Pros: Inexpensive; works all muscle groups; folds.
Cons: Some may get bored; not for the body builder.
I have been reading and enjoying your reviews on exercise equipment at epinions.com.
I have been working out at a community gym for the past six years, doing mainly cardio on an elliptical machine and some weight training. Recently I moved and I no longer have access to a community gym.
I decided to get a home gym to continue working out. There are two things I don't have a lot of, space and money. The "Total Gym" type machines look appealing to me since they can be stored when not in use, and can be fairly inexpensive. While searching the internet for information on these machines. I stumbled upon the Weider Total Body Works 5000. It looks very similar to the total body works, features resistance bands that can increase the resistance for up to 50 pounds, and has been positively reviewed both at epinions and amazon, and it costs only $99 shipping. I am very interested in this device.
I was wondering if you have any experience with the Total Body Works 5000 and are willing to share your knowledge.
I told him I was on vacation and asked if he could wait until I got home. I also told him that for $99 I'd buy almost any machine!
"I'm afraid I already ordered it, since pretty much all the reviews both in epinions and in Amazon were positive, therefore there is no specific timeframe needed for the review. Still, if you have the chance to review one, I would like to know your opinion, both good or bad."
D reviewed this machine, gave it 4 stars and recommended it. This is my review of Weiders Total Body Works 5000.
The Total Body Works 5000 is so similar to the Total Gym that I just have to compare them in order to help the consumer figure out why you should buy one over the other. I am going to compare it to my first Total Gym review which was a review of Total Gym 1500.
~Total Body Works is made by Weider which is an ICON brand. I know that many reviews have complained about ICONS service department. I personally have not encountered any problems with ICON. The Total Gym is made by Fitness Quest.
Both machines are really simple pieces of equipment. Total Body Works 5000 requires a little assembly. The Total Gym comes assembled.
~They both claim to combine strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, and flexibility. Unlike the Total Gym, Total Body Works is not endorsed by Christie Brinkley and Chuck Norris. Whether that is a positive or negative will be up to you to decide.
~The warranties are different so please note this. Total Body Works give you a 90-day warranty which is the usual warranty on ICONs equipment. The Total Gym offers a one-year warranty. I think 9 months make a big difference on many machines. However since there is no technology involved with these machines I havent found them to break down the way treadmills, etc. will break.
~The Total Gym 1500 gives us over 60 exercises. Weiders Total Body Works claims to give us over 100. The fact is these exercises are essentially the same. Although I cant and wont list 100 exercises you can do I can tell you this. A seated dumbbell curl (for your biceps the area on the front of your upper arm.) is the same as a standing dumbbell curl; a two arm bent over row is the same a one arm bent over row (for the back) however you may see these listed as separate exercises which is how the number of exercises get so high.
~Both machines are made of steel.
~Total Body Works weighs 79 pounds versus 72 pounds for the Total Gym.
~They both have adjustable benches. With a pin I can move the bench up or down. There are holes on the back leg that supports the unit. I would change the incline to change my resistance. They also both work using my own body weight as resistance.
~They both come with handles used for exercises such as flyes (for the pectoral/chest muscles), tricep kickbacks and bicep curls just to name a few.
~Total Body Works is 71 inches long by x 26 1/2 inches wide by 49 1/2 inches high. The Total Gym is 90 inches long by 18 inches wide by 48 inches high.
~The maximum user weight for the Total Body Works is 250 pounds. It is 275 pounds for the Total Gym 1500.
~Total Body Works will cost you about $100. The Total Gym 1500 runs about $250.00. Please note that I have reviewed newer models of The Total Gym. The Total Gym 1700 Club has some bells and whistles that the 1500 doesnt have but it is $350.00. Ill tell you right now that I dont think the bells and whistles are enough to warrant an additional $250.00.
How it works; my experiences and thoughts
They both have what I call a slide a board that moves. Total Body Works 5000 is more similar to the Total Gym than dissimilar except for the price. The resistance works the same way. I move the slide up or down with it at various levels. As I mentioned briefly pull out the pin and once it is out you can move the slide up and down the machine. Metal openings fit into 6 rungs on the machine. The higher the slide the more difficult the exercise and the more resistance you have.
Total Body Works 5000 also comes with what they call bungee cords (4 of them). These are used to increase the resistance as well. There is a bracket in which the cords slide. The more resistance I wanted the more cords I would slide into the bracket. These bands equal the equivalent of fifty pounds of resistance.
I was familiar with the Total Gym so I didnt need any instruction on the Total Body Works. The Total Gym 1500 comes with a wing bar. Total Body Works comes with a handlebar as well and a foot plate. For example I used the foot plate to do leg presses. This has to be attached to the machine. It isnt difficult to do. In addition the handlebar slides into the top part of the machine and gets secured with pins. .
They both work on a cable system. I used the machine as I would the Total Gym. Lying down I grabbed the handles. The handles get attached to the cables. I did what are called flyes. This exercise works your pectoral muscles (chest). I was able to work my chest effectively.
I had the same issue with the Total Body Works, which would make sense since they are so similar. I used these same handles to do rows. Rows work the back. In order to do that I had to turn around. So I had to get down off the board which has no sides on which to hold, turn around and face the top of the machine. After using the machines as much as I have I have gotten used to moving around. For $100 moving around a little is just fine with me!
I also did squats (These are difficult to do without being shown. The Total Body Works 5000 does not come with a video only an exercise guide so you may want someone to show you how to do these properly.) and pull ups using the handlebars at the top of the machine.
Both machines do a lot for the money though for the money it is fairly obvious to me that Id go with the less expensive Weider machine. Although youll see blurbs about not buying copy cats, I thing the durability of the machines is too similar to want to spend twice the money. If the Total Gym came with a 5-year warranty then perhaps Id spend the extra money. However it is unlikely the cables will break and the seat cushion will only rip if you put something sharp on it.
My final thoughts:
The key to these machines is that the cables you are holding whether on the top of the machine or the bottom are moved at the same time as you slide the board up and down. It is really that simple.
I feel the same way about the Total Body Works 5000 as I did with the Total Gym 1500. I would be very bored if this was the only machine in my house so I am recommending it for the novice or for a young person who has little room and little money. If you are a body builder this will not meet your needs.
I am recommending the Total Body Works 5000 over the Total Gym for those who cannot afford anything else; for those who will be very careful; for those perhaps who are young and less apt to get hurt on the machine; for those who just want to tone; and for those who can stand tedium.
I am not recommending it for the weight lifter who wants to build muscle and mass; for those who are experienced and for those who like variety.
Please feel free to leave me a question or comment. If you have any medical conditions or are just starting an exercise program please talk with your doctor before starting.