What are the 3 Best home gyms that are portable and provide a total body workout?

by Christopher Duffy - Read report

TRX Suspension Trainer
Lifeline USA Jungle Gym
The three best home gyms that are portable and provide a total body workout are the TRX suspension trainer, Lifeline USA Jungle Gym, and Bodylastics.
  • Background
  • Process
  • Comparison
  • Rate this Report
We’ve all seen it – television infomercials, web advertisements, commercials – all boasting the best piece of portable home gym equipment that can be taken anywhere and provide the same satisfaction of going to the gym. The fitness industry is saturated with products that all guarantee the best workout that can be performed in any place; but just what are the best portable home gyms and what fitness method is behind the guarantee that the workouts they provide will satisfy the user?

This report will focus on the three best portable home gyms that provide a total body workout.

In researching the best portable home gyms, the dominant fitness methods that appeared were suspension training and resistance training utilizing heavy elastic bands.

Suspension Training

In this method the individual uses his/her own bodyweight as resistance, employing straps and handles to position the body for different exercises.

Resistance Training

This is the same as weight training only in this case, elastic bands of different tension levels provide the resistance.

In researching this topic, I used a two-pronged approach. First, I employed different strings of search terms such as home equipment total body workout portable fitness; full body portable fitness equipment; portable home gym what experts say. Then I compiled a list of portable home gyms and isolated the fitness method used by each product. For example, the fitness method behind TRX is suspension training; the Bodylastics system is a form of resistance training.

At this point, it was a process of researching fitness professionals’ websites, blogs, forums, and magazine reviews to see if the home gyms were using exercise methods that fitness professionals agreed with and used themselves. Some of the websites I reviewed were www.askthefitnessdude.com, www.freeworkoutsguide.com, www.exerciseequipmentexpert.com and www.fitnessmagazine.com. In addition, the websites of the products were used in researching the best portable home gym.

I ended the research process by examining consumer reviews from various websites. These included sites where the product was purchased, consumer report websites, and fitness/bodybuilding blogs.

Some of the other products considered were: the weider x-factor, versastick, ripcords, powerblock dumbbells, and the Kefty home gym.

All website authors were checked for proper credentials. Most of the authors were certified personal trainers, gym owners, and military personal; some were just avid fitness enthusiasts with more than ten years of training experience. It is important to note that this information was not the individual opinion of any one party; rather it was the consensus of various users and professionals with multiple fitness backgrounds.
 Lifeline USA Jungle GymBodylasticsTRX Suspension Trainer
CredibilityUsed by athletes in different competitive sports.Resistance training has been around for decades. Used it fitness clubs and praised by personal trainers.Being put in fitness clubs across the country and utilized by numerous sports stars.
UsabilityCan be anchored to a door or overhead anchor only.Can be used anywhere and fits in a suitcase. One hundred and forty exercises.Can be brought anywhere and can anchor to anything. Over three hundred exercises.
Does Product Get Results?A great alternative to TX and gives a challenging workout. May be tough to maintain stability during some exercises. Provides a challenging resistance workout building strength and lean musculature.Widely touted as the best new fitness equipment out there for functional strength and a lean muscular body.
community rating: 5 (1 ratings)
In deciding the three best portable home gyms, I used these key considerations to focus my research:

1) Trustworthiness – Is the product used by fitness clubs, fitness trainers or any other reputable organizations and/or people?
2) Usability – Is it easy to travel with? Does it provide a total body workout? Does it provide a multitude of exercises? Is it easy to use and provide smooth transitions between exercises?
3) Pricing – Does the overall product provide a satisfying workout at an affordable price?
4) Performance – Does the product get results?

While there were some other tangible factors in the selection process and included in the discussion below, these four attributes illustrate the most important factors in the decision making process.

TRX Suspension Trainer

For the best portable home gym, I chose the TRX Suspension Trainer which is blazing a trail in the fitness world. The TRX comes in first for its sheer versatility. This piece of equipment can adapt to any fitness level, target multiple fitness goals at once, and be attached to any overhead anchor or weight-bearing base both indoors and outdoors.

The TRX was created by navy seal, Randy Hetrick, as a portable piece of workout equipment designed to keep his fellow seals in peak physical condition. It is made of 12 feet of nylon-webbed straps, handles and different anchors that are easily attached to any base or overhead anchor. The purpose of the TRX is to utilize the individual’s bodyweight as the primary form of resistance in performing the exercises. This method of training allows for multiple fitness goals to be reached. When one is performing a pushup, for example, the core is trained as well as strength and balance. Smooth transitions between exercises allow circuit training to be employed yielding an intense cardio vascular component to any workout. The versatility is enhanced by the fact that there are over three hundred exercises one can perform with just this one piece of equipment.

Athletes in the NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, and NCAA use the TRX suspension trainer; Drew Brees, Carmelo Anthony, and Jamie Moyer are just some of the athletes that use this portable home gym.

Men’s Health Magazine voted the TRX, “Best Workout Gear of 2010.”

The TRX has also been featured in magazines, newspapers, and television programs such as Sports Illustrated, Shape, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Today Show, ESPN, and Good Morning America.

Certified fitness professionals cite TRX as the best equipment among all other suspension trainers available.

Consumer feedback praised this piece of equipment, and cited only one drawback – the price. It is the most expensive of all three of the home gyms, coming in at $185.00. Another thing to consider is that some of the exercises need different attachments to be performed, which have to be purchased separately.

Overall, fitness professionals, athletes, and consumers consider the TRX to be well worth the investment. It fits easily into any suitcase, can be attached to anything indoors and outdoors, and provides a challenging and satisfying workout.


The second best portable home gym I chose is the Bodylastics System. The Bodylastics system is a form of resistance training that uses bands of different tension levels to provide the resistance during exercise. Resistance band training has been around for decades, but the Bodylastics system is top quality with its own unique features.

The Bodylastics resistance bands are made of surgical quality elastic tubing, with clips at each end of the band making it easy to switch the handles to different bands -lighter or heavier. The durable design of the bands lets one step on the band and jump into a set of bicep curls and then transition to a set of deep leg squats. The purpose is to give the person a strength and endurance workout that produces a lean and toned physique. With a total of one hundred and forty exercises, the Bodylastics system is a good substitute for a gym when one is traveling or unable to get to a gym.

The NFL Star, Terrell Owens, uses the Bodylastics system as a regular part of his training routine. The Terrell Owens set called the Bodylastics Pro System is the heaviest of all the sets, going up to 264 lbs. of resistance.

Fitness magazine featured the Bodylastics System in their magazine giving it an in-depth review. It praised the portable workout equipment as a true provider of a challenging workout, comparable to being at a gym, for an inexpensive cost - $91.95.

Fitness professionals and Club owners said it was the best piece of home gym equipment for under $100.

Consumer feedback agreed with the professionals that it was definitely not a cheap substitute for a gym.

The only drawback to this product is the lack of a thorough cardiovascular workout, and if one is looking to use heavier bands the price of the equipment goes up.

The Bodylastics system excels in strength and endurance training, is very durable, and can fit easily into any suitcase or travel bag making it the second best portable home gym.

Lifeline USA Jungle Gym

The third best portable home gym I chose is the Lifeline USA Jungle Gym. This product utilizes the same method of suspension training as the TRX Suspension Trainer. The one main difference is the price and some users have commented that the usability does differ.

The Jungle Gym is the cheapest piece of suspension training equipment costing only $50. It can be attached to any weight bearing base or overhead anchor but some users have commented that some interior doors do not provide a reliable base. Also, the Jungle Gym can be attached to all things outdoors.

Fitness professionals compared it to the TRX and found its only advantage is the price.

Another remark made by users is that the plastic handles can become slippery during a workout making stability during an exercise an issue and a safety hazard.

Bottom line, the Lifeline Jungle Gym is a cheaper alternative than the TRX. Consumer feedback is mixed as to the effectiveness of the product; some claim it is a great piece of equipment, just as good as the TRX, and others say it is not. It seems risky with such a mixed consensus on the product but given its use of suspension training and portability, it comes in as the third best portable home gym that provides a total body workout.


All three products are at the top of the market when it comes to portable home gym equipment, but the TRX stands as the best among the three. It is lightweight, easy to use and the exercises it employs are as simple as pushups and rows and can transition smoothly to curls or flyes. It has become an invaluable piece of equipment among athletes.

The Bodylastics system ranks second - it provides a great workout but lacks in the cardio vascular area.

The Lifeline Jungle Gym comes in at third place; although it does much of what the TRX does, it is limited in where it can be used and the plastic handles do not provide an adequate grip for exercises.

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