions, is also included.

TUT Fitness outside.

The pros

There’s no denying the versatility. Of the many, many pieces of exercise equipment out there, the TUT Trainer Gym excels because it is so dextrous. The machine sets up with ease and quickly, weighing in at a decidedly petite eleven-and-a-half pounds. The machine’s ability to swing on its hinge pins is a major bonus, especially for those operating in tighter spaces. Really, all you need is a door frame or post, and in a few minutes, the apparatus is up and running. The fact that the machine extends a mere six inches from its base is impressive, allowing the user to utilize that extra space to work out.

Being portable is another bonus. While it can screw directly into the wall, we suggest using the clamps to place it anywhere you see fit. That way, the machine can come down when it’s not in use (although being so sleek, it’s not much of an eyesore fully assembled). Switching out resistance plates is a breeze, and the DIY approach is a gift, setting the user up with countless exercise routines stemming from one skinny yet agile piece of gym equipment.

An open-ended workout

You get a lot for your money here. We’re fond of the adjustability of the machine as well as its sturdy build. You get what you put into the thing. In other words, while a gym will have specialized equipment for calves, quads, triceps, and the like, this trainer accounts for them all, so long as you’re motivated to follow along on an app session or create your own program, swapping handles for bars and repositioning things en route. In that sense, the TUT Trainer Gym is a bit of a transformer, catering to your goals and allowing for many, many workout permutations targeting muscles from head to toe.

The rower has another big layer

The rower is a pricy add-on ($699) but allows for an entire host of extra full-body exercises. Sure, you can pretend you’re on the water and row until it hurts, but you can also use it for slides and cardio workouts, as well as ab sculpting with any number of pilates routines. The rower adds another big layer to your home gym setup and is both lightweight and stows away with ease. And it operates under the same resistance plates, making it extremely compatible and great for incremental workouts.

If you’ve used the clamps to install and only want it visible during workouts, fret not. The tower breaks down into three storable pieces almost immediately, and the whole set can get dropped into a drawer or tucked under a bed without issue. The trainer is fun to use and bends harmoniously with your workout.

TUT Fitness rower.

The cons

The TUT Trainer Gym is not perfect. Accessories cost extra- sometimes significantly- and things you might think would come in complementary fashion (an adjustable power bar) are bought separately. Gym rats who like to lift hard may find this machine to be too soft and would likely be better served with free weights.

A few resistance constraints

The lesser resistance bands seem a little pointless (do we really need a two-pound resistance band?), and the fact that only they can stack on the rower at once is a bummer if you’re after a big-time leg workout (you can add more up top if you’re using your arms with the rower). While we didn’t experience any deterioration during our trial run, we can’t help but imagine that the resistance plates may wear down over time, loosen up, or weather in the sun should you opt to set up shop outside.

A learning curve

Those who like a structured workout may need assistance here, whether that’s through the formal app or the introductory visuals that come with the kit. Frankly, that subtle curse is also a blessing to those who like a nimble device that allows for any number of exercises targeting any and all muscle groups. The machine can do just about anything you’re after; it just takes a little getting used to. Lastly, setting up with clamps can be tricky in an older house with ornate door frames (things need to be flush) or settings with lower ceilings, but mounting the old-fashioned way is an easy fix here.

TUT Fitness plates.

The verdict

Resistance exercise is in, and while TUT is not the only option, it’s one of the best based on high functionality, minimal setup, and a flexible design. The machine is downright fun to use and can help you along in any fitness journey you’re after. Aside from a few little hiccups and some costly additions, the trainer does wonders and essentially brings dozens of machines you might find at your gym right to your home in one decidedly sleek package. Start with the tower; you can always add the rower down the line if you want to take things to the next level.

Interested in more fitness content? Check out our FightCamp boxing review and the best workout routine for you. If it’s been a minute, here’s how to return to a fitness program without getting hurt.

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