Keep it Simple with Total Gym’s Basic Moves

The pursuit of a better physique doesn’t have to be accompanied with over-the-top routines that are so complex it’s difficult to remember the exercise routines and you lose your form! Keeping a workout simple can build confidence, establishes a baseline for improvement, and the basic exercises you perform can be expanded with some easy to understand variations that still challenge your body!

Let’s use the “K-I-S-S” method, except in this case we’ll call it “keep it simple & sweaty”!


Prior to the 20th century, working out was not something everyone made time for. If they did, there were limited options such as to weight lifting, step aerobics, calisthenics, or just playing a sport. Over the past 20 years, varieties of workouts increased and various the kinds of equipment have become more functional and ergonomic. Today, the types of workouts available seem all over the map with more-intense, less-time style training becoming very popular. It seems more people are training to run marathons in record numbers, subject themselves to intense boot camps, contort their bodies in a yoga class, and pay any amount of money to take the latest classes with very expensive equipment.

With increased goals and less time, it’s always important to recognize what types of workouts are best for us and the value we are getting from the time, money and energy we are putting into all this! Luckily, those of you who have a Total Gym can balance a wide variety of workouts capable of competing with the most expensive fitness equipment being used today, while doing this at home and by keeping it basic!


There are several ways to change up a workout without changing the exercises performed. Here are a few examples of how to make the most of the basics and add the extra intensity to challenge you body the right way.

• Regular tempo: Performing an exercise with a simple rhythm on the contraction as well as the extension.

• Speed & Range of Motion: Execute the exercise by performing different tempos/ speeds and in a variety of different angles. This will challenge the muscles and intensify the exercise.

• Negatives: Initially contract the muscle, then slowly at a controlled tempo release it back to the starting point. This can also be done in the opposite mode by slowly contracting, then releasing quickly with control.


If you workout on your total gym often, you will be familiar with these basic exercises. Focus your attention on performing these exercises with good form before adding speed, tempo changes, or advanced stances so that you give the exercise an all-out effort.

Test out these basic Total Gym exercises by performing them three different ways to maximize your training results.


• Perform the workout in circuit format, one exercise after the other with no rest until they are all completed.
• 10 reps each per exercise for 3 sets total.

• 1st set: perform each exercise at a regular tempo / speed.
• 2nd set: perform each exercise at a quicker speed or vary your stance (aka: kneeling or high kneeling)
• 3rd set: perform exercises focusing on the ‘negative’ resistance.


1.High Kneeling Row
+Static Row- Keep the glide board steady with no movement while performing alternating rows.

2. High Kneeling Curls
+Static Curls- Keep the glide board steady with no movement while performing alternating bicep curls.

3. Torso Chops
+Various angles- perform the chops at different angles to target different muscles.

4. Pullover Crunch
+Extend legs- lengthen the legs while keeping the lower back pressed into the glide board for added core intensity.

Check out the video to see how these exercises are performed on your Total Gym.

Sticking to the basics can be the best way to keep it simple, yet intense to challenge your muscles.


Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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