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Is the Total Gym an Effective Exercise Machine?
Talk about a great workout!
Skepticism is natural as with all “as seen on TV” products. The Total Gym should be no exception. With slick celebrity marketing with Chuck Norris and Christy Brinkley on numerous advertisements, the Total Gym may push the “too good to be true” button for some people.
However, the good news is the Total Gym is far from a fitness gimmick as it actually turns out to be a legitimate resistance training machine. The Total Gym also fits conveniently at home and requires only your body weight for resistance.
With multiple versions to choose from in different price brackets, there are plenty of options too. Depending on your wants, needs, and budget, purchase the older basic 2000 model to save a few hundred bucks or simply bump things up a notch and buy the awesome new Total Gym FIT or hugely popular and fully loaded XLS, or even the 3000 machine.
I personally feel the XLS model is overall the best value for the dollar, however, the more expensive but newer FIT model has some awesome new features, including: twice the resistance levels, ergonomic glideboard, abcrunch attachment, Total Gym workout DVD, an updated 2-piece wing attachment for more range of motion, and much more. Definitely check the FIT out.
Total Gym Gets Core Results
Since Total Gym exercises use your body weight for resistance, many exercises require you to use your core muscles. This is beneficial because you will not only work the targeted muscles for each exercise, you will also work your core muscles simultaneously.
Working the core muscles is not only good for tightening your mid section, it will also improve the efficiency in which you perform common activities in daily living (i.e. walking, stepping, twisting) and all functional movements.
How the Total Gym Works
There are a few different models of the Total Gym ranging from the bare bones 2000 to the well equipped XLS (with more attachments/options), to the commercial grade EFI GTS. All versions of the Total Gym work on the same premise.
There is a vertical base at the top with 2 rails which rest in one of many grooves within the base. The rails provide a very low friction ramp to hold the bench which is where you either sit or lie.
Each groove on the base allows you to set the resistance by varying the angle of the bench. If you are sitting on the bench, the higher it is, the higher percentage of your body weight you will be lifting with each repetition.
Cables and a pulley attach to adjustable handles which are connected to the vertical base. A foot plate for squats is one of the many optional attachments for the Total Gym. Each push, pull, fly or twisting motion you perform with the cables or holding on to the handles moves the resistance which happens to be a selected percentage of your body weight.
Who can Benefit from Using the Total Gym?
Anyone with Body Composition Related Goals
If you are one of millions of people in this world looking to lose weight, tone up, or build muscle, the Total Gym can help you achieve your goals. This holds true for beginner, novice and advanced exercisers.
The Total Gym provides enough resistance and a variety of exercises to be a potent stimulus for body composition change. Since body composition is largely dependent upon nutrition, you will want to make sure you are eating a well balanced diet in conjunction with a Total Gym workout routine, and you will be seeing great results in no time.
Anyone Looking to Form a Solid Base Level of Strength
If you have not exercised regularly in some time or are overweight, the Total Gym provides enough resistance to strengthen all your large muscle groups and the smaller muscles of your extremities.
The Total Gym also provides enough for most women to significantly improve their muscular strength and endurance.
Some physical therapists have the commercial version of the Total Gym the GTS in their offices to rehabilitate their clients from past injuries. The advantage of using the Total Gym for rehabilitation is that every exercise regardless of the body part forces you to use your stabilizer muscles, specifically your core. This is similar to real life activities. In addition to this, many Total Gym exercises cannot be imitated by traditional free weights or via other forms of resistance training equipment.
What is the Total Gym Not Good For?
Heavy Strength or Power Training
If you are a trained athlete, experienced bodybuilder or power lifter looking to increase your strength, the Total Gym is not going to be much help. It will help you get a workout but it does not provide the type of resistance associated with maximal strength or power training programs using barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells.
Are There any Misconceptions About the Total Gym?
*Things Which the Total Gym is NOT*
A Cardio Machine
Many people think the standard Total Gym can also be used as a cardio machine. The fact is this, the Total Gym was not designed to be a cardio machine and is not best used as a cardio machine.
However, if you want to get a great cardio workout in the comfort of your own home, Total Gym offers a new row trainer and it’s awesome. It includes many of the same great benefits of the Total Gym such as price, convenience, space saving features, etc., but it is of course designed for cardiovascular workouts. In fact, I recently had the opportunity to try one out and I am happy to inform you it works very well. Definitely something to look into if at home cardio is on your wish list.
This is not to say you cannot get your heart rate up with circuit training and repetitive motions such as the seated rowing motion on a standard Total Gym model, but any workout you do on the Total Gym will not give you the benefits of 30 minutes of sustained aerobic activity from forms of exercise such as running, bicycling, or using an elliptical machine.
Better Than a Gym Membership
Even though you can get a great workout on a Total Gym and many other home exercise machines, you will never be able to match the variety and intensity of a workout in a fully equipped gym by using only the Total Gym.
That being said, keeping a Total Gym at home is a fantastic complement to your gym membership, especially if you are the quote un quote lazy or procrastinator type! And I’m no angel myself, I’ve skipped my share of gym days because of a little rain.
Where can I Buy a Total Gym?
Total Gyms are available on many different sites both new and used. If you’re looking for a top notch model for home, be sure to check out the newest Total Gym XLS, Total Gym 3000, and Total Gym 2000. The Total Gym Fit Trainer & Stretching Machine is also an awesome buy, albeit it is a bit more expensive.
While you can get some great deals on used Total Gyms (often older models) from sites such as Amazon.com, I highly recommend you visit the official Total Gym website (link below) for they often have large discounts on brand new models.
The GTS is a commercial version of the Total Gym. It is basically the same exact piece of equipment as home versions (XLS, 3000, 2000, 1600, 1400, 1100, 1000, etc.) but is designed for commercial use.
When you compare commercial fitness equipment with home fitness equipment you should consider the amount of use it will get.
If you have a Total Gym at home you are likely to use it for say a maximum of 5 hours a week, while the same machine in a commercial setting may get as much as 40-60 hours of use. All this means is the product is made with stronger materials and usually has a few ‘bells & whistles’ which make it more appealing to the masses in commercial settings.
The Total Gym GTS is durable and easy to use. All the Total Gym workout videos on this website are performed on the Total Gym GTS.
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Sample Exercises Using the Total Gym or GTS
Click the Image Below to See the Total Gym In Action
- Total Gym Workout Videos
View over 35 exercises you can do at home on the Total Gym. The How to Instructional videos enable you to listen to the proper form and which muscles you will be targeting while you watch the motion.
- Body Weight Exercise Videos
Find over 40 more exercises you can use at home with no equipment at all! Use these exercises to start a workout program without any equipment or for even greater results use them in conjunction with a Total Gym workout program.