Total Gym 1400 Reviewed and Rated

8.0 score
[Editors rating (8.0)] = (Garage Gym Ideas - Ultimate Home Gym Design) score (8.0)/10

Editor rating: 8.0 / 10
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Total Gym 1400 Reviewed and Rated Review Facts

The Total Gym 1400 is one of the Total Gym’s budget models. It offers more than 60 exercises to strengthen and tone your whole body, but costs significantly less than other Total Gym models. When you purchase 1400, you get the base unit, a teaching DVD, a multi-gym attachment, dip bars, a stand for squats, and leg pulleys to take the place of leg curl or leg extension stations. This home gym is a weight bench, squat rack, and cardio trainer in one compact package. It won’t give you washboard abs, or help boost your working bench press weight by 5 percent. But that is okay because Total Gym does not claim that their units will do those things.

Instead, they want to help you with all-around fitness and quality of life by being there and being convenient. You can switch from one muscle group to another quickly and efficiently. Total Gym always brings up 10 to 20-minute workouts in their ad copy. We’d argue that this is less than the American Heart Association guidelines. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use this unit, just that research is important. If you are reading this review, that is a good start.

Editor's Pros & Cons

The machine is quite versatile and you can do over 60 exercises

Designed to be compact and portable--does not take up much space

Not a lot of setup, so the convenience may help you work out regularly

Included workout DVD helps you sort through all the different exercises

Easy to use, and can switch between exercises quickly

Low impact workout and resistance adjusts for different experience levels

8 levels of resistance you can adjust


Weight capacity is just 250 pounds--people heavier than that may also need this machine

Total Gyms are not much use for lifters who lift heavy weight--more for general fitness

Many fitness hobbyists prefer the social aspect of a gym, or just going outside regularly

The Rundown

Most people with even a passing interest in fitness know about Total Gym by now. Their long-form commercials sometimes still run on late-night TV. Celebrity endorsers include Christie Brinkley and Chuck Norris. You can get a pretty decent workout, with heart rate training and muscle pump, by using one of their units. Their most visible selling point is that you can get a full workout in a short amount of time.

As we mentioned above, the American Heart Association recommends more than the 20 minutes or so the company says will get you fit. But not that much more! The current guideline is 150 minutes of moderate cardio per week. If you use this home gym every day for 20 minutes, that's 120 minutes. And since it is just as easy to go for a half-hour, you can get the 150 minutes in five days and then take weekends off (or work out with different equipment).

The AHA also says you can do 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Vigorous would include running/hiking uphill, aerobic dancing, jumping rope, playing tennis, and a few others. Even at max resistance, the Total Gym isn't a vigorous workout. It is designed to be a low impact exercise machine, useful for those of us with joint problems. So while less than 20 minutes is still better than nothing, you should use 1400 for 150 minutes a week to get the most out of it.

We have been talking about cardio, but don't forget, this home gym offers resistance and you can work each muscle group with it once you learn the exercises. That makes it useful for more than just getting your heart rate up. The AHA suggests at least two 20-minute strength sessions to start, on top of the cardio hours. With the Total Gym 1400, no area of your body gets overlooked. With all the different options, too, you can work on different groups each day so you do not get repetitive motion injuries or make yourself sore. Yes, this home gym can make you sore if you overuse it, even though it isn't the same as powerlifting or doing sprints on a treadmill. Safety and variety are always important.

Tech Specs

When we initially searched for Total Gym 1400, none of the top results were for their actual website. That's odd, especially for an established retailer. Typically, we use maker product pages for the information in this section. In this case, we were able to find the owner's manual for the Total Gym 1400 on Total Gym Direct. All the objective information in this section came from the manual, and the site has manuals for all of their units. This is also where you can access customer service if you have problems or want to chat prior to making a purchase decision.

There are safety warnings associated with this specific unit. Because it is so compact, it is easy to bump your head when using the leg attachment. This is especially true for tall users. The safety pin, which keeps the unit together, has to be inserted or the unit will not be stable. This pin is what you remove if you want to fold this unit for storage. It folds up nearly flat and can fit under some beds.

The biggest safety key is to remove the dip bar, leg attachment, squat stand, and any other add-ons when they are not in use. This could get cumbersome, especially if you like to do one or more of those exercises each time you work out. But that is part of the trade-off when you get an affordable, compact Total Gym instead of a giant power rack with permanent bolt-on attachments.

You should always use a mat or section of carpet under this home gym, as it is light enough to move when you are using it otherwise. We aren't sure why they didn't provide a braking or locking mechanism, or bigger, more stable feet. We know the idea is to keep weight low and keep the machine compact, but we have reviewed plenty of similar folding units that never had a problem or warning about injuries caused by unwanted movement. The foundation of the1400 consists of a circular steel bar on each end, with rubber caps to prevent damage to floors.

The steel frame consists of an inner rail, center support angled rail and a bottom outer rail. The unit is sturdy, but keep the 250-pound weight capacity in mind. The steel is narrow tubing, and they did not specify the gauge or thickness. We can tell by looking that the Total Gym 1400 does not have the stability or rigidity of any commercial gym equipment.

The Total Gym 1400 weighs 53 pounds. It is 93 inches, or nearly 8 feet long, when unfolded and in use. It is close to 4 feet tall when set up, and is 15 inches wide regardless of folded or unfolded status. The folded dimensions are substantially lower, of course, and they did provide rollers and a handhold. They make moving and storing easier. Just remember to properly insert the pin each time--that is what keeps the unit together, both in use and when folded.

Instructions for assembly and accessory placement are straightforward, though with line drawings instead of photos. If you order from this company, the main unit ships already assembled. You will just have to place it in your space and go, using the DVD as your guide if you have never used a Total Gym before.

One cool feature, which you can only learn about if you read the manual, is the flip chart. It is a classroom-style large pad, with a plastic frame, that contains the same exercise information you'd find on the DVD. We applaud them for presenting this vital information more than one way. Not everyone does their best learning by watching a video, and this way you can flip through the exercises at your own pace if you wish. You won't be constantly stopping and rewinding like you would with a DVD.

Who It Is For

Total Gym 1400 is really for anyone who wants to get more exercise. If you have been sedentary for a while and want to change that, the machine will give you a regular activity that is low impact and easy on your joints. If you are a more serious athlete, even someone who plays a team sport, the Total Gym can bridge the gap between more strenuous workouts. We are big proponents of cross-training and paying attention to every single muscle group in this home gym is ideal for that. While it will not dramatically improve your bench press, it can give you better energy throughout the day. That way you will not be tempted to skip your lifting or running session after a long workday.

The Final Word

We recommend the Total Gym 1400 as a good option for those who have little extra space and may not have much time each day for working out. 20 or 30 minutes a day, over time, will make a noticeable difference. All the Total Gym products are low impact, raising your heart rate and toning your muscles without putting a strain on your joints. This makes this home gym ideal for beginners and veteran fitness buffs of all ages. As long as you follow safety rules, use the machine consistently, and have realistic expectations, we think you will love the Total Gym 1400 enough to make it part of your daily routine.

One thing to know about this home gym: it is not available on the website, The agent we chatted with explained it is a retail version, licensed to retailers like WalMart. This is the reason for the reduced features and low price compared to other Total Gym products.