With several important upgrades over the conventional cable crossover design, the Precor S3.23 Functional Trainer and Bench Combo offers a much more compact and versatile workout experience.
This home gym review takes a closer look at the features that make this design so effective, together with a range of possible exercise options for your upper and lower body workouts.
Cable pulley features
If you are fortunate enough to have the space available, a functional trainer such as the Precor S3.23 can be an excellent addition to your home gym.
The main frame of the machine is designed to fit comfortably in the corner of a room, which helps make the most of even limited space, and is a much more compact option than your standard cable crossover.
To increase the stability of the frame and prevent any unwanted movement when working out, the sides have been joined at two key points; the pull up bar across the top, and the mid cross brace across the back.
The pull up bar is strong enough to support a number of chin up variations, as well as core strengthening exercises.
In terms of the cable pulleys themselves, each pulley is individually height adjustable through a wide range of settings.
This allows you to find the position that best suits your height, range of motion, and chosen exercise.
Each weight stack contains 150 lbs of weight plates, and has been shrouded to help prevent any risk of injury when adjusting the resistance.
Although a pair of single handles is shown in the gallery images below, the quick change cantilever clips mean that almost any standard cable attachment will be compatible.
The S3.23 stack also has a 1:2 ratio resistance factor, meaning you feel a functional resistance weight of half of the selected weight. The actual single stack weight is 150 pounds (68 kg), which is 75 pounds (34 kg) functional resistance.
The actual combined stack weight (2 stacks total) is 300 pounds (136 kg) total, which is 150 pounds (68 kg) functional resistance.
Precor S3.23 Functional Trainer – Features Summary
- Dual stack gym with space-efficient design offering a true isolateral workout in a compact footprint
- Dual independent weight stacks allow you to engage more than one muscle
- Unique pulley system with one-handed ergonomic handle
- Includes bench with six adjustment positions to focus your workouts
- Space efficient design and subtle color palette complements your home decor
- Pulleys adjust to over thirty starting positions, allowing unlimited exercises to keep routines fresh
- Fully concealed weight stacks to protect moving parts
- Integrated top bar allows for back, abdominal workouts and chin-ups
- Construction: Nylon/fiberglass pulleys for added durability
- ABEC rated ball bearings for added durability and smooth feel
- Adjustable accessory straps: Accessories included are (1) foot/ankle strap, (2) D-ring handgrips, which accommodate all user sizes and a variety of exercises
- Instructional DVD provides you a personal training program for a total body workout and sports specific exercises
Workout bench design
Despite featuring quite a simple design, the workout bench provided with the Precor S3.23 actually includes a number of important features.
Firstly, the back support pad features a tapering design that narrows as you move away from the seat.
This is to allow greater flexibility in your shoulders during the pressing exercises, allowing you to use heavier weights without feeling like your range of motion is restricted.
You also have the extra thick padding around the lower back region, which helps to provide some much needed lumbar support during incline presses and flys.
The incline of the back support is also fully adjustable through 6 different position settings, without the need for any complicated cantilever systems or locking pins.
Transport wheels have also been attached to the rear base stabilizer to make it much easier to roll the bench between the weight stacks when required.
Upper body workouts
One of the main advantages of the Precor S3.23 functional trainer is the versatility of the cable pulleys.
Through two simple design features of being height adjustable and being compatible with a range of cable attachments, you can quickly put together effective workouts for every upper body muscle group.
Although you are a little more restricted than free weights in terms of the weight you can use, the isolation options can still help you develop a stronger, more defined physique.
Even using the single handle attachments, you can perform any number of raises, curls, rows, and presses.
The following list is just a few of the upper body exercises available when you combine the resistance of the dual independent weight stacks with some of the more basic pulley attachments.
Upper body exercise options:
- Upright rows
- Side lateral raises
- Bicep curls
- Concentration curls
- Seated rows
- Rear delt flys
- Pec fly
- Seated shoulder press
- Incline chest press
- Tricep pushdown
- Overhead tricep extensions
- Weighted abdominal crunches
Lower body workouts
If you’re looking to increase overall strength and muscle mass in your legs and calves, there’s really no substitute for the big compound movements, such as leg presses, squats, and stiff-legged deadlifts.
However, the Precor S3.23 Functional Trainer is still excellent for isolating individual muscle groups, including your calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes.
Unfortunately there aren’t as many lower body cable workout routines written about in the monthly fitness magazines compared to the heavier free weight exercises.
But that doesn’t mean to say you can’t put together an effective lower body workout using the Precor S3.23. You just have to be a bit more creative.
The most important thing is to combine the pulleys with the right selection of attachments, with the ankle attachment being the most valuable.
Keeping the resistance at this low level provides the widest range of motion through exercises such as glute raises, leg raises, and lunges, thereby recruiting more muscle fibers and leading to faster strength gains.
To provide some inspiration as to what’s possible with the Precor S3.23, we’ve put together the following list of lower body exercises.
Each exercise is possible using different combinations of the weight bench, cable pulley, and ankle attachment.
Lower body exercise options:
- Glute raises
- Cable hip adduction
- One-leg cable kickback
- Standing cable hip flexion
- Cable hip abduction
- Cable split squat
- Standing leg lifts
- Stiff-legged deadlifts
- Cable step up
Ease of assembly
As Precor specialize in commercial quality fitness equipment, it’s often the case that you will need to spend longer assembling the machine than you would with lower priced functional trainers with more basic designs.
Although it’s perfectly possible to assemble the Precor S3.23 on your own, Precor do recommend allowing up to 2 hours to get the unit fully assembled.
If you don’t have the time available to set the trainer up yourself, there is a specialist assembly service available if you contact Precor customer support.
Warranty coverage and customer support
- Frame and welds: Lifetime
- Parts and wear items: 10 years
- Labor: 1 year
With 26 years of experience in developing commercial quality exercise equipment that matches the natural range of motion of your muscles, Precor’s biomechanics and engineering experience has led to countless innovations in the way we workout.
Precor has introduced many “firsts” to the fitness industry, including the Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (EFX®) in 1995 and the revolutionary, award-winning Adaptive Motion Trainer (AMT®) in 2007.
Today, Precor machines are used every day in health clubs, hotels, facilities, and homes worldwide.