Total Gym XLS Review [2021]: Home Trainer Worth the Money?

Gyms aren’t for everyone. They are crowded, dirty, and filled with spandex-clad people getting their sweat on.

Thankfully there are many ways to get in shape at home with innovative gym equipment.

How about a machine that is endorsed by Christie Brinkley and Chuck Norris? Yes, the same Chuck Norris who makes onions cry.

The Total Gym XLS is a home gym with everything you need to work your entire body in your living room. You’ll be able to increase your strength (strength training), endurance, balance, and stability using the components of this one space-saving at-home gym.

Bottom Line Up Front Summary: Overall the Total Gym XLS Trainer is an above average home gym system that is versatile and easy to assemble and store. For the best deals, check out this listing at TotalGymDirect. (take 10% off with the current promotion).

The Total Gym model made its television debut 15 years ago for workout markets but got its start in rehabilitation centers across America. The company focused on building quality equipment that aided those recovering from physical injuries and obstacles.

After years in the rehabilitation industry, Total Gym began selling their at-home gyms during commercial breaks as a home workout solution. Total Gym fitness equipment can now be found in over 4 million homes in North America.

Now, naturally, you want to know how the legendary Chuck Norris started using the Total Gym. It’s simple really. The gym just couldn’t handle Chuck Norris anymore. He kept snapping all the barbells in half and scaring all the people away! While that might be a small stretch of the truth, Chuck Norris was actually introduced to the Total Gym by the inventors Tom Campanaro and Larry Westfall over 30 years ago.

Since then it has been his primary at-home workout machine and training deck. And, in case you’re wondering, the average person can do 80 Total Gym exercises on the Total Gym XLS.

Chuck Norris, on the other hand, can do 1,080…

About the Total Gym XLS

The Total Gym XLS, affectionately known as the “lean, mean exercise machine” by Chuck Norris, is a top-of-the-line home gym. The Total Gym XLS is designed to help strengthen (strength training) and sculpt all your major muscle groups using a single glide board and a few additional attachments (wing attachment etc…).

While many people falsely think that the only way you can get ripped is through lifting heavy weights, the Total Gym XLS proves that you can gain and tone just by lifting a percentage of your body weight against gravity.

The Total Gym XLS offers several upgrades over previous models making it the best model for a full-body workout in your home.

“The upgrades in the XLS includes a new pulley and cable system, an improved squat stand, and better glide board padding for more comfort.”

In addition to the upgraded attachments, the Total Gym XLS comes with exercise plans and nutritional programs to help you meet your fitness goals. Check out how Total Gym XLS Compares to its upgraded version, Total Gym Fit here.

One of the favorite new workouts is the “6-8 Minute Workout,” which Chuck Norris finished in 6-8 seconds. Think you can beat his workout record?

The Specs of the XLS

Dimensions Unfolded: 19” W x 90” L x 43” H
Dimensions Folded: 19” W x 51” L x 9” H
Weight: 92 lb
Weight Capacity: 400 lb
Number of Exercises: 80
Warranty: 6-month warranty on all parts; Lifetime warranty on the frame

Our In-Depth Analysis

The Total Gym XLS has above-average reviews from users and fitness professionals. While the system is great for people who enjoy working out at home, the price and the overall versatility and construction lack comparisons to other similar high-end home gym products.

Construction: The Total Gym XLS is designed around a sturdy frame construction of 1 ¼” x 2” steel tubing. The upper rails are chrome-plated and the lower rails are powder-coated to create a better aesthetic appeal, as no one wants an ugly piece of equipment in their home gym or living room.

Pulley System: The Total Gym XLS is primarily a pulley system and glide board. The system uses a 1000 lb rated vinyl coated cables, which works smoothly with the pulley system. It’s definitely upgrade from older models. The pulley system comes with interchangeable attachments, such as nylon strap handles and ankle holders. Each attachment is constructed of durable nylon coated with a soft synthetic rubber padding for a better and more comfortable grip.

Support and Comfort: The glide board and head support have improved padding over older models and is wide enough to support the full 400 lb. weight capacity without stability issues. The padding is a 1.5” high-density foam padding constructed of a non-tear vinyl covering. As added an added comfort bonus, the Total Gym XLS has thicker and wider padding at the end of the glide board for your head, neck, and lower back.

Ease of Use: One of the most important features of any home gym is the equipment’s ability to be assembled easily and stored conveniently. Most home gyms will take some time to assemble out of the box, but you definitely don’t want an Ikea experience when assembling your new home gym.

“Due to the construction and design of the Total Gym XLS, the assembly out of the box is actually quite minimal.”

A definite bonus in our eyes! All you really need to do is extend the frame from its folded setting and raise the glide board to your desired incline.

Customization: If you purchased a few of the additional attachments, they attach simply to the main frame by hitch pins and brackets. Detailed written and illustrated directions are included in the box.

Ease of Storage/Moving: Just like the assembly of the Total Gym XLS, the machine can be easily folded and stored in the home. The Total Gym XLS weighs about 90 lbs itself with the glide board weighing in at 22 lbs. The glide board can easily be lifted and secured in position with a lock pin. The wheels on the bottom make moving the machine to a different spot in the room or house relatively easy.

If you have thick carpets on the floor it might take a bit more enough to move as the wheels aren’t big. While the folded up Total Gym XLS doesn’t take up much space, its unfolded footprint requires some space to work in.

Claims 80 Different Exercises (but we are Skeptical): Total Gym claims that you can do 80 different low-impact exercises for a complete full body workout on the Total Gym XLS. However, 80 different exercises is a bit of a stretch of reality.

Most of the exercises are very similar, but can replace common exercises like the ab crunch, squat, leg pull, and even cardio. Many users of the Total Gym XLS are not gym rats who have sufficient experience with cable machines. Thankfully Total Gym provides a number of included workout DVDs and plans to help you learn the exercises and create your own “customized” workout program.

While you do have a wide variety of exercise options with the standard attachments, you can purchase extra attachments for a different workout. Additional accessories include press up bars, dip bars, leg-pull, weight bar, and several other options.

Things That Could be Improved on the XLS

Now it’s time for the few minor complaints of the Total Gym XLS system.

  1. Not Always Easy to Transport: Several people have reported issues with the transport wheel bearings and other parts of the machine failing. While the number is small, it is still a concern. It’s definitely not the most compact home gym workout machine.
  2. Limited Warranty Period: The warranty on parts of the system is only 6 months while the frame has a lifetime warranty. Parts are costly.
  3. Relatively Expensive: Comparable machines, like the Vigorfit 3000 XL, retail for half the price.

Pros of the Total Gym XLS

  • Versatile low-impact exercise machine designed for at-home use
  • Many improvements over the older 1100 model
  • Quick and easy to assemble and store
  • Easy to adjust resistance levels
  • Comes with multiple workout DVDs and programs to lose weight and build muscle (different muscle groups)

Cons of the Total Gym XLS

  • Limited 6 month parts warranty compared to the lifetime warranty on the frame
  • Some people have reported issues with the transport wheel bearings and other small parts breaking
  • Expensive retail price
  • Not suited for people over 6’2”
  • Not suited for bodybuilding or extreme strength training (to check out some of the other home gyms I’ve reviewed see here)
  • Targeted more for the weight loss and body toning crowd (acheiving and maintaining ideal body weight)

The Final Lift: Is this Total Gym Exercise Machine Worth it?

Overall the Total Gym XLS Trainer is a solidly above average home gym system that is versatile and easy to assemble and store.

While the retail price tag is high and the warranty limited, it’s a good buy for those looking for at home low-impact workouts to slowly (but steadily) tone their body and increase their fitness level in a total body workout. It’s still more affordable than some comparable Bowflex home gym setups. 

Plus, you know Chuck Norris approves!

Like with any workout system, the investment pays off if you use it. You may be able to find lower pricing.

Further Reading on Home Gym Equipment & Other Total Gym Equipment

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