Most people have seen a Total Gym of some sort advertised on late-night television. They are staples of late-night infomercials. When used correctly, a Total Gym is an excellent way to get full body exercise. It can even be a therapeutic piece of gym equipment.
While there are a number of variations, the basic model of the Total Gym includes a glider board. The board allows you to glide up and down using a pair of inclined rails. The movements allow you to push, pull, and work just about every muscle in your body. The resistance you feel is partly from the glide board itself and partly from your body weight. The higher you adjust the incline, the more resistance you will feel.
This guide is designed to be the definitive source for individuals looking for the best Total Gym on the market. We limited our selection to three products that we think will fit just about everyone’s needs.
- 1 Best Overall Product Total Gym 1900
- 2 Premium Option: Total Gym XLS Home Gym
- 3 Budget Pick: Total Gym 1100
- 4 Common Questions
Best Overall Product Total Gym 1900
We’ve selected this as our best overall product because we feel it offers the best functionality, reliability, durability, and price. It is simply a versatile training machine that can help you get your body in shape.
- Ergonomic – This Total Gym has been designed to be comfortable. Its ergonomic design allows you to engage in more vigorous exercises, especially when you are lying down. Its smooth sliding motion allows you to move back and forth with a full range of motion. The ability to lock the glide board means that you are able to isolate your abs in a safe way for exercises that require this type of motion.
- Versatility – This exercise machine allows you to perform up to 60 different exercises. Each exercise focuses on a different part of the body. There are a number of exercises that you can do with the Total Gym 1900 that you cannot do even with free weights. Many have compared this machine to having the functionality of an entire gym compressed into something that you can fit in your living room. The versatility of the machine means that you can almost seamlessly go from working your pectorals to working your biceps to working your back.
- The Best of Strength Training and Cardio – There are a number of home gyms that focus either on cardio or on weight training. With the Total Gym 1900, you’re able to get the best of both.
- Works with Pilates – Many individuals who do Pilates use this machine with its accompanying Pilates bar to do their stretching exercises while they’re sitting down or lying down. Most gyms do not have machines or areas that are dedicated to Pilates, but the Total Gym 1900 does. It allows you to stretch your body, thereby improving its tone and shape, giving you the defined look you’re after.
- 350 Pound Weight Limit – This higher than average weight limit allows individuals regardless of their size to get the benefit of the machine and still feel comfortable while they are working out.
- Cannot Add Extra Weights – The only people who might be affected by this are bodybuilders who are looking to add massive weight to their workout. If this is your objective, then you may do better with heavy free weights.
- 350 Pound Weight Limit – We added the weight limit to our list of cons because individuals over 350 pounds may not be able to use this product. However, there is the Total Gym XLS Trainer that might benefit you if you are over 350 pounds.
The Total Gym 1900 weighs 75 pounds. Its dimensions are 92.5 x 16 x 43.2”. Its maximum weight capacity is 350 pounds. This unit is designed with safety and stability in mind. Its ergonomic design allows you to efficiently perform up to 60 exercises in a way that protects your joints.
The seats are comfortable and durable, so you can enjoy a long workout session and still feel very comfortable. The unit is designed to be used by beginners and professionals alike. It has 12 height adjustments. The higher you increase the inclination, the more difficult the resistance becomes. So it’s a product that grows with you while you’re exercising on the machine. The lowest setting allows you to workout with just three percent of your body weight. The highest setting allows you to use 50 percent of your body weight.
There are a pair of exercise DVDs that come with the Total Gym 1900. If you are contemplating going to the gym to use a bunch of machines, you’re going to enjoy this machine because here you have everything in one.
The Pilates bar means that you can do cardio, stretching, and deep muscle training. Because you are not going from machine to machine like you would at a gym, you’re able to get the results that you want in a shorter period of time. After serious training, you will want to replenish your body to get the best results.
Total Gym has been making products for a number of years and has built a good reputation because of their work. We feel that this machine represents the best overall product of its type on the market.
Premium Option: Total Gym XLS Home Gym
While not the most expensive home gym that Total Gym produces, it is considerably more expensive than the other products we are reviewing. This is a full body workout system and a top-of-the-line compact home gym. It is a fitness system that we are proud to recommend.
- Extreme Versatility- This product is designed to allow anyone regardless of their current fitness condition to start their journey on getting their body in better shape. The machine offers the ability to perform 80 different exercises, each designed to target a particular muscle or group of muscles.
- Complete Training- Unlike other gyms that focus either on cardio or weight training, the Total Gym XLS provides the best of both worlds. Additionally, you can include the Total Gym in your circuit training, stretching, and Pilates.
- No Assembly- With some of the other products on the market, the best workout you get is assembling the home gym because of how labor-intensive the assembly is. Not so with the Total Gym XLS. You’re able to get started as soon as you unpack it.
- Heavy-Duty Machine- This machine has a weight capacity of up to 400 pounds. This far outweighs other products of its type on the market. Couple that with the supplementary workout material you receive when you purchase the Total Gym XLS and it is clear to see why we chose this as our premium pick.
- Chuck Norris – Chuck Norris endorses this product. Need we say more?
- Parts are only under warranty for six months
- The price is a little steep
- Dimensions: 98 x 18.5 x 44”
- Shipping weight: 93.4 pounds
The Total Gym XLS has been designed to prove that fitness is something everyone can achieve. The machine has a number of adjustable settings and features, allowing people of various body types to get the most out of this product.
The 400 pound weight capacity means that this machine can support between 50 and 100 pounds more than other gyms. With more than 80 exercises designed to work different muscle groups, this machine is perfect if you’re looking at circuit training, cardio, or strength training. It has been designed to be the only piece of fitness equipment you will need.
Since the machine requires zero assembly, it comes straight out of the box and is ready to go. All you have to do is unfold it and put it in the place where you want it to be. Because of its versatility, the machine does come equipped with some attachable parts. When you attach and remove these parts, you can improve the versatility of the machine.
This machine may take a bite out of your wallet. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate universal gym, we say this is well worth the purchase.
Budget Pick: Total Gym 1100
While not offering the same features you will get with a more expensive model, the Total Gym 1100 allows you to train just about every part of your body in a safe and effective way. It does this while not breaking the bank.
- Multi Function Bar- This feature is what lets you work your entire body. The multi function bar can be attached to the bottom of machine or to the top of the machine. You’ll be able to perform a variety of exercises and can choose to focus on a single muscle group in an efficient way.
- Space Saver – The Total Gym 1100 is perfect if you live in an apartment or a home that only has a little bit of space. After you fold the equipment up, you can easily slide it underneath your bed. Since it is lightweight, just about anyone can move it.
- Versatility – While this budget model does not have the same versatility you’re going to get with a more expensive product, you will still have the benefit of six levels of resistance that use your body weight to help you build muscle. The sliding board is ergonomically designed to protect your joints in a comfortable and neutral way. The exercise guide will show you how you can get the most out of this machine.
- Not for Serious Bodybuilding – This machine is great for helping you get into shape. However, if you’re looking at doing more serious bodybuilding or if you’re looking to become a fitness model, this machine is not right for you. You may want to purchase one of the more powerful models we recommended earlier in this guide.
- Weight Limit – This machine is only designed to handle 275 pounds of weight. If you weigh more than 275 pounds, you may want to look at a different machine.
- Dimensions: 99.5 x 43.75 x 16 inches
The Total Gym 1100 is a great machine. It is going to help you do compound exercises. Compound exercises are exercises that affect multiple muscle groups simultaneously. So you are going to get your heart and your lungs working harder, which will help you burn more calories.
This is a great product if you’re looking for something affordable that will help you gain strength and increase endurance. It can help you lose weight in conjunction with diet and exercise. This product has been on the market for a number of years and is still popular because of how well it works.
Q: Can you lose weight with the Total Gym?
A: A number of testimonials on the Total Gym website verify that it is possible to lose weight using this machine. Just remember that weight loss is a combination of strength training, cardiovascular exercises, (both of which you will get from the Total Gym) and a calorie controlled diet.
Q: Does Chuck Norris actually use the Total Gym?
A: Absolutely. For more than 30 years Chuck Norris has been using this gym to stay in shape. He credits the Total Gym with him feeling as good now as he did when he was in his 30’s. He compares it to using an entire gym with just one machine.
Q: What are the best workouts to do on the Total Gym?
A: This depends on the results that you want. With the Total Gym, you can perform up to 80 exercises, depending on the machine you purchase. Some of the more popular ones include:
- Pullover Crunches
- Chest Presses
- Chest Flies
- Lateral Flies
- Sprinter Starts