Total Gym Spotlight: XLS

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Everything You’ve Every Wanted To Know About The Total Gym XLS

Tired of big box gyms with choreographed classes or pricey personal trainers? It’s easy to take control of your fitness program and get in shape with the Total Gym XLS right at home. The XLS takes all the guesswork out of burning calories and losing weight with a simple system that’s time-tested with dependable results. One of four models now being offered by Total Gym, the XLS is a complete collapsible home gym that comes pre-assembled with a training deck of illustrated cards. There’s even an extensive online resource of exercises and how-tos on YouTube.

Total Gym XLS Features

The Total Gym XLS features a 400-pound weight capacity for stability. The steel frame guarantees strength even for the most rigorous workouts. An upgraded coated steel pulley and cable system gives the equipment smoothness and longevity for years of dedicated exercise. Flexible nylon strap handles with textured grips fit large or small hands securely. And the padded glideboard has a head support for added comfort. The XLS also comes with a versatile attachment, the ribbed squat stand, which targets the lower extremities. Other models may come with various attachments in addition to the squat stand.

For increasing exercise intensity, the XLS has an adjustable six-level tower or column. The Fit and the GTS provide 12 and 22 levels of resistance, respectively.

A surprise to most people, the Total Gym folds up small enough to fit under a 9-inch-high twin bed. Its compact size means you can store it away when not in use; and the fact that it’s easy to set up means you can do it yourself, unassisted.

Tons of Exercise Options On The XLS

Figuring out how to use the Total Gym XLS is a snap with the photographically illustrated exercise deck of cards that’s included. Eighty exercises are described in detail along with precautions for good form. To save time, you can mix and match the exercises to create compound moves targeting multiple muscle groups at once. Or put together a variety of circuits for a complete workout including cardiovascular training and strength training. The Total Gym can be an integral part of interval training and is ideal for that quick morning workout before heading out the door.

I prefer to use compound moves in my routines since activities of daily life rarely require the isolation of just one muscle. However, if you’re trying to develop a certain shape or sculpt a particular muscle, then the XLS can be your go-to piece of equipment in your training regimen.

For an even bigger choice of activities, accessory attachments are available for purchase online. The Leg Pull Accessory and Toe Bar open a range of Pilates movements, while the Wing Attachment helps focus attention on the muscles of the shoulders and back, along with the hamstrings. Dip Bars give the option of traditional triceps work with the added support of being on the glideboard. For abdominal work, the AbCrunch Accessory takes the boredom out of regular sit-ups. And an exciting modification of the squat stand, to provide rebound, resulted in the development of the STEP accessory, which is wonderful for jumping, plyometric work to burn fat. For those who feel that their body weight is not enough resistance, a weight bar can be attached and used with weight plates. And finally, the CycloTrainer gives an extra kick to cardio training, with the support of the glideboard, for indoor cycling.

A Taste of a Total Gym XLS Workout

The following is a quick sample of what you can do with the Total Gym XLS using just the squat stand and cable pulley system.

  1. Kneeling Biceps Curl and Triceps Kick Back:
  2. Kneel on the glideboard with the body upright, hips open. Using an underhand grip, curl the arms up toward the shoulders. Next flex the hips and bend forward until the stomach touches the thighs, turn the hands palms down and straighten the arms back into a triceps extension.

  3. Fly with Seated Row:
  4. For the upper back, shoulders and lower back. Straddle the glideboard facing the column and hold the cable pulleys with palms facing each other and arms out straight. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and pull the elbows back by your sides at hip height, then return to arms extended. Next squeeze the shoulder blades together and open the arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height. Concentrate on keeping your core engaged and sit up tall.

  5. Squat with Lat Pullover Crunch:
  6. For the quads, lats, and abs. Grasp the handles of the cable pulley in each hand and straddle the glideboard. Lie back with your feet on the squat stand and your arms over your head. Squat and then bring your knees to your chest as you pull the cables down so your hands are by your sides. Return your feet to the squat stand as you extend your arms back over your head. You can progress this exercise to a double straight-leg raise with a snow angel lat pull crunch.

  7. High Knee Kicks:
  8. Disengage the cable pulley. Lie face up on the glideboard with your head toward the column and your feet on the squat stand. Lift one knee to hip height and extend the leg out. Alternate sides at your own pace, either marching or running. Push off the ball of the foot if you are doing plyometrics and land softly with a bent knee on the standing leg.

  9. Side Plié Squat:
  10. Disengage the cable pulley. Lie on your side; stack your hips with the bottom leg bent and the other leg turned out at the hip with the foot against the squat stand. Lift the heel, then bend the knee and lower the heel and straighten your knee. Remember the sequence—lift, bend, lower, straighten. Keep the hip open to target the muscles of the thigh. You can experiment with when to raise and lower the heel.

Jodai Saremi

Jodai Saremi, DPM, BS , is a freelance writer, AFAA certified trainer, and fitness model. She has written for American Fitness, SPIN fitness, Your Health Connection magazines, and other online publications. Her articles have also been featured in textbooks. She enjoys an active lifestyle and lives in Ventura County, Calif. with her husband and two children.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Where are there instructios for assembling the total gym?

    1. Hey,

      Sorry to hear you’re having a tough time. There should be a hook under the glideboard for the pulleys to attach to. Basically, when you open the box, you should only have to set up the tower, and attach the pulleys. Here’s a video if you need it:

      Feel free to call customer service if you need more assistance and they might be able to help you work through it quickly!

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