5 On Your Side

Testers work out home gym kits

Posted September 14, 2011 5:00 p.m. EDT
Updated September 14, 2011 6:55 p.m. EDT

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.