The Body By Jake Tower 200 is a home exercise machine that's designed to attach to any door without damaging it. Instead of using metal plates, the Tower 200 creates resistance with tension cords that approximate the feel of weights. The set includes two 25-pound cords, two 35-pound cords and two 40-pound cords that can be used separately or in combination for the desired amount of resistance with a maximum of 100 pounds on each side. A DVD with an 11-minute total-body workout is also included, as well as a chart that describes 200 exercises that can be done with the setup.
The cords used with the Tower 200 gradually increase resistance the farther they're stretched. According to advertisements, the cords have an advantage over free weights and some other resistance bands because they place more stress on the muscle at the ideal time.
Despite these claims, we found skeptical reviews from serious bodybuilders, most of whom say using resistance bands -- while better than not exercising at all -- can't substitute for free weights or gym machines. On the other hand, we found some positive reviews noting that resistance band setups are convenient and compact -- a useful home accessory even for people who go to a gym. Overall, we didn't find a huge consensus on how well it performs, but as with many home gyms, most reviewers say it works well enough. Will you get as ripped as the guy on TV? The likelihood is pretty slim.
Reviews confirm that the Tower 200 frame is sturdy and easy to attach to a door. But we did find several complaints from users about dangerous near-misses when the eyelets or plastic ends of the bands broke, causing the band to snap loose. This quality-control issue seems to be the main drawback cited users in reviews, yet Body By Jake Global LLC receives a grade of A-minus from the Better Business Bureau, where it has been an accredited business since 2002. Note that once the 30-day trial period is over, only the frame is covered by the limited warranty.
We found the best reviews of the Tower 200 doorway gym at YouTube, where a reviewer compares it to the similar Weider X-F Factor, and in forum discussions at BodyBuilding.com. Detailed single-product reviews at AssociatedContent.com and Epinions.com provide perspective from at-home exercisers. A brief forum discussion at Calguns.net compares the Tower 200 to a less expensive resistance set. We found one anonymous but very irate complaint about breakage at Complaints.com.
This user review includes a brief video and detailed text comparing the Tower 200 with another doorway gym, the Weider X-Factor (*Est. $100). The Tower 200 is quieter, with better pulleys, and offers higher maximum resistance. The Tower 200 is also more apt to fit on a door. The X-Factor provides a longer range of motion with a more consistent resistance throughout. The reviewer can't tell which device is more durable, and warranty information for both seems vague. About 50 readers add comments.
Review: Tower 200 vs. Weider X-Factor, "mxracer3651", Jan. 23, 2010
This forum discussion starts with a positive review of the Tower 200 door gym, but also includes comments from less enthusiastic buyers -- including reports of eyelets breaking on a 25-pound resistance band. The company replied to complaints, saying that only the frame is covered by the warranty after the first 30 days. Some contributors say the Tower 200 is good for beginners, people with a small frame, or as a supplement to gym workouts -- but no one seems to think that it's adequate by itself for building a lot of muscle. Another forum thread at this site recommends less expensive solutions, such as Bodylastics resistance bands.
Review: Tower 200 Review, Contributors to BodyBuilding.com
This reviewer gives the Tower 200 a grade of B, saying its main advantages are convenience and a space-saving design, but that you can achieve good results with less expensive equipment. He notes that after six months of use, the resistance bands are showing some wear.
Review: Body By Jake Tower 200 Review, Michael Snow, Dec. 21, 2009
The sole user reviewing the Tower 200 here says she prefers it to the various other exercise band setups she's used. She notes that 30 minutes is a more realistic estimate than 11 minutes, for running through all the exercises.
Review: Body By Jake Tower 200, Contributor to Epinions.com, Feb. 15, 2010
This brief forum discussion compares the Tower 200 with several other home exercise systems that use resistance bands. The top choice here is the Bodylastics set, which has a 300-pound maximum resistance.
Review: Body By Jake -- Tower 200 Home Gym and Other Rubber Band Systems, Contributors to Calguns.net
This irate buyer has three main complaints: first, that the resistance bands break and pose danger (one almost broke his foot); second, that the company is trying to charge him more after he's already paid in full; and third, that customer service calls involve long waits.
Review: Body By Jake -- Tower 200 -- !!!Scam!!!, Contributors to Complaints.com, Jan. 16, 2010
7. Better Business Bureau
Body By Jake Global LLC, the company that distributes the Tower 200, is given a grade of A-minus. It has been an accredited business since 2002. Over the last 36 months, Body By Jake has received 32 complaints and all of them were resolved, demonstrating good responsiveness.
Review: Body By Jake Global LLC, Editors of Better Business Bureau