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The "Total Gym" is a brand name and product line of exercise machines used for strength training, stretching, and pilates training designed by EFI Sports Medicine Incorporated of San Diego, California. The various models are manufactured for 3 different types of customers: Medical Facilities, Fitness Facilities, and Home Consumers. The most known model to the general public is the infomercial model sold through the use of TV advertising. It is the longest running infomercial product at this time. There are licensing contracts with two other companies for the smaller home models, however EFI solely makes the commercial/professional models. This product is known as a "inclined plane bodyweight training" device.
Design and history
In 1974, the first Total Gym was developed by Tom Campanaro (then a competitive body builder) and his partners Dale McMurray and Larry Westfall in San Diego, California. They started a company with the name "Total Gym Incorporated". The device encouraged "functional exercise", a way of duplicating movements the body performs in everyday life, with and against gravity. The device piqued the interest of Physical Therapists and other medical professionals. The Total Gym was found to engage all muscle groups, allowing over 100 functional exercises on different levels of inclined resistance. The device also featured a full range of motion and variable resistance levels (heavier resistance near the top and light resistance when more horizontal). Customers began using the product for upper and lower body exercises to do stretching, strengthening, and comprehensive movements similar to aerobics. The easy concept was found to help facilitate key components of exercise: cardiovascular endurance (aerobics), muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. The machines typically take up much less space than a complete set of weights and machines.
For several years in the 1980's the Total Gym was owned by West Bend Industries, in West Bend Wisconsin.
In 1987 the company changed its name to Engineering Fitness International Corporation, d.b.a. efi Sports Medicine.
2003 GRAVITY launched
In April 2003, efi Sports Medicine turned to the health club industry with the launch of the GRAVITYSystem. The GRAVITYSystem's four programming disciplines (GRAVITYGroup Training, GRAVITYPilates, GRAVITYPersonalTraining and GRAVITYPost-Rehab) are all part of GRAVITY4Programming and each is conducted on the GTS machine. Like the Total Gym, the GTS is a gravity-training device that encourages functional resistance training by using an individual's body weight as resistance, utilizing a dynamic cable, pulley system and free-motion glideboard. Able to adjust to nine different levels of resistance, the machine engages all major muscle groups and facilitates more than 250 strength training, stretching and Pilates exercises.
In 2004, GRAVITYSystem was sold to dozens of gyms and clubs around the country and has since won awards such as the "TUV Innovation Award" at FIBO, Germany, the One Body One World (OBOW) award from East Coast Alliance (ECA) and the Australian FILEX.
In 2005, GRAVITYSystem was launched in countries around the world including: Russia, Spain, Italy, Australia and more.
2006 new PowerTower model launched
In 2006, efi Sports Medicine released the Total Gym PowerTower for wellness centers, clinical physical rehabilitation, athletic training and high performance functional sports training. This model includes wireless remote control handles allowing users to, at the press of a switch, increase or decrease the resistance level during an exercise in progress.