T Nation

The Total Gym

Hello T-dudes,
i remember reading an old post which few guys saying that Chuck Norris was full of crap,etc and the total gym was no good for bodybuilding.I am what you’d call a begginer,wanting to gain a bit of size. i recently purchased a total gym 1000.I will be buying some ankle/wrist weights soon to increase the weight of my lifts.Basically,my question to anybody who can answer is why is the total gym no good for gaining size?And am i wasting my time??
Thanks for your help.

Hate to shit on your purchase but the Total Gym was never intended to put on size/mass. While it’s not bad for general fitness (mainly for toning women & little boys) its target audience is not T-men or any weight lifters for that matter. If you absolutely positively cannot have free weights (and don’t have access to the gym) the only “home machine” I can recommend is a bowflex - but even then free weights are by far the best way to go. I guess a good question for you is: How much $$ do you have for this & how much room? I can recommend some great setups as I’ve had a home gym for several years and have expanded and experimented several times - now my workout at home matches a health club! An example basic setup for you would be: Body Solid power rack - $279 (spots you on EVERYTHING), a good quality multi-angle utility bench (not some cheap piece of shit)- $200, Olympic weight set, 300lbs w bar - $160, Good set of dumbells - $150. If you can afford it add a good plate loaded lat machine for added lat work (the squat cage will allow you to do pullups as well). You need the $$ & about 100 square foot to accomplish this.

In issue 97, Charles Poliquin describes the total gym as “A fairly decent piece of home equipment.” I built an attachment that fits on the cross rung of a power rack. It’s essentially the same thing as a Total gym or gymnastic type trainer. I use it mainly for active recovery type workouts…in the same vein as Westsiders use sleds.

As far as basic equipment and starting out, regardless of what you’re training for, Jim is right on the money. Power rack, olympic set, olymic dumbell handles, adjustable bench. Shop around. For the cost of less than a year or two membership at a decent club you can all have all of this, say “Adios” to the spandex clad fitness crowd, and get on with some serious training. Best of luck to you.

I have tried the Total Gym at a friend’s place and it is a total waste of time! IF you are just starting out, you will get more benefit from pushups, body squats, and other calisthenics and guess how much that costs? Nothing but time. From there, I would by some adjustable dumbells or maybe even some powerblocks. Really with the money that you spent on a total gym (Assuming that you bought it), you could purchased enough equipment to make a sweet home gym.

The total gym is not exactly hardcore but Paul Chek has multiple uses for it in his clinic depending on the attachments you put on it some of the movements can offer a challenge
(using a balance board and doing a one leg squat for example,or if your not able to do pullups yet, you can build up strength in the upper most position,having the attachment on the side that allows you to add plates gives you more resistance of course.And the twisting abdominal
exercises are pretty important.So dont be discouraged maybe add some of the suggestions of the other guys get creative, after all who would of thought a big plastic ball is hardcore yet look how many people are using them nowadays.