Okay, who has a Total Gym they never use, raise your hand.
We decided to dig around in all the pieces and parts and revisit this Total Gym thing.
I'm talking about accessories, not assembly, when I say pieces and parts.
I decided to blog some notes for my reference and may be helpful to others.
We purchased the Total Gym in 1998.
Our paperwork says model 1100, but if I search for that online I end up looking at a Walmart cheapy, which clearly is NOT the machine we have.
So that means the model numbers are not useful for identification.
This is a picture scan from our paperwork, not exact, but very close.
Immediately I'm reminded that my main dislike and issue with the Total Gym was how to get on and off the thing without hurting myself. That's something you don't notice when you watch all videos, infomercials, etc. They make it look easy. But think about that bench and how it is NOT fixed, it slides up and down and it is at a slant.
So how are you going to get on that thing and attach something like a leg pulley/ankle cuff?
This one basically just plain sucked all around. Nearly impossible to put on. The cuff put too much pressure on my ankle, difficult to tighten and tended to slide up. Note the design change on current accessory, so I'm not sure if there is an ankle cuff accessory anymore.
Or how about getting into the swivel foot holder?
On the video for intermediate men, he demonstrates getting in and out of the thing. He is able to sit on the bench when it is at the bottom and put his feet in the foot holder. I can't reach it.
Notice the design change on that one too.
I do like the inversion and I'm still trying to work with that one. I locked the cables with the bench up further so I could reach the foot holder, and that worked, but not sure if that's a safe thing to do.
I felt some lower back strain and used a rolled up towel as bolster, which helped.
There are a few more exercises that use the foot holder.
Rowing Machine (Garfield Row on my chart)
I suppose that one is lower or upper body depending on which muscles you use. Sometimes the sitting up exercises cause back strain.
1. The cables (pulleys?) tend to get snagged on something or tangled, so they aren't tight, which could cause you to slip. It is difficult to get a hold of the cables while mounting that sliding slanted bench. And you have to be down far enough on the bench so your hair doesn't get snagged up in the cables.
2. Your height and weight matters. Your body weight is used for the resistance. Your height will affect reaching things like cables and accessories and also how far you slide on that bench. (Total length to end of bench is 91 inches, Bench is 48 inches long. Ours seems to be longer than illustration pictures indicate.)
3. Because of the way this thing is built, lower body exercises can be too easy at upper slants, while upper body can be too difficult, even at the lower slant levels. One thing that increases resistance with the lower body exercises like squats is attaching weights to the bench. You definitely need that, although it makes mounting the bench more difficult if you also use the cables at the same time, which I do. Using cables makes the squats easier, so I do them with and without the cables. I like the upper body stretch and toning I can get with the cables.
4. This is not a bulking up machine. It's more for toning, stretching, strengthening.
Which reminds me of why I was hooked into buying the Total Gym in the first place. I liked the full range of movement and the stretching capabilities. Still do think that is the main feature I like about it.
Fav is Cardio Pull (and variations of) with weights attached to bench.
1. Curl Bench (Also marked Back Support on our papers)
2. Squat Handle Bar
3. Foot Holder
4. Leg Pulley
5. Dip Bar
6. Weight Bar
7. Press Bar
Images were either scans of our materials or snagged from Total Gym website.