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Pilates Power Gym vs. Total Home Gym

author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
Pilates Power Gym vs. Total Home Gym
The Pilates reformer is the inspiration behind the Pilates Power Gym and Total Home Gym. Photo Credit razyph/iStock/Getty Images

Variety is the spice of life and the cornerstone of a long-lasting relationship with exercise. If you do the same thing over and over you'll get bored eventually. Buying either a Pilates Power Gym or Total Home gym will help you mix up your at-home exercise routine and leaves plenty of room to inject some variety. They're both versatile and can be adjusted to accommodate different exercises, but eventually, you'll have to choose one over the other.

Pilates Reformer

The idea for both machines is loosely derived from a Pilates reformer. If you've never used one of these contraptions, it's a flat yet sturdy platform that slides within a frame. There are resistance cables on one end that you can attach to the sliding apparatus to make it harder to slide. There is a footbar at the bottom of the machine that you can put your feet on to gain leverage.

Read More: Pilates Exercises to Do at Home for Free

At the top of the sliding portion, which is the part that you lay on, there are two shoulder pads and a head rest. The shoulder pads lock you in when the carriage, which is the part that slides, is being pulled down by the resistance cables. There are also cables that run from the carriage and up to the top of the machine, with handles at the end. You can grab these handles and pull the cables to pull the carriage back.

These reformers were invented in the early 1900s by the founder, Joseph Pilates. He made the machines to teach his Pilates methods to his students more quickly and effectively.

Today there are many different variations of the reformer but they are very similar for the most part. They might be made out of different materials or come in different sizes and resistance cable strengths, but they are overall similar.


The Total Home Gym and Pilates Power Gym are a break from the norm of reformers. Whereas the traditional reformer is flat, both of these machines can be set to an incline. When the carriage is sliding on an incline it makes it much harder to slide backward towards the top of the machine.

This adds a degree of difficulty to the exercises that you can do with a traditional Pilates reformer. It also opens up more possibilities for different exercises for which you need an incline or greater resistance, like squats and cable rows. Adding the incline makes the machine more versatile and opens up a whole new list of possible exercises.


In addition to the incline, both machines have a replacement for the footbar that traditional Pilates machines use. The Total Home Gym has a platform that can attach to the bottom. This platform allows you to use your legs to push off, either assisting with an upper body exercise or as a squat with the legs. The Pilates Power Gym has a similar platform that you can buy. It's slightly more flexible so it eases the forces of impact during exercises like squat jumps.

The Pilates Power Gym and Total Home Gym both have alternate footbar attachments
The Pilates Power Gym and Total Home Gym both have alternate footbar attachments Photo Credit razyph/iStock/Getty Images

Structural Differences

The build of the Total Home Gym is slightly different from the Pilates Power Gym. The Total Home Gym is built to be able to store away. You can fold it up and set it to the side if you're running out of space in your home gym. The Pilates Power Gym isn't as easily folded up. The Total Home Gym does weigh about twenty pounds more than the Pilates Power Gym, however, making it more difficult to move. It's extra weight gives it more stability, as the Total Home Gym can handle up to 400 pounds on the machine, whereas the Pilates Power Gym only handles about 300 pounds.

Read More: Pilates: Calories Burned Per Hour

Resistance Cables

A traditional Pilates machine has resistance cables attached to it that make it harder to push the carriage back. The Pilates Power Gym has four similar cables that, when combined with the option of an incline, give you a wide array of resistances. The Total Home Gym lacks those resistance cables, meaning that it isn't as well built for a strict Pilates workout. Traditionally you want to be lying flat with no incline and using the cables, since some of the exercises in Pilates are very difficult even without adding in resistance.

The Bottom Line

The Pilates Power Gym beats the Total Home Gym in price, at almost three hundred dollars less. If you're looking for a machine that mimics the Pilates reformer but also allows you to do different exercises with greater resistance, the Pilates Power Gym is the right choice for you. If you're looking for a sturdier machine and are willing to sacrifice some of the nuances of a traditional reformer, pick the Total Home Gym.

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