The Evolution of Cross Training!
Update: Since the time of this review, the FS9i has been replaced with the FS10i. Read our full review of the FreeStride Trainer FS10i here.
Our team traveled to the NordicTrack headquarters in Logan, UT. Although the winter trip was a bit shocking to our southern blood, it was worth the trip to review their FreeStride Trainer FS9i, one of the most innovative cross training machine on the market.
The name best describes the type of exercise you get – FreeStride. It is ergonomically designed to move the way you do, unlike a treadmill or elliptical trainer where you are locked in a particular motion. The ability to have variable motions allows you to target more muscles and it breaks you out of the mold.
When you exercise within a set pattern your body adjusts and consequently minimizes the benefits of the workout. What you want is “muscle confusion”, which is exactly what the FS9i does, confuses your muscles.
Variable Motion — As mentioned above, the ability to vary the motion of your exercise is extremely beneficial in sculpting muscles and burning calories. The FreeStride Trainer FS9i mimics three different exercise machines…
You get a stair climbing motion, a smooth elliptical stride and the ability to simulate running on air. In addition, the FreeStride Trainer FS9i has a stride length up to 32”. So users can extend their stride length to what feels natural. Furthermore, the ability to define your motion and stride length is ideal for accommodating users of different heights.
10% Incline – 10% Decline — To enhance your workout the FreeStride Trainer FS9i allows you to incline and decline the motion. You can simulate going up and down hills, and in the process you further target additional leg muscles and get a more intense cardio workout.
Upper Body Workout — Like an elliptical trainer, the FreeStride Trainer FS9i comes with moving upper body handle bars, which allows you to target upper body muscles. We found it most advantageous to alternate resistance training between the upper and lower body.
20 Lbs. Flywheel — Similar to an elliptical trainer the FreeStride Trainer utilizes a flywheel. The heavy flywheel gives the motion a smooth and natural feel.
10” Smart HD Touchscreen — The display gives you colorful feedback on your workout stats and connects to iFit Live.
iFit Live is NordicTrack’s signature technology that are designed to motivate you to reach your fitness goals. Other companies are offering interactive technologies, but iFit Coach defines the standards. With iFit Coach you can…
Warranty — You get a fairly standard coverage that includes lifetime frame, 5-years parts and 2-year labor.
Easy Assembly — We have not assembled a FreeStride Trainer, but from what we tell, it is considerably easier to assemble than your typical elliptical or treadmill. They can often take several hours and two people to assemble.
See a comparison chart of all NordicTrack Elliptical trainers here.
When you first get on the FreeStride Trainer FS9i, it is rather awkward because you are defining the motion. However, once you get the hang of it, it is a rush. You will find similar commercial versions of the FS9i in health clubs, and they are growing in popularity because of the “muscle confusion” workout that they provide. In addition to confusing your muscles, it also takes the boredom out of exercising in place. You have a variety of options that makes exercising more challenging.
However, that is only part of the story of the FreeStride Trainer FS9i. The other is the numerous options and add-ons. Features like the 10” Smart HD Touchscreen, iFit Live compatibility, incline/decline capability, 38 preset programs and speakers make this a total motivational and interactive workout machine.
In talking to one of the staff members at the headquarters he mentioned that the Freestride Trainers are their hottest selling items. Having experienced it personally we can see why! You may also want to check out the FreeStride Trainer FS7i to save around $1,000. The touchscreen is not as large and the FS7i does not have a decline feature.
Go to www.NordicTrack.com and learn more!
Video review taken when visiting the NordicTrack Headquarters!