5 On Your Side

Testers work out home gym kits

Posted September 14, 2011

The TRX and the Tower 200 are portable and cheaper than a gym membership.

Two exercise products promise a total body workout without your ever having to leave the house.

The $200 TRX and the $150 Tower 200 from Body by Jake promise to give you an effective workout at home. Consumer Reports rounded up 14 panelists to try them out.

"We had men and women of different ages, heights and fitness levels work out with each product," said Nicole Sarrubbo of Consumer Reports.

The TRX uses your body weight as resistance with exercises that work your entire body.

The Tower 200 uses resistance bands and pulleys to get the job done. Each can be installed on almost any door in your home.

Both come with a workout DVD. The TRX's 35-minute video has two variations of each exercise - one for beginners and another more advanced version.

"The exercises might be challenging for someone with limited strength, mobility or flexibility," Sarrubbo cautioned. Some panelists initially complained about a TRX exercise where you have to put your feet in stirrups and flip to a plank or push-up position.

With the Tower 200, several panelists didn't like how the bands rubbed against their bodies during some of the exercises.

The good news is that Consumer Reports says the workouts with both the TRX and the Tower 200 were effective. Testers gave the TRX the edge.

"The TRX allows you to perform functional exercises at different skills or fitness levels simply by changing your body's position," Sarrubbo said.

And at just two pounds, it's easy to take with you wherever you go.

While the TRX outperformed the Tower 200, if you don't want to spend that much, the Tower 200 can provide a good workout. And Consumer Reports says both are easy to set up.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • retiredbagleys03 Sep 20, 2011

    Idea: Unless you want to build biseps, walking is best for your heart and body. Running after you turn 35 to 40 you are asking for severe knee problems. Fast walk/running only cause more trips to the Dr. These exersise items we tend to store in the closet or under your bed is a waste of of money.
    All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and the hardest part is getting that 1st step forward, then you will be in business.
    Think arthritis and knee swelling of your joints if you RUN.
    Been there done that.

  • jkca Sep 16, 2011

    Too bad that the P90X home fitness program wasn't tested. Guess they didn't want to spend 90 days doing the program ,LOL! I've done TRX, Body Pump classes, weight machines, and NOTHING has been more effective for weightloss and strength than P90X. You don't need a weight machine or dangling cords, just need dumbells and an inexpensive pullup bar. And one more thing is needed with this program or any other excercise program/KIT you choose: COMMITTMENT!! :)

  • Garnerwolf1 Sep 15, 2011

    But PlanetFitness doesn't have TRX. Or anything like it. And you're not going to get the full benefit of a TRX system with it hanging on a door - it would get in the way. Better than nothing, but pushing away from the table, walking, body weight push-up and squats, etc are free!

  • thefensk Sep 15, 2011

    I'll be on the lookout for them at the thrift store.

    Just replaced the Nordic Track I bought ten years ago for $10 at a thrift store. I just plain wore it out, loved it. It needed some replares but parts are $$. Finally found a new one ... but drastic price increase. $12.50. New one is right. This thing has almost NO wear.

  • marathonk Sep 15, 2011

    TRX is not the only game in town for suspension style functional training equipment. LifelineUSA markets a product called the Jungle Gym XT that works in the same manner as TRX. It actually has some features that make it better than TRX. The foot stirrups are made of a pre-formed plastic that maintains it shape opposed to a webbing material. The suspension straps are independent instead of one long strap on the TRX. This allows the user to vary the width of the anchor points. Best of all this product is half the price of TRX. Sells for about $95 on Amazon. (I have no financial interest in this product - I just didn't want to shell out $200 for TRX).

    There are gyms in this area that are pretty reasonable. Planet Fitness is only $10 month.

  • wilmalathrup Sep 14, 2011

    Wish I had a dollar for every home gym kit that remain unused in a closet or on a door.