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Total Gym Exercise Equipment System Review

9.50/10

Total Gym Exercise Equipment System Review

9.50/10

Quick Overview
  • Difficulty
    Easy
  • Cost
    Moderate
  • Trial Period
    30-60 Days

The Total Gym exercise system is a total body workout program that is designed to build muscle strength and power, eliminate unwanted body fat, develop cardiovascular endurance and provide a more toned, cut physique. The Total Gym exercise system is unique in that it uses the body's weight as natural resistance.

The program is designed primarily for beginning and intermediate weight trainers, dieters, and those looking to develop and maintain a healthy, lean appearance. Many physical therapists also employ the Total Gym exercise program as a means of rehabilitating injured clients.

This is because virtually all of the exercises performed with the Total Gym exercise system require you to use your core and other stabilizer muscles, and some of the exercises are not possible with traditional gym equipment.

Expert athletes and highly conditioned powerlifters and bodybuilders may find the body weight-based resistance of the Total Gym to be lacking. Although any individual can get a solid workout with the Total Gym exercise program, those interested only in extremely high resistance strength training may be disappointed.

The most advanced version of the Total Gym exercise program, the XLS, offers over 80 different exercises. Although the system focuses more on strength training than cardiovascular, you can increase the total number of repetitions performed per exercise and reduce the time between exercises and get a quality aerobic workout by purchasing upgrades such as the CycloTrainer cycling attachment.

Pros

    • Wide variety of available exercises, including some exclusive to Total Gym.
    • Ideal for fitness beginners.
    • Durable construction.
    • Limited amount of assembly required.
    • Low maintenance.
    • Proven record of success.

Cons

    • Resistance may be too limited for experienced body builders.
    • Accessories can be expensive.
    • Setup changes slow down exercise routine.
    • Limited cardio exercises.

Intent of Fitness Program

The intent of the Total Gym exercise system is to help you lose weight, add tone and definition to your body, strengthen your core, increase energy levels, improve overall health and build muscle mass and density. The program is ideal for both casual fitness seekers who are looking to shed a few pounds and serious exercisers pursuing a toned, trim physique. Injured athletes often use the Total Gym to rehabilitate injuries and return to work. As mentioned, the Total Gym's resistance levels may be too limited for the most serious bodybuilders, though the vast majority of individuals can get a satisfactory workout with the Total Gym exercise program by combining the exercises correctly.

There are three different Total Gym models from which to choose, ranging from the Total Gym 2000 to the Total Gym XLS. All three models feature easy assembly, folding for storage, an instructional DVD and a lifetime frame warranty. From here, the key features of the models differ:

Total Gym 2000

  • Exercises: 40+
  • Trial Offer: $49.95

Total Gym 3000

  • Exercises: 60+
  • Trial Offer: $24.95
  • 90 Day Parts Warranty
  • 6-8 Minute Workout DVD
  • Exercise Routine Wall Chart
  • Standard Squat Stand
  • Wing Attachment

Total Gym XLS

  • Exercises: 80+
  • Trial Offer: $1.00
  • 6 Month Parts Warranty
  • 6-8 Minute Workout DVD
  • Pilates DVD
  • Body Makeover DVD
  • Smart Training DVD
  • Exercise Routine Wall Chart
  • Pilates Kit
  • Nutritional Program
  • Training Deck
  • Upgraded Squat Stand
  • Wing Attachment
  • Leg Pulley Accessory
  • Padded Glideboard
  • Upgraded Nylon Strap Handles
  • Upgraded Pulley System
  • Chrome Package

Primary Areas Worked

As its name implies, the Total Gym exercise system is designed to provide a total body workout that strengthens the core while working virtually all other muscle groups. The Total Gym is primarily intended as a strength building and fat burning tool, though a limited number of cardio workouts are available as well.

Over 80 exercises in total are available with the most advanced Total Gym exercise system, the Total Gym XLS. The exercises target different muscle groups, and can be fit together to meet virtually any fitness goal. Examples of some of the exercises available with the Total Gym workout program include:

Ab Exercises

  • Incline Ab Crunch
  • Sit-Up with Cables
  • Obliques Twister
  • Sit-Up

Arm Exercises

  • Seated Biceps Curl
  • Lateral Arm Pull
  • Lying Triceps
  • Lying Triceps Extension

Back Exercises

  • Pull-Up
  • Front Pullover
  • Iron Cross/Snow Angel
  • Reverse Fly with Rotation

Chest Exercises

  • Incline Push-Up
  • Seated Chest Press
  • Seated Chest Fly
  • Lateral Chest Fly

Leg Exercises

  • Squat
  • Side Squat
  • Single Leg Squat
  • Sprinter Squat

  • Pilates Exercises

    • Spine Stretch
    • Swan Dive
    • Crouching Tiger
    • Breast Stroke

    Shoulder Exercises

    • Shoulder Extension
    • Serve
    • Upright Row
    • Front Raise

    Total Body Exercises

    • Leg Curl with Biceps Curl
    • Toe Touch Row
    • Arm Pullover
    • Single Leg Pullover

    Program Length/Frequency

    Since the Total Gym exercise program is designed to deliver results quickly and maintain those results over the long term, the program is intended to be used indefinitely. However, packaged with the Total Gym exercise program are materials, including DVDs and instructional pamphlets, that allow you to create a realistic workout plan that you can use each week.

    Most of the single muscle group exercises are intended to be performed with 12 to 15 reps per set, with 3 sets in total. Individuals can choose between focusing on a single muscle group at a time, or working several muscle groups in sequence to achieve a total body workout. If a total body workout is desired, users should only devote one set of reps to each exercise. A sample 6 to 8 minute men's exercise routine is provided below:

    1. Pull-Up
    2. Leg Curl
    3. Sit-Up
    4. Chin-Up
    5. Leg Curl
    6. Sit-Up
    7. Arm Pulldown
    8. Arm Pulldown with Rotating Thumbs
    9. Snow Angel
    10. Arm Pullover
    11. Leg Pullover

    The Total Gym exercise system recommends that users allocate a day of rest between workouts.

    Effectiveness/Results of the Program

    The Total Gym exercise program has been proven to work effectively for all but the most advanced weight trainers. By following the exercise guides included with each Total Gym, individuals can lose weight while building muscle and self confidence. When applying the principles of the program correctly, most users notice tangible results within only a couple of weeks. Continued exercise with the Total Gym program will yield additional results.

    Despite the fact that the Total Gym exercise system uses nothing more than the user's body weight for resistance, the resistance level is still adjustable. This can be accomplished by changing the incline angle of the Total Gym bench, a process similar to changing the incline of a typical gym sit-up bench. All Total Gym models have at least six incline angle settings, allowing you to learn the exercises and build a base of fitness with a slacker angle. As you become more comfortable, you can increase the angle of the Total Gym to boost the resistance of each exercise, which will subsequently increase the Total Gym exercise system's efficiency and effectiveness.

    Equipment/Space Requirements

    Regardless of the Total Gym exercise system model you choose, the equipment itself measures 19" x 90" x 43" when correctly assembled. In order to use the Total Gym comfortably and properly, you should allow for at least a few feet of open space on each side of the equipment. The Total Gym can be folded up for storage, allowing you to save space when you're not exercising. A folded Total Gym measures 19" x 51" x 9".

    The Total Gym exercise system comes with the vast majority of the equipment you'll need to get started with the program. This is especially true of the Total Gym XLS, which includes several upgrades and accessories not found with the more inexpensive models.

    In order to make the most out of the program, you'll need to supply a few basic pieces of exercise equipment. These include loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, water bottles and comfortable shoes. You'll also need a TV and DVD player in order to follow along with the included instructional videos.

    Physical Requirements

    Individuals of virtually any shape and size can comfortably use the Total Gym exercise system. However, each model does have a maximum weight capacity. These weight limits are as follows:

    • Total Gym 2000 - 250 lbs
    • Total Gym 3000 - 300 lbs
    • Total Gym XLS - 400 lbs

    Unlike many professional-quality exercise systems, the Total Gym workout program is actually recommended for children ages 8 and above, so long as adult supervision is provided. Two children's workout plans are included in the Total Gym exercise system's instructional materials.

    As with any exercise program, individuals should consult a physician before starting an exercise regimen with the Total Gym.

    Support

    Support for the Total Gym exercise program is provided through the following channels:

    • FAQ section
    • Email contact form
    • Toll-free phone

    Total Gym's customer service representatives are available from 8:30am through 5:00m EST, Monday through Friday.

    All models are supported by a 30-day trial period. The trial period extends to 60 days if you pay for the entire program up front.

    Cost

    The cost of the Total Gym exercise program depends on the Total Gym model you choose. All Total Gyms come with free shipping. The Total Gym models, as well as their retail prices, are listed below:

    • Total Gym 2000 - $599.40
    • Total Gym 3000 - $1,098.90
    • Total Gym XLS - $1,999.00

    Individuals can choose to pay with a a payment plan of between 5 and 10 installment payments. If you choose to pay in full immediately, you'll receive an extended warranty, priority processing and a 60-day extended money back guarantee.

    Total Gym frequently offers sales on their various models. For example, the Total Gym XLS is currently on sale for $899.55, while the Total Gym 3000 is available for $848.00. These sales occur frequently, and it's wise to shop around before paying the full retail price.

    Summary

    The Total Gym exercise program is an excellent option for virtually anyone seeking a total body fitness regimen from one of the most established brands in the health and fitness industry. While hardcore bodybuilders may complain that the Total Gym is too easy, the vast majority of exercisers will find that the smooth, natural resistance is more than enough to facilitate a fat-burning, strength-building workout.

    Although the retail price of the Total Gym XLS is relatively high, it's easy to receive discounts of 50% or more simply by shopping around and waiting for a sale. The Total Gym exercise program offers a great value considering the quality of the equipment, the included attachments and instructional materials, and the comprehensive customer support that has become synonymous with the Total Gym brand.

    The Total Gym exercise program has seen plenty of revisions since its introduction over 30 years ago. However, the basic principle of using the body's weight as natural resistance on a sliding inclined bench has remained the same. The concept is proven to work for many individuals, and there's relatively little risk in trying the program for yourself given the 30-day trial offer.