Total Gym Cost 795 plus shipping

Featuring celebrities like Christie Brinkley, the manufacturers of the Total Gym have spent a small fortune popularizing their machine, making ambitious claims in their infomercial about how the Total Gym led these celebrities to superstardom—and how it can do the same for you. Well not quite, but once you get past the hyperbole, you'll find a well-designed machine. Unlike other machines, this one uses your own body weight, instead of metal plates or bands, at a variety of angles to provide resistance.

As with all the other pieces of equipment we've discussed so far, the Total Gym has its pros and cons. First, the pros:

>- It offers a wide variety of exercises.

> It's compact, easy to store, and weighs only 95 pounds.

> It's safe. No worries about dropping weight on your toes or getting stuck under a bar.

> It's a well-made machine with fewer "bells and whistles" than most, and so requires relatively little maintenance.

> It provides resistance through a full range of motion, a key to a good workout.

> The manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on the frame and a five-year warranty on parts.

And here's the downside of the Total Gym:

> Resistance is limited to 65 percent of your body weight—not enough for everybody.

> Since there are just six levels of resistance, this means that there are large jumps from one setting to another, as opposed to the ability to increase resistance gradually.

> The machines offer some relatively unconventional exercises, which means that it will be hard for you to translate exercises you might have learned at the gym.

Five-barbell rating: 3 barbells

Overall, the Total Gym is a fine piece of equipment but not well suited to someone who is already really strong or for someone who wants to duplicate the same types of exercises he or she has performed in a gym.

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