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NordicTrack Fusion CST Review

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Quick Summary

Serving as the entry-level model of the NordicTrack Fusion CST Series, the Fusion CST offers a 2-in-1 strength and cardio machine utilizing Silent Magnetic Resistance. Built around an inertia-enhanced flywheel, the 73.5-inch high tower sports 20 digital resistance settings, six precision cable ends, two squat pulleys, and two ankle straps. With a 95-inch independent cable travel, users can execute the same movements they would with a traditional weight-stack tower.

But because the machine offers a much smoother Silent Magnetic Resistance as opposed to the weights, it better bridges the gap between cardio and strength training. Its unique setup can be used for a host of your usual strength training  exercises, from cable flies to lateral raises to bent cable crossovers. One of the machine’s biggest selling points is its iFit capability; it gives you access to a huge variety of intense cross-training workouts (watch a video preview of the training sessions to see the machine in action). Much like what’s available for their treadmills and exercise bikes, trainer-led workouts run you through fast-paced sessions to keep your heart pumping and muscles building in the process.

Meanwhile, the 2022 NordicTrack Fusion Studio serves as the next step in the series, incorporating a 70″ x 15″ mirror and live resistance control for trainers in remote locations to adjust the resistance while they train you. Priced at $1,999 and $2,495 respectively, both machines are built to work with the iFit app and come with 30-day family membership included in the purchase. This all sounds great, but how effective are they really? We’re here to unpack the pros and cons of the Fusion CST so you can decide whether it’s the right machine for you. 

Specifications

Model NordicTrack Fusion CST
Rating

Our custom rating considers all of the Home Gym's features, specs, warranties, and 100's of user & expert reviews, to save you time!

90%
List Price

Suggested retail price, typically higher than the price you'll pay with our recommended retailers.

$1,799
Best Price

Since prices change daily, this link goes to our preferred retailer for the current best price. Note: MSRP stands for Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.

1799
Type

There are a few different types of Home Gyms. There are weight stack, power rod and body weight.

Pulleys
Max. Weight

Home Gym Max Weight is the maximum amount of weight, in pounds (lbs), that can be lifted on the machine.

N/A
Exercises

Home Gym exercises is the number of exercises you can do on the machine.

Variety
Seat

The seat on a Home Gym can be adjustable, padded, or detached.

None
User Weight

Home Gym User Weight is the amount of weight, in pounds (lbs), that it can safely support, which can represent durability.

Undisclosed
Dimensions

Dimensions are included to help you figure out if this Home Gym will fit properly (Length x Width x Height and Height x Depth).

73.5 H x 60.5 W x 41.5 D footprint
Workout Area

Home Gym Workout Area is the amount of space needed to use the Home Gym (Length x Width)

N/A
Legs

This field lets you know if this Home Gym has the option to do leg workouts or not.

Abs

This field lets you know if this Home Gym has abdominal workouts or not.

Curls

This field lets you know if this Home Gym has the option to do arm curls or not.

Pulldown

This field lets you know if this Home Gym has the option to do pulldown workouts or not.

Rows

This field lets you know if this Home Gym has the option to do rows or not.

Accessories

Many Home Gyms have optional accessories you can purchase separately.

10" Tablet Included
6 Pulley System Included
Warranty

The warranty is a very important part of your investment. The longer the warranty, the longer you can get free/discounted repairs by the manufacturer.

Frame: 10 years
Parts & Labor: 1 year

Rating: 90%

Our Rating

Our Rating: 90/100

Compact, smartly engineered, and capable of bringing studio-level training into your home, the Fusion CST has a fair bit going for it. Outside of the variety of iFit training sessions, one of its most noteworthy elements is the way it can meld cardio and strength training into a single workout. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and other fast-paced workouts are a big part of the equation. It’s also easier on joints than a traditional weight-based home gym on account of how its magnetic resistance system works—a major plus for those who’ve struggled with muscle and joint pain over the years.

NordicTrack Fusion CST Hero

While clever in design, and practical for those looking to both lose weight and build a bit of lean muscle, the Fusion CST isn’t a replacement for conventional strength training home gyms. Don’t get me wrong, the programs NordicTrack’s pro trainers have designed for this rig are effective for building lean muscle to a point. However, if increasing muscle mass is your key goal, you would be better off looking at more traditional home gyms or things like the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE. What stood out most at first glance is the lack of adjustability on the cable points, which could be a hindrance with some exercises for those looking to do more conventional strength training workouts.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Combines cardio and strength training for maximum workout efficiency
  • Uses magnetic resistance to make strength training relatively gentle on your joints compared to weight stacks
  • Has three sets of pulleys and a maximum pulley extension length of 95 inches
  • Trainer-controlled resistance during iFit training sessions
  • Has a range of 20 resistance settings, adjusted digitally
  • Includes a removable 10″ NordicTrack tablet for iFit training
  • Comes with an adjustable height tablet/smartphone stand
  • Includes a Bluetooth chest strap for wireless heart rate monitoring
  • Fusion CST operates more quietly than machines with weight stacks
  • Has a space-conscious design for practical use in most homes, taking up just 3½ x 5 feet of floor space

Cons:

  • The cables are not height adjustable
  • The parts and labor warranty is only valid for one year—much shorter than warranties from the competition

NordicTrack Fusion CST

Introduction

The Fusion CST is NordicTrack’s contribution to a new class of home gym. The brand’s intent with the Fusion line is to streamline workouts by “fusing” strength training with a high-intensity cardio routine. This is primarily executed through the vast assortment of interactive training sessions available via the 30-Day iFit membership. Professional trainers will guide you through one intense workout after the next, burning fat and building lean muscle in the process.

By opting for a magnetic resistance system, the unit is more compact than its conventional weight stack equivalent, though there is one compromise that comes with this configuration. Unlike a conventional rig, resistance on the cables is not bi-directional, so you only have resistance during the concentric phase of a rep and not on the return (eccentric phase). Similar to a rowing machine though, this one-way resistance is a great setup when cardio-focused pacing is required for a workout, bringing us back to the resounding point about who this machine is targeting.

The iFit app is central to the Fusion CST; it ships with a 30-day membership, allowing you to add personal training to the equation. NordicTrack includes a proprietary 10″ tablet as part of the deal to follow along with these workouts, as well as a separate tablet stand that allows for easier viewing when the workout requires facing away from the machine.

As an added bonus (and something uncommon in the category), a wireless chest strap heart rate monitor is included with the Fusion CST.

NordicTrack Fusion CST iFit

Workout Programs

Given its unique design, pro guidance is key as you get started with the Fusion CST. As you saw in the video above, the key with this rig is pacing; you’ll focus less on pushing your absolute heaviest weight, and more on being able to power through all of the different motions at a pace set by your trainer.

Essentially, iFit is an on-demand virtual personal training system. You can schedule reminders to tune in for live daily classes, or choose from a huge archive of sessions that have been recorded previously. It allows you to change up your routine from one day to the next or save a set of favorites to rotate through on a weekly basis.

Besides workout guidance, iFit can help you reach fitness goals with comprehensive health feedback. It can count your daily steps (a wearable device is included), make personalized recommendations about your sleep cycle, provide nutritional guidance, and much more.

Features

A good fit for most homes, the NordicTrack Fusion CST has a 73.5″ x 60.5″ x 41.5″ footprint, so it won’t burn a ton of space wherever you choose to set up your home gym.

The Fusion has three sets of pulleys with 20 levels of resistance. If you’re setting your own routine, these can be adjusted via buttons on the console, and when you’re following an iFit course, the program/trainer will adjust your resistance up and down from your preset baseline as you work through the training session.

According to NordicTrack, the Fusion CST is also inherently more gentle on muscles and joints due to the smoother delivery of resistance via its magnetic system, making it an appealing option for older fitness enthusiasts, and/or those suffering from chronic joint issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does the Fusion CST require an iFit subscription to work? No, the machine can used in manual mode.
  • What are the differences between the Fusion CST and Studio? In addition to the 70″ x 15″ mirror, the Studio offers an integrated charging station, device holder, and better automatic trainer control features.
  • Is the Fusion CST hard to assemble? Not really as the instructions are quite simple. That said, the device is quite large at 375 pounds though and some assistance might be required.

Warranty & Guarantee

NordicTrack sells the Fusion CST home gym with a 10-year frame warranty and 1-year parts and labor warranty. Given the complexity of the magnetic system, and the fact that the display/tablet is included, this seems a bit light when compared to other home gyms on the market.

Conclusion

Though it fills a small niche of the fitness category as a whole, the NordicTrack Fusion CST is a unique and appealing option for some, including older fitness enthusiasts and those suffering from chronic joint issues. We focus so much of our efforts on traditional cardio equipment, but at the end of the day there are still plenty of folks out there looking to get fit without having to hop on a treadmill or exercise bike. By striking a balance between lifting and high-intensity cardio, I have no doubt that there’s at least a modest audience for a piece of equipment like this.

Check Price 

Rating: 90/100

Trainer’s Tips for the NordicTrack Fusion CST

In terms of hypertrophy, the Fusion CST is a dream come true for bodybuilders. When I’m prepping for a bodybuilding show, flushing the muscles with blood is key to creating the vascular pump one needs on a stage, or frankly just to look good. The pumped, lean, and cut look is typically what is sought by people shopping for something like the Fusion CST. With Silent Magnetic Resistance levels instead of a stack of weight plates, consider employing the concept of Time Under Tension (TUT) into your workout. TUT refers to the length of time a muscle is worked or under tension. Instead of counting repetitions at a specific poundage, you’ll be performing repetitions for a set length of time.

Frankly, the body doesn’t know the difference between 10 reps with 30 pounds, or 30 seconds at that resistance. But by focusing on the time the muscle is under tension, you’re more likely to go further and get more blood flow into those muscles than if you simply aim for, and stop at, 10 reps. Because this machine has magnetic resistance, you won’t have nearly as much friction or clanging as with weights, and the motion will be much smoother for longer periods of time.

4 Comments

  • james passanante October 20, 2020 at 10:54 am from New York
    I purchased this unit in the beginning of August 2020. like the rest of the world (or I should say most of it) I gained a ton of weight while working at home during the pandemic. This machine has literally saved my life. I was extremely depressed and gaining all the weight was not helping. My only gripe with this machine is the buffering. For the most part it works great, but every so often it continually buffers the video making it impossible to follow. Its not my wifi or network, I have a router pushing 500/500 MBPS that is located no more than 10 feet from the machine with no obstructions. Aside from that I love it! I was 250 pounds when i purchased the machine, as of 10/20/20 I am down to 212 and feel incredible. I am 6'3 and now fit into size 34 waist and large shirts. I fiend to workout on this machine almost everyday! I use to go to the gym and do the usual routines like bench, curl, lat pull. With this machine I am doing exercises that I did not even know existed like skiers and reverse curtsy lunge. It is also compact considering how much can be done with it! I would highly recommend this machine to anyone!
    • FitRated October 30, 2020 at 12:15 pm
      Hi James, this is so wonderful to hear. Thank you for sharing your experience. Keep up the great work!
  • John Kay April 20, 2020 at 8:38 pm from CA
    I got one of these when I returned from London during the initial lockdown phase for Coronas- I love the classes. I was a Marine and USED to be incredibly fit but I got hurt pretty badly overseas and my new job, while less grueling, does require me to travel to less than ideal places and be fairly active and I travel a lot. I always worried that even with my current home gym I wasn't utilizing it enough and was quickly getting way out of shape. That created additional work risk and it wasn't a good feeling. Anyhow I have had it for about 1.5 months and I really like it. I can do cardio and help with range of movement and toning up. I am already 6'4 and I don't really want to be bigger mass wise I am mostly working towards getting rid of some body fat, toning up and keeping my body range of movement at a great level. I also got a rowing machine from a different company that also has guided workouts. Between the two I think it works out perfectly for me.
    • FitRated April 30, 2020 at 4:08 pm
      Hi John, this is great to hear! Keep up the awesome work with your fitness routine!

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