The Total Gym is an infomercial institution, if not a home institution, thanks to the efforts of high-profile spokespeople Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley. The company's 30-year-plus history and focus on functional strength indicate that the Total Gym manufacturers might just be doing something right, but sorting through the shifting variety of available models can be very confusing.
Function of the Total Gym
All Total Gym models work on the same principle: You sit or lie on a padded glide board, then push or pull on pulley handles to move the glide board up inclined rails. Your body weight provides the resistance. The higher you set the incline, the harder each exercise is because you are lifting more of your body weight.
Which accessories come with your Total Gym, or can be added to it, determine which exercises you can do with that particular model of Total Gym. The Total Gym XLS is a bare-bones model with only the basic glide board setup and a wing attachment and a ribbed squat stand. The Total Gym FIT is a step up, with a two-piece wing attachment and an upgraded squat stand. The Total Gym GTS includes a 22 calibrated resistance levels, a 3-grip pull-up bar, automatic rail locks, a Hydraulic rail lift and an adjustable glide board.
According to the Total Gym website, the Total Gym XLS facilitates more than 80 exercises and the Total Gym FIT permits more than 85. The Total Gym GTS boasts over 200 exercise options. But the truth is that, aside from accessories, the biggest determiner of how many exercises you can do on your Total Gym is your creativity.
As of June 2015, Total Gym models still available for retail purchase ranged in cost from slightly over $799 for the Total Gym XLS to $3,795 for the Total Gym GTS. Perhaps due to the heavy infomercial promotion, your odds of picking up a hardly used second-hand Total Gym at a bargain price are very good.
The Total Gym XLS and FIT come with lifetime frame warranties, while the GTS comes with a five-year warranty. The Total Gym XLS comes with a 6 month warranty on parts while the FIT comes with 2 years. However, the GTS offers only a 90 day warranty on foam and rubber, while it has a 1 year warranty on parts and upholstery.