Total Gym models are constantly replaced with slightly tweaked versions of themselves. Although some upgrades may make a difference in durability, none of the design changes alter the Total Gym’s essential function. Push or pull on the pulley handles to move the glideboard up the rails. Your body weight, perched on the glideboard, provides the resistance.
The Total Gym XLS was introduced to take the place of the Total Gym XL, trading one top-of-the-line flagship model out for the other. Except for a few minor differences, they’re essentially the same machine.
Both the Total Gym XLS and Total Gym XL are the same size: 19 inches wide, 90 inches long and 43 inches high when set up for use, 19 inches wide, 51 inches long and 9 inches high when folded for storage.
Maximum User Weight
The Total Gym XLS improves slightly on the XL’s user weight limit. The XL supported a maximum user weight of 350 lbs.; the XLS can handle up to 400 lbs.
Both the XL and XLS sported an upgraded, larger squat stand that made maintaining proper form easier than with the small squat stand that comes standard on other Total Gym models. The XL and XLS also come with a wing attachment for pull-ups and leg curls, and a series of instructional material including workout DVDs and an instructional wall chart.
To a certain extent, the available accessories determine your Total Gym’s versatility. The simple addition of a Pilates kit and leg pulley for the Total Gym XLS, accessories that can be purchased for the Total Gym XL at extra cost but weren’t included standard, allows you to do more than 80 exercises. The Total Gym XL is advertised as capable of facilitating more than 70 exercises.
As of July 2010, only the Total Gym XLS is regularly available for retail purchase. The full retail price is almost $2,000, but steep price cuts directly from the manufacturer are a common sales tactic for fitness equipment. Because of this, the Total Gym XLS regularly sells for about $1,000. The Total Gym XL retailed for about $1,600 when available new. Since it’s been phased out of production, you’re limited to purchasing secondhand models or the occasional restocked model, which retails for about $800 when available.
Lisa Maloney is a travel and outdoors writer based in Anchorage, Alaska. She's written four outdoors and travel guidebooks, including the award-winning "Moon Alaska," and regularly contributes to local and national publications. She also has a background in personal training, with more than 6,000 hours of hands-on experience.