Pros:effective, affordable, warranty, huge bang for the bucks
Cons:the style of the pilates bar
The Bottom Line: This is a great machine. I am not hesitating in my recommendation.
I have been reviewing Total Gym products for quite a few years. I haven’t reviewed the Total Gym 1800 until now because it wasn’t until now that I could give you a review. A friend of mine bought it at a local store for $400. You will find a range of prices on line. Note that machines may vary by store. For example, the parent company, Fitness Quest, may make a Total Gym 1800 Club for Sam's Club that is slightly different than one from Dick’s Sporting Goods. Still the most important parts will be the same.
I gave the Total Gym 1700 four stars. I really like that machine. When I first saw the 1800 I thought to myself “Why did Fitness Quest fix something that wasn’t broken?” Although I read somewhere that it has new colors, the one sold at a local store that my friend has is very dull looking. Note that one site states, “A premium choice with a dramatic new color.” I haven’t seen any online or elsewhere that I would deem a dramatic new color. However, they may think silver and black are dramatic looking. Looks aren’t everything but if they wanted to change the 1800, why not just make the board in neon colors?
I will compare these two products, which are, for the most part, the same price. I was all set to assume that the 1700 was superior but as you will see from the comparison below, I do not think that is the case anymore.
About The Total Gym 1800 Club: (Some 1800 models will not say Club after it. They are the same)
Just like the 1700 and the other Total Gyms, the 1800 requires little assembly and takes very little maintenance.
Total Gym 1800 claims the same benefits as the 1700: The combination of strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, and flexibility in 20 minutes a day.
In a nutshell before I get into the details the board or what is called a glide board is what you will lie down on, face, or sit on. This is the piece that gets moved with your body weight. Many will like the fact that you don’t have to set any programs.
All Total Gyms come with a limited lifetime warranty, which means a lifetime warranty on the frame. The Total Gym 1800 has a one-year limited warranty on all moving parts, which was true of the 1700 as well.
The 1800 measures 93 inches long by 16 inches wide by 44.5 inches high. It weighs 62 pounds. In spite of other reviews elsewhere telling you that the 1800 is larger than the 1700, I can tell you that it is 1 inch shorter, the same width, ½ inch higher and it weighs 7 pound less. It is the board that is larger.
Since the 1700 is one inch shorter I will surmise that you can be up to 6 feet 1 inches tall for the 1800 versus the 6 feet 2 inches of the 1700.
The maximum weight of both is 275 pounds.
The 1800 comes with a wider glide board, which is very nice. It is 16 inches wide rather than 13 inches wide. I have found the Total Gym systems to be made well. The rails are made of steel. The glide board is made of a heavy duty vinyl material over 1/2 inches of foam. The vinyl is quite durable. One reason is pretty basic. Benches at gyms have a lot of wear because people put dumbbells on them. Dumbbells are not needed on the 1800.
What you get and how I use it:
The 1700 Club added some nice features that the earlier models didn’t have. The 1800 has even more features.
~a machine that has a quick release and auto-lock height adjustment pin. This is easy to take out and put in making adjusting the height of the board easy. I change the height depending on what exercise I am doing and how difficult I want the exercise to be.
~a black mat to put under the system if it is on a floor (or even on a rug for stability).
~an exercise flip chart that can be attached to the machine. The flip chart is really helpful. For example, it tells me that if a 200-pound person were working at the hardest/highest level, which is level 6, he or she would be using 48% of his body weight and it would be like lifting 60 pounds. A 150 pound person at level 5 would be “lifting” 65 pounds (using the cables), which would be 33% of her body weight.
~ a foam covered Pilates bar. The bar is disappointing. It would be better if it had no opening. It would be more stable. One exercise you’ll see has me holding onto the bar with one leg bent on the glide board and the other leg straight out. I have never done this in Pilates class. I have done similar exercises with my hands on rollers or down on the floor. Still for those of you who would like to do Pilates, this bar will give you the ability and the video the 1800 comes with will show you some exercises that will work your core using the bar.
~dip bars and press up bars. Dip bars primarily target the triceps (back of the upper arm) and to some extent the chest. They can be done a variety of ways. On the 1800 they are done by lying on the board and sliding up and down while holding onto these bars. They are surprisingly effective! The press up bars are at the base of the unit. With my head at the base I held onto the press up bars and with my body moved the board working my back primarily and biceps. The 1700 offers the same attachments.
~ two DVDs.
~men’s and women’s exercise plans.
~an ab crunch board, which is new with the 1800 model.
How this works:
Fitness Quest claims that the Total Gym is safe for all fitness levels. It is not recommended for children. Please be very careful using fitness equipment around children.
I suggest that until you get used to getting on and off the 1800 you have someone with you or be very, very careful. There are no sides and losing your balance is possible
The resistance is worked by raising or lowering the board. The 1800 has 6 levels which uses 6% to 50% of your body weight. I pull out a pin and then can raise or lower the board on metal rungs. The way I can describe it is to compare it to the somewhat old fashioned sit up boards that had rungs on the back. The higher I would put the board the more difficult the sit up. I’ll explain those percentages this way: If I am on the highest level I am moving 1/2 of my weight. For those of you who pull up 100% of your weight you will understand how this machine is perhaps not for the person looking to build lots of mass or compete. To explain even further when lifting 100% of my weight I am essentially lifting 100% of my dead weight. Since I’m lying down or at an angle on the 1800, the 50% actually feels (to me) easier than if I were to pull up 50% of my weight on a Gravitron, which is a machine that allows the user to pull up all of my weight, none of it or somewhere in-between.
The Total Gym 1800 Club does a lot for the money. I can work every body part. Although you are getting some cardio vascular benefit, the Total Gym, in my opinion, does not replace cardio vascular work on a treadmill or walking outside.
I really like the ab crunch board and that is reason enough to buy the 1800 over other models. This is a great feature. It is a small pad with handles that fits on the glide. One exercise I do is simple. I just get on all fours, hold onto the handles with my arms on the pad and glide the board in and out. It is an amazing core workout.
The wing attachment allows me to do pull ups and with the use of the glide board I really can.
The dip bars are attached on the side of the Total Gym 1800. I use these really effectively to work my triceps.
I really like the leg pulley. It works every part of my lower body including my butt and calves. It’s simple and fun.
I can work my biceps with the handles and also work my whole body if I bend my needs and bring my shoulders and head up while bringing the handles to the sides from above my head. Kneeling on the board I bring the handles behind me as a glide for a great triceps exercise.
I like putting my legs on the Pilates bar (The open bar that goes on the bottom of the machine.) and lift my legs off of it as I glide the board up. This is a great workout. Those are just a few of the many exercises that can be done on the 1800.
My final thoughts:
Changing from one attachment to the other can be a bit time consuming. Since the parts are not integrated into the machine that may get frustrating. I also don’t think it is all that easy to fold and unfold the Total Gym 1800.
Please note that my friend is a male who has never been a weight lifter. Having said this I think women would love this if I had to choose a gender. Also please note that unlike some of the older models, the 1800 does not allow additional weight plates to be put on - another reason I am gearing it to women, who like myself, may not want to mess with plates.
I really love the Total Gym 1800 and am giving it a rare five stars. This is an inexpensive true Total Gym that is great for everyone but the bodybuilders.
All my fitness equipment reviews can be found here
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