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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 …