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Can total gym be used as a rowing machine? [Article, Video]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Mar 24, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Can total gym be used as a rowing machine? [Article, Video]

Can total gym be used as a rowing machine? [Article, Video]

The total gym is not a rower by design even though it can be used as such. If the rowing is not intense or for long periods of time it is an option. Otherwise, get a concept 2.
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Overview of the Total gym 

The total gym puts you on a bench which is attached to two pulleys and can slide back and forward. This sliding bench is attached to a little tower. The tower is the anchor and also helps to determine the resistance at which you train. The steeper the incline, the harder the workout. 
Depending on the model attachments you get the total gym is also enabled for squats and more exercises. You work the arms by doing pulley work while the legs can be worked with squats at an incline. After use, the total gym can be folded up and stored under a bed or in a closet. 
With pulley and sliding bench arrangement you can simulate many of the machines which you will find at a commercial gym. The total gym will not be a replacement for a cardio machine or free weights for athletes but can keep you fit if you are older or rehabilitating from injury. 

Pros of the to total gym 

The pros of the total gym are: 
  • Low footprint 
  • Low injury risk 
  • Versatile 
One pro of the total gym is that it has a relatively low footprint and can be stored away easily. If you live in a small apartment, the total gym will not take up an entire room of your already limited space all day. Just fold it up and put it next o the ironing board or under the bed. 
For an exercise machine that forms muscle and tones, the injury risk is very low. You can sit or lie on the bench depending on how comfortable you feel. There are no weights that can fall on you. The machine itself is also not too intimidating. A big bonus is that you can even use the total gym if your hips, knees or rest of your legs are not well enough for walking. 
The pulley mechanism makes this a versatile machine to be used in many directions and combinations. This way you can get a full-body workout out of this one machine. 

Cons of the total gym 

The cons of the total gym are: 
  • Low impact 
  • Prone to failure 
  • Hard for prolonged cardio 
Overall the total gym is pretty low impact as it only uses your body weight. This is more than enough to get in shape, but if you want to set world records and pack on muscle you will also need some free weights and proper runs outdoors or on a treadmill. Of you are in the senior citizen target group of the total gym that is probably not of interest but for commercial and home gym owners might want to consider this. A rogue echo bike is roughly the same price as a total gym
The pulleys and the sliding bench can break and it is usually hard to fix them yourself. They are also quite noisy after a good time of use. Combined with that the construction is light and foldable you get the benefit of mobility at the loss of stability. The total gym is still top of the line but more prone to error than a stationary machine. 
If your main goal is weight loss one of the best ways to get your goal is to do cardiovascular exercises for 20 minutes. If your joints are aching swimming might also be an option. On the total gym, you might be hard-pressed to do the same thing for 20 minutes. 

Alternatives to the total gym

Alternatives to the total gym are: 
The Rogue echo bike leaves out the impact of a treadmill while still being cardiovascular. If you can still cycle and mainly want to lose weight and stay fit this is your choice. It won't do as much for toning as the total gym. 
Kettlebells will take up less space and work as cardio and strength training. If you are still very to moderately fit they are a great option as they are better faster cheaper than the total gym in my opinion. 
The disadvantage is that they are quite hard to use. If you have some coordination problems or can’t take big swing movements you might want to opt for something which produces less g force. 
If you like the great outdoors and have your hips and legs in check a good pair of runners will do great things for you. Fresh air, meeting some people and staying fit. Go with this option if you are still mobile and do not want to stay at home. 

Can you use the total gym as a rowing machine 

You can use the total gym as a rowing machine, but be aware that it has not been designed for that purpose. Especially the constant resistance to simulate water will not be given. You will also not get the timer, interval, and other functions that most rowing machines bring with their computers. If you want to use the total gym for rowing mainly, pay the extra and get a concept 2 to avoid a breakdown and have more workout options. 

Topics: Total gym