I have been exercising for many years and am not a fan of home gyms in general. I prefer free weights at home though we do have a gym quality pully machine. After my second child was born though, my normal morning free weight routine just wasn't cutting it. My father bought the Jillian Michaels Ultimate Body Shop for my mother for Christmas (not a great idea) and I thought it was pretty cool. I am an infomercial watcher and immediately wanted to try all of the exercises I had seen done on the total gym. The set up was pretty straighforward though it does require two people at one point. Once it's together there is a bit of a learning curve but it is very easy to use. The poster that comes with the machine shows some really good basic moves but if you're creative and understand your limits and anatomy the sky's the limit! **If you haven't worked out with a trainer before, please watch your form. you could easily hurt your shoulders, hips, back etc., and just because something "feels" right, doesn't mean it isn't poor form.. That said, this machine has different height settings that can take you from beginner to advanced by changing the percentage of your own body weight you are using as resistance. This machine was just what I needed to add a little interest to my tired workout. Bottom Line: Not recommended for absolute beginners unless you have someone more experienced to guide you, but for anyone with a little experience it adds a whole new demesion to a free weight or circuit machine routine with a price tag that is a fraction of some other similar machines.