I received a really good question today via email about why stopped using my CrossCore War Machine in favour of using my Human Trainer + pulley add-on, and also why I made the comment that the Human Trainer + pulley add-on is more versatile than the CrossCore War Machine.
I answered the person’s question directly via email, but my response ended up being so long and detailed that I figured it might be helpful for other people if I post the response on my blog, so here it is (note that CrossCore180 is just another name for the War Machine):
The reason I said that the Human Trainer is more versatile than the CrossCore180 is because the Human Trainer + pulley add-on is technically two different suspension systems: a non-rotational dual-anchor suspension system, and single-anchor a rotational pulley.
But I do agree with your comment that you can use the CrossCore180 as both a rotational pulley as well as a non-rotational suspension system, I just find that sometimes I do enjoy using traditional suspension straps.
The CrossCore180 pulley includes a locking pin to disable the pulley, but the rope still moves even with the pulley locked, plus it’s still a single-anchor configuration, and I much prefer dual-anchor for non-rotational pressing exercises (chest press, chest fly, triceps extension), so that’s why I like having the Human Trainer + pulley add-on rather than just the CrossCore180.
Also, I much prefer traditional suspension straps for most exercises that involve suspending your feet in the foot cradles. For example, atomic pushups, jackknives, mountain climbers, pikes, hamstring curls, hamstring runners, etc. I prefer non-a rotational suspension system for those exercise. I’ve found with the CrossCore180, even when the pulley is locked, the rope still moves too much and it interferes with those exercises.
So I hope that answers your first question about the why I said I think the Human Trainer is more versatile than the CrossCore180.
To answer your question about a typical workout, I mostly use the main Human Trainer, and just use the pulley occasionally when I want to do unilateral rows or presses, or rotational rows or presses. When I first picked up my War Machine about a year ago, I was in love with the pulley training and wanted to use it all the time. But after a few months the novelty of the pulley wore off for me, and I found that for most training I prefer a non-rotational suspension system, but the pulley is still nice to add for variety. That’s why I like the Human Trainer. I can train with both styles of suspension systems with one product.
Regarding the Human Trainer setup with a single anchor, yes it works really well when setup with a single anchor. Single anchor setup is how I use the Human Trainer when exercising in my apartment (I setup one door anchor on the hinge side of the door, and attach the two nylon straps to one door anchor). The design of the Human Trainer allows it to work equally well for both dual-anchor and single-anchor configurations.
Besides the noticeable difference in build quality (Human Trainer made in China, CrossCore180 made in USA), the biggest difference between the Human Trainer Pulley and the CrossCore180 is that the Human Trainer Pulley uses a steel cable with some kind of plastic coating, and the CrossCore180 uses a rope. That means the War Machine can be shortened by making some kind of special knot it the rope (demonstrated in their DVD). So with the CrossCore180, you can do deep unilateral and rotational rows with the handles at waist height and your body directly under the pulley. That’s not possible with the Human Trainer Pulley since it can’t be shortened. With the Human Trainer Pulley, the cable is always the same length.
Both products are great and I think you’d be happy with either. It just depends if you want a great dual-anchor suspension system with a pulley add-on, or a great pulley suspension system that’s fully adjustable.
To put it another way, Human Trainer is the best suspension system that also allows for rotational pulley training, and CrossCore180 is the best pulley suspension system. So if the pulley training is your priority, choose the CrossCore180.
One thing I forget to mention in the email, which isn’t particularly relevant right now but I’ll post here anyway for posterity, is that I’ve heard Astone Fitness plans to eventually release their pulley attachment as a stand-alone product, which is important regarding my comment about build quality of the Human Trainer Pulley vs. the War Machine.
Currently, the only way to get the Human Trainer Pulley is to buy it as an add-on to the main Human Trainer, which costs $214.90. total. The CrossCore War Machine costs $249.99. So if you’re mainly interested in pulley training, the higher build quality of the War Machine is potentially an important factor when there’s only about $35 savings in choosing the Human Trainer + pulley add-on.
But if and when Astone Fitness releases the pulley as a standalone product, it will likely be about half the price of the War Machine, in which case the difference in build quality would become a non-issue for me, and likely for many people comparing both products. If given the choice between spending around $120 for the Human Trainer Pulley, or $249.99 for the CrossCore War Machine, I’d choose the Human Trainer Pulley without hesitation.