Product Reviews

Weider Ultimate Body Works Review – A Quality Total Gym Alternative!

Quick Sumary

  • Resistance: Bodyweight plus resistance bands (50lbs)
  • Adjustable Resistance: Yes
  • Folding: Yes
  • Features: Cable and pulley system, compact design, nylon strap handles, removable base plate and handles, 50+ movements

Joe Weider is a name that should need no introduction to anyone with an interest in the history of muscle building. Rightly known as the ‘Father of Bodybuilding’, Weider made a huge mark on the world of muscle by promoting the art of bodybuilding, training future superstars, and designing his own fitness innovations.

While it’s unlikely the fitness icon would have used something like the Ultimate Body Works contraption to sculpt his own body, this affordable home gym is a popular choice for those taking their first steps in fitness.

Of course, coming in at under $300, it’s unlikely to be perfect – so what are the limitations of this multigym, and is it worth the cash compared to buying a few dumbbells? Let’s find out.

Design

The first thing you may notice is that this unit doesn’t sport the traditional home multigym design – although it’s not entirely unique. If you’ve ever used a Total Gym, the look and performance of the Ultimate Body Works will be very familiar to you.

With a steel-tube frame, it features an angled padded bench that glides up and down on a set of rails. While the bench is on a fixed incline, it is fully adjustable so you can both increase and decrease the gradient to suit your desired level.

The top is fitted with a cable and pulley system allowing you to complete a range of movements using just your bodyweight as resistance – calisthenics at its finest!

Of course, you can also use the bench as a standard weights bench, providing you have a pair of dumbbells handy – although this really wouldn’t be tapping into the full potential of this unit.

As well as being designed to save money, the Ultimate Body Works has also been designed to save space. When ready to go, it measures a total of 71” x 26.5” x 49.5”. While its footprint is not as small as something like the BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0, it’s certainly not as large as many multigyms in this range.

The bonus is that, when you remove a few pieces and fold it down, the unit is much less intrusive, collapsing to a relatively flat profile. In practice, it will be easier to use if you can just leave it fully assembled all the time, but this design makes it a worthwhile choice for smaller spaces.

On the topic of attaching and removing pieces, the total time this unit takes to put together is considerably less than others in this price range. It’s a relatively easy process with decent instructions, meaning 20 minutes is all it should take.

Features

Onto the features and we have already highlighted the cable and pully system that provides the main workout. These are attached to the top of the unit, in a convenient position for the majority of exercises this machine caters for.

These pulleys are flexible in their range of movement, so you can perform different exercises without being fixed in an uncomfortable position.

At the other end, you’ll find a set of four bungee cords at the bottom of the glide board. These can be attached to the base of the frame, which can create additional resistance of up to 50lbs, depending on how many bands you attach.

This is a feature not present on the more expensive Total Gym 1400 and is a big plus for the Ultimate Body Works.

This comes with a removable panel with both straight bars and padded bars that can be placed at the top or bottom of the frame, allowing you to change your body position to perform things like pullups (with the bars at the top) or overhead presses (at the bottom). The base panel is also removeable.

Of course, a pair of nylon strap handles do come with this unit. These are required for a vast majority of exercises, although they feel a little flimsy and are perhaps something you would want to upgrade down the line.

Performance

So, how does the Ultimate Body Works perform, and – more importantly – how do you perform on it?

The marketing literature promises that more than 50 movements can be done with this machine. This is probably true, although the majority of users are likely to end up sticking to just a handful.

For your upper body, you can lie on your back, grab hold of the handles and perform variations of a chest press. Turn around and you can perform straight arm pulldowns, upper back rows, and bicep curls.

The intensity of these movements – and many others – can be both increased and decreased depending on the gradient of the bench and whether or not the additional bungee cords are attached. There are seven bench positions and four cords, so there are plenty of options to suit your desired resistance.

More surprisingly, you can also perform pullups and chin ups, although – with your body supported and the forgiving angle of the bench – these aren’t as tough or effective as performing the same movement on a traditional pullup bar. Still, it’s a great system for beginners.

As for your legs, there are exercises you can do, such as squats and leg presses. However, this isn’t ideal on this unit. You can’t help feel you’d be better off standing up and doing bodyweight squats and their variations instead.

In operation, this multigym feels smooth to use and quite stable. Of course, being a budget unit, you can’t expect gym-grade stability. Yet, for such a small price, everything feels well-made. It won’t cater for the heaviest of users (275lbs is the max), but, for the majority of people, this proves very durable.

Pros
  • Affordable price and good value
  • Great range of movements available – more than 50!
  • Easy to both increase and reduce resistance
  • Space-saving design – great for smaller homes
  • Great for beginners
Cons
  • Not as stable as some of the other home gyms in this range
  • Not much to offer those looking for lower-body movements
  • Taller people may struggle to get a full range of motion
  • Advanced users may be left wanting more

Weider Ultimate Body Works

Editor's Rating

9.1

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The Ver(ve)dict

The Ver(ve)dict

If you’re already lifting weights to an advanced level or want to pack on serious muscle, there probably won’t be much benefit in the Ultimate Body Works – you’re better off heading to the gym or investing in some good quality dumbbell and a bench.

However, for everyone else, it’s an excellent home solution. It will appeal to beginners to muscle building, as well as those who simply want to tone and maintain muscle. The fact that the exercises are low impact and don’t stress the joints will also appeal to people coming back from injury.

Of course, it has its limitations – and you may want to exercise in private as some of the moves can look a bit odd. But the amount of movements you can perform on this is surprising, while the adjustable resistance broadens the appeal.

For the entry-level price, it offers seriously good value for those shopping for a home multigym on a budget, and is a very viable alternative to the Total Gym 1400.

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Weider Ultimate Body Works
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