With many of us needing home gym solutions this year, we look to some of the options available for home gym equipment. The name Total Gym has become synonymous with the home gym after decades of popularity and over five million units sold.
While the original Total Gym sliding apparatus was invented in 1974, Total Gym has been a household name since their infomercials starring Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley first aired in the mid-90s.
The idea behind the Total Gym is the sliding board, which enables you to use your body weight as resistance while using a range of attachments and accessories to be able to modify the workouts to your ability level.
Today, there are many different Total Gym models in production, making it hard to determine which is the best Total Gym for you. This article will provide you with everything you need to know about several of the best Total Gym models, and everything you should consider when purchasing a Total Gym.
We’ll also provide you with several workouts for your Total Gym, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about what makes the Total Gym such a popular home gym system.
The XLS is one of the premium Total Gym options out there. From the thick, padded glide board with double headrests, to the reinforced frame, this model is top quality.
The XLS is the culmination of decades of design features that make the Total Gym what it is today. Expect all the included attachments and workouts to provide you with a full fitness regime.
Maximum Weight Capacity: 400lbs
Resistance Levels: 6
- No assembly required
- Over 80 exercises
- Upgraded Squat Stand
- Wing attachment allows a wider range of motion
- Padded head support
- Height limit
If you have the budget, this Total Gym comes ready to get straight into your first workout. Think of the Total Gym XLS as the ‘showroom’ model. While it comes with the price tag to match, you do get what you pay for.
The Total Gym 1400 Deluxe is for those who are interested in the utility of a total body home gym but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to get it. Although not sporting the heavy-duty nature of other models, it is still made from quality still and plastic components that ensure it will last you a long time.
The Total Gym 1400 Deluxe comes with a lot of attachments for a lower budget model, including dip bars, squat stand, multi-function attachment, and more.
Maximum Weight Capacity: 250lbs
Resistance Levels: 8
- Good entry-level option
- 60 different exercises
- Lower weight limit
- Tricky to fold and store
Great entry-level option for those wanting to get into the Total Gym market without starting at the top of the range. A good amount of attachments and exercises in a lighter package.
The defining feature of the Total Gym Fitness Fusion model is its unique step paddle attachment, essentially turning your Total Gym into a high-intensity stepper machine.
In addition, the Fitness Fusion comes with a Pilates toe bar kit for some extra focus on strengthening and sculpting your core. On the lower settings, this Total Gym mimics a much more expensive Pilates reformer machine.
Maximum Weight Capacity: 275lbs
Resistance Levels: 12
- Includes row trainer
- Pilates kit with toe bar
- 5 workout DVDs
- Only Total Gym with a step attachment
- Not the best squat board attachment of the range
This Total Gym sports a couple of unique attachments making it a great home gym system for the cardio-focused user.
This Total Gym is a solid mid-range option with a great balance of value for money. It sports nice features such as a sturdy, full-length protective mat and a unique three-way grip bar to focus on your muscles from every angle.
This Total Gym is not the easiest to fold up and put away, so if you have a dedicated sport for it in your home gym, it will make a nice centerpiece for all your home exercise equipment.
Maximum Weight Capacity: 350lbs
Resistance Levels: 12
- 60+ exercises
- 350lb weight limit
- Ergonomic design
- Small footprint
- Also finicky to fold up
The Total Gym X Force is a value-packed option with a lot of included features and attachments for the mid-level price point.
A Total Gym with style! The GR8FLEX is a heavy-duty Total Gym, providing the most resistance of all the models. With two resistance bands providing up to 50lbs of tension against your muscles, this home gym system will challenge even the strongest Total Gym enthusiasts.
Another bonus of the GR8FLEX: they look awesome! Color themes include pearl white, military camp, and GOLD. Other cool features include a phone holder and textured handles for the attachments. You’ll need the phone holder too – the GR8FLEX has its own dedicated app to provide you will all the workouts you’ll ever need.
Maximum Weight Capacity: 450lbs
Resistance Levels: 15
- Lifetime warranty on entire machine and all accessories
- 15 resistance levels with additional 50 lbs bands
- Wide range of accessories
- Lack of portability
A heavy-duty model for those wanting to focus on strength training – and look cool doing it with awesome and unique color designs and quality of life features.
The XL7 Total Gym is a slightly more budget-friendly version of the premium XLS. The many accessories include dip and pull up bars, a two-piece wing attachment, a decently sized squat stand, and others.
This Total Gym does come with two workout DVDs, however, they’re aimed at intermediate level and total body, which may leave beginners to look online for other options.
Maximum Weight Capacity: 350lbs
Resistance Levels: 12
- 12 resistance levels
- Full-length protective floor mat
- Full range of accessories included
- Height limit
- Lack of beginner workout included
On overall solid option with all the necessary attachments for a good workout. Not suitable for anyone taller though, as it may not accommodate longer limb lengths.
This Total Gym requires setting up, however, this should take less than an hour and is reported by users as being simple to do. Once you’re set-up, you’ll be ready to go with the included guides on exercise, nutrition, and access to Total Gym TV, which gives you all the workouts you could want for your new home gym.
The APEX G5 comes with a lot of exercise options and resistance levels for the price tag. Another great option to get a low-impact, full-body strength, and conditioning workout in as little as 10 to 20 minutes.
Maximum Weight Capacity: 375lbs
Resistance Levels: 10
- Leg pulley attachment
- Lightweight and compact
- Over 80 exercises
- Large squat stand
- Smaller weight capacity
- Requires assembly
A great Total Gym with all the staples, and a nice green flash of color to boot. Be prepared to put this one together yourself, though.
So, there you have it! Those are some of the best Total Gym models out there, each with their own unique features to fit every budget, fitness goal, and home gym considerations. Now we’ve explored some of the best total gym models, we’ll provide you with the key questions to ask yourself when considering buying a Total Gym for your home.
Total Gym Buying Guide
Considerations for Purchasing a Total Gym
At first glance, it may be hard to distinguish between the different Total Gym models. To be fair, they are built to serve the primary purpose of providing the user with a great total body workout and build strength and cardiovascular fitness at home with one comprehensive package.
But there are several areas that differentiate between the various makes of the Total Gym. This section will show you what questions to ask yourself when choosing which is the best Total Gym for your situation.
The first thing you might ask yourself is ‘how much am I willing to spend on a home gym setup?’ The Total Gym variants in this review range from around $300 to over $1000, however, these are the full retail prices. Be aware that there are sales, affiliate sites, third party retailers, second-hand models (often barely used), and all manner of no-down-payment, interest-free payment plans to make any of the Total Gym options affordable for any budget. It is important to note that you will get what you pay for with the Total Gym option you choose, with better materials, warranties, and more options and attachments for you to use with the higher quality options.
There are several questions to ask when thinking about which Total Gym will suit you best. First, consider your body type, including height and weight. Different Total Gyms have different specifications and load capacities, so not every model may be appropriate. Higher-end Total Gyms have a higher weight capacity and can support bigger and taller individuals.
The next thing to ask yourself is how much space do you have for your home gym setup? The different Total Gym variations all have a similar footprint; where they do vary is in their weight and the ease with which you can pack them up and store them if you don’t plan to leave them assembled when not in use.
One final area to explore when determining the best Total Gym for you is how effective will a particular Total Gym be in helping you to achieve your fitness goals? This mainly comes down to the variety of exercises able to be performed on a particular Total Gym, which is a result of both the included (or available for purchase separately) attachments and accessories, and the instructional content that either comes packaged with the Total Gym or is easily accessible online.
How to Use the Total Gym
Any Total Gym model in this review can be used as an all-encompassing home gym machine. All of the above Total Gyms have over 60 different exercises that are able to be performed on them. But how do you use these home gym systems if you’re a person who is not familiar with the tri-grip shaper bars, the leg pull accessory, the ab crunch accessory, and the myriad of other attachments for the Total Gym home exercise machine?
All of the options in this review come with workout guides and videos to help you get familiarised with the workout machine. You can start with a full-body workout, choosing one exercise for each muscle group and using a variety of different attachments. Try this site for a list of 75 Total Gym exercises, choosing one from each muscle group until you have put together your own full-body workout. Alternatively, try these three workouts, following along with the video instructions. These workouts provide a range of exercises and will get you right into using your Total Gym with confidence.
Total Gym Beginner Workout
This is a great workout for first-time users of the Total Gym. It contains a range of exercises that are unique to the Total Gym apparatus and covers all the major muscle groups while teaching you how to adjust and use the various features of your Total Gym.
Total Gym Workout for Cardio
This Total Gym workout contains some more challenging moves, performed in a high intensity interval to get the heart rate up while also improving your balance and coordination. This session can be adjusted for different fitness levels using the features of the Total Gym.
Total Gym Workout for Strength Training
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Total Gym worth buying?
Depending on your goals and preferences, the Total Gym can definitely be worth buying if you want to work out at home, without having to purchase a bunch of different equipment and free weights. The Total Gym will provide you with total body resistance and cardiovascular training in your own home.
Does the Total Gym really work?
Like any type of workout or fitness equipment, the Total Gym works as long as you use it! Consistency is key and regular workouts on the Total Gym – which can be done in as little as 10 to 20 minutes, three to four days per week – will yield the results you’re looking for.
Which is better, Bowflex or Total Gym?
These two home gym options are quite different in the resistance they provide; the Bowflex using banded resistance, with the Total Gym using your own bodyweight. That being said, they are both great options and can be adjusted to any fitness level. It comes down to personal preference and whichever one will get you moving on a regular basis!
Can I build muscle with Total Gym?
Definitely! There are many exercises able to be performed on the Total Gym that can increase your muscle mass, from compound exercises to those isolation moves targeting weak areas. Because Total Gyms have so many ways to adjust the resistance, you’ll easily be able to perform exercises at a resistance and rep range that will stimulate muscle growth.