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There was a lot of excitement in the home gym community when REP Fitness announced the Athena functional trainer attachment. Most people were curious if it was a better value than the REP Fitness Ares cable attachment, which like the Athena can be attached to an existing power rack to give you a functional trainer without taking up too much space.
After much waiting, our REP Fitness Athena review is finally here. Garage Gym Reviews founder and home gym equipment expert Cooper Mitchell has been playing around with it for a while and we’re here to give you his unfiltered thoughts.
Years of Testing Functional Trainers
Our team of certified personal trainers and weightlifting coaches has personally used functional trainers for years. Beyond that, we are expert product testers who have put items like the Force USA G20 and the Titan Fitness Functional Trainer through our multi-point methodology to evaluate things like pulley ratio, ease of operation, and value. We are fully equipped to give you an honest opinion of these large (and often pricey) attachments and machines.
REP Fitness Athena Functional Trainer
- Fits PR-4000 or PR-5000 V2 series power racks
- 2:1 pulley ratio
- Available for 80” and 93” power racks
Pros & Cons
- Free shipping
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Available to purchase as left or right and paired.
- Functional trainer without large footprint
- Designed to be adjustable with one hand with large oversized pop-pin
- Integrated band pegs on base and headplate
- Upgrade kit will be available in the future
- Compatible with limited racks
- The Athena cannot clear weight horns with all diameter plates
- Comes with only 1 only D-handle attachment
A Quick Look at the REP Fitness Athena Functional Trainer
Having a functional trainer in your garage gym is fantastic, but it’s also a piece of equipment that typically eats up a lot of space. Look at the REP-FT 5000, one of our favorite functional trainers: It takes up roughly a 6-foot-by-4-foot area.
Is the REP Fitness Athena Worth It?
The Athena turns your power rack into an all-in-one cable machine. There are two versions: the plate-loaded trainer and the selectorized trainer.
The plate-loaded version is under $1,000 for a dual-sided system and under $500 for just one unit. Each unit holds up to 540 pounds.
The selectorized version is almost double the price per unit or for the dual system, at around $950 and $1,800, respectively. Of note: The Athena Selectorized comes with just 170 pounds per side, though you can upgrade to 220-pound plate stacks for about $160 more.
Here’s how to know if the Athena is right for you:
- People who own a REP PR-4000 or REP PR-5000 or are looking to buy one and upgrade
- Those who already have Olympic weight plates
- People who need space-saving ideas for a functional trainer
Not Recommended For:
- People who do not own a compatible power rack
- People who want more versatility and would prefer the Ares
REP Fitness Athena Plate-Loaded Specs
|87 lbs per unit
|540 lbs per unit
|10.6” per side
|1.8” H x 12.3” W x 6” to the front of the rack
|Includes one D handle per set, compatible with many others
REP Fitness Athena Selectorized Specs
|258 lbs per unit
|540 lbs per unit
|170 lbs with option to upgrade to 220 lbs
|1.8” H x 3.7” (PR-4000) or 5” (PR-5000) W x 6” D
|Includes one D handle per set, compatible with many others
Workout Experience with the REP Fitness Athena
Coop tried out the plate-loaded and selectorized versions of the REP Fitness Athena and personally likes both options, but as he points out if you’re used to a plate-loaded functional trainer then you should just stick with that.
“They feel much different,” he says of the selectorized and plate-loaded Athena attachments. “Ignorance is bliss.”
That’s to say both options are pretty smooth due to the use of aluminum pulleys, but the selectorized weight stack is smoother. The pulleys are what help guide the cables and provide tension, and aluminum is what you want if you’re looking for a “smooth like butter” feeling when using the cable machine, though you should know it will wear on the cable more than a nylon pulley (which you usually see on commercial models since they last longer, but aren’t as smooth).
Both options have a 2:1 ratio, which means if you’re pulling 20 pounds you’re actually getting 10 pounds of resistance. The benefit of having a 2:1 ratio is that you get longer cable travel, and on the Athena you get 106 inches of cable travel.
“I don’t think you need a longer cable travel,” Coop says. We agree.
Coop notes that his one major complaint of the Athena is something he noted with the Ares—and that’s the narrow profile. REP’s power racks are 47 inches in width from post to post, which is great because it avoids any clanging of barbell collars when benching but it leads to some minor problems with the Athena.
“It’s just a bit tighter than a regular functional trainer,” Coop says. This will mostly be felt during moves like chest flys, but, Coop adds, “That’s just inherent in something that’s meant to be very compact.”
One thing Coop wanted to point out is that the cables for the functional trainer go underneath the power rack’s uprights on the bottom and above them on the top, which allows you to continue to use the rack’s holes for various attachments, like a landmine row, without getting in the way of the cables.
“That’s just a well-thought-out feature,” he says.
You’ll find the durability you expect from REP fitness equipment on the Athena, like raw steel core on the cables and plastic lining on the trolleys for maximum protection.
One of the biggest benefits of the Athena is that you can choose to mount it on the left or right side of your existing power rack, or you can choose the dual-sided system to have two pulleys. Unlike the Ares, which has six terminal points, the Athena offers a single sliding trolley per unit that glides up and down the upright.
“I love the feeling of the trolleys,” Coop says. “It makes for a very premium feel.”
Trolley and Cables
Each Athena unit comes with a trolley lined in plastic to protect it as it moves. Our favorite feature on the trolley: the knurled handle (which you’ll also see on the Ares). If you know us, you know we love high-quality knurling. The trolley also features a safety pop-pin to keep the unit locked in place during exercise.
The aluminum pulleys on the front of the rack have a 180-degree swivel that is ideal for accommodating a range of exercises. There is a 2:1 weight ratio on each pulley. That means that you’ll only feel half the resistance of the weight you load onto the unit. So if you put 200 pounds on the Athena, it will feel like 100 pounds. While this is pretty standard across most functional trainers, there are some that offer more options.
One last note about the cable construction:
“I love that the cables run under the crossmember on the bottom and over the crossmember on the top because they won’t interfere with other rack attachments,” Coop says.
On the plate-loaded option of the Athena, you can use almost as much weight as the handles will hold. There is a max weight capacity of 540 pounds per unit (which, with a 2:1 ratio, feels like 270 pounds). The downside, however, is that when the plates are loaded on the Athena, they may get in the way of any plate storage system you are using.
On the selectorized version, each plate stack squeezes between the uprights and is out of the way of other rack attachments. Each stack comes with 170 pounds, though there is an option to upgrade to 220-pound plate stacks. Keep in mind that on a 2:1 system, 170 pounds feels like 85 pounds, and 220 pounds feels like 110 pounds.
When you purchase the Athena, you receive a D-handle attachment. Coop is generally a fan of REP Fitness equipment, but he’s let the fine folks there know his thoughts on these handles.
“They still suck,” he says.
Luckily, thanks to the carabiner terminal, you can use just about any squat rack attachment with the Athena.
Coop is a big fan of the Athena’s look.
“It’s a good-looking powdercoat that combines and looks really well with anything you choose,” he says.
With the exception of the weight stack on the selectorized version (which has a sticker you place on after assembly), everything is laser-cut so it looks and feels premium.
The REP Fitness Athena works with the following racks:
- REP PR-4000 6-Post 24” + 16”
- REP PR-4000 6-Post 30” + 16”
- REP PR-4000 6-Post 41” + 16”
- REP PR-4000 6-Post 16” + 16”
- REP PR-4000 4-Post 16”
- REP PR-5000 6-Post 30” + 16”
- REP PR-5000 6-Post 41” + 16”
- REP PR-5000 6-Post 16” + 16”
- REP PR-5000 4-Post 16”
If you purchase the plate-loaded Athena, you’ll need Olympic-sized weight plates. (Odds are that if you’re already using a barbell, then you’ll have bumper plates.)
One of the best parts of the Athena is that it takes up very little room—you’re only adding 1.8 inches to the height and 6 inches to the depth of your existing power rack, and at most you’re adding an additional 12.3 inches in width (the weight stack version only takes up about 5 inches).
As we noted earlier, this is great considering that most functional trainers can take up a massive amount of precious floor space.
Ordering the Athena
When ordering the REP Fitness Athena, you have to select which power rack you want to add it to (the REP PR-4000 or the REP PR-5000), and whether you want your cable attachment on the left, right, or both sides of your rack. You’ll then pick your rack’s depth.
REP Fitness offers free shipping as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee on the unit.
Returns, Financing, Warranty
REP Fitness allows you to return your product within 30 days of receipt for a refund, though your item must be in its original packaging. A 15 percent restocking fee will be charged for used items and you must contact REP Fitness before returning the item.
Financing options are available at checkout.
There is a lifetime warranty on the structural welds of attachments and frames. Pop-pins, pulleys, bearings, and cables all have a one-year warranty.
As of this writing, the REP Fitness Athena only has one review for its plate-loaded option and two reviews for the selectorized one—and all three are 5-star reviews.
Final Verdict of Our REP Fitness Athena Review
We are excited to use the Athena to see how it withstands the test of time. For now, this is a highly customizable and affordable way to turn your power rack into a home gym—and we’re here for that.
REP Fitness Athena Rating
REP Fitness Athena
In our REP Fitness Athena review, we take a first look at this newly released plate-loaded or selectorized functional trainer.
Product Brand: REP Fitness
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 474.99
Product In-Stock: InStock
REP Fitness Athena FAQs
Is the REP Fitness Athena worth it?
Depending on which option you choose, the Athena can transform your existing power rack into a functional trainer for as little as $500. We think the Athena plate-loaded unit is priced well and is a great option if you already have Olympic plates to load the unit. If you do not, you can take a look at the Athena Selectorized Side-Mount Functional Trainer, which is about twice the cost but comes with plate stacks.
How much weight can the REP Athena hold?
The REP Fitness Athena Plate-Loaded Side-Mount Functional Trainer can support 540 pounds of weight. With a 2:1 ratio, that will feel like 270 pounds. The selectorized Athena comes with 170-pound weight stacks with an option to upgrade to 220-pound stacks.
What is the pulley ratio on the REP Athena?
The REP Fitness Athena uses a 2:1 pulley ratio. That means that you only feel half the resistance of the plates you load onto the unit. So if you put 100 pounds on the unit, it will feel like 50 pounds when you are exercising.
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