Best Total Gyms: Which Model is Right for You?

Woman using Total Gym


Have you ever thought about buying a Total Gym? You've probably seen them in a friend's home, at the gym, or at least seen the infomercials. Total Gyms are part of a unique category of fitness equipment that uses weight plates, body weight, gravity, and resistance bands all housed in one machine to let you perform a variety of exercises.

There are other similar weight machines on the market that use pulley systems and inclines to challenge your muscles, but Total Gym is one of the most recognizable brands that has delivered high-quality workouts to its users for decades. We decided to compare all of the models to find the best Total Gyms and highlight them for you in this article.

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The Best Total Gyms - Our Top Picks

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Total Gym XLS

Total Gym XLS

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 19" x 90" x 43"
  • Weight: 82 lbs.
  • Maximum load: 400 lbs.
  • Resistance levels: 6
  • Number of exercises: 80+

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The Total Gym XLS is a model that blends features from heavy-duty models and the lighter models. XLS has a 400-pound load capacity that is a combination of your body weight and weight plates. The rails fold into a compact form that cuts the footprint almost in half to allow the machine to fit under your bed or in a closet.

With the XLS you'll be able to complete over 80 exercises. There are six resistance levels and you'll also have the ability to adjust how much your body weight contributes to that resistance. If you're looking for a Total Gym that will give you maximum resistance while taking up the least room, the XLS is a good option.

What We Like

  • 400-lb. load capacity
  • Bodyweight resistance adjustment from 0-54%
  • 80+ exercise options

What We Don't Like

  • High number of exercise options creates a learning curve
  • At 82 lbs., the unit will be heavy for some users

BUY: Total Gym XLS

Total Gym GTS

Total Gym GTS

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 106" x 38" x 57"
  • Weight: 180 lbs.
  • Maximum load: 650 lbs.
  • Resistance levels: 22
  • Number of exercises: 250+

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If the XLS model is a hybrid, the Total Gym GTS is the heavy-duty model for experienced athletes who are ready to push their fitness to the next level. With a 650-pound load capacity, the GTS can offer a challenge to even the strongest athletes.

This unit folds to a very compact form that you can store almost anywhere, but it weighs 180 pounds so it can be very heavy to move back and forth from a separate storage location. But it offers the most exercises and added features like a squat stand and telescoping platform.

What We Like

  • 250+ exercises for the most varied workout
  • 650-lb. load capacity for muscle building
  • Squat stand and platform included for Pilates or bodyweight exercises

What We Don't Like

  • Very heavy unit
  • Largest tower housing the weight and cables of any model

BUY: Total Gym GTS

Total Gym FIT

Total Gym FIT

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 18.5" x 93" x 44.5"
  • Weight: 66 lbs.
  • Maximum load: 450 lbs.
  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Number of exercises: 85

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The Total Gym FIT model is perhaps the most versatile model on the list. It is slightly bigger than the XLS but it is lighter, has a higher maximum load, and offers twice the resistance levels. It also comes with the Ab Crunch accessory that will let you target your core in ways other models do not.

What we like the most about the FIT model is the new ergonomic glideboard for comfort and the redesigned wing attachment that will give you a wider range of motion to target muscles from multiple angles. The Total Gym FIT is the model for you if you are looking for the most variety.

What We Like

  • Ergonomic glideboard and comfort features
  • Wing attachments
  • Leg pulley and squat stand attachments

What We Don't Like

  • Small foot push plate
  • Some reviews say it is difficult to complete the initial set up

BUY: Total Gym FIT

Total Gym APEX G5

Total Gym APEX G5

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 17.5" x 93" x 43.25"
  • Weight: 53.2 lbs.
  • Maximum load: 375 lbs.
  • Resistance levels: 10
  • Number of exercises: 80+

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The Total Gym APEX line is designed for athletes looking for a minimalist machine with maximum comfort. Of the APEX models, the G5 is the largest and most functional. It has more resistance levels, more exercise options, and extra cushioning for your head.

The G5 also has a dip bar attachment, wing attachment to increase the range of motion, and a leg pull accessory. These extra functional elements of the G5 only increase the size of the unit slightly and don't affect the storage ability.

What We Like

  • Dip bar attachment 
  • Extra cushioning
  • Weight bar compatible

What We Don't Like

  • Many of the accessories are not included
  • Some reviews say embroidered nylon handles are not as comfortable as other models

BUY: Total Gym APEX G5

Total Gym APEX G3

Total Gym APEX G3

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 93" x 16.5" x 43.25"
  • Weight: 53.2 lbs.
  • Maximum load: 300 lbs.
  • Resistance levels: 8
  • Number of exercises: 70+

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The APEX G3 is the mid-tier machine in the APEX line that has some of the elements of the G5 but is closer to the minimalist design of the G1. This machine has a 300-pound load capacity, eight resistance levels, and allows you to complete over 70 exercises.

The G3 is for athletes who need more load capacity and exercise options than the G1 can offer, but are not looking for all of the extra attachments or comfort features of the G5. The G3 still has the wing attachment to increase range of motion, and the leg pull accessory, but all other accessories are sold separately.

What We Like

  • Good balance of functionality and minimalist design
  • Very compact footprint when folded
  • Workout card deck to help you vary your exercises

What We Don't Like

  • Some reviews say setting it up is difficult despite it arriving assembled
  • Experienced users may find the exercise options limiting

BUY: Total Gym APEX G3

Total Gym APEX G1

Total Gym APEX G1

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 93" x 16.25" x 43.25"
  • Weight: 53.2 lbs.
  • Maximum load: 300 lbs.
  • Resistance levels: 6
  • Number of exercises: 60+

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The APEX G1 is the most beginner-friendly machine on the list. It is light, has only six levels of resistance, and allows you to perform a little over 60 different exercises. It is a minimalist design compared to other Total Gym models and beginners should have little problem getting used to the pulley system.

The G1 only has a 300-pound load capacity, which is both weight and bodyweight combined, so if you're an experienced athlete you may find this model limiting. Otherwise, if you've wanted to give Total Gyms a try, the G1 is a great place to start.

What We Like

  • Light and easily stored
  • Simple function for beginners
  • Budget-friendly

What We Don't Like

  • Some reviews question its durability
  • It has a low maximum load

BUY: Total Gym APEX G1

What is Total Gym?

Total Gym makes all-in-one exercise machines that you can use for a full-body workout. There are Total Gym models designed for commercial gyms, physical therapy, and others for home gyms. But no matter what model you choose, the machines are designed to be easily stored.

Total Gyms have weight plates, but use pulleys, glide technology, and incline adjustments to increase or decrease the level of resistance. Each Total Gym allows you to perform dozens of exercises—some are good for a total-body workout and others are good for isolating a particular muscle group.

Which Total Gym is Right for You?

Choosing the Total Gym that is right for you depends on several factors. Your fitness level and ability should be a consideration because Total Gyms use a cable and pulley system that requires your stabilizing muscles to keep your posture and protect you from injury. Otherwise, the two main factors to consider are your fitness goals and your available space.

Fitness Goals

Total Gym models differ in a number of ways, but can generally accommodate a variety of fitness levels. One of the major differences though is the load capacity. Some models can support as much as 650 pounds for users who want to build muscle, while others are limited to 300 pounds.

Available Space

All Total Gyms are made to be as compact as possible, but some are still larger than others—when they are in use and when they are folded. If you don't have a dedicated space for exercise equipment where you can use the Total Gym, you'll need to measure to make sure it will fit.

FAQs About Total Gym


Is Total Gym worth buying?

Whether a Total Gym is worth buying depends on your fitness goals. Total Gyms aren't designed for people who want to add a lot of size or build powerlifting type strength. But the machines are a great option for anyone looking to improve their general fitness and build all-around strength.

What is the best Total Gym for the money?

Which Total Gym is best for the money depends on your budget and your fitness level. You can buy a cheaper Total Gym that has a 300-pound load capacity, but if that weight isn't enough to challenge you it will be money wasted. Focus on what your specific fitness needs are while you're looking at the price tag.

Can you lose weight with Total Gym?

Yes. Total Gyms are for resistance training and the design lets you exercise in all planes of motion. The cable and pulley system may be awkward at first, but the machines use your body weight and weight plates to train your muscles from different angles.

On most Total Gym models, you can adjust the resistance level to your needs, and the incline degree will challenge your stabilizing muscles, so with consistent use and a good diet you will be able to lose weight using a Total Gym.

About the Author

Cory Kessler, CPT, FNC

Cory is a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. After spending six years as an educator and coach, Cory joined the ACTIVE team as a staff writer turning his passion for education toward helping ACTIVE readers live their best, healthiest lives.

See More from Cory

Cory is a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. After spending six years as an educator and coach, Cory joined the ACTIVE team as a staff writer turning his passion for education toward helping ACTIVE readers live their best, healthiest lives.

See More from Cory

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