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TOPIC: Should I buy a total gym??

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September 20, 2012 9:08 AM
Total Gym Pros - Don't need a lot of weights and or equipment. You can do a great number of exercises on the Total Gym.
Doesn't take up much space
You won't drop a weight on your foot or need a spotter while doing exercises on the total gym.

Total Gym Cons: You will not get ripped on this machine. It is good for basic muscle tone.
Unless you get the weight attachment for it there a limit on how much weight you can add. I believe on the highest incline setting I can only do 60% of my body weight. This if fine for many exercises but not leg ones.
As you lose weight the exercises become easier because you are lifting your own weight. You can always increase the incline or reps but there are limits. Ideally you want to increase the weight you lift as you lose weight and get more fit.

That said I have one and I like using it for some exercises but I use it in conjunction with dumbbells and barbells.
  6073622
September 20, 2012 9:11 AM
Another pro I would add is that you can do the workout quickly because you're not spending time switching out weights and you can even move to doing a different exercise without getting off of the thing.
  6073622
September 20, 2012 9:19 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:
a good set of barbells and a pull-up rack of some sort will get you close to everything the TG can offer at a fraction of the price.


Just feel the need to amend this comment - they will not get you 'close to'. They will exceed what it can do. You will also get a more comprehensive workout.

This sort of toy really are for people who think there is an easy and convenient way to do this stuff when really it's about doing it the old fashioned way. Eat right and pick up and put down heavy weights in the time honoured manner.


Biased much? ;-)

My point -- which I've really stated a couple of times now, but once more for old time's sake -- is that there are some things that the TG and the like make convenient. For me, most of that boils down to not needing a spotter, not having to swap out plates or keep a bunch of barbells around, and not needing a separate pull-up bar.

Both of "easy and convenient" come down to what you're looking for and what you're looking to achieve.
  1897001
September 20, 2012 9:55 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:
a good set of barbells and a pull-up rack of some sort will get you close to everything the TG can offer at a fraction of the price.


Just feel the need to amend this comment - they will not get you 'close to'. They will exceed what it can do. You will also get a more comprehensive workout.

This sort of toy really are for people who think there is an easy and convenient way to do this stuff when really it's about doing it the old fashioned way. Eat right and pick up and put down heavy weights in the time honoured manner.


Biased much? ;-)

My point -- which I've really stated a couple of times now, but once more for old time's sake -- is that there are some things that the TG and the like make convenient. For me, most of that boils down to not needing a spotter, not having to swap out plates or keep a bunch of barbells around, and not needing a separate pull-up bar.

Both of "easy and convenient" come down to what you're looking for and what you're looking to achieve.


Absolutely biased! :)

I'll go with the argument that for some people they may be more convenient. Just not that they can provide an equivalent, never mind better workout than free weights.
September 20, 2012 9:56 AM
QUOTE:
So, a lot of bias towards free weights here... My own perspective is that free weights are quite likely "the best" way to go, but that doesn't mean there aren't other ways.


You are correct, there are many ways to exercise but consider this. Think of exercise as money and think of exercise as an investment opportunity, and exercise is a guaranteed return on investment right? If you had $100 to invest and you're guaranteed a return on wherever you invest it, would you invest it in something returning 25%, 50%, or 90%? The obvious answer is you would invest it in the 90% because there's no risk, it's a guranteed return. Same thing with exercise. Why invest your time that has some short-term and minimal long-term return or value? Why not invest in a good free-weight setup like others have mentioned and maximize your return on your time investment in exercise. You can spend 45-minutes on a Total Gym or you can spend 45-minutes cranking out some reps with a BB and maybe some DB's for better benefit.

QUOTE:
Eat right and pick up and put down heavy weights in the time honoured manner.
September 20, 2012 9:57 AM
if you want to get anything get the following..

pull up bar
bow flex select tech dumbbels that go up to 90pds
straight bar for deadlifting etc..

if you have room in your home for a squat rack that would be sweet too...as it is the only thing I am lacking..

OR - you could just get a gym membership and have all this at the gym :) I am probably going to get a gym membership just so I can use the dam squat rack lol ...
September 20, 2012 10:00 AM
QUOTE:

I personally would prefer a power rack, adjustable bench, barbell, weight plates, bumper plates, floor pad


Me and you both bro!
September 20, 2012 10:21 AM
Get it, or Chuck Norris will round-house kick your face off.
  28220071
September 20, 2012 12:04 PM
I suggest going to a fitness equipment store and trying it out first to see if you like it. That's what I did. I went to Sears. #hatedit
  1834849
September 20, 2012 12:10 PM
I bought one but would recommend you look at a Bowflex. The Bowflex is better.
  24095151
January 29, 2013 9:26 AM
Absolutely, dude! I'm getting back into triathlons and the TG is the ONLY method of resistance training I use. It's brilliant! You can't go wrong. Unless you want to be a heavy duty bodybuilder, this thing is the only thing you need to lift with.
January 29, 2013 10:43 AM
update - I got a gym membership and freaking love it! Waayyyyy better than working out from home...been at it for like four months now...
January 29, 2013 4:36 PM
If space is a concern then get a Horizontal Dip & Chin-Up Station, a Hex Bar and start buying plates. Far more useful than the Total Gym. I guarantee that Dips and Chin's are far better than anything on the Total Gym.
January 30, 2013 5:38 AM
QUOTE:

If space is a concern then get a Horizontal Dip & Chin-Up Station, a Hex Bar and start buying plates. Far more useful than the Total Gym. I guarantee that Dips and Chin's are far better than anything on the Total Gym.


Total Gym's useful for working up to full-blown dips & chin/pull-ups though. When I started, there was no way I was doing anything resembling a real dip or a real pull-up. :)
  1897001
January 30, 2013 5:46 AM
chuck liddell jack rack instead plz
January 30, 2013 6:50 AM
I had a total gym. I hated it. Ended up being a great shelf for awhile till i gave it away for free. Couldnt even sell it.
  5769786
January 30, 2013 2:01 PM
QUOTE:

I had a total gym. I hated it. Ended up being a great shelf for awhile till i gave it away for free. Couldnt even sell it.


Wow! Couldn't even give it away?
I vote for free weights instead of the Total Gym.
  36570607
January 30, 2013 2:02 PM
I have a total gym and absolutely love it bigsmile
  261031
February 6, 2013 11:57 AM
We have a Total Gym XLS and love it. I have free weights, pullup bar, etc, etc, also...but for convenience, the Total Gym is my go to for resistance workout. My goal is to strengthen my muscles (overall body) and lose weight. I am not looking to become a body builder at this point in time, but I have no reason to think someone couldn't get there while using this gym. While there are pilates attachments and exercises, the TG is not at all like pilates if using it for merely resistance. Right now I mostly use the TG for circuit training.

Free weights are fantastic. No doubt about it. But there are moves you CAN do on the TG that can not be done with free weights and a flat bench alone. Pullovers, leg curls, outer hip and thigh, iron cross (you can't get that range with a simple dip or free weights), inner thigh pull, inverted situps, surfer...to name a few. I personally love doing pullups on the TG because I can work on that range of motion and target the muscles without feeling like a failure on my actual pullup bar, which I can not use properly...even with a stool or chair. Plus the stretch before engaging the muscle you are using is fantastic!

CONS of the Total Gym:
~Price...it is very expensive
~Size...it is big/long. For me, it is not convenient to collapse and move, so it sits in the corner of my bedroom ready to use each time.
~Weight/resistance... you would have to buy the additional attachment to add weights if level 6 is not enough for you.
~Leg Presses/Squats...don't have enough weight for me to get a deep burn without doing many additional reps and sets.
~I prefer bicep curls/exercises with free weights (this is a personal choice for me).
~Some floor exercises are better at targeting certain muscle groups.

PROS of the Total Gym:
~Convenience...it's always ready to use.
~Great range of motion.
~Targets multiple muscle groups with minimal change of position.
~Quick change of attachments and resistance levels keeps your heart in target range when moving from each exercise.
~Tricep workouts hit my arms best on the TG than with most free weight exercises, and I feel it in the parts that are the most difficult for me to target.
~Great for family to workout on. My kids use it a few times each week...my son for building strength, and both for practicing their jumping (one and two legged) and lunges to help with the sports they are involved in. My husband is big into playing sports but does not enjoy working out or free weights. He just started with the TG and raves about it. Shoulder presses are currently one of his favorites (no problems for his surgically repaired rotator cuff).
~Stretching while exercising. I don't feel tight after "lifting" like I have in the past with free weights because I get a full stretch on the TG as I'm performing each exercise...and I don't have to stretch for longer periods of time at the end of my workout.
~Great for toning.
~Great for building muscle.
~Control of movements is easy. Sometimes with free weights you hit your max rep and just want to drop at that peak/burn. There is no fear of dropping weight on your head, foot, toe, hand, buddy, etc.
~No need for a spotter.
~You can't swing through your movements (like too many novices do with free weights).
~I can use it in the morning while my husband sleeps...there are no loud noises and clanging of weights.
~The DVD's are great to get you started and give a better understanding on how to best use the TG.
~Saves time and money from going to the gym (not just the gym fees, the gas to drive there, etc).
~Sturdy piece of equipment

I have used my Total Gym to assist with other workouts. During P90X I used the pullup feature on the TG, used it as a bench for some of the seated moves.

From someone who is an all around sucker for workout infomercials the Total Gym is no gimmick. It is consistently the one thing I use over and again. I'm not sure the free weight advocates here have ever tried one, or they may feel differently. To the original poster, if you want to spend the money and have the space for it, I say go for it! Once you have it set up and learn how to move the attachments around, working out is a piece of cake. :0)
  29306262
February 6, 2013 1:01 PM
QUOTE:

I am currently watching a Total Gym on Ebay and wondered if anyone has used one and if so if they are worth the money? (the one with Chuck Norris in the promo)

I currently don't do much in the way of strength training and can't really afford a gym membership and thought this could be good.

Thoughts and comments would be welcomed.

Cheers


Buy a treadmill, ya' can't hang clothes on a Total Gym :)
February 6, 2013 8:52 PM
I would NOT buy TG new, but I bought one used for $75 and thought it was well worth the money. Other similar brands are far less expensive new as well. This type of machine allows for a variety of exercises to get full body workout. That said, you might outgrow it as your fitness level increases. Some models allow you to add additional weight, but otherwise you are limited to `60% of your body weight for resistance. If you are in the beginning phases of exercising and looking for something for 3-5 months I would recommend a used TG. It is a great way to work up to doing pull-ups. Trying before buying is always a good idea if possible.

I also have free weights and dumbbells, but still enjoy the TG for variety and some of the unique exercises.
February 7, 2013 6:05 AM
QUOTE:

I would NOT buy TG new, but I bought one used for $75 and thought it was well worth the money. Other similar brands are far less expensive new as well. This type of machine allows for a variety of exercises to get full body workout. That said, you might outgrow it as your fitness level increases. Some models allow you to add additional weight, but otherwise you are limited to `60% of your body weight for resistance. If you are in the beginning phases of exercising and looking for something for 3-5 months I would recommend a used TG. It is a great way to work up to doing pull-ups. Trying before buying is always a good idea if possible.

I also have free weights and dumbbells, but still enjoy the TG for variety and some of the unique exercises.


Agreed... I love my TG, and Muggsmagee's analysis (above) is spot on as well. It's still an expensive piece of equipment, and there tend to be a lot of them on Craigslist, so ... shop around. :)

Like folks have said, if your workouts are effective and you continue to gain strength, it's pretty easy to out-grow the TG in terms of increasing resistance.

With that said, you can add additional weight through accessories (also not cheap), it will continue to be a good option for blended-cardio style workouts, and it's a really good option for building into full-blown pull-ups, dips, etc. that can be impossible if you're overweight and/or just starting strength training.

I actually use a combination of free weights, resistance bands, the TG and other stuff, all of it at home. Pros and cons to all of it, so figure out what you enjoy and what you'll stick with. That's the most important piece of the equation.

P.S. OkieTink, the TG makes an excellent clothes-rack. Although my wife tends to gripe when I hang my sweaty stuff on it to dry. ;-)
  1897001
February 7, 2013 6:15 AM
I picked up one with a load of other equipment I bought on Craigslist. I set it up, tried it out a couple of times, and then re-sold it on CL. And I'm the type to hold onto something if there's any use for it. I've even got a bosu in my home gym.

It was just another piece of equipment taking up space that didn't do anything I couldn't do with dumbbells and a pull-up bar.
February 23, 2013 2:27 PM
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