The first Total Gym infomercial aired in 1996. Since then, the company has produced an ever-rotating series of home-use models for sale online, in retail outlets and through shopping networks like QVC. As of 2010, the current QVC models are the Total Gym Ultimate and the Total Gym Platinum. The Total Gym XLS is one of the flagship models for website sales. At heart, the XLS and QVC Total Gym models all work the same, and even come with similar attachments. But there are a few variances in aesthetics and accessories.
All Total Gym models, from commercial rehabilitation units to the XLS and QVC models, work the same way. You sit, straddle or lie on the glideboard, which is supported by two inclined, parallel rails. You push or pull on the pulley handles, or Total Gym attachments, to move the glideboard up the rails. Your own body weight provides the resistance; the higher you set the incline rails, the more of your body weight you're lifting.
Although all Total Gym models share the same inclined-rail, glideboard construction, with a vertical column at the high end of the rails and a crossbar to support the squat stand at the low end, there is one minor difference between the XLS and QVC models. The Power Platinum looks most like the XLS model, with a mostly black glideboard. The Ultimate has a red glideboard; all three models sport colored indents on the glideboard. The XLS also has extra padding at the top and bottom edges of the glideboard, and the XLS's oval-shaped squat stand has been updated to a square platform for the Ultimate and Power Platinum models.
Accessories are the primary difference between all Total Gym models. The XLS is relatively bare compared to the QVC models, with only a squat stand and wing attachment. The Total Gym Ultimate and Power Platinum both come with the same wing attachment and squat stand, plus dip bars, a leg pulley attachment and ab crunch attachments. The QVC-model squat stand also doubles as a flexibility bar for stretching or doing Pilates exercises. All Total Gym models come with an exercise wall chart and a flip chart for quick reference. The XLS and Power Platinum models come with a basic instructional video to get you started, and the Ultimate model comes with several other Total Gym workout DVDs too.
Size and Capacity
The Total Gym XLS is slightly shorter than the QVC models, at 90 inches long by 19 inches wide by 43 inches high. It has a maximum user weight capacity of 400 lbs. The Total Gym Ultimate measures 93 inches long by 16 inches wide by 51 inches high, and the Power Platinum comes in at 92 inches long by 16 inches wide by 44 inches high. Both QVC models have a maximum weight capacity of 275 lbs. All three models fold for storage in a closet or under the bed.
Price and Warranty
As of October 2010, the Total Gym XLS has an MSRP of about $1,950, though it regularly sells for under $1,000. This sort of steep, constant markdown is common practice in the fitness equipment industry. The Ultimate and Power Platinum versions have retail prices of about $650 and $475, respectively. Like the XLS, the QVC models often sell at a significant discount. The Total Gym XLS comes with a six-month parts warranty. Despite the lower prices, the QVC models both come with a 1-year warranty.