Operational evaluation: TUT Trainer’s subtle attempt to replace weights

As a personal trainer, I was very skeptical of the TUT Trainer when he appeared on my fit-fluencer feed. It’s a slim piece of equipment clearly designed for the post-pandemic world, working out on the go, but the reliance on exercise bands has given me pause. Exercise bands can work, but it takes a lot of knowledge and finesse to replace heavy weights. I’ve decided to replace some of my weekly strength workouts, typically done with heavy dumbbells, with TUT’s pulley system. After a few weeks of use I hadn’t decided to drop my weights altogether, but I was impressed with what this system can do with limited space.

TUT stands for “time under tension,” which is the practice within strength training of holding the weight in one position longer rather than moving rapidly through reps. This efficient method works more muscles in less time by engaging multiple muscle systems simultaneously. The TUT Trainer is a stacked resistance band system that totals 200 pounds of resistance bands in a package that extends just 6 inches from the wall at its widest point.

The equipment looks like a super slim rowing machine gone vertical and attaches to a wall or door frame. The pulley handle can be attached anywhere along the length of the Trainer for a wide variety of movements, from bicep curls to lateral pull-ups. Similar to using a regular resistance band, the resistance increases as the user moves the handle away from the machine. TUT allows the user to manually adjust the resistance of the machine, rather than having to switch off or add resistance bands between sets. There are also a few accessories you can purchase with the TUT Trainer, including a TUT Power Bar that I was able to try out for bigger lifts like deadlifts, shrugs, and squats.

I approached my first TUT workout with caution, since I didn’t want to get hurt and because I chose not to drill my machine into the wall so I could move it where I wanted. If you’re also against drilling into your wall (or your landlord would rather you didn’t) the TUT Permanent Anchor to keep you stable during a workout. I was able to complete a full workout session with upper and lower body exercises with no issues and really enjoyed adjusting the intensity of the bands at the start of the workout.

Man using TUT Trainer at home

Courtesy of TUT Fitness

But here’s the thing: The TUT Trainer is a great compliment to real weights to the best. I was definitely working, and by the end of a few training sessions I had worked my muscles to a level of exhaustion previously only achieved with heavy, bulky barbells and weights. However, if you’re an experienced weight lifter, you’ll have to shell out the extra cash for more resistance bands to work towards the progress you’re used to.

It’s been great for targeting smaller muscle groups or those infernal pyramid exercises I tell my clients to do to support larger muscle groups. It’s great for isolations like straight-arm lateral pulldowns, a move you can’t do effectively without the equipment. The previously silent tiny muscles in my upper back and shoulders were skimming for several days at their best. I’ve also used it as a warm up and cool down for strength workouts.

My back workouts, for example, generally start with acceleration exercises like deadlifts and rows with my adjustable dumbbells. After moving it to the TUT trainer for upright rows, face pulls, more angled rows for the burnout, and lat pulldowns, I was able to do way more exercises at home than I can normally handle with weights in my living room due to the ALL small weight increments.

I’ve tried nearly 50 different exercises on this thing and almost all of them worked as if using a dumbbell, kettlebell, or barbell. The subtle changes in intensity offered by resistance bands can’t be achieved with weights, and this machine is much safer than heavy weights if you have zealous kids or pets around. Like most home versions of specialized equipment – ​​countertop ice cream churns, garden saunas, massage chairs – something is always sacrificed for convenience. However, for athletes looking to tone rather than bulk and are looking to avoid the potential dangers of having heavy weights around, it’s a well-executed option.

YES. It’s very easy to fit in the first place and whether you decide to punch it out or slot it over a door like I did, installation is really simple. I’m not the practical type and avoid practicing intensely if I can. I was still able to build this machine in under an hour and train the same day. Once hung on my wall, its structure did not give way and I was able to train without interruptions.

The TUT Trainer integrates weights effectively up to a point. Its resistance maxes out at 200 pounds, so if you’re a more experienced weightlifter whose PRs exceed it, it’ll serve you best as a warm-up. Whether you’re a beginner or not looking to go any further, it’s very easy to target each muscle group and work them to exhaustion. It would also be great as a warm up, cool down or while recovering from an injury.

Six packs are overrated if you ask me, but the TUT Trainer is great for building a well-rounded core through a variety of exercises like your standard crunch, weighted side bends, deadlifts, and curls.

TUT stands for time under tension. It is a key factor in any weight training exercise and can be stretched to make the movement more effective with a lighter weight. Seriously, pick up a weight that you can normally do ten reps with, but instead make those reps ten seconds long and see if you can still complete the entire set.

The TUT Trainer isn’t very wide and would be easy to install on a door frame in a hotel or AirBnb. However, it’s long, so packing it in a suitcase might be a challenge, and hauling it through a terminal might get some weird looks.

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