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Total Gym XLS Review

  • By Kate Moore
  • on 
  • This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my full disclosure.

If you’re looking to improve your home workout, the Total Gym XLS is a machine capable of filling many roles. Its versatility can give you a complete body workout, all without the trip to the gym.

Between its compact design and storage capability, plus numerous options, the Total Gym XLS can transform your home workout.

A glide board combined with a pulley system for resistance training allows users to go through a variety of different exercises, all from one piece of equipment.

In this Total Gym XLS review, we’ll highlight the machine’s features and benefits, its pros and cons, and some comparisons to its competitors.

total gym xls training system review

Total Gym XLS Buyer’s Guide

The Total Gym XLS resembles a workout bench. But its design allows users to make fast, easy adjustments to complete a variety of workouts that help build strength, endurance, and balance.

You might recognize Total Gym from its frequent TV spots in the past two decades, most notably with actor Chuck Norris endorsing the product. The company goes back all the way to 1974 and has been one of the revolutionaries in home workouts.

More than 80 different exercises can be completed using the Total Gym XLS. Those workouts cover muscles in the upper and lower body, plus the cardiovascular system. The machine comes with a workout sheet that can help you quickly get started with a variety of exercises.

Instead of constantly spending money on varying levels of free weights, the Total Gym XLS eliminates that need by using body weight to power its workouts. Positioning a user’s body against gravity allows for noticeable results without free weights sitting all around the house.

Unlike some other home gyms, the Total Gym XLS comes fully assembled, so setup is a breeze. Once it’s in your home, you’ll be ready to start toning your muscles.

Key Features

Here are some of the important features and benefits of the Total Gym XLS home gym. While the machine is built to work in limited space and store away with ease, it still comes with plenty of tools to aid any workout.

Glide Board

The glide board is the center and staple of the Total Gym XLS. Most exercises will be completed using this part of the machine. Its versatility is what makes the machine such a wide-ranging product.

When using the pulley system, the glide board will move seamlessly with the user for maximum results. The glide board’s padding is 1.5 inches thick and covered with tear-resistant vinyl, making it comfortable and reliable for the long haul.

Compared to past models, the latest edition of the Total Gym XLS also has thicker and wider padding at the end of the glide board to help support the head and neck.

total gym xls pulley system and glider

Pulley System

When on the glide board, users will take cables on a pulley system to facilitate their workout. The pulleys feature 1,000-pound rated vinyl coated cables, allowing for a smooth, stable workout.

Different attachments, such as nylon handles and ankle grips, are interchangeable with the pulley system, allowing users to conduct different workouts. The DVDs and workout instructions included with the machine will help users know when to use the proper grips.

Exercise Options

To get the range of exercises offered by the Total Gym XLS, users would typically need a room full of equipment. That’s one of the biggest benefits of investing in a home gym — there are plenty of options built into one machine.

The Total Gym XLS offers more than 80 different workouts built into a relatively compact design. Many of the exercises are the same variety, working the same muscle groups, so you won’t need to do all of them to get a total body workout.

Adjusting the resistance of the glide board can provide a strong cardio workout. The pulley system provides options for users to tone their chest and arms. A wing attachment allows for easy shoulder exercises.

The glide board also allows for leg workouts without the stress of weights during squats since users will be on their backs instead of their feet.

An AbCrunch attachment is also available, though it’s sold separately from the Total Gym XLS. It can add another 10 exercises to the machine’s abilities.

  • Abs
  • Arms
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Chest
  • Legs
  • Pilates
  • Total Body

total gym xls workout review

Great for Beginners

Navigating 80-plus exercises and figuring out how the pulley system works can seem like daunting tasks for novices. But the Total Gym XLS is designed with beginners in mind and includes workout DVDs to help any user.

The DVDs and workout plans included with the machine help users hit the ground running. Once they have some experience and know how they want to build their body, users can create their own custom workout regimen.

Workout DVDs and instructions are also available for medium and advanced users.

Nutrition and meal plans are also included for users looking to supplement their diet to aid their workout routine.

Resistance Levels

The Total Gym XLS comes with six levels of resistance. Switching between them is very easy.

The lowest level of resistance is six degrees, while the highest is 26. The six-degree setting allows users to lift 6% of their body weight, while the 26-degree level pushes it to 54% of body weight.

Weight Capacity and Dimensions

When unfolded, the Total Gym XLS is 19 inches wide by 90 inches long, and it is 51 inches high. When folded up, the length drops to 51 inches and the height to nine inches, making it much easier to store.

The 92-pound weight makes it relatively easy to move, thanks to the wheels attached to the frame.

The machine has a 400-pound weight capacity, though it has a maximum height of 6’2”.

total gym xls construction and durability


One of the biggest perks of the Total Gym XLS is its storage capability. Some home gyms can take up a lot of room, and while the Total Gym XLS isn’t small, it’s design allows for compact storage.

The machine can fold flat and fit easily under a bed. It has wheels attached to the frame for easy movement, allowing users to move it in and out of storage at their convenience.

Some Total Gym XLS complaints have said the machine can be tough to move over thick carpet, so keep that in mind when deciding on its location in your home.

Quality Construction

The frame is built from steel tubing, and the machine chrome-plated upper rails and powder-coated lower rails, giving it an aesthetically pleasing look to go along with its strong construction.

The machine’s frame comes with a lifetime warranty, but the moving parts, including the pulleys, feature at most a two-year warranty. However, the quality of the machine’s build should alleviate any concerns about durability.

The Total Gym XLS comes fully assembled, and this helps put any worries about its durability at ease. Users won’t have to worry about making a mistake during construction that could hinder the machine’s performance.

Pros And Cons


  • Folds away for easy storage
  • Arrives fully assembled
  • Wide range of exercises
  • Strong, reliable construction for durability
  • Great for beginners


  • The system might not provide enough resistance for experienced lifters
  • Relatively expensive
  • Limited warranty for some parts

Top Alternatives to Total Gym XLS

alternative to total gym xls
  • 60+ exercises
  • 210 lbs of resistance
  • Sliding seat
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best alternative to total gym xls
  • Simple design
  • Uses weights instead of bands
  • 120 lbs of resistance
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alternative to total gym xls machine
  • Inexpensive
  • 30+ exercises
  • 150 lbs of resistance
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The Total Gym XLS is far from the only home gym available on the market. A variety of other machines have different features and functions.

It’s important to know what you’re looking for in a home gym and what different machines can provide. Here is a look at three of the biggest comparable machines to the Total Gym XLS.

bowflex blaze home gym workout

Bowflex Blaze Home Gym

The Bowflex Blaze Home Gym doesn’t boast the same 80-plus exercises of the Total Gym XLS. But it does come with a variety of features that allow users to complete over 60 workouts.

This machine comes with a standard resistance up to 210 pounds. However, it can be upgraded for more advanced users to 310 or 410 pounds.

The pulley system and cables can be adjusted in multiple ways to allow for custom workouts.

The Bowflex Blaze Home Gym also has several options for useful leg workouts, including the pulley system for squats and a leg curler attachment.

While this machine doesn’t take up a ton of room in the home, it comes in at 90”x38”x83” — it doesn’t have the Total Gym XLS’s collapsibility. Those looking to store their home gym away between workouts won’t be able to do that with the Bowflex Blaze Home Gym.


  • Over 60 exercises in one machine
  • 210 pounds of resistance that can be upgraded to 310 or 410
  • Sliding seat for rowing and cardio training
  • Strong warranty for machine and parts

bodysolid powerline home gym workout

Powerline BSG10X Home Gym

At 76”x42”x80”, the Powerline BSG10X Home Gym is slightly more compact than the Bowflex Blaze Home Gym. But unlike the Total Gym XLS, it’s not capable of folding for storage.

And unlike either of those two home gyms, the Powerline BSG10X Home Gym utilizes weight, rather than resistance bands and body weight. For those looking for a more at-the-gym feel, this machine might be more your speed.

The Powerline BSG10X Home Gym has a variety of workout options. One of its best features is how the machine is designed for exercises targets to specific areas. You won’t need to make adjustments to the machine. It’s as simple as picking a workout and getting to it.

The weight stack comes in at 160 pounds, which could be ideal for many users, particularly beginners to intermediate. But for more advanced lifters, those weights might be too little and could be maxed out quickly.

And while the Powerline BSG10X Home Gym offers a variety of upper body and cardio workouts, it has limitations in terms of lower body exercises.


  • Weight stack instead of resistance bands
  • Simple design and setup
  • Weight stack maxes out at 160 pounds
  • Not a great variety of lower body workout options

marcy 990 home gym workout machine

Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym

The Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym has similar dimensions to the Powerline BSG10X Home Gym. However, this is another home gym without the storage ability of the Total Gym XLS.

And while the smaller dimensions might help it fit easily in your home, the Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym can be awkward to use for taller people.

This machine utilizes a 150-pound weight stack to provide resistance during workouts. This isn’t a high level for advanced lifters, so it has some limitations.

The Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym doesn’t have the 80-plus workout variety of the Total Gym XLS. It features more than 30 exercise options.

But for its price range, the Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym provides a range of workouts from the comfort of home. For those looking for their first home machine capable of fueling a full-body workout, this machine can do the job.


  • On the cheaper side of home gyms
  • 150-pound weight stack
  • More than 30 exercise options
  • Not ideal for taller people

That’s A Wrap!

Buying a home gym can seem like a big investment. But for those looking for versatility and results away from the gym, it can certainly pay off.

Total Gym is a reliable brand with a history of innovation in home gyms. The Total Gym XLS is not an exception.

Between its wide range of workouts, its convenience, and its storage capabilities, it can help almost anyone’s at-home workout routine.

And for those looking to get into a home workout regimen for the first time, the Total Gym XLS has the simplicity and versatility to help you do so. Beginners will have no issues learning new ways to get and stay in shape.