Total Gym Review

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Chuck Norris Total Gym Review

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.

The good news is the Total Gym is far from a fitness gimmick and 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 basic 2000 model to save a few hundred bucks or simply bump things up a notch and buy the hugely popular and fully loaded XLS or 3000 machine.

Total Gym Gets Core Results

Average Rating: List Price: unavailable Sale Price: Too low to display.
(as of 02/01/2016 04:01 UTC - Details)

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?

Total Gym XLS - Universal Home Gym for Total Body WorkoutTotal Gym XLS - Universal Home Gym for Total Body Workout
Average Rating: List Price: $850.00 Sale Price: $850.00
(as of 02/01/2016 04:01 UTC - Details)

Anyone with Body Composition Related GoalsLower Body Composition

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.

Physical TherapyRehabilitation

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?olympic lifting

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 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.

This is not to say you cannot get your heart rate up with circuit training and repetitive motions such as the seated rowing motion, 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.

Where can I Buy a Total Gym?

Total Gym 1100Total Gym 1100
Average Rating: List Price: $269.99 Sale Price: $219.99
(as of 02/01/2016 04:01 UTC - Details)

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. While you can get some great deals on used Total Gyms (often older models) from sites such as, I highly recommend you visit the official Total Gym website for they often have large discounts on brand new models.


What is the Total Gym GTS?

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, 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.

VendorMore Total Gym Online DealsRating Discounts On TOTAL GYM XLS, GTS, Base, and Other Top ModelsA+


Sample Exercises Using the Total Gym or GTS

See the Total Gym In Action

total gym workout videos

  • 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.
  • Ask The Trainer about Fitness Equipment

Author Profile: Mike Behnken

Mike Behnken is a personal trainer who holds multiple NASM certifications and a MS in Exercise Science. Mike loves fitness, travel, and photography among many other interests.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.
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Comments (5)

  1. I want to sell my Total Gym which is in good condition! How much do I try to sell it for?

    • says:

      Depends on the model, condition, and how old it is. I’m assuming you own a home version which in that case shouldn’t be too hard of a sell. If there are no tears and the unit is in good condition all around, plus you have all the equipment that came with it, you should probably try and sell it close to full price at first to see if you get any bites. If you don’t get any replies then simply start dropping the price a little (say $20 each time) until you start getting responses. Eventually you should find the right price point to entice prospective buyers. I highly recommend you sell it online via Craigslist opposed to through a garage sale for example. This should help you sell it for the best price possible. Good luck!

  2. Stinger41 says:

    Hi, I got my total gym 1400. I’m starting my program tomorrow! I pray it works out for me. Currently hoping to drop 55 lbs. that Is my goal:-). How long did it take before you saw result?

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