A reader of this blog recently asked me the following question related to osteoporosis exercise equipment, exercise for osteoporosis at home, and specifically a popular piece of workout gear called the Total Gym:
“I am considering buying the Total Gym for my home. Do you think that it will give me the range of exercises to assist me in battling osteoporosis?”
Good question. I like the Total Gym — but I do not love it.
What I Like About the Total Gym
Things that I like about the Total Gym:
- Easy to set up.
- Requires limited space usage.
- Reasonably priced
- Well constructed (at least the older models I have seen).
- Good range of exercise choices.
What I Do Not Like About the Total Gym
However, there are things I do not love about it. I especially do not like a number of issues in regards to Exercises for Osteoporosis:
- For the exercises which are done lying face up on the bench you do not use your erector spinae (deep back muscles) as much as if you did the same exercise without the support or with the support of a burst resistant exercise ball.
- Not many options for the hip.
- The pulleys are great but they do not provide your skeleton with as much “loading” (or weight bearing) as you would get by lifting free weights.
Below is a video from the Total Gym YouTube channel demonstrating the use of the device. I encourage you to look at the video, but I would advise you against doing the following activities if you have osteoporosis, osteopenia or low bone density:
- High Kneeling Singe Arm Tricep Extension
- Surfer Lat Pull with Shoulder Extension
- Abdominal Crunch
- Isometric Crunch with Bicycle Legs
- High Kneeling Torso Rotation
Several Alternative Options to the Total Gym
- Remember, an osteoporosis exercise program that incorporates weight bearing, improves balance, reduces fracture risk and generally is beneficial to your bones does not require that you invest in expensive equipment or go to the gym.
- The MelioGuide Exercise for Better Bones Program is designed to be self directed (or even better if used with the help of a trained health professional) and does not require much equipment.
- If you do go to the gym, I recommend that you look at my video on 8 Gym Exercises for Osteoporosis.
- If you really want a piece of equipment for home use, money is not an obstacle, and you favor a pulley system then I prefer the Inspire Fitness Inspire Functional Trainer FT-1 over the Total Gym because it provides many more options than the Total Gym product.
- The Inspire Fitness Inspire Functional Trainer FT-1 costs about $2,300 (Canadian) or $2,200 (US). In Canada, you can find it a Fitness Depot. US buyers can find it on Amazon.
- If you have any other questions related to osteoporosis exercise equipment or exercise for osteoporosis at home, feel free to post a comment below.
For more information, check out my Osteoporosis Guidelines.