I was watching ‘The 700 Club’ television program on November 5, 2008 when I heard Pat Robertson mention how much he likes the Total Gym, which is the exercise equipment that Chuck Norris advertises. I am 49 years old and have been an exercise enthusiast for the majority of my life. I have also owned and heavily used the Total Gym XLS for 7 months. In this article I will provide a review of the Total Gym XLS in 9 areas. Each point will be rated on a 1-10 scale with 1 being low and 10 being high.
1. Delivery of Equipment. It took about 7 days from the time of order for the equipment to arrive. It was packed in a sturdy box and nothing was damaged or missing when I received it. Rating: 9
2. Instructions and Ease of Setup. The advertisements claim that it is very easy to set up and they are correct. I would suggest watching the brief videos first (as hard as that is with something new and exciting) and they explain how to set up the equipment in a very short and easy fashion. The one thing that could have been better was if there was a large notification inside the box mentioning the benefits of watching the videos first. The Total Gym and the adjunct equipment are very easy to set up and begin using. Rating: 9
3. Quality of the Product. The Total Gym is very high quality equipment. As I mentioned earlier I have been using the equipment for 7 months generally between 5 and 7 days per week, sometimes twice a day. I have not seen any serious signs of wear and tear yet. I am very impressed. Rating: 9 (The only reason I have not scored a 10 is because I am hoping for it to last many years.)
4. Assistance with the Exercises and Exercise Programs. The Total Gym comes with over 80 full color instruction cards (5 ¼” x 8 ½”) that explain each exercise. These are very helpful and very well done with full color pictures of the exercise plus additional explanations. There are also several workout programs that are detailed on the same size cards including:
- 6-8 Minute Workout for Men (7 days)
- 6-8 Minute Workout for Women (7 days)
- Starter Workout Program
- Workout for Young People
- Long and Lean
- Core Strength and Stability
- Total Body Circuit
- Upper Body Sculpt for Women
- Lower Body Strength for Women
- Upper Body Strength for Men
- Lower Body Power for Men
- There are several Abs sessions and it is easy to develop your own Abs routine.
The programs generally consist of sets of 6-10 exercises with the goal of doing 3 sets per session. Generally 3 sets will take 30-45 minutes. Of course, you do not need to follow their pre-designed routines if you do not want. Rating: 10
5. Quality Workout. The quality workout received from the Total Gym is excellent. It can be used for muscle tone, cardiovascular, or endurance. The Upper Body Strength and Lower Body Power for Men routines are very good for muscle development. I am 49 years old and I have definitely seen a visible increase in the size of my biceps arms and chest. Another nice thing that I have experienced is that in the 7 months that I have been using the machine, I have never hurt myself. No overly strained muscles that have made me lay off for days or weeks at a time or anything of that nature.
The only drawback is that if you are exercising for absolute extreme power that may be hard to achieve with the Total Gym. Weight can be added to make routines more challenging but I don’t think it is possible to simulate a 400 pound press or bench press. Rating: 9.5
6. Flexibility. With as many exercises as can be done on the Total Gym (over 80) the equipment is very flexible. There are exercises designed for the chest, back, shoulders, legs, arms and abs. There are also several stretches and compound exercises (designed to work more than one area of the body at once). The Total Gym is very flexible; it is a single piece of equipment that can be used for the entire body. Rating: 9.5
7. Fun. For many people, exercising is not fun. It is very boring. With as many different exercises as the Total Gym provides it tends to make exercising a lot more interesting and exciting. Although, turning on a little music does help. I do not think any exercise equipment can be labeled as riotous fun, but with the many different exercises available the Total Gym does have an advantage over most exercise equipment. Rating: 7.5
8. Usability by all Sizes and Shapes. I am almost 6’0″ and a thin person. In my opinion an obese or heavily overweight person may have some difficulty with the Total Gym. I also believe that a very tall person (over 6′ 3″) may not be able to do all of the Total Gym exercises as well as a person not as tall. I am not saying this as a definite statement but I would advise a very tall or heavy person to try one out before purchase. Rating: 6.5
9. Convenience. The fact that you do get a gym quality workout in your own home makes the convenience factor rate very high. The ease of working out from my office as opposed to driving to a gym and back is critical to a person with a lot on their plate. Rating: 10
Summary I am extremely pleased with the Total Gym XLS. It provides strength and conditioning to many different parts of the body. It is a good quality product; the exercises are explained well, it is very flexible, reasonably fun and extremely convenient. In my opinion it was well worth the money as I definitely do receive a gym quality workout right in my own home.
Tips for When Using the Total Gym XLS Let me point out a few tips to those new to the Total Gym or those who have not used it yet. 1. Have a large glass of water or juice nearby when working out. 2. Don’t be afraid to rest between exercises or sets. 3. Realize that gradual improvements will be achieved but that you will feel stronger some days than others. 4. If it is just too hard, do not do it. 5. Keep a positive attitude and have fun. Realize that improving your condition which will help you with your family life and at work as well.