Are you interested in the Total Gym but can’t decide which one to get?
Chuck Norris and Christy Brinkley make the Total Gym look so good, and that’s because the brand is solid, with a 30-year history and countless loyal fans, including Chuck.
So what’s the problem?
Truthfully, there are too many models out there to choose from!
But not to worry, I have laid it all out right here. I will go over the difference between models, plus a few similar competitors’ models so you can see them side by side.
I am going to start with the reviews of the best Total Gyms and then go into my Total Gym Guide. Let’s go!
TOP 15 Best Total Gyms & Alternatives 2020
Review: The Total Gym XLS is a top of the line all in one piece of home gym equipment.
This pulley and cable system holds riders up to 400 lbs and includes the squat stand, leg accessory and wing attachment for full-body cardio and strengthening workout.
There are over 80 different exercises, clearly laid out in the included exercise chart to get you on the road to fitness.
400 lb weight capacity.
6 levels of resistance.
Includes squat stand, wing attachment and leg pull accessory. Cons
All workouts are printed or on DVD. Wish there was an app with all this info instead.
Total Gyms TOP model, the best Total Gym machine out there.
Review: The Total Gym 1400 Deluxe is a great starter model. Unlike the Total Gym 1100, this model includes the squat stand, yet it is still one of the lower-priced Total Gyms available.
It uses your own bodyweight and has 8 different angles, and hence 8 different resistance levels, to accommodate your fitness level.
8 resistance levels.
Includes squat stand. Cons
Challenging to fold.
Only holds up to 250 lb riders.
A great price for a Total Gym with a squat stand. The best Total Gym for the money!
Weider Ultimate Body Works
Review: When comparing Total Gym vs Weider, this Weider Ultimate Body Works holds its own against the Total Gym.
This machine offers 50 different exercises, all outlined on the included exercise chart. This system, like the total body, uses your body weight as resistance.
But what sets this machine apart are the cables, which allow you to add up to 50 lbs of additional resistance when you need more challenge.
Bodyweight resistance plus an added 50 lbs of resistance band resistance, when needed.
Built-in squat stand.
Way less expensive than Total Gym machines. Cons
250 lb weight limit is a little low and excludes some riders.
The less expensive, brand name, Total Gym alternative is this Weider Ultimate Body Works
Weider makes some quality gym equipment. If you want to see more from Weider, check out these
Weider gym equipment reviews.
Review: The Total Gym 1900 comes complete with a leg pull and ab crunch accessory, dip bars, press up bars, wing attachment stability mats and a flip chart to display the 60 exercises available with this machine.
The standout feature, the Pilates toe bar for toe bar squats, kneeling planks, hip rolls and more. The Pilates toe bar allows you to extend your feet more than the squat pad found on most Total Gyms.
Includes Pilates toe bar.
Includes ab crunch and leg pull accessory.
Holds up to 350 lbs. Cons
The Total gym with Pilates toe bar included
The Total Gym 1900 has a Pilates toe bar, and allows you to perform some Pilates style exercises, but nothing is like the real thing.
Are you are considering a Pilates reformer? We have reviewed the
best Pilates reformers here.
Review: Force Total Gym is the Total Gym with all the attachments you need to build a strong sculpted body.
The Force model includes dip and press bars, leg pull and squat stand, plus ab crunch and wing attachments for working your core.
Lots of attachments.
12 levels of resistance.
Includes stability mat. Cons
With so many attachments, there is a bit of a learning curve getting to know this machine.
The total body machine with a great price and lots of included accessories.
Review: Both strength and cardio in one machine. The specially designed Fusion Total Gym includes many accessories, including a Pilates toe bar for added foot extension and a step attachment to get in a good cardio workout.
Plus the included ab crunch, leg pulley and wing attachment allow you to work your core as you pull yourself to a leaner, more sculpted body.
Step attachment – great for cardio.
Ab crunch, leg pull and wing attachment included.
Includes Pilates kit with toe bar. Cons
The included exercise videos could be improved and should be available in app or online form.
The Total Gym with a step attachment for cardio.
Weider Total Body Works 5000 Gym
Review: The Weider Total Body 5000 offers an intense workout with over 100 exercises available, plus it incorporates your body weight and an additional 50 lbs of cable resistance to allow you to build muscle.
It includes a squat stand and has an innovative space-saving design that allows you to fold the unit flat and store it under a bed.
50 lbs of additional resistance.
7 incline settings. Cons
250 lb weight limit.
More expensive that the Weider Ultimate Body Works.
Space saving Weider Total Body all in one gym.
Review: The Optima Total Gym is one of the most affordable Total Gyms with a high weight limit – 400 lbs to be exact.
This model also comes with a squat stand and leg pull attachment.
While I wish it had more attachments, I appreciate its high user weight capacity and think it is a great starter Total Gym for big guys on a budget.
400 lb weight limit.
Includes squat stand and leg pull attachment.
Great price. Cons
Low price, high weight capacity Total Gym.
Review: As one of the lowest priced Total Gyms, this entry level model includes just the leg pull attachment. It holds riders up to 275 lbs and folds for easy storage. Pros
Includes leg pull attachment.
Accommodates riders up to 275 lbs. Cons
Honestly, could really use a squat stand.
Lowest price, entry level Total Gym.
Review: The Total Gym X Force is probably the best Total Gym model in terms of value. For its price it includes a lot.
The Tri grip shaper bar allows you to use three different handhold positions to uniquely target muscles.
Plus the X-Force includes the squat stand, ab crunch and leg pull accessories, and the dip bars and with attachment.
350 lb weight limit.
A ton of included accessories.
Really accessible price. Cons
Machine is challenging to fold.
Biggest bang for your buck Total Gym.
Review: This very affordable Total Gym allows you to focus on building upper body strength, without neglecting leg day.
The dip bar and press-up bar allow you to work your back, chest, pecs, shoulders and triceps, while the squat stand and leg attachment ensure a productive leg day.
Includes dip bars and press-up bar for arms.
Includes squat stand and leg attachment.
Really great price. Cons
Only accommodates users up to 250 lbs.
The most well rounded Total Gym at this low price point.
Review: This is the top of the line Total Gym model with all the extras you want and need.
This beastly machine accommodates the big guys – up to 450 lbs.
It includes the ab crunch, leg pull attachment, an upgraded squat stand and the wing attachment.
This is an investment the whole family can use to stay FIT.
Accommodate users up to 450 lbs.
Includes a new, stronger squat stand.
Includes ab crunch and leg pull attachment. Cons
The top of the line from the Total Gym lineup, a sturdy, quality piece of equipment.
Review: The Total Gym 1100 is a great entry-level Total Gym that offers an impressive 60 exercises, 6 levels of resistance, and comes with both leg and wing attachments. Pros
Great low price.
275 lb weight limit.
Great for beginners.
Includes leg and wing attachment. Cons
Not many extras included.
A solid Total Gym for those new to working out.
GR8FLEX Total Performance Gym
Review: The GR8FLEX is my favorite Total Gym alternative. The GR8FLEX boasts over 140 different exercises, has all the attachments you could want, hold users up to a whopping 450 lbs, and this machine has something the Total Gym does not have but everyone asks for – a Fitness app!
Plus it has an added 50 lbs of resistance, thanks to the hearty resistance bands that allow you to customize how hard you work.
Accessories include leg pull, EZ curl bar, AB crunch, squat stand, dip bar and wing bar.
Combo of body weight & resistance bands for max muscle-building resistance.
450 lb capacity.
Many accessories included to create 140 different exercises. Cons
Challenging to fold up – and heavy too.
Best Total Gym type machine, with so many extras.
Review: The Total Gym XL7 is a mid-range Total Gym with quite a few accessories. It includes the wing bar, ab crunch, press up bar, dip bar, leg pull and squat stand.
For all that it has, it is offered at a fair price and would make an excellent addition to your home gym.
350 lb user weight limit.
6 accessories included.
A great value. Cons
Not for folks over 6 feet tall.
This is one of the best Total Gym machines in terms of its price compared to what it includes.
Buying Guide to Total Gym Machines
What is the Difference Between Total Gym Models?
It may seem like a daunting task to choose a Total Gym with so many Total Gym models out there.
But take heart, I have outlined the main differences between each model here, so it’s easy!
Total Gyms differ on 5 different points: Price
Price is usually an indicator of how hearty and durable the machine is, and how many accessories it includes.
So a low price Total Gym has a low user weight capacity and not many accessories.
A top of the line Total Gym machine holds up to 450 lbs and offers 85 exercises. It’s easy to see the difference here.
Total Gyms range in weight capacity from 250 lbs on low-end models, on up to 450 lbs for high-end models.
Be sure to pick one that works for everyone in your family.
Total Gym machines use your body weight as resistance. If you want to increase resistance, you raise the one end of the Total Gym using the resistance knobs and you have more resistance.
Total Gyms can have anywhere from 6 to 12 resistance levels, depending on the model.
I love that Total Gym includes a reference chart with their machine that tells you what the resistance is based on how high you have the machine and what your weight is.
Number of Exercises Available
The Total Gym machines offer anywhere from 60 to 85 exercises, depending on the accessories included.
And Most Importantly, Included Accessories
This is the big one.
The accessories each model comes with can vary quite a bit. For example, many models include a squat stand, while a few others include the Pilates to bar instead.
Check the chart carefully to get what you want.
Total Gym 1600
Dip bars, press up bars, Multi-Function attachment, squat stand
Total Gym XLS
Squat stand, leg pull, wing attachment
Total Gym 1400
Wing attachment, leg pull accessory, squat stand
Total Gym 1900
Pilates toe bar, ab crunch and leg attachment
Force Total Gym
Dip and press bars, leg pull, squat stand, ab crunch, wing attachments
Total Gym Fusion
Pilates kit with toe bar, step attachment, ab, leg and wing attachments
Total Gym Optima
Squat stand, leg pulley
Total Gym Achiever
Leg pull attachment
Total Gym Fit
Ab crunch, squat stand, heavy-duty squat stand
Total Gym X-Force
Tri-Grip shaper bar, ab and leg pull, dip bars, wing attachments and squat stand
Total Gym XL7
Wing bar, ab crunch, press up bar, dip bar, leg pull, squat stand
Total Gym 1100
Leg and wing attachment
Total Gym Workouts
How to Use Total Gym?
The Total Gym offers between 60 to 85 exercises, depending on what model you choose, and I am sure you are anxious to find out how to get the most out of your Total Gym.
Start with this beginner Total Gym workout. It goes over the basics and will help you use all the accessories your Total Gym comes with.
If you opt for the toe bar on your Total Gym vs the Pilates reformer you want to know how to use the included toe bar and get the most from your Pilates style workout.
Looking to gain strength?
Total Gym can do that too!
This strength training video covers leg building squats, back building pull ups, chest building chest press and more.
Total Gym FAQ Section
Is Total Gym Worth it? Does the Total Gym Really Work?
If you are debating on getting a total gym, you are probably asking yourself “Is a Total Gym worth it?”
Well, to tell you the truth, I believe it is worth it.
Here’s the deal.
Fitness fads come and go. We have all seen it. I mean who can forget Tae Bo or the thigh master? Am I right?
But the Total Gym has been around since 1974 and was built by a pro bodybuilder. Today, more than 40 years later, the Total Gym is still going strong.
Because people love it and it works. In fact, I know people who use their 10 or 15 years, and go out and purchase another one. They would not do that if Total Gyms sucked, right?
The Total Gym takes just 20 minutes from your day, uses 60 or more exercises so you don’t get bored, and can be done at home.
Does the Total Gym Work for Weight Loss?
First things first:
Weight loss happens in the kitchen, primarily.
Weight loss has 80 percent to do with what you eat, and 20 percent relies on exercise.
But that 20 percent is important, and yes, the Total Gym, among other forms of exercise, will help you achieve your weight loss goals if you stay committed.
If you want to see other exercise equipment that will help you lose weight, check out my reviews of the
best weight loss equipment here.
How Many Calories do You Burn on a Total Gym?
Calories burned depends on the intensity and length of your workout. On average, a person who weighs 150 lbs can expect to burn 155 calories, roughly, in a half-hour.
If you weight more, or use higher resistance, naturally you will burn more calories.
Which is Better Total Gym or Bowflex?
As far as simplicity and longevity go, the Total Gym wins when you compare the Total Gym vs BowFlex.
Also, as the Bowflex ages, those resistance rods invariably wear out and need to be replaced. And those BowFlex rods are not cheap.
As I said before, I know several people who use their Total Gym for 10 to 15 years before investing in a new one, but I do not hear that about the Bowflex.
Did I mention…
The Total Gym is foldable, which BowFlex is not, making it the best space-saving option too.
If you are interested in checking out the best Bowflex machines, take a
look at these Bowflex reviews.
Is the Total Gym Better Than a Rowing Machine?
If you are comparing the Total Gym vs rowing machine, you may be trying to decide which is best.
It depends on your goals.
A rower is a good low impact cardio workout, but it does not do much in terms of strength training.
On the other hand…
The Total Gym is capable of both cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
It’s not that I am against rowers, I think they are excellent cardio machines suitable for all ages. If you are considering a rowing machine, I have reviewed the
best rowing machines here.
That wraps up the reviews and Total Gym guide.
I hope that now you have all the info you need to decide on the best Total Gym for you.
Want to see more?
If you are still not settled on the Total Gym concept, maybe you would like to check out other all in one home gyms.
These take up more space than the Total Gym, but offer more in the way of strength training and muscle building. Here are my
reviews of the top all in one home gyms.
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