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5 Best Total Gym Models: Comparisons and Alternatives

The 50+ hours invested in this guide will be worth it if I accomplish two goals:

  1. Make sense of the confusion surrounding Total Gym and its alternatives.
  2. Do #1 without cheap Chuck Norris jokes.

Honestly, I don’t feel like joking anyway because my 20-year certified personal training career is at stake when writing about Total Gym.

It’s more at stake here than it is with 99% of the guides I wrote over the years.

Why?

Because there’s no “IS-THIS-A-SCAM” shadow looming over me when I talk about barbells.

That shadow exists here, and I feel it.

It affects every single word on this page.

For you, that’s a good thing because it means more detailed research. And only models exist that I’m confident in recommending.

If you’re in a hurry… the best Total Gym model for most people is the Total Gym Fit.

  • It’s sturdier
  • More versatile (due to the better horns allowing more movements like pull-ups)
  • And provides more resistance than similar alternatives.

Budget Option

Total Gym Apex G5

Total Gym APEX G5

Best Overall

The Total Gym FIT

Total Gym Fit

Premium Option

Total Gym GTS

Total Gym GTS

Best Total Gym Model – Roundup of the Top 5

The table below is a quick roundup of our top picks. You can click through on any model to check out the recent price and the review of people using the machines right now.

If none of our picks fit the bill, the guide after the mini-reviews should help you choose the best Total Gym model for you.

NameBest in categoryRating
(out of 100)
PriceDefining features/
highlights
1. Total Gym FitOverall76$$$$robust build
2. GR8FLEX Gymtop alternative67$$included extra resistance
3. Total Gym XLSrunner-up from Total Gym64$$$extra -wide bench
4. Total Gym APEX G5Budget model for beginners63$good value for the money
5. Total Gym GTSmoney-no-object pick60$$$$$commercial grade

What’s what on a Total Gym

Before we move on to the specific models, let’s make sure we’re on the same page terminology-wise.

Below is a basic illustration of the parts of a Total Gym machine. For some of these, I’ll use slang terms. For example, the top part of the frame will be “horns.”

Main parts of a Total Gym

1 – Best overall – Total Gym Fit

Rating: 76 out of 100

The Total Gym FIT

Summary

The Fit costs more than your “average” Total Gym and tops the list in spite of it.

If you know the value-oriented ethos here at Strong Home Gym, that’s surprising. But it just shows the quality of this machine…

Strong Home Gym Ratings of Total Gyms (out of 100)

The Total Gym Fit is the little bed to my Goldilocks – it’s just right.

Three things stand out compared to other models:

  1. Thicker & higher frame and tower
  2. Balanced glide of the board
  3. Geometry of the horns (this one deserves special attention)

Firstly, the main way to increase the resistance on a glide board is by increasing the angle.

A taller tower= more potential resistance.

The number of resistance levels doesn’t mean more resistance… but rather more increments to gradually increase the resistance.

Total Gym Resistance Levels

The Fit has double the resistance levels compared to the XLS (the main Total Gym competitor).

It means that you can increase the resistance by a small amount. This is ideal for exercises that require less weight, such as a lateral raise.

Total Gym Fit vs. XLS build comparison

The quality of the glide board is superior than any of the Total Gym knock offs (as I’ll discuss later on). But this is the kicker for me…

Better “horns” – thicker and tilted forward

Apart from the commercial-grade GTS, it’s the only model with “horns” robust enough to be effectively used for pull-ups.

Now, I’m not the first one to make this point.

But I feel like people are missing the mark on this.

The robustness of the horns isn’t about pulling on them. That alone would add little value.

It’s more about what that means for ALL cable-based movements.

The extra heft means less rattle and more stability. Better build quality means it’ll stand up to more intense training on it.

The slight forward tilt means that the pulley-frame force transfer affects the overall stability less.

Without getting into the physics of it all, let’s just notice that the two sentences have a word in common – stability.

In layman’s terms – the Fit wobbles less and moves smoother than lesser units.

Spec sheet of the Fit
Weight capacity (lbs)450
Resistance levels (height increments)12
Number of exercises (listed)85
Footprint when folded (square feet)6.49
Weight of the unit (lbs)66
WarrantyLifetime frame, 2 years on parts

Pros

  • Premium build (thicker metal and better finish) – more stable than cheaper models like the XLS.
  • The friction of the glider board is just right – it moves smoothly but doesn’t feel “light.” This balance allows for good form without lowering the intensity.
  • Beefy top pulley handles (horns) – it won’t budge and bend on high-intensity exercises like inverted rows.
  • Good geometry of the horns – these are made of thicker metal and are slightly tilted towards the bench, which makes them more convenient for doing pull-ups without the pull-up bar.
  • Weight bar attachment – you can add resistance without changing the incline.
  • The vinyl on the bench is smooth but grippy – will feel gentle against your skin, but you won’t be sliding off it. A big plus when you start getting sweaty.
  • 12 increments – you can fine-tune the resistance levels better than with models like the XLS, which has 6 levels. For rehab purposes, or for a multi-person use this is great. Allows for precision in your training.
  • Higher tower and longer rails – make for an increased range of motion (slight but noticeable).

Cons

  • Costs more – It costs about 3 times more than our budget pick (the Apex G5). But the quality and versatility backs up this price point.
  • The board is not as wide as the XLS – it’s not as comfortable for bigger people (but this is arguably a good thing for certain movements such as chest flys where your shoulder blades come together)
  • Rails don’t have a stopper at the top – the rollers can slide off the rail’s top. If that happens, the bench can get stuck in the top position on exercises like jumping squats.

2 – Best Total Gym alternative – GR8FLEX

Rating: 67 out of 100

Summary

GR8Flex stands out as the top value among the many Total Gym alternatives.

It offers functionality similar to the Fit and XLS at a much lower cost.

Total Gym Number of Attachments

The GR8FLEX uses resistance bands and has the highest frame apart from the significantly more expensive GTS. This means that it provides more resistance as the angle of the glide board is steeper…

Total Gym Height

However, it doesn’t come with holes to additional weight like the Total Gym Fit does. 

I have seen claims that the steel used for this one is not as good as that of the Total Gym. I haven’t actually used it, so I can’t say for sure, but I don’t believe that’s true.

I say that for two reasons:

  • The weight capacity is the same as Fit’s and higher than the XLS’s.
  • The lifetime warranty is not limited.
Total Gym Warranty

If there were anything wrong with the steel, they would be shooting themselves in the leg by listing a 450 lbs capacity and not limiting the warranty.

Bottom line – if there’s a difference in the steel, it’s not the kind of difference you’d notice when working out.

You can see the GR8FLEX in action below:

Specs of the GR8FLEX
Weight capacity (lbs)450
Resistance levels (height increments)15
Number of exercises (listed)100
Footprint when folded (square feet)7.22
Weight of the unit (lbs)66
WarrantyLifetime

Pros

  • Good value for money – it will set you back about 50% less than the Fit and 20% less than the Total Gym XLS. This is a big point – a Total Gym is unlikely to be the only item in your gym. It’ll save money for other items.
  • More levels of resistance (15) – you can adjust the load more precisely and increase it in smaller chunks. Again, this is fantastic for multiple users.
  • Included bands for extra resistance – you don’t need to buy extra plates or bands if you don’t already have them.
  • Lifetime warranty – unlimited warranty means more confidence when buying and less hassle if any of the parts give in (especially important for the pulleys and handles).
  • Longer cables – the extra range makes it more convenient for presses and flies. It also allows you to complete any motion without the bench going over the rail edges.
  • Versatile pack of accessories included – you won’t need to spend extra on accessories like with some Total Gym models.
  • Rubber stops on the rails (image below)  – no need to worry about jumping too high and un-railing the glide board.
GR8FLEX rubber stops on the rails

Cons

  • The glide has little resistance – if you’re coming from a Total Gym, it will feel too “light.” Not great if you’re looking for something to push you.
  • The cables are not as tight and tend to sag – this can cause them to derail and even lodge between the wheel and brackets.
  • The height selector tends to get stuck – if it happens, you’ll need to remove it and lubricate it.
  • Lacking information on loads vs. incline – you have to get the info from their website.
  • Lacking information on exercises – there are no official videos, and no manual/leaflet comes with the machine.
  • Doesn’t fold as compactly as Total Gym models – it will take up a bit more space, both in footprint and volume. Bear this in mind if you are tight on space. 
  • Some versions use fabric instead of vinyl for the seat – this is a major drawback because you can’t just wipe the sweat off.

3 – Runner-up among the originals – Total Gym XLS

Rating: 64 out of 100

Total Gym XLS

Summary

Total Gym XLS is the overall runner-up (within the brand) and our top pick for people who prefer low-intensity and comfort.

This model is the most popular, which is sometimes a red flag for me as the “most popular” is not always “the best”. Often the most popular model of anything is due to money spent on marketing *cough* Chuck Norris *cough*…

(Yep, there goes the second goal I set at the beginning)

Time saver – the offer at the end of that video does not exist anymore! The video is just to demonstrate the marketing budget spent on the XLS over the years.

The main benefit the XLS has is the option to add two resistance bars like this…

Total Gym number of weight bar slots

It’s worth noting that this weight bar is not included. And the bar is 1″ thick so your 2″ Olympic weight plates would be too big.

It’s worth buying plates with 1″ holes like these if you intend on using this machine to build muscle.

A little heads up – 180 lbs (3 sets of these plates) is the most you could place on the bar.

Compared to the top-rated Total Gym Fit, two things stand out about the XLSthe bigger bench and a less hefty frame.

The frame is not as sturdy as Fit’s and wobbles more.

If you make the XLS your first Total Gym model, you’ll think back to this point and wonder what I was on about.

It’s the kind of difference you get used to and stop noticing.

The bench is wider and 2.5 inches longer.

This can be both a good and a bad thing.

It can be bad if you’re of average height and plan to do a lot of seated exercises. In this scenario, the padding will chafe against your thighs.

It’s also a CON if you’re aiming for higher intensity.

Let’s be honest here; few people looking into Total Gym are after muscle-ripping workouts.

For anybody but those few, the intensity point will be moot.

On the other hand, the extra surface of the bench will feel safer and easier to get on and off. That’s a plus for the elderly and people recovering from an injury.

It’s also super easy to install, which is more than can be said for most all-in-one home gyms.

Watch the 3-minute video below to see what I mean.

Specs of the XLS
Weight capacity (lbs)400
Resistance levels (height increments)6
Number of exercises (listed)80
Footprint when folded (square feet)6.62
Weight of the unit (lbs)68
WarrantyLifetime frame, 6 months on parts

Pros

  • Cheaper than models of comparable quality – it costs almost 40% less than the Fit.
  • Two weight bar attachments – add more resistance or even do other exercises such as a conventional chest press (see video below)
  • Handles are as good as in models that cost more – they’re grippy, and the width is just right (colors aside, I’d say they’re the same as Fit’s).
  • It’s bigger – the bench is wider and will feel more welcoming if you’re on the bigger side.
  • Rails go all the way up – no chance of the bench catching onto the top ridge, which is the case with the Fit. This means you don’t have to worry about the intensity when propelling upwards.

Cons

  • The frame is not as thick as that of the Total Gym Fit – this makes it wobblier. It’s less likely to last as long as well.
  • Simple make of the top horns – thin metal tubing that won’t feel as stable on exercises where the intensity isn’t uniform (like lateral flies or crunch pullovers).
  • The extra padding and width of the bench can be a problem – if you’re of average build, the outer edge of the bench will press against your thighs on any seated exercise (think seated row or cable curl).
  • Only 6 height increments – you have less control over the intensity compared to machines with more height settings. Also limits the precision for your training.

4 – Best budget Total Gym for beginners – APEX G5

Rating: 61 out of 100

Summary

Total Gym APEX G5 is my top budget pick because of the unmatched value for money.

Every major manufacturer has the “value” series where they cut corners to make it all work at a lower cost.

“Value” often becomes a synonym for cheap, and you lose much of the functionality.

With the APEX series, the subtle “sacrifices” range from the resistance levels (6 on the G1 and 8 on the G3) to the overall build.

In other words – the APEX machines balance between low cost, functionality, and questionable sturdiness.

I believe those scales tip in the buyer’s favor with the G5

APEX G5 is compatible with a weight bar, and its accessory pack is what you’d expect at higher price levels (10-pack).

There are a few caveats here:

  • The weight bar is not included.
  • It’s 1″ thick, so your Olympic weight plates can fit, but they’d be a bit loose (you can see our guide on bumper plates here). Again, I don’t think we should put this in – standard plates on a 1-inch bar would be a nightmare. You couldn’t secure them, they’d move around and may even be dangerous.
  • 180 lbs (3 sets of these plates) is the most you could place on the bar.
  • G5 is not as full-bodied as the XLS or the FIT. If you’re looking for intensity and perfect stability, this is not the Total Gym for you.

Bottom line – it’s great value if you know what to expect. You can see it in action below.

Specs of the APEX G5
Weight capacity (lbs)375
Resistance levels (height increments)10
Number of exercises (listed)80
Footprint when folded (square feet)5.44
Weight of the unit (lbs)53.2
Warranty1-year

Pros

  • Value –  hard to beat the quality for this price.
  • 10 levels of resistance – gives you more control when choosing your load. It’s the most ever we’ve seen on an APEX model.
  • Folds compactly – with a footprint of 5.44 square inches, it’s the smallest on the list. It’s also light, so it’s easy to put away when not in use.
  • Additional accessories –  includes all the necessary accessories for a more effective workout.
  • Hard rubber handles on pulleys – high-quality pulley system, and the handles won’t collect sweat from your hands.

Cons

  • Not as robust as the Fit or the XLS – it won’t be as stable, which will take getting used to if you’re coming from a sturdier machine.
  • Additional weight bar not included – if you want to build serious muscle, it’s worth factoring in the bar and plates recommended above.
  • Foam handles on dip station and pull-up bars – can collect sweat during a workout and become a bit slippery.
  • 375lb weight capacity – this causes me a few concerns about build quality and versatility as well.

5 – Money-no-object pick – Total Gym GTS

Rating: 58 out of 100

Total Gym GTS

Summary

In absolute terms, the Total Gym GTS is the best model here, and it’s not even close.

By “absolute terms,” I mean if you have the money and the space for this beast.

It’s built better in every aspeifct, from the materials and the finish of the frame to the handles.

What’s up with the 5-year warranty?

It’s graded for commercial use, which explains the “gap” between what I described above and the warranty terms.

This is one of those rare times when I don’t pay much attention to the guarantee because I know it’s crafted for gyms and rehab facilities. In these places, machines like the GTS are used around the clock.

In a home setting, you’re not likely to claim any part of the warranty.

Is it too much for a home gym?

Not if you have the space and the money to spare. If you haven’t, think long and hard about it.

You can see the GTS in action below.

Specs of the Total Gym GTS

Weight capacity (lbs)650
Resistance levels (height increments)22
Number of exercises (listed)200
Footprint when folded (square feet)5.44
Weight of the unit (lbs)53.2
Warranty5 years on frame, 1 on upholstery and parts, and 90 days on rubber and foam

Pros

  • Commercial-grade build – everything about the GTS is simply better, from the handles to the glideboard, from the frame to the horns. It’s the most stable Total Gym model in existence.
  • Versatile like no other – the stability, size, and sheer number of attachments bring the total number of exercises to an impressive 200.
  • Longer rails and cables – this gives you a full range of motion without worrying if the rails gonna come off or get stuck,
  • “Strength package” of accessories included – if you bought these separately, it would cost you almost a grand. 

Cons

  • Expensive – it will set you back twice as much as the Fit.
  • It’s heavy and big (folded footprint is almost 17 square feet, and it weighs 180 lbs) – it does have a hydraulic-assisted folding mechanism, but moving it every time will be a chore. I wouldn’t get the GTS unless I had a dedicated space for it.

Buyer’s guide to comparing the Total Gym models (and alternatives)

If you’re a conservative buyer (and you should be), the section below is where I explain how to go about choosing a Total Gym model.

If none of the machines we picked fit the bill, use the guide below as a reference when choosing.

It’s also a good read if the model you like is on the list, but you want to understand how we made the picks.

Total Gym Buyers Guide

8 primary factors to look for in a Total Gym

1 – Overall build quality of a Total Gym

(0 to 16 points in our ratings)

Build quality comes down to three things: gauge and cross-section of the steel, joint stability, and the geometry.

Let’s unpack that.

The gauge (thickness) and cross-section of the steel will define the structural strength of a single piece. None of the makers (including Total Gym) list the gauge, so I’ll make an educated guess.

Here goesI think that most of the good Total Gym models use either 13 or 14-gauge painted carbon steel for the frame, stainless steel of similar gauge for the rails, and aluminum for other parts like the handles and brackets.

Getting more ”sciency” about the build wouldn’t be helpful to you. I did that part on the back end, and it’s reflected in a few of the ratings.

So, let’s simplify it…

Five rules of thumb to keep in mind:

  1. The wider the tower and the thicker the horns, the better the distribution of kinetic energy.

    This means less wobble.
  2. The smoother the glide of the rollers, the more stable the movement. There’s a subtle balance to maintain here because you don’t want friction eliminated.

    This means a “buttery” glide without the load feeling light.
  3. Good geometry on the top pulleys translates to natural movement paths.

    If the angles are not correct on the brackets, they will be corrected in your shoulders.

And that’s as bad as it sounds.

  1. Brackets with tight tolerances will not slide off or rattle.

    The sliding-off part is just tedious because it happens between exercises. You let go of the handles, the pulleys sag, and come off.

    The shaky movement means the workout won’t be as comfortable and, at worst, be an injury hazard.
  2. You want a bench with a vinyl cover and high-density foam for the padding.

    That’s already the case for 4 out of five models on the list of our top picks.

    The exception is the GR8FLEX, whose “military” version is covered with Goretex fabric. If you’re going with this otherwise great unit, go for the vinyl-covered versions.

The all-black and all-white are my favorites.

The good news here is that ALL of our top picks tick each of these boxes.

2 – Maximum weight capacity

(0 to 5 points in our ratings)

The weight capacity of a total gym machine is typically in the 300-500 lbs range.

As you can see in the graph below, all the machines in our Top 5 are well within that range, with the outliers being the Apex G5 on the lower end and the GTS on the upper end (weight capacities of 375 and 600 lbs, respectively).

That accounts for two things:

  1. Your body weight
  2. The potential added weight on the weight bar

If your goal is to lose weight, the ideal scenario is dropping the weight from your hips and adding it to the weight bar as you progress.

Total Gym Weight Capacities

3 – Versatility of the Total Gym models – number of attachments and exercises

(0 to 5 points in our ratings)

Most people will end up doing about a third of the exercises listed on the spec sheet.

Here’s my rule of thumb – any Total Gym that lists 80+ exercises here will be plenty versatile.

Anything beyond that adds incrementally lower value. For example, a machine that lists 160 exercises won’t be twice as versatile as the one with 80.

For reference, below is a graph with the listed number of exercises of the top units.

Total Gym Number of Exercises
Number of attachments/accessories

Additional accessories can give your Total Gym models more versatility. Below is an example of the types of additional accessories you should look out for.

Total Gym Accessories

Get the basics right and take it from there

This is my point – a model that gets the basics right will be more versatile than the one that comes with dozens of attachments but misses the mark on the essentials.

With that said, some attachments make more difference than others.

These are my favorites:

  • A good, big squat stand – big enough to comfortably plant your feet and adjust the position. If you have knee or lower back problems, get an XL squat stand – it will allow you to work around those painful angles.
  • Weight bar – makes it possible to add resistance when your own body weight isn’t enough. It’s also a convenient spot to grab onto or rest your hands for added stability. The XLS tops the list here because there are two weight-bar slots.
  • Pilates toe bar – If you don’t move around much, a good set of calf raises can get that blood flowing into your legs. The toe bar also adds a ton of versatility to your squats.
  • Triceps ropes – on triceps extensions and skull-crushers, you’ll get better contraction using ropes than you would with handles. You’ve also got more in the way of grip options.
  • Stable wing bar attachment – probably the attachment that adds the most value. It can play the role of a pull or push-up bar and a leg holder for sit ups or rows, depending on where you mount it.
  • Ab-crunch – an excellent way to target your abs if you know what you’re doing. Stay tucked in and use the top portion of the glide board. If you feel the movement in your hip flexors rather than your abs, adjust.

Note – “the basics” doesn’t mean must-haves for everybody. Use the list above as a reference point to create your own tally of nice-to-haves vs. must-haves. Also, don’t be limited by what I said above because other addons like the leg-pull accessory or the dip bars might make it onto your list. You can see the complete list of Total Gym attachments here.

4 – Levels of resistance – total number of settings and what it means for resistance

(0 to 3 points in our ratings)

The simplistic way to look at the levels of resistance is to just note the number of height settings.

A more accurate way of looking at things would be to look at the height setting in reaction to the length of the glideboard. The shorter the board, the steeper the angle at the same height setting and the higher the percentage of your body weight used.

The only almost-perfectly accurate way to look at resistance levels would be to account for the friction of the rollers.

Doing this would be impractical (if I’m being polite) and stupid (if I’m being honest).

The right way to go about this is to establish your ground-zero and only track progress, whether it’s the incline, the number of reps, or the added weight.

The one advantage of multiple height settings is making those progress increments smaller.

That’s an important factor if you’re a beginner and need to take it slow but still feel like you’re moving forward. If that’s the case, stay away from the Total Gym XLS and its 6 height settings.

For reference – the graph below compares the number of height settings.

Number of height settings on Total Gym models

5 – Compactness of a Total Gym machine – footprint and volume when folded

(0 to 5 points in our ratings)

I looked at compactness in two ways – the footprint and the total volume of space the models take up.

A standard reach-in closet is about 24-inches deep, which means all but one of these can be tucked away out of sight.

Regarding folded height, 4 out of 5 models are in the 50-52 inches range. Again, the GTS is the outlier with 58 inches.

For reference, the graph below compares the footprints of the top-rated total gyms.

Total Gym Footprints When Folded

6 – Price of a Total Gym model

(0 to 23 points in our ratings)

A good Total Gym will set you back anywhere between $500 and $2000. 

There are cheaper models that are still decent (like the Total Gym Supreme), and there are commercial-grade units like the GTS that costs almost 4 grand.

You can see the price comparison graph below. It doesn’t show specific prices because they’re subject to change.

It’s more about comparing the cost of models to each other.

What it means for you

As always, we crafted our ratings to hunt for value rather than the absolute best or the cheapest.

That typically means we find our top pick in the low-to-medium price range.

That’s not the case here.

The Total Gym Fit is in the upper price range, which means it is significantly better than the cheaper models.

Total Gym Pricing

7 – Warranty terms

(0 to 11 points in our ratings)

If you’re spending over $500 on a Total Gym or one of the alternatives, look for a Lifetime warranty on the frame.

The exception here (again) is the GTS with a 5-year warranty. Those terms are defined with commercial use in mind, and it’s not something you need to worry about if you’re getting one for your home.

Finally, if you’re unsure if this whole Total Gym thing will even work for you, some models come with a 30-day trial. At the time of completing this guide, that’s the case with the Fit and the XLS.

8 – Is the additional weight/resistance included?

(0 to 11 points in our ratings)

We mentioned the weight bar as a good thing a few times already.

It only makes sense to point out a few downsides and limitations:

  1. It can mean extra cost – the bar is not always included, and you’ll need standard 1-inch weights to use it.
  2. The bar has a weight limit – this is usually 90 lbs per side. You’ll need to do the math and make sure that both the overall and the bar’s limits aren’t exceeded.
  3. Adding weight on and off is more time-consuming than hooking resistance bands.

That’s why we awarded points to models that come with extra resistance included.

That’s the case with the GR8FLEX, which comes with elastic bands that yield up to 50 lbs of extra load.

Methodology – how we assess and rate total gyms

Below is an outline of the steps that we’ve taken, from putting pen to paper to hitting the publish button.

It’s a testament to the way this guide adheres to our core values – honesty, transparency, and data over opinions.

  1. We created the initial database of 50+ Total Gym models (and their alternatives)
  2. In consultations with industry experts, we created a list of relevant data to be collected. Those categories range from the basics (like size and footprint) through details (like seat material) to user-related categories like popularity and owner satisfaction.
  3. We populated the database with every bit of information that adds value. We went through all the total gym reviews we could find. If we couldn’t find the information, we asked the manufacturers.
  4. We decided which pieces of information were essential and made them ranking factors.
  5. We assigned each ranking factor a specific “gravity” –  this describes how important it is for the end user.
  6. We went through multiple iterations of the ratings and tweaked the gravities to align with our core values.
  7. We adjusted the ratings for clarity – to make the maximum rating a uniform 100 across the site.
  8. We decided on the minimum number of category winners to present. We tried to minimize the number of models while covering different needs and budgets.
  9. We revisit and update the ratings of the total gym models either based on new information or our schedule. That means the information you see here is always fresh and relevant.

A quick note on the ratings

Don’t be put off by the ratings that seem low.

Our rating system is granular. Some of our categories carry points for only one or two machines.

That means we rate many categories and award many zeros.

Here’s a quick example…

We award points for built-in additional resistance, and only a handful of models actually get a point for that.

The approach is precise but not perfect. It can result in a great machine like the GTS scoring under 60 points (out of 100).

That seems low, but it’s designed to compare the models to each other.

FAQs about Total Gym

Is Total Gym worth the money?

Total Gym is worth the money for most people, especially if you go for a cheaper model like the Apex G5.

They offer a safer, low-intensity alternative to lifting weights. The lowered intensity and risks are a plus if you’re recovering from an injury, as this study shows.

What is the newest Total Gym?

The newest version is the Total Gym Fit.

The Total Gym Fit actually is our overall winner.

This model is more versatile due to the improved horns allowing more options, it’s sturdier because it’s made of thicker steel, and provides more resistance because it has a higher ‘tower’.

What is the best Total Gym for the money?

The best Total Gym model for the money is the Total Gym Fit because it’s the most well-rounded.

It is the only one in the Total Gym lineup intended for home use that’s comparable in stability to the commercial-grade GTS. It’s not cheap, but it’s the top value.

Can I burn fat on the Total Gym?

Yes, burning fat is one of the things you can do on the Total Gym.

While there are many ways and workout routines you can find on the internet, and even get creative and come up with your own fat-burning workouts, you can also check Total Gym’s very own fat-burning routines.

The Total Gym Fit model, for e.g., is a perfect model to carry out any kind of exercise, including fat-burning ones.

Can I perform a full-body workout on a Total Gym?

Yes, you can perform a full-body workout on a Total Gym, especially on a versatile model like the Total Gym GTS.

Depending on the model, the number of exercises goes from 60 to a whopping 200.

You can isolate muscle groups or perform complex movements that work multiple muscles simultaneously, like a pullover with a twisting crunch.

Benefits of a Total Gym

Five key benefits of using a Total Gym are:

  1. Takes up little space
  2. You can transport it easily
  3. Full body workout using your body weight
  4. Functional training to mimic everyday movements
  5. You save money on gym memberships

There are great benefits to functional training in general. These include a range of positive impacts on your physical well-being, such as muscle strength, metabolic conditioning, and many more.

Total Gym Workout

All of the Total Gym models are versatile pieces of fitness equipment. You can use them to either target specific muscles or do a total body workout through complex movements.

Here are a few to get you started.

Other Total Gym Models (and Alternatives) We Compared

  • Lower end of the Total Gym APEX series (G3 & G1) – popular, cheap models that are still good. They didn’t make the cut because the G5 is the better quality and value.
  • Total Gym Summit – similar to the lower end of the Apex series, from attachments to weight capacity. Again, falls short compared to the G5 and the Total Gym Supreme.
  • Total Gym TGBlast – a fairly basic abdominal trainer that’s not as versatile and doesn’t allow for a full body workout.
  • Total Gym Supreme – nested in the middle-to-low price range, the Total Gym Supreme was a candidate for the top value pick. The lower maximum weight capacity and the higher price tag (compared to the G5) cost it the title.
  • Fitt gym vs. Total Gym – the Fitt Gym is a similar concept to the Total Gym. It’s just not as universally available (shipping-wise), and there are fewer models to choose from.

Total Gym models to avoid

Now, here’s the brutal truth about many of the knock-off “total gyms.”

They are really flimsy dangerous pieces of home gym equipment at best and outright at worst.

Just watch a couple of minutes of this video to see what I mean.

The models above are not the same as the models below. They are much more durable, made of quality steel and materials, and can be a good workout if used properly.

However, I cannot say the same for the models below…

  • Total Gym Xtreme –  just flimsy and can collapse if the peg is not in the right place.
  • Total Gym Pinnacle – Another cheap model that has a lot of hype behind it but very little substance. Many people ask me what’s better, the Pinnacle vs APEX models. It’s hands down the APEX version, as you can see above. The Pinnacle features a thin tower, which makes it a non-starter.
  • Total Gym XL7 – Another cheap variation available on Amazon. A lot of people also ask what’s better between the Pinnacle vs XL7 vs APEX G5. Again the APEX is one of the few variations I would recommend from Amazon after extensive research.
  • Total Gym Platinum – It can collapse like the Xtreme above and is not a recommended model.
  • Total Gym Supra Pro – Another lightweight model to avoid. It’s also very hard to find in stock anywhere.
  • Total Gym Elite Plus – doesn’t compare to any of the models above.
  • Total Gym Ultimate – Another one to avoid.

Best product – resume and key takeaways

The best Total Gym model for most people is the Total Gym Fit.

It’s not because it’s cheap but because the construction allows you to fully use the machine and reap all the benefits of incline training.

If you’re on a budget, you can get a nifty unit like the APEX G5 on the cheap.

Finally, if money is no object, nothing compares to the strapping, commercial-grade Total Gym GTS.

Click here to skip back to the table with all our top picks.

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Hi! My name is Steve Hoyles. I’m a personal trainer, gym owner and fitness copywriter. Since graduating with my Sports Science degree in 2004 I’ve worked in the fitness industry, helping thousands of people reach their health and fitness goals. My writing has been read by millions of people in over 200 countries.

4 thoughts on “5 Best Total Gym Models: Comparisons and Alternatives”

  1. I am age 60 and in pretty good health. I walk on an incline trainer approximately 4 days/week. I am not overweight but am looking for possibly a Total Gym of some sort to health with strength training and slimming down in waist and hips. Please advise.

    Reply
    • Hi Cee,

      A Total Gym XLS is definitely worth it for some people looking to stay in shape with a lack of space etc. Most of the models (including the XLS) are really good as a pilates reformer actually, You can check out this video or just “YouTube” it to find a ton of workouts that you can do on the machines for pilates.

      Reply

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