Total gym questions

Hi guys, I made a post a few months back regarding the total gym. It was clear that bthe majority of you guys thought that free-weights (which i have as well), were much better. I am curious as to why this is, and would be happy if somebody could explain it to me.
Also, another weird thing I have found is that i can lift “more” using the total gym than with free weights.
For example, i’m doing bicep curls on the highest incline w/out additional weight. Thats about 80lbs for me and i can do 10 reps easy. on the other hand, with dumbells, i’m lifting about 30lbs in each hand and struggling to get six reps in.
Does anybody know why this is the case?
Thanks for your help

This is a joke right?

actually, i think it is a very legit question. its easy for hardcore trainers to pass off things like bowflex as being “sissy,” but for many, bowflex is a lot more appealing than joining a gym & using free weights. in fact, my friend got a bowflex for christmas and he loves it. now, i love my gym and wouldnt substitute anything for free weights, but i think the truth of the matter is that free weights arent THAT much better than something like bowflex. after all, if someone who doesnt want to work out in a gym buys a bowflex and uses it religiously, should we fault him or her? i mean, as much as some of us may despise home gym devices, at least they are better than total lethargy, right?? so i guess the question really is: can anybody produce some actual scientific reasoning/evidence as to why free weights are superior to home gyms??


You’d think that Chuck Norris could come up with a better name than “Mr. X!”

I may get flamed for this, but here goes…the total gym is actually a pretty good piece of equipment. I never used to give it any credit until I tried it, just like the majority of other serious weight trainers, but when I gave it a shot, I was impressed. For upper body work, it’s a good option as it allows quite a bit of freedom of movement while giving you the constant tension of cables. Using your imagination, there is no way you can’t get a really good workout with the total gym for your upper body. However, for the lower body, it’s not my first choice, but would be better than doing nothing…As far as the difference in weights on the total gym versus free weights, it may be something to do with the pulleys altering the actual percentage of weight you’re lifting. Anyhow, I wouldn’t worry about it - as long as you’re lifting, you’re doing something right!

to the smartasses who bag the total gym:
look at good ol’ chucksters sexy pecs in Enter The Dragon, and then look at your own pathetic dweeby little bodies.
Enough said.

did all you pavel fans know he invented the total gym? free wts. are no better or worse then machines, they are tools and it all depends on how you use them.

A friend of mine has a total gym and I have a bowflex (I use free weights now). I would agree that the total gym provides a good upper body workout and is closer to freeweights in stated resistance then the bowflex. The bowflex starts at 60% resistance and then gets to 100%. They claim u can do more on free weights because the bowflex is harder - yep that was said to me after the 60-100 statement. So why did i go to free weights? With free weights I could only lift about 60% of what I was supposedly doing on the bowflex - imagine that! I like the design of the bowflex BUT to much money for resistance that is to variable to accurately compare to free weights. Thank God I didnt try anything like one rep maxes with my bowflex numbers! The limits of the total gym would be - leg workouts, and total resistance available and the resistance being less then freeweights though not as bad as the bowflex.

Think about the line of motion that the total gym allows. We all know that a crucial aspect of developing a complete physique is to stress muscles from a variety of angles. Take triceps, for example. On the total gym, you can basically do one exercise that’s comparable to a lying triceps extension. It would be tough to do a close grip bench without choking yourself with the cable. Although triceps extensions do hit the mid range of the motion well, exercises like overhead extensions that completely overload the long head are out of the question with the total gym. And for complete isolation of the lateral head, pressdowns and kickbacks aren’t possible. Granted, they aren’t really great mass builders, but they do have places in routines at certain times. All in all, the total gym may be better than doing nothing, but the day I agree that it is better than free weights is the day that I kick my own ass!

eric…I did want to point out that you can perform all of those tricep exercises you pointed out when using the total gym. Many people underestimate it’s versatility or have too limited imaginations to use it effectively. The truth is, you can perform almost any upper body movement on the total gym.

Besides injuries caused from repeated planes of movement (discussed many times at T-mag) and poor strength tranfer to the real world, I just think it’s really dumb to pay a lot of money for a machine that “simulates” poorly what a cheap set of free weights can do perfectly. Most people who buy these machines defend them because they feel attacked by people like me who point out that it was a bad purchase and they were duped by slick commercials. All that said, I have heard some strength coach (staley?) say that the Total Gym has its uses. But he would never use it as a sole source of training.

wow,… didnt know Chuck Norris read T-mag

Those images are a few decades old! In other words, they are from BEFORE the total gym was even out. Chuck Norris built that body with free weights. Now, he’s using a total gym, and is starting to look a hell of a lot more like the old man that he is.

so how are you gonna work your legs and lower back on the total gym?

Well the fact is that it’s simple Physics, because of the use of cables and the pully system the Total Gym is just a simple machine and simple machines are used to attain Mechanical Advantage ussually directly related to the amount of pulleys there are, so when your lifting the weight through cables you have advantage, when using the direct weight of free weights it’s more difficult, ditch the home machine man if you want any size at all though.