Complete Total Gym Review – All Facts Pros And Cons Scrutinized

Total Gym

The Total Gym is a bodyweight resistance home gym offered in several models with different specs. Unlike regular weight home gyms, it uses the gravity of your own bodyweight to produce resistance through cables.

You can increase or decrease resistance by changing the angle of the gliding rail board over which you sit or lie while working out. This simple strategy makes the Total Gym lighter and more compact than normal weight machines.

But how effective is this gear for , or muscle building? This review will uncover the benefits, pros and cons of this range of machines.

total gym

What Exactly Is The Total Gym?

Total Gym FrontTotal Gym is a unique brand of gravity home gyms first introduced to the market back in 1974 by Tom Campanaro and partners Dale McMurray and Larry Westfall.

The machines were designed for strength, aerobic endurance and flexibility and are today used for both commercial gyms and private homes.

They all share the same design idea, which consists of a gliding board mounted at an angle on a main post with different heights you can choose from, the higher the angle, the greater the resistance, so as to adjust to all fitness and strength levels.

You resist the gravity of your body sliding down with the board with 2 cables connected to it. By changing the position of your body on the board, you can target all of your muscle groups for a full body workout.

The cables also offer a full range of motion and a continuous level of resistance through it, without the typical “dead spots” of free weights. This improves the effectiveness of the repetitions and sets, making your muscle fibers work equally from the start to the end of a given movement, also increasing TUT, time under tension.

The concept of the Total Gym is as simple as it is minimalist, because the overall weight and size of this fitness device is much less than a free weight station or weight-stack home gym.

However, while the workouts can be very effective, this kind of gravity resistance gym do also come with their own limitations, [more on this later].

In fact, the Total Gym is being endorsed by celebrities Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley since many years and they too swear by its effectiveness, like many regular guys and gals. But how much of it is real and how much is hype?

Who Is The Total Gym For?

The Total Gym was designed with simplicity coupled with effectiveness in mind. Out the heavy, bulky gym, and in a simple device for total fitness.

This may sound good to those who have limited space at home and want a fitness tool easy to set up, deploy and store.

It may also be attractive to those seeking a better resistance level control that normal bodyweight workouts do not guarantee, as they require a long practice period to master.

The Total Gym also looks good to cable workout lovers. Cable exercises offer numerous benefits comparing to free weights. They are very safe to use, as you do not have to load and off load heavy free weights.

They also allow for a full range of motion from all conceivable corners and you do not risk to get dangerously stuck under a barbell on failure, as you can simply return the handles to start position. This means you can train on your own, without a spotter.

As a workout tool, Total Gym is suitable for anyone of any fitness level, but as a pure strength machine it is more suitable for beginner and intermediate trainees as it lacks the heavy poundage/resistance capabilities of a home gym with weights.

So, if you are a men the Total Gym may or may not be suitable for you depending on your goals, pure vs fitness with lean muscle and low body fat, but if you are a woman almost certainly will be the right tool for you.

What Are The Benefits Of The Total Gym?

Total Gym FoldedThe Total Gym offers an easy and compact solution for those who want to improve their level of fitness, moderately building lean muscle while reducing body fat, thus improving BMI or body mass index.

It is suitable for all fitness levels and very safe, providing an effective platform for working out at home without the hassle of a gym membership. The compact size and light weight make the Total Gym ideal for those living in small apartments, but not only.

The smooth gliding rails and the cable flexibility are beginners’ proof and well suited to rehabilitation as well. In fact the Total Gym was originally conceived as a rehab tool that also turned out to be very effective for working out all muscle groups and for general fitness.

Also, all exercises are performed by lying or sitting on the glider, relieving strain from your back but engaging your core muscles whenever you do flies for pecs, shoulders or lats.

total gym

What Are The Limitation Of Gravity Gyms Like The Total Gym?

While the Total Gym is a serious home fitness tool to consider, it is also clear that such gravity-based machines do come with their intrinsic limitations.

For example, the resistance levels cannot match the fine-tuning of free weights or machines. Depending on models, the are 6 to 22 different levels of resistance.

For some exercises and muscle groups this may very well be all you need. Beyond that, even the top resistance level may simply be not enough if you are looking for full-size muscle building.

If you are looking for maximum muscle gains and strength, there is no substitute for squats, dead lifts, bench presses, military presses and chin-ups with good old fashioned free weights or machines. This is not a bodybuilders’ tool.

But if you are looking for good strength levels, lean muscle, increased metabolic rate and fat loss, better body composition and generally a good fitness level or maintenance through the year, then the Total Gym makes very much sense.

The vast selection of cable exercises and resistance levels means that you can get a pretty fit, ripped physique with this machine, which is all that most people want and what the Total Gym was designed for.

You can also get relatively strong, especially if you make clever use of flies rather than multi-joint movements, as long leverage exercises offset the limitations of the maximum resistance level offered.

The resistance levels of the Total Gym is just about right for exercises like lateral, back and front raises for delts, flies for pecs and so on. Just do not expect to become a power lifting champion.

What Is The Total Gym Range?

Over the years, Total Gym has produced many different models, each an improvement over their predecessor through their customers’ feedback.

40 years on, these gyms have reached a very good levels of manufacturing, usability, comfort and effectiveness. At the current time there are 4 different models to choose from the range, different in specs, sophistication and price. Below a quick breakdown of the main features of each model.

Unlike regular home gyms, no assembly is required and they are ready to use straight out of the box.

Total Gym Supreme

Total Gym SupremeThis is the entry level of the range. You can do strength training, cardio and stretching with over 60 exercises, easily switching from one exercise to the next.

Total body workouts can be done in 10 to 20 minutes a day. The Total Gym Supreme comes with the workout tools like the Tri-Grip Shaper Bar and exercise DVDs.

  • 12 Levels of Resistance
  • Over 60 Exercises
  • Gym Weight – 56 lbs
  • 275lb Maximum User Weight
  • Fully Assembled and Ready To Use
  • Includes Total Gym Workout Tools and DVDs
  • Price: $529.75 or $88.29 six monthly payments and free shipping
  • Warranty on Frame – 2 years
  • Warranty on Parts – 1 year

Total Gym XLS

Total Gym XLSThe Total Gym XLS is one of the 2 most popular models [the other is the Total Gym FIT].

It offers good value and a better resistance selection, more exercises and a more sturdy built than the basic Supreme. It also comes with the Total Gym tools and workout videos.

  • 6 Levels of Resistance
  • Over 80 Exercises
  • Gym Weight – 68 lbs
  • 400lb Maximum User Weight
  • Fully Assembled and Ready To Use
  • Includes Total Gym Workout Tools and DVDs
  • Price: $799.60 or $1.00 30-Day Trial followed by $114.09 seven monthly payments and free shipping
  • Warranty on Frame – Lifetime
  • Warranty on Parts – 6 months

Total Gym FIT

Total Gym FitThe Total Gym FIT is a big jump in specs, features and price comparing to the Supreme and XLS.

As usual it comes with the standard library of Total Gym exercises, Total Gym workouts and workout tools plus an extra AbCrunch attachment with DVD.

  • 12 Levels of Resistance
  • Over 85 Exercises
  • Gym Weight – 66 lbs
  • 450lb Maximum User Weight
  • Fully Assembled and Ready To Use
  • Self-locking Height Adjustment
  • Total Gym AbCrunch Accessory with Workout DVD
  • 2-piece Attachment for wider range of motion
  • Ergonomic Glideboard with Comfort System
  • Extended 2-Year Warranty with Priority Processing
  • 6 DVD Total Gym Workout Library & Workout Tools
  • Price: $1,521.00 or $1.00 30-Day Trial followed by $157.00 ten monthly payments and free shipping
  • Warranty on Frame – Lifetime
  • Warranty on Parts – 2 years

Total Gym GTS

Total Gym GTSThe most luxurious model with the most comprehensive specs. This is basically a commercial-grade machine for private homes.

It is very sturdy, weighs 3 times more than the others, you get a lot of raw material for the money, and offers full flexibility for all fitness levels and exercises, including an adjustable squat stand, lat bar and 6 pulley positions.

Unlike the cheaper models, it has a special hydraulic rail for smoother movement, a 2 step folding system and automatic rail locks for plyometrics.

  • 22 Levels of Resistance
  • Over 200 Exercises
  • Gym Weight – 180 lbs
  • 650lb Maximum User Weight
  • Free 6-Piece Strength Package
  • Adjustable Squat Stand, LAT Bar with 6 Pulley Positions
  • Hydraulic rail lift
  • Easy two-step folding
  • Automatic rail lock for plyometrics
  • Free Workout DVD and Exercise Chart
  • Price: $3,795.00 or $948.75 in 4 monthly payments but NOT free shipping
  • Warranty on Frame – 5 years
  • Warranty on Parts – Parts & Upholstery: 1 year – Foam and Rubber: 90 Days

As you can see there is a lot of variation in price, warranty and specs. It is not clear why the most expensive model, the GTS, has no free shipping like the cheaper models.

Note that while the specifications are there to stay for a while, prices may change at any moment, particularly considering that Total Gym is running a heavy discount and trial campaign right now [as of March 2017].

>>Click Here To Visit The Total Gym Official Website<<

 The Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Effective tool for general fitness, low body fat and lean muscle.
  • Suitable for rehabilitation as well [always check with your doctor first].
  • Suitable for men and women, young and old.
  • Sturdy and well made machines improved over 40 years of history.
  • Ergonomically well designed and comfortable to use.
  • Cable exercises allow for full range of movement and constant time under tension.
  • Workout DVDs come is all packages.
  • Trial and financing available.
  • Multiple price range and warranties for all pockets.

Cons

  • Not suitable as a full bodybuilding or cardio tool.
  • Even though well built and durable, the Total Gyms are still expensive and not for anyone’s budget, except that they are occasionally offered on discount.
  • The top of range GTS does NOT offer free shipping. But the cheaper models do![Go figure]. Granted, it weights 3 times more than the others, but a better workaround to cover the costs would be increasing the price a bit and making it all inclusive.

Total Gym Bottom Line

The Total Gym is , as the name implies, a total fitness tool for home designed to offer full flexibility in terms of workouts and usability.

Compact in size and weight, the Total Gym disposes of unnecessary iron, barbells and gear by using a simple but clever bodyweight gravity slide attached to cables, which translates into full range of movement for all muscle groups over many resistance levels.

This set up makes the Total Gym suitable for anyone who wants to achieve a lean, fit and muscular body with low fat but not for those who have full bodybuilder’s size and strength in mind.

With these qualities and few limitations, the Total Gym is the ideal tool for men and women who want to improve their fitness and body shape from the comfort of home, reduce their body fat and tone and strengthen their muscles like Chuck Norris does, not Arnold Schwarzenegger.

total gymtotalgymdirect

Save

Save

Summary
Review Date
Program
Total Gym
Rating
51star1star1star1star1star