The Total Gym XLS is a glideboard-style home workout system the uses your own bodyweight to create resistance. It supports over 80 different exercises, and is ideal for use in smaller homes or workout spaces. That's because, compared to the majority of the best home gyms (opens in new tab), the Total Gym XLS can be folded away when not in use. This is perfect if you don't want a big setup in the middle of your room.
The pulley resistance also makes the XLS a safer way to weight train, with minimal chance of injury. It's one of the brand's most popular systems, and is suitable for beginners upwards. As we explain further into our Total Gym XLS review, this glideboard style machine offers six levels of resistance and has a generous 400lbs user weight capacity. It arrives fully assembled too, so you don't have to waste time putting it together.
We believe this is a great machine to add in for strength training if your cardio is already covered with one of the best treadmills (opens in new tab) or even one of the best exercise bikes (opens in new tab) for spin class workouts. In our Total Gym XLS review, we look at the machine's overall design, top features, and user reviews, to help you quickly figure out if this is the right choice for you. And don't worry, as throughout this review we'll highlight any good alternatives so that you have plenty of options.
Total Gym XLS review: Overview
The Total Gym XLS is the more affordable of the brand's glideboard line-up, but we've also covered its top-end model in our Total Gym FIT review (opens in new tab). The differences are minimal with the XLS working for users up to 6'2" and 400lbs with 80 workouts and the FIT working for users up to 6'4" and 450lbs with 85 workouts.
The XLS can take a little learning to get all the moves but thankfully it comes with guided videos to help you take full advantage of what's on offer. That should mean a full body workout right at home and without the need to mess about with weights. If you're interested in a Power Rods system instead, read our Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym review (opens in new tab).
Supported weight: Up to 400lbs
To get the most out of the Total Gym XLS, we recommend pairing it with an activity tracker so that you can monitor your progress and how hard you're working. Check out our best fitness trackers (opens in new tab) to find one that suits your goals.
Total Gym XLS review: Design
The Total Gym XLS weighs in at just 83lbs, which is very light for a full home gym workout system. This also folds up meaning it can be easily moved and stored so you don't require a whole room permanently dedicated to the gym in order to keep fit. If you don't want a folding gym, but still want something affordable, read our Marcy MWM-988 Multifunction Home Gym review (opens in new tab).
The XLS unfolded is 19 x 90 x 43" and when folded is compact at 19 x 51 x 9". Despite being light, this unit is made from strong quarter-inch and two-inch tubing on the frame, which comes with a lifetime warranty. There is also a six month warranty on the parts. The unit is able to support users weighing up to 400lbs.
This all looks good too thanks to chrome plated upper rails and powder-coated lower rails. The pulley system and cords are minimal to make sure it is easy to switch between exercises using the various grip options.
The base of the unit features wheels which help to make moving it about, when open or folded, which is super easy to do even with one hand.
Total Gym XLS review: Features
As mentioned earlier in our Total Gym XLS review, this machine is able to offer six levels of resistance using your own bodyweight. This means there's a good range of exercise options enabling you to build muscle and strength.
In total there are just over 80 different types of exercise supported here, focusing on a full body workout. The glideboard is used to offer head support as well as comfy cushioning for things like a bench press when lying on your back. The unit, which comes fully assembled, also comes with Total Gym TV Basic for video workouts on demand.
The Total Gym XLS has an improved squat stand footrest that ensures a no-slip surface. The pulley system has also had a lot of attention and as such is built to offer the most smooth resistance.
Total Gym XLS review: Performance
That Total Gym XLS stands out from the competition by offering a larger gliderboard than most. This means far more supported workouts without the worry of falling off the edges. It also uses sturdy materials on that frame so that you don't get any wobble that might otherwise stop you from pushing your limits and those of the machine.
The improved pulley system is clear from the smooth action on the resistance, no tugging or variance between the top and bottom of the draw with this setup.
Talking of setup, since this comes fully assembled that's not an issue. You can roll this into place, open from folded and get working, it's that easy. What's not so easy for anyone new to this is working out how to use it for all the moves. Thankfully that included video package allows you to learn and work with guidance right from the start.
Total Gym XLS review: User reviews
There are over 5,500 Total Gym XLS user reviews on the brand’s website, with the machine achieving an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars (opens in new tab). The most recent positive user reviews explain how: ‘Changing the work out levels, attachments, and removal/re-attachment of the cable pully is so much faster than the old 1100 we owned!’ Existing customers also praised the XLS’ wide bench, and the different resistance levels.
Another positive user review stated: ‘High quality, fully assembled out of the box and durable, this machine replicates what you can do in an actual gym and because of the pulley technology it can help you develop flexibility in addition to muscle building.’
The Total Gym XLS reviews from customers aren’t all positive though, with one complaining that, ‘It’s too heavy, too big and too long.’ Other critical reviews commented on the build quality with the machines they were sent, though the Total Gym customer services team invited these people to make contact in order for a resolution to be reached.
There are over 900 Total Gym XLS reviews on Amazon, generating an average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars (opens in new tab) for the machine. Positive reviews focused on the high build quality, how the machine comes fully assembled, and that the included instructional DVD provides a thorough grounding on how to use the Total Gym XLS. Less favorable reviews complained that the machine was assembled incorrectly, that the gliding action wasn't smooth, and that customer service aren't always fast to respond.
Should you buy the Total Gym XLS?
With the Total Gym XLS is a great example of a glideboard gym with plenty of space, resistance levels and exercise options as well as that handy video guide to help even new users. This is also a great system for anyone that wants to save space in their home.
The downside is that you're limited by your weight, so if you're looking to bulk up in a big way this might not be for you. Anyone looking to tone muscle and build strength will be well served here. This isn't the cheapest glideboard option out there but that's because it's one of the best.
Looking for more fitness content? Take a look at our guides to the best elliptical machines (opens in new tab) for cross-training, and the best bike trainers (opens in new tab) for turning your mountain bike or road bike into an indoor fitness bike.