Back to Basics, Simple Moves to Provide You with a Total Body Intense Workout

No time to exercise is no longer an excuse! Here are two simple yet effective full body workouts using your Total Gym meant to maximize time and results. The moves focus on the legs, chest, back and abdominals, as well as, biceps and triceps. Since variability leads to success, there are two optional circuits. One is not better than another, rather they focus on the same muscle groups working with varying resistances and ranges of motion. Your time will help dictate how many circuits, and whether you stick to one or combine both in a workout.

The time under tension (how long you perform the movement for) and the tempo (i.e. the pace to which you perform your exercise) are the variables that can be tweaked within the workout or between workouts. An example of duration is beginners performing an exercise for 30 seconds then 30 seconds to transition to the next exercise and rest.  Intermediate and advanced participants work 40-60 seconds with 20 seconds to nil rest between the exercises in the circuit. Option for all fitness levels is a 45-60 second rest between circuits. Aim for at least 2 rounds and increase as time permits.

As you learn the routine, start to tweak your tempo. Move slowly, only performing 8-12 reps in the time under tension or faster performing 15-20 reps in the allotted time. Tempo changes can be a simple way to help build strength, power and control, while preventing boredom in your workouts.

The key to the workout is to move easily between exercises without feeling overwhelmed with lots of choreography and to make a simple movement as easy or hard as you want. Have fun and get working.


Circuit 1 (5 minutes/circuit)

Squats, Pull ups, Bridging, Push Ups & Crunches with feet on platform

Exercise Total Gym Set Up Variations Cues


Level 8

Squat Stand

Optional place Pull Up Accessory on to ease transitions

Change your foot placement for variability.


Single leg to increase resistance, unsupported leg can be toe touching to add a little help, bent into your chest to help with stability or in a table top (90-90 position) to challenge stability.


Add plyometrics for a greater challenge.


Focus on knees facing up to the sky. If rolling toward one another, plant your big toe while rolling inner thighs to the sky (feel your hips activate).


Avoid locking the knees out with straightening them.


Pull Ups


  Use your feet as needed to assist pulling up.


Change your grip position


Single arm to increase resistance

Slide the shoulders away from the ears as you pull up and lower down.


Keep the chin slightly down and head back to avoid the poor neck alignment.




  Glideboard can be all the way at the bottom with hips 90-90 for more support.


The board in an open position will make this movement harder.


Change the amount of bend at the hip/knee to add variability.


Perform one leg at a time for more challenge.


Incorporate movement by pushing the board up and down the rails.


Visualize pushing the knees over the toes to avoid placing too much pressure onto the neck


Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears

Push Ups


  Glide board can be open for greater challenged.


The lower the hands on the board the harder the exercise.


Stand in between the rails, with the board at the top or straddle with the board at the bottom.


More advanced movement is feet on the squat stand with the board open or closed.

Pull the shoulders away from the ears


Keep the hips lifted to avoid sinking them toward the glideboard

Crunches with feet on squat stand


  Optional feet the top of on squat stand.


Add knee or knees to chest as your lift up.


Move up the glide board toward the top to allow for more range of motion.


Slide the ribs toward your pelvis.


Focus on navel toward your spine.



Circuit 2 (5minutes/circuit with *bonus exercises 7minute/circuit)

Squats straddling the glide board, Seated Chest Press, Seated forward biceps, Seated forward Triceps, Supine Pullovers with a bridge or Pullover Crunch & Seated lateral or kneeling lateral Trunk rotation



Exercise Total Gym Variation Cues


Mid to lower 1/3 height of the Tower The closer to the squat stand, the greater the depth of the squat.


Vary foot positions from parallel, slightly turned out, staggered


In parallel, focus on pressing through the entire foot (balls of the feet to the heel) and knees staying aligned with the ankle, i.e. avoid letting the knee fall inward or outward.


Seated Forward Chest Press


Mid to lower 1/3 height of the Tower Low chest press with the elbows closer to the sides.


Chest Fly

Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears during both phases of the movement.


Avoiding locking the elbows at the end phase of the pushing out movement.


Ensure neutral wrist alignment.


Seated Forward Biceps


Mid to lower 1/3 height of the Tower Elbows extended behind the shoulder or elbows in line with the shoulders.


Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears during both phases of the movement.


Seated Forward Overhead Triceps


Mid to lower 1/3 height of the Tower Elbows Pointing up to the sky and with straightening of the elbows the hands reach toward the sky.


Elbows aligned with the shoulder pointing forward and with straightening of the elbows the hands reach forward.


Lying on the back, triceps press with elbows by the sides or pointed up to the sky.


Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears during both phases of the movement.


Focus on the back of the arm tightening.


Lean slightly forward to help improve posture, as when the arms are pulled behind the head when you are tight you can place greater strain to the neck and/or back.

Supine Pullover Crunch or Bridge


Mid to lower 1/3 height of the Tower Crunch: Feet can be on the glideboard, bent in table top (90-90) or to straight to the sky.


Bridge: maintain the hips lifted while pulling the hands towards the thighs or lift and lower the hips while pulling the arms over toward the thighs.


Crunch: Focus on sliding the shoulders away from the ears and bringing the ribs towards the pelvis.


Keep the core engaged with the navel pulling toward the spine.



Bridge: Keep the knees, hips and ankles aligned. Visualize pushing the knees over the toes to avoid pressing back onto the neck.

Seated Lateral or Kneeling Trunk Rotation Mid to lower 1/3 height of the Tower Seated: legs wider is easier than legs together, and knees bent is easier than knees straight.


Kneeling lateral: Wider the knees the easier it is to balance.


Focusing on lifting the collar bones lifted and core tight.


Rotate from the trunk versus only moving the arms.


Grow taller with each rotation.









Elizabeth Leeds, DPT

Elizabeth Leeds, owner of Seaside Fitness and Wellness, combines her background in physical therapy, personal training, and Pilates in her practice and teaching. As a pelvic floor physical therapist working at Comprehensive Therapy Services in San Diego, her passion for pregnancy and postpartum is seen in her mission to empower women with knowledge and understanding of their physical changes, and how to address them to prevent future issues. Additionally, Elizabeth is a Master Trainer and developer for Total Gym’s GRAVITY education.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. it would be great if I could print out the workouts so I can take them with me to my total gym

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