NordicTrack Fusion CST Review

Home Cable Machines/Cross Training

This is a piece of home gym equipment that offers strength training and cardio training. Basically, you can perform all of the exercises offered by the Fusion with simpler gym equipment. You can use resistance bands, free weights, floor/bodyweight exercises and put together your own routines. But, will you? The reason we like the Fusion CST is that it eliminates all of your excuses. The equipment (resistance cables) paired with iFit (virtual workout classes) cuts out the planning time and the collection of equipment it would require to have the vast collection of workout options that the Fusion CST provides.

It goes a step further by tracking your progress and storing the data in the iFit Coach app. I have used different calorie tracking apps where I had to input all of my meals and my exercise. With the iFit app, I still have to input my calorie intake. But the calorie expenditure tracks itself. The app uploads my workouts on the Fusion (and any other NordicTrack equipment I’ve worked with). It also tracks my steps throughout the day. So walking, running, and just general moving about is picked up by my mobile device and added to my calorie expenditure count and stored in the iFit app. It’s pretty dang convenient. But we’ll get into that in more detail later.

The Fusion CST Is A Great Tool For:

  • Beginners in fitness
  • Cardio-focused exercise
  • High rep/low weight exercise
  • Bodyweight exercise
  • Planned routines and variety
  • Engaged training by fitness experts

Standout Features:

  • 10” Tablet Included
  • 1-Year NordicTrack iFit Membership included
  • iFit Bluetooth Chest Strap (heart rate monitor) included
  • 20 levels of resistance
  • iFit training videos offer varying levels of difficulty and wide selection of training options

Machine Specs:

Footprint – 41.5″ L x 59.4″ W x 73.7″ H Footprint
Weight – 378 lbs

User Experience:

10” Tablet Included – This tablet is portable and not limited to the iFit app. You’re getting a tablet that allows you to do anything – it supports all Android apps including a web browser. Pretty cool. It does require charging from time to time, unlike other NordicTrack touch screens that pull power from the actual machine.

Fusion CST iFit Videos – These videos are what make this piece of home gym equipment worthwhile. By itself, you have your own home cable machine. You can get plenty of use on this thing in just the manual setting, putting together your own workout routines. But the library of classes it offers when paired with iFit is pretty outstanding.

With so much to choose from, you have multiple options for strength and cardio combo workouts, targeting different muscles groups, and it really helps to have a trainer in your face, coaching you through the routine. No other equipment manufacturer outside of ICON offers this type of technology. While plenty of NordicTrack and ProForm machines have iFit Coach videos, the Fusion CST offers a unique trait that the other types of equipment (treadmills, ellipticals, etc) do not.

Each video allows you to set your own difficulty level. Before starting the routine, you can choose either the easiest resistance level (1) all the way to the most difficult resistance level (7). The machine will then automatically set itself to meet your preferred resistance level. If at any time you choose to increase or decrease the resistance level during the video, you will then have to manage the resistance levels manually throughout the remainder of the video. But by opting to follow the video’s manual settings, the machine will adjust resistance levels for you based on the prescribed levels of resistance recommended by your trainer.

Watts and Heart Rate LED Display – The built-in display on the Fusion CST is super simple. You can see your watts (power output) and your heart rate. All other data tracking is done with the tablet that is connected via Bluetooth to your Fusion and your heart rate monitor.

1-Year NordicTrack iFit Membership included – This is a great feature. Icon Fitness created iFit and in their beginning stages, we were unimpressed with the app. But its evolved into a resource that ultimately replaces the need for a gym membership. A one-year membership is worth over $300. You get access to tons of workout videos (virtual gym classes) plus calorie tracking, goal setting, and more. It is a great tool.

iFit Bluetooth Chest Strap (heart rate monitor) included – This is a nice add-on as well. Tracking your heart rate is the best way to track your calorie burn. It pairs effortlessly and has incredibly accurate heart rate monitoring. All the data is automatically stored in your device.

One thing I wish iFit would sort out a little better: When you select the workout video you want to follow, it gives you general stats that include the expected time and calorie burn for the workout. So as you follow along with the video and see the display of your calories burned, it’s not an accurate estimate of your actual calories burned. It’s an average. As the clock ticks, the calorie counter ticks along with it, preset to reflect the estimates given to you during the selection phase. I’d like to see iFit develop an algorithm that takes my stats (high, weight, gender, and current heart rate, since it has all of that information anyway) and projects my actual calorie burn based on my watts and heart rate during the workout.

Inertia-enhanced Flywheel – This is similar to NordicTrack stationary bikes, if you’ve ever used one of those. Its a super smooth mechanism that makes using the machine really comfortable. As you’re pulling on the cables, the weight is evenly distributed so the cables slide in and out without any bumps or hangups. This part of the machine comes pre-assembled.

SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance & 20 Digital Power Settings – The magnetic resistance is pretty cool. The flywheel is visible and as you increase or decrease the resistance, you can see the magnetic plate move closer to or away from the flywheel to affect the resistance. The power settings give you a range of 1-20 in resistance levels. This is plenty of resistance when you are performing high repetition movements during extended amounts of time.

I’ve found that a lot of the training videos on the CST use high rep intervals of multiple movements. You end up successfully fatiguing muscle groups with light weight and high reps. If you’re more inclined to train with low rep/heavy weight, the CST isn’t going to be the best route.

For example, squats with the highest resistance setting make little difference than performing squats with just your own body weight. But if you were to use the resistance for jumping squats, you’d get great results with the high rep, low weight approach offered by the Fusion CST.

95” Independent Cable Travel – This is plenty of length. Our testers at Treadmillreviews.com range from 5’2” to 6’4”. No one has any complaints here! 95” of cable provides great range of motion for all users.

Integrated Ergonomic Removable Handles & 6 Precision Cable Ends – The handles that come with the Fusion CST are standard handles you’d find at your local gym. They’re attached to the cables with a small carabiner and easily pivot, allowing for comfortable/natural movement. I’m glad to see that these handles are removable! This gives you the option to incorporate different handles, bars, etc. if you choose.



NordicTrack Fusion

I could see any number of attachments being used on the Fusion CST. There is no reason why you couldn’t use the CST’s manual setting to do endless variations of cable curls, squats, lunges, chest press’, rows, or a number of push/pull exercises like on your traditional cable machine at the gym. However, I do have to stress that this is not a machine designed for heavy weight. The max resistance is plenty for low weight/high rep movements but not nearly enough to accomplish low rep/heavy weight exercises.

2 Ankle Strap Accessories – The ankle straps are comfortable and simple to use! The intro video for the machine teaches you how to apply these straps and they come in handy for a lot of the lower body exercises offered by the CST training videos. You can also toss them in the washing machine for a good cleaning.

Free Standing Base – Holy cow, this thing is heavy. The free-standing base was designed to make sure all of your tugging on the cables could be done without accidentally pulling over the machine. This is NOT an easy machine to move. But that’s a plus. It makes it a safe, sturdy, and reliable piece of equipment.

Two Squat Pulleys Included – We’re happy to see this feature on the Fusion! Without it, you’d be much more limited in your range of movement for lower body exercises.

Tablet & Smartphone Stand – The Fusion CST comes with a free-standing tablet holder (also capable of holding a smartphone) to use when you’re performing exercises that require you to turn your back to the Fusion CST. You can transfer the tablet to the free-standing holder so you can still view the video during these portions of the workout. This device is helpful but may be slightly unnecessary for some. After getting used to the workouts and movements you’re doing on the CST, you’ll probably be okay with just listening to the video when you have your back turned to the Fusion.

Warranty – The Fusion CST comes with a lifetime frame warranty and a 1-year warranty for parts and labor. Remember though that the warranty is only activated if you register your machine on NordicTrack’s website!

Ease of Use – The Fusion CST is probably one of the simplest machines we’ve ever reviewed. It’s all very self-explanatory making the learning curve pretty minor for this piece of equipment.

Machine Assembly – A majority of the Fusion CST comes pre-assembled. It’s very easy to piece together. Basically, you just attach the legs, secure the arms in place, and hook on all the handles. The difficulty in assembling the Fusion is due to the weight of the machine. Because it is so heavy, you’ll want to assemble the machine in its permanent home. You’ll also need the help of a partner (or two) when attaching the legs to the base.

Overall, this is a pretty great piece of equipment to have in your home gym. The cables, available resistance, and vast library of trainer-led classes make it really versitile for anyone who wants to incorporate more strength training into their cardio.

To read more NordicTrack equipment reviews, click here.

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