About Total Gym

If you’re a fan of Chuck Norris (and who isn’t?), you probably want to know more about the Total Gym, an in-home gym system that claims to help you lose weight, build muscle, and stay lean. In fact, the product’s website claims that Chuck Norris has been using the Total Gym as his personal gym system for more than 30 years, which he calls his “lean, mean home exercise machine.”

But if you remove the star-studded appeal of Chuck Norris from the equation, can the Total Gym really help you get in the best shape of your life in just 20 minutes per day, or is a total dud? We investigated the Total Gym’s claims, and here’s what we found out.

Total Gym Details

At its most basic, the Total Gym claims to be an all-in-one, versatile in-home gym system that allows you to perform more than 80 exercises, which is claimed to help you achieve a total gym workout in less than 20 minutes per day. Hence the name “Total Gym.”

With this in mind, the Total Gym is available in four different models:

  • Total Gym 2000 – Includes 6 resistance levels, 300lb max user weight, and the ability to complete 40 different exercises.
  • Total Gym XLS – Includes 6 resistance levels, 400lb max user weight, the ability to complete 80 different exercises, and Total Gym Workout tools and DVDs.
  • Total Gym Fit – Includes 12 resistance levels, auto-lock height adjustment, 2-piece wing attachment, ergonomic glideboard, AbCrunch accessory, workout tools and complete Total Gym Workout Library, and extended 2-year warranty.
  • Total Gym Elite – Includes 22 resistance levels, squat stand, LAT bar, hydraulic rail lift assists, automatic rail locks, over 200 exercises, and more.

Whichever model you choose, each Total Gym allows you to set your own resistance level depending on your goals, whether it’s strength, cardio, or stretching-related. In addition, the Total Gym features smooth cable motion and uses your body’s own weight as resistance, which means that it’s easier on your joints. Because of its lack of free weights, the Total Gym also claims to help you quickly and easily move from one exercise to another. Once you’ve finished your daily workout, the Total Gym is claimed to easily fold away for storage.

The Total Gym website claims that it can be used at any time of day by men and women, regardless of age, body type, or fitness level.

Total Gym Pricing & Refund Policy

Total Gym pricing is as follows*:

  • Total Gym 2000: Full payment of $599.40, or $49.95 for a 30-day trial. Once your trial ends, you’ll be billed 5 monthly installments of $109.89.
  • Total Gym XLS: Full payment of $799.60, or $1 for a 30-day trial. Once your trial ends, you’ll be billed 7 monthly installments of $114.09.
  • Total Gym Fit: Full payment of $1349.33, or $1 for a 30-day trial. Once your trial ends, you’ll be billed 10 monthly installments of $134.83.
  • Total Gym Elite: Full payment of $3495, or 4 monthly installments of $873.75 plus shipping.

According to the product’s website, your Total Gym includes free shipping, with the exception of the Elite model, and will arrive fully assembled.

All Total Gym systems come with a 30-day money back guarantee, less shipping and handling charges (we’ll talk more about this in the Bottom Line section), although this is extended to 60 days if you pay in full.

During our research, we found the Total Gym for sale through Amazon.com, Overstock.com, Walmart, and several other independent retailers.

*Important note: In the time we were researching the Total Gym, we found their prices decreased significantly. Whether this is a temporary or permanent price adjustment, we’re unsure.  However, next to each model’s price, it does indicate “Today,” which may mean that it changes regularly.

What’s the Bottom Line About the Total Gym?

With all this said, can you expect to achieve your fitness goals using the Total Gym, or is it a waste of money? In short, we found that the vast majority of users are pleased with their Total Gym purchase, so you could expect to experience the same. However, there are a few points you should keep in mind:

Although the Total Gym appears to have a lofty online reputation, some of the most common complaints we encountered during our research cited high price when compared to the competition, that it doesn’t fold down easily, that the pulleys and cables don’t provide the consistent resistance found with free weights, and that the machine is more suited toward those looking to work out their upper body than lower. We also read several customer reviews claiming that they had difficulty redeeming the warranty for Total Gyms purchased through third-party retailers. However, all of these referenced damage sustained during shipping (e.g. dented frame, severed cable, etc.), which is why their warranty claims may have been denied.

Next, keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for return shipping if you’re dissatisfied with your Total Gym. And at 96 pounds, this could result in some very high shipping charges.

Finally, remember that the Total Gym will only help you results if you put in the hard work, which means exercising regularly while also following a sensible diet.

Bottom line: The Total Gym appears to be a professional, well-built machine capable of helping you lose weight and tone up. However, if you’re looking to bulk up by adding muscle mass, this may not be the machine for you.

With this said, you may want to purchase your Total Gym from a local retailer in order to avoid high return shipping costs in the event that you’re dissatisfied with its performance.

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14 Consumer Reviews for Total Gym

Average Consumer Rating: 3.9
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 10 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  4
Bottom Line: 71% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 14
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  • Enjoy the Total Gym

    • Baltimore, MD,
    • Nov 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I own and have used the Total Gym XLS for over 7 years. It's a great machine for upper body workouts. I also use free weights at a regular gym. I mix it up. When I don't feel like going to the gym, I hit my Total Gym. The YouTube videos by John Peel and others for men are great and practical.

    I give the Total Gym kudos. I use free weights for lower body workouts. I do occasionally use the Total Gym for lower body workouts, but free weights work better for me.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Love the stretching and toning.

    • Kentucky,
    • Sep 5, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I first started using my Total Gym, I wasn't sure if I have wasted my money and possibly time. No, I didn't I love my machine. I injured my right knee and therefore I couldn't really walk, so I decided to do low impact workouts on my machine and I realized that my knee was doing much better. And the toning benefits of the machine, and not to mention the stretching, deep stretching that I can now get done on my own without any help from anyone is wonderful. And I am back walking around like a young chick, lol. My energy level is GREAT.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Best Total Gym for all round fitness development

    • Middlesex, England,
    • Jun 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have been using a Total Gym for a number of years. It is one of the major pieces of equipment I have in my home gym. It has helped me recover from injuries.

    The space-saving fold away has been amazing. Easy to set up and put down. I would highly recommend the Total Gym for anyone who wants to train at home or even build a home gym.

    The workout guides have been brilliant in helping me develop my skills and gain strength. Which has helped in my main sport of bouldering and outdoor climbing.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 15 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Third one, just ordered an XLS

    • California,
    • Apr 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had my first one and lost 60 pounds in three months on it. It was destroyed when our house flooded in Hurricane Harvey. I didn't replace it until about four months ago when I found a very used basic model for sale near me, by then I had gained 50 pounds back. So far I have lost over 40 pounds. I like it so much I decided to upgrade to a new XLS with the nice upgrades it has (I have never liked the two separate wing attachments my old one has). I am a user for life. No regrets. The people that give this a bad review are either very, very not mechanically inclined or a competitor. My 62-year-old wife can set it up and fold it up easily.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Squat stand SUCKS on the 1600 model, but otherwise I love it

    • Colorado Springs, CO,
    • Apr 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I love my Total Gym, however, the creator of that pitiful squat stand on my 1600 should be ashamed. If you make exercise equipment and squatting is one thing you can do, you don’t put a stand on that can and will cause immediate injury due to your knees flowing OVER your toes and causing you to buy ANOTHER more expensive stand that may or may not fit! And if you really want to be broke, you can just buy the newer model that already has the proper squat stand attachment. So looking at it from this light seems like job security for somebody because if you want to avoid injury, you’ll buy the proper squat stand!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 12 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Dangerous equipment

    • Tampa, FL,
    • Mar 25, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Horrible. I've been working out all my life and love buying different equipment, so I was excited for Total Gym to arrive. But when I assembled it and began the workout, I soon realized that this was a dangerous piece of equipment. It clanged and shook all over the place. The work out DVD that came with it was totally geared towards men all chest exercises. If Chuck Norris uses this piece of garbage every day, I'm the tooth fairy. Remember he is getting well paid for endorsing it.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • May 25, 2018

      Lori S.

      I would like to know which piece of equipment you purchased?

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  • 12 out 14 people found this review helpful

    20 years

    • Oklahoma,
    • Mar 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I'm a small guy so I don't need the heavy duty model. I made my own squat stand. I am working on my second one (model 1100) now. The first one lasted almost 15 years. It does exactly what they claim it will do. It won't make you look like Arnold, but it will keep you so you can achieve a very high level of strength. I leave mine set up in the back room; wife and I both use it. No reservations at all. Absolutely the best piece of workout equipment for the average person.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 11 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Long-time owner

    • Girard, OH,
    • Mar 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I purchased the original 1980 series of the Total Gym, used it regularly, actually sold it and missed the functionality of the device. I tracked it down and bought it back. Today, I am proud to own the of the Fit version of the Total Gym line. It is used five to seven days a week.

    I perform mostly upper body exercises and several back/stretching routines. I am 69, have two heart stents, utilize the treadmill and Airdyne bike for cardio. There are twelve exercise pieces in my gym; the Fit is definitely one of the best and most used. You just have to commit to a healthy way of life!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 14 out 27 people found this review helpful

    Beware, not assembled at all.

    • Laguna Woods, CA,
    • Jan 24, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I took it out of the box, and the glider fell off and hit a table. I really liked that table. It is supposed to be assembled, but I am looking at half a dozen of pieces that I cannot get on. I am returning this, and cannot wait to get this piece of crap out of my house.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 19 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Total Gyms are great!

    I have bought numerous exercise machines over the years and used free weights as well. About 12 years ago, I bought a Total Gym at a garage sale. I was hooked. The Total Gym is the first piece of exercise equipment that I've owned that didn't eventually become something to hang clothes on. I now own two XLS's. Even when you don't feel like exercising, you can talk yourself into doing a little work on the Total Gym (very different than free weights; they are so heavy). Once you get on the Total Gym, the next thing you know, you've had a great workout. It is great for cardio as well. Just switch from one exercise to another without taking breaks.

    The Total Gym is by far the best piece of exercise equipment I've ever owned.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 18 out 32 people found this review helpful

    Angry

    I am totally angry about this product. First of all, it's not a simple set up like advertised. Next, when I called for assistance, they tell me to lift the Gym up above my knees and drop it hard on the ground. A $700 piece of equipment that I'm purchasing, and I'm being advised to slam hard on the ground to break it apart so I can set it up.

    There have been so many problems with this equipment with other customers that their service department resorts to slamming it on the ground. Then after all that, they tell me I'll have to pay $50 to send it back. Are you freaking kidding me?

    Well, needless to say, the Gym IS GOING BACK, and they are paying full shipping. Five thumbs down for this piece of equipment. Then to top everything off, she tells me I'm overwhelmed. That's right, I'm angry, but never overwhelmed.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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