Total Gym is one of the most recognizable home gyms available. That’s no surprise thanks to its celebrity endorsements and frequent infomercials. It sells well because it’s an easy to use machine that’s great for getting toned and fit.
The Weider Ultimate Body Works is a similar machine. It doesn’t have celebrity endorsements, yet it dominates online sales. It’s a serious competitor that’s out to take the number one spot.
Weider Ultimate Body Works vs. Total Gym. Which one is better?
Let’s find out!
The Match Up
Total Gym XLS (Editor’s Choice)
- Over 80 Exercises
- 6 Levels Of Resistance
- Lots Of Extras Included
- Additional Accessories Available (At Extra Cost)
- Lifetime Warranty On The Frame
- Considerably More Expensive Than Weider
Total Gym introduced its unique bodyweight home gym to TV audiences 19 years ago.
It was a hit then and it’s been a hit ever since. With celebrity endorsers hosting frequent infomercials, there’s no question that they have become the big boys on the block.
There’s been quite a few models over the years but currently there are 4 models available. While you can spend quite a bit of money on a Total Gym, there are budget-conscious versions available.
For this comparison, we will use the Total Gym XLS because it’s the best selling model.
The Total Gym XLS features over 80 exercises and 6 levels of resistance. It comes with access to Total Gym TV Basic, an app that streams 7 different workouts to any device.
There’s also a ribbed Squat Stand, Wing Attachment, and a Leg Pull accessory. The Wing Attachment is a versatile handle that can be used for ab work, pulling and pushing exercises.
Additionally, there’s an exercise wall chart and a “Training Deck”, which is a deck of cards with 80 individual exercises explained on each card. You can use these cards to create your own workouts. The workout variations are virtually unlimited.
Finally, there’s a nutritional program with a meal plan, making this a complete exercise system.
There are additional extra cost accessories available such as an upgrade to Total Gym TV Premium and the Upper Body System, which are two handles that provide more exercises for the upper body.
Total Gym XLS is a compact home gym designed to save space. It also folds up for easy storage. Plus there’s a 6 month warranty on parts and a lifetime warranty on the frame. The fact that there is a lifetime warranty is a major selling point of the XLS.
Total Gym XLS has a 400 lb. user weight capacity and arrives fully assembled. You just take it out of the box and train!
Weider Ultimate Body Works
- 50 Exercises
- 8 Incline Levels
- 4 Cables Provide Up To 50lbs Additional Resistance
- Telescoping Design
- No Accessories Included
- Must Be Assembled
In this market, Weider is not as popular as Total Gym but the man and the company are very well known to bodybuilders.
In 1936, Joe Weider launched what became a major supplement and equipment company. He published the most popular bodybuilding magazines of his era and he’s responsible for bringing Arnold Schwarzenegger to America.
The Weider Ultimate Body Works is a well-made unit. Inspired by Total Gym, it uses the same resistance system of body weight and an adjustable incline board.
The Ultimate Body Works features 50 exercises and 8 incline levels of resistance.
It also has the unique feature of 4 “SuperPack” cables that can increase the resistance up to an additional 50lbs. The XLS does not offer the same level of resistance.
Another good feature is a telescoping design that allows taller users ease of use. These are the two standout features of the Ultimate Body Works.
Like Total Gym, it’s a compact design. It saves space and folds up for easy storage.
Yet, possible downsides to the Ultimate Body Works is that it only has a user weight capacity of 250 lbs. and must be assembled before you can use it.
Also, it does not come with any accessories and only has a 90 day parts and labor warranty.
Features Face To Face
The Weider offers 50 exercises while Total Gym XLS offers over 80. These units are pretty similar in terms of what exercises you can do. But with the accessories Total Gym comes with, it’s clear you can do much more with this unit.
The system of resistance Total Gym uses is actually pretty clever. By combining the user’s body weight with an adjustable incline board, the resistance becomes progressive.
Weider takes this concept one step further with its SuperPack system of 4 cables that run under the incline board. With all 4 cables attached, the user gets another 50lbs. This may not seem like much but it adds one more way of keeping the idea of progressive resistance moving forward.
One more difference is the Body Works has a Sit-up/High Handle bar attached, while a similar bar is an accessory on the Total Gym. This means if you want to use it, you have to attach it.
Still, the Wing Attachment is a great accessory that adds a lot of exercise versatility. Even though the Body Works has a similar handle, you can do much more with the Wing.
We noted above that Weider offers 8 incline levels. Total Gym XLS only has 6 incline levels. Weider excels here because there’s more incline and the SuperPack cables. Let’s be honest, increasing resistance over time is the primary key to progress.
With more exercises and more versatility thanks to the attachments, Total Gym has a lot to offer and comes on strong.
It’s not an easy contest but the additional resistance provided by Weider means the Ultimate Body Works edges out a win here.
Both of these home gyms are built pretty similar. They each feature a sturdy steel frame and a padded adjustable incline board that slides on a system of rollers.
Each one uses a slightly different roller style, but the idea is the same.
The one exception is that the Weider Ultimate Body Works has a telescoping design for taller users.
The Total Gym XLS does not specify user height limits on their website, but based on other models this one should accommodate users up to 6’5” tall.
One thing to note is that while both of these home gyms are great for getting in shape, they are not designed for someone who wants to build serious size or strength.
As nice as they are, if muscle mass is your goal, these units are not the answer.
This is because they do not provide enough resistance for bodybuilding or most sports. While they might be useful for beginners or possibly rehab, there are better solutions for the bodybuilder, powerlifter or athlete.
Both home gyms are space-saving and fold for easy storage in a closet or under a bed.
In terms of size, the Weider measures as follows: Unfolded : W 26.5” x L 71” x H 49.5”, folded: W 27.5” x L 59” x H 48” H and weighs 77 lbs.
In comparison Total Gym XLS measures as follows: Unfolded: W 19″ x L 90″ x H 43″, folded: W 19″ x L 51″ x H 9″ and weighs 81 lbs.
In terms of floor space, they’re pretty close.
The Total Gym is a little longer, which might matter if you’re really cramped for space.
This is a close call but the nod goes to Weider Ultimate Body Works primarily thanks to it’s telescoping design.
In terms of warranties, Weider offers a 90 day warranty on parts and labor, while the Total Gym XLS has a lifetime warranty on the frame and 6 months on parts.
Total Gym XLS crushes the Weider Body Works with a much better warranty.
4. Extras & Cost
Weider Ultimate Body Works does not cost as much as any current Total Gym model or most previous models.
Still, Total Gym sells quite a few older models which would bring the price gap much closer. Not to mention, any Total Gym model is well designed and would be a good choice.
With Total Gym, you’re getting more of a “system”. You get a suggested nutrition plan that includes meal ideas and access to the Total Gym TV app. As noted earlier, this is an online workout streaming service that you can access from any device.
Total Gym TV Basic is free and provides access to 7 workouts. The Premium version provides access to the complete Total Gym workout library. This is an extra cost annual membership.
The Weider Ultimate Body Works does not come with anything like this. Anyone that remembers the old “Weider System” might find this strange because back in the day, Joe Weider categorized every bodybuilding principle he could find as a “Weider Principle”.
He tried to establish all these principles as if he invented them. You’d think the company would want to market this home gym as an example of his “Weider System” and really take it to Total Gym.
For a well built, compact home gym, the Body Works is a bargain. Yet even though you’ll pay more, the Total Gym XLS has everything you’ll need to successfully improve your physique.
The Total Gym dominates this round.
Weider Ultimate Body Works vs Total Gym – Stand Out Features
- Telescoping Design – This feature allows taller users to fit on the machine and allows more exercise variety.
- SuperPack Cable Resistance – Perhaps this is the stand out difference as it provides up to 50lbs. of additional resistance. Total Gym does not have anything like this.
- Sit-Up/High Handle – This is built into the unit and is used for ab work. On Total Gym, it’s an accessory that has to be attached before you can use it.
- No Assembly Required – Total Gym XLS comes completely assembled. All you have to do is unpack it and you’re good to go. Weider, on the other hand, must be put together before you can use it. No matter how easy that is, you still have to assemble it.
- The Wing Attachment – This is an extremely versatile handle that’s similar to the attached Weider handle. There are major differences because the Wing can be attached at multiple points on the XLS. This means you can do ab work, pull-ups and chin-ups. You can move it to the other end and do shoulder presses. You can use it as a foot anchor for additional upper body work using the cables that come with the unit. This one handle adds quite a few exercise options to the XLS.
- The Leg Pull Accessory – This includes 2 ankle cuffs for extended leg work whether it’s one leg at a time or both. There’s also the Ribbed Squat Stand for even more leg work.
- Additional Accessories – The XLS also comes with an exercise Wall Chart and the Training Deck. This is literally a deck of cards that explains each individual exercise you can do on the XLS. They are clearly labeled for each muscle group. The Deck also provides 30 pre-designed workouts.
- Nutrition Program – This is where Total Gym becomes a system and actually one-ups the man (Weider) who went all out to create his “Weider System” back in the day. By including nutritional guidelines and suggested meals, all aspects of getting in shape are covered. Weider fails in this area when they could easily have excelled.
- Total Gym TV – Basically an app that’s a library of workouts that can be streamed to any device. The “Basic” app is free and comes with the Supreme while the “Premium” is an extra cost option. The “Basic” package provides 7 complete workouts free of charge. You also have the option to upgrade at any time. If you want more variety, the Premium package is actually an extra cost annual membership that provides access to the complete workout library 24/7.
- Different Models – Currently there are 4 Total Gym models available: the Supreme, the XLS, the Fit and the commercial-grade GTS. Of course, you can spend quite a bit of money on one of these but the fact that there are choices sets Total Gym apart from Weider. Don’t forget, you can find numerous older Total Gym models for sale online, dramatically expanding your purchase options.
Weider Ultimate Body Works vs Total Gym. So which one’s the winner?
It should be clear that both home gyms have their advantages.
It’s a close call but ultimately Total Gym XLS comes out on top.
After all, they originated this design and simply have too much to offer over Weider Ultimate Body Works.
You can use Weider Ultimate Body Works if:
- You are on a limited budget. One of the Body Works’ biggest benefits is that it is budget-friendly.
- You want the advantage of additional resistance. This is the one area where Weider excels. The ability to consistently increase the resistance is everything. The SuperPack cables are a great idea and an easy way to add additional resistance when you reach that level in your training.
- You’re a little taller and want the telescoping design.
Use Total Gym XLS if:
- You want all the extras you’ll get with this machine. There is so much more that comes with this machine that ultimately you have a complete fitness system.
- You want more exercise versatility. If the XLS falls a little short in resistance, it dominates in terms of the number of exercises you can do.
- You want a home gym with a lifetime warranty. Let’s face it, that’s a huge benefit.
- You don’t want to assemble it. Who wants to put one of these together when you can use it right away?
Regardless of which one you decide on, you’ll be happy you made the choice to get in shape.