Best Bowflex Home Gym Equipment Reviewed
Not everyone has the time to visit a gym every few days of the week, which is why the popularity of home gyms is steadily growing. But when it comes to actually building a gym, you might be left feeling lost, or confused. Which brand works the best, what if I buy poor equipment? And so on, and so forth. This is where Bowflex comes in!
Bowflex is one of the most well known and respected companies in the home fitness market. They are highly regarded for their innovative gear, as well as the high quality of their products. Even though they have branched into other areas, the basis of the brands is home gyms. In this article, we provide a comprehensive review of the best models in the Bowflex stable of home gyms.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research
70 Different Exercises
Ab Crunch Harness
Upgradeable By 200 Pounds
- XTREME 2SE
- Result Treadmill
- SelecTech 552
- U6161 Upright Bike
- Revolution Upgrade
- Blaze Home Gym
- SelectTech Dumbbell Stand
- 5.1 Adjustable Weight Bench
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Bowflex Home Gyms
1. XTREME 2SE
70 Different Exercises
Ab Crunch Harness
Upgradeable By 200 Pounds
No Instructional Video
The Bowflex X2SE is a mid-range home gym that sits between the two extremes of the PR1000 and the Revolution. It comes with the standard 210 pounds of power rod resistance. Unlike the PR1000, however, you can upgrade to either 310 or 410 pounds. You can do around 70 exercises on the X2SE, which is more than double that of the PR1000.Read more
It comes with high low and medium pulleys to allow you to work your body from a variety of angles. The maximum user weight of the X2SE is 300 pounds. Its footprint is 53 x 49 x 82 feet, which is relatively modest, making it a good fit for people with limited apartment space. The unit weighs in at 185 pounds, which is considerably less than most competing home gyms thanks to the power rods being very lightweight. This unit comes with an ab crunch shoulder harness and a squat bar. You are also able to purchase the following accessories: leg press, stirrup handle, ankle strap. The change between exercises is quick and easy on this machine. We were disappointed that it does not come with an instructional video that shows you how to use the machine.
2. Result Treadmill
Comfort Tech Design
Extra Spacious Running Path
Handrail Speed And Incline Controls
Heart Rate Monitor
If you have no time to go outside to run or jog, but still feel that craving for some good ol’ cardio, then the result Treadmill is just what you need! This is not your regular run of the mill treadmill though. The Result series BXT216 is a high-quality treadmill, providing a supreme running experience unlike any other.Read more
The treadmill can be connected to multiple devices via Bluetooth, capturing your fitness journey. You can sync it with the result Series App, or with the RunSocial app that gives you the chance to run through 19 locations with 27 routes, and you can do so alongside your friends! The Comfort Tech design absorbs the impact forces as your feet land on it, saving you from achy joints and bad knees. The running path is super spacious, measuring in at 22” x 60”, simulating the freedom you experience when you run outside. Although the treadmill does look massive, it can be stored away with ease. The Soft Drop design promises safety with a gas shock folding system that lands the running path softly on the ground. The 9”, the full-color LCD screen has 11 simplified “push and go” programs, and a burn meter lets you see just how well you’re doing, and lets you adjust your sessions to your likes. It also has a 4.0 CHP continuous horsepower monitor. Integrated handrail speed and incline controls allow you to control your session, negating any chances of you injuring yourself. The integrated grip heart rate sensors and chest strap monitor your heart for any abnormalities and give you some insight on the phase you’re in. A USB charging port, mp3 player and in-console speakers make running a lively and cheerful occasion.
Compact & Foldable
Horizontal, Incline & Decline Bench
More than 30 exercises
210 Pounds of resistance
Built-in rowing machine
Resistance Level Not Upgradeable
Limited Negative Resistance
The Bowflex PR1000 was brought out by Bowflex in 2008. A decade later it remains one of their most popular home gym models. This is one of Bowflex’s budget home gyms. However, it retains the high manufacturing standards that the company is known for. The framing is constructed from high-grade commercial steel, with aircraft quality cabling throughout. High-quality Durafirm leather padding covers the seat and back pads.Read more
The power rod resistance level on the PR1000 maxes out at 210 pounds. This is one of the Bowflex models in which you are not able to upgrade to a higher resistance level. That means that it is possible to outgrow this machine as your strength level increases. The resistances come in the standard 5, 10, 30 and 50-pound power rod increments.
The Bowflex PR1000 allows you to perform in excess of 30 exercises. You are able to do all of the standard weight exercises that you know from the gym including the bench press, lat pulldowns, shoulder press, and bicep curls. You also get a rowing rail that adds a cardio aspect to your workout.
The PR1000 is compact and portable. It can be folded for ease of storage. Bowflex recommends taking out the power rods before folding the unit up, so you will also have to store these away somewhere. The dimensions of the PR1000 when setting it up for use are 84 x 38 x 81 inches. The minimum floor-space that is recommended is 103 x 80 x 82 inches. The shipping weight of the unit is 148 pounds.
4. SelecTech 552
Comfortable Rubber Handle
Weight Limited To 52.5 Pounds
Length Of Dumbbell Awkward
Here’s everything that you get with the SelecTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell set: Weight Range of 5-52.5 pounds per dumbbell; Adjustable in increments of 2.5 pounds for first 25 pounds; Adjustable in increments of 5 pounds after 25 pounds; 15 weight settings as follows: 5. 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25,30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 52.5 pounds; Bonus workout DVD included with purchase; 6-weeks Fitness Results Guarantee; 2-year warranty; Dimensions of 8 inches (W) x 9 inches (H) x 15.75 (L). So, as you can see, the dumbbells truly have a lot to offer!Read more
There is no provision to add to the resistance on this dumbbell set. That means that it is possible to outgrow the set as you get stronger. To keep challenging yourself at that point you will have to upgrade to the SelecTech 1090. The 1090 goes up to 90 pounds per dumbbell. Both of the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells make use of the SelecTech dial adjustment system. There is a dial at the end of each dumbbell which allows you to easily select the weight you require. Do the same on the other end of the dumbbell and then simply lift he weight off the rack. This adjustment can be done in a matter of seconds.
The SelecTech dumbbells are both high quality products that are made to Bowflex’s exacting standards. The base and stand are very solid while the brackets and core are made from heavy duty metal. The plates have a thick plastic coating that makes them very hard wearing. Bowflex adjustable dumbbells have maintained the rounded look of conventional dumbbells. This is in contrast to the much squarer Powerblock brand, which is the main competitor in the marketplace. This makes Bowflex an easier transition from traditional dumbbells than Powerblock. The major negative on both the 552 and the 1090 is that they are longer than conventional dumbbells. At around 16 inches in length, it tends to get in your way when you are doing such exercises as seated dumbbell curls and side lateral raises. When you buy either the SelecTech 552 or 1090, you will get an immediate 6-week Fitness Results Guarantee. If you don’t like the way that they feel, you can return it in the first six weeks. Over and above that you get a 2-year warranty on parts and labor.
5. U6161 Upright Bike
29 Unique Training Programs
Manual Not Clear
Bikes are a pretty standard piece of equipment seen in every gym, so it’s only logical that you get one to complete your own personal little gym. The bike delivers quite a smooth ride, but it also gives you plenty of workout programs to make things a little bit harder (or a lot harder). The bike has Bluetooth, so you can connect it with the Bowflex app, or many other apps to track your progress.Read more
As we mentioned, the bike has Bluetooth connectivity. The connectivity is enhanced, and it will not break up once you set it, making the results you get true. One thing that makes it stand out from the crowd is the Mixed-Reality Training. This is actually an app, called RideSocial, that lets you explore both long and short courses, all around the globe, so you get quite an immersive experience. The app also tracks your distance and pace, giving you insight into what you need to fix, or what you need to keep doing. The seat is quite large, padded, and it has a fore and an aft, so you can easily adjust it to your weight and height. There are 29 unique programs which you can choose from, like interval training, weight loss, and cardio programs, but if you do not like any of these, you can create your own program to fit your unique needs. 25 levels of resistance give you a solid challenge as you ride the day away. The display is LCD, and it’s DualTrack, allowing you to look at your tablet or newspaper while you track your time, calories, and distance.
Upgradable To 310 Pounds
Multi-Use Grips And Cuffs
Heavy-duty Steel Frame
Upholstered Roller Cushions
No Squat Bar
The PR3000 is a super-versatile machine that works like a little gym all on its own. It’s a total-body home gym with over 50 different exercises, that do not require you to change the cables in between them, saving you precious time.Read more
The power rod resistance here provides you with as little as 5 pounds to as much as 210 pounds. The machine can be upgraded to 310 pounds, giving you even more time with it. If you outgrow the machine though, you will need to switch to stronger machines or to free weights. But that shouldn’t be happening soon, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy your machine. The machine has a placard that guides you, and multi-use hand grips and ankle cuffs that aid you in your quest to your better self. The heavy-duty steel frame makes the machine sturdy and super-durable. Upholstered roller cushions hug your legs and make leg curls and extensions comfy.
7. Revolution Upgrade
80 Pound Weight Plates
Does Not Add Bulk
Poor Quality Control
If you keep working out diligently, your strength will start to improve, and gradually you will be able to take on more and more weight. Sadly, the Revolution does not have infinite pound options, and it’s quite likely that you will outgrow the machines completely. Luckily, Bowflex thought of that too, and so they rolled out an upgrade for your Revolution machine, to keep you going until you can’t go anymore!Read more
These weights have 80 pounds, so there will be more than enough to keep you busy. It boosts the resistance from 220 pounds to 300 pounds for your upper body, and to 600 pounds for your lower body. A recipe for optimal muscle building! The cutting-edge technology makes the weights look like free weight plates, but as you actually pick them up you will notice that they are not metal at all! They work completely independent of gravity, so they won’t add any bulk or unnecessary weight. They are easy to install and will allow you to continue on your training journey as soon as possible.
8. Blaze Home Gym
Seven Free Workout Regimens
Multiple Cable Positions
Sliding Seat Rail
Comfy Cuffs And Grips
The Blaze Home Gym is also a great example of how versatile a single piece of equipment can be. It offers over 60 exercises that give your body a full workout. The power rods give you up to 210 pounds of resistance, but once you surpass that, you can easily upgrade to 310 or even 410 pounds!Read more
The Blaze Home Gym comes with seven free workout regimens which were specially built by trainers. A sliding seat rail is there to let you row your heart out and to let you do leg-presses until your muscles burn. The multiple cable/pulley positions give you the possibility to try out various custom exercises. The lat bar and squat bar are included here, making the Blaze a complete set. The hand-grips and ankle cuffs have a triple function and are super-comfy. The bench folds up, and the wheels roll smoothly, making the Blaze Gym perfect for small apartments as well.
9. SelectTech Dumbbell Stand
Large Media Rack
Compatible With SelectTech Dumbbells
Poor Quality Hardware
No Assembly Instructions
No gym is truly complete without a rack for the dumbbells, and this is exactly what this stand is - a neat and organized location where you can leave your SelectTech Dumbbells at. It has a large media rack, where you can put your smart device, for easy exercise tracking, or for listening to music and many other things smart devices offer.Read more
The media rack is hugged by Teflon, that grips your device in place, keeping it safe from crashing down and breaking. The rack is ergonomically designed, with your back in mind - you won’t have to bend down so much to pick up the dumbbells, exercising only your arms. The rack is compatible with the SelectTech 552, 560, and 1090 dumbbells, so it will keep up with you as you progress to heavier sets. It’s easy to assemble, and it comes with wheels for easy storage.
10. 5.1 Adjustable Weight Bench
Six Different Positions
410 Pounds Maximum Load
Removable Leg Brace
Gap Between Cushions
If you do not want an overly complicated machine and want just a simple, easy to use bench then this is the product just for you. The Bowflex 5.1 Adjustable Bench will definitely be an amazing addition to any home gym. The bench can be easily adjusted to six different positions, the inclines measuring from a 17 to a 90-degree incline.Read more
A removable leg hold-down brace supports the bench as you workout. This is to prevent the machine from sliding around as you exercise, and also to prevent you from hurting yourself. The shape of the bench corrects your posture and stabilizes the positioning for a completely safe session. The frame has a 30-year warranty, while the upholstery has a one-year warranty. It has convenient wheels which make it easy to store the machine away.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
As you roll the newly-purchased equipment into your house, you find yourself staring at it in both awe and confusion. The seemingly endless amount of gimmicks, features, and settings are all there to help you out, but they might baffle you before anything else! This is why we took it upon ourselves to help you use the equipment with ease.
First things first, you must set a weekly routine. Make it so that you get to use the machines at least two or three times a week. Just like with your regular gym session, you should work on different muscle groups on separate days, in order to avoid exhaustion. The machines are capable of giving you a full-body workout, so you can easily set one day for legs, the other arms and you get the idea.
Next, you must find the resistance levels that suit you. You must find a level that forces you to exhaust yourself but doesn’t let your muscles fail you within one set since that could be a recipe for disaster. A muscle fail is when you barely finish your last repetition, if at all. Your goal is to find a level for each muscle group that lets you perform 12 to 15 repetitions per set. If you are not able to perform the minimum 12 reps, go for lower resistance. Go slowly! Do not rush into stronger resistance before you are ready to do so since this could set your progress back. Increase the resistance when you are able to finish the set with ease.
You have to focus on your form when you use the machines. They are machines, but they do not work like your regular gym machine - they allow you to move freely, making it possible to move throughout whole motions. If you want to build your muscles properly, you must work out in proper form. For example, a lat pull-down will look much different on Bowflex machines than it usually looks on regular machines.
Of course, a proper diet and drinking enough fluids is a must, if you want to see some progress. You should also perform cardio exercises, to burn excess calories and fat!
The Power Rod system is based upon the workings of a bow and arrow. When you draw back the bowstring the effort required is minimal for the first third of the action. Then, it gets progressively harder until, during the final third of the pull, you are having to use full effort. It is similar to the Power Rods. During the first third of the movement, you will feel about 30 percent of the resistance. This will progressively increase until you are feeling two-thirds of the resistance at about the halfway mark and one hundred percent of it through the final third of the movement. The power rod system provides you with a very smooth and fluid range of motion. In that regard, it is easier on your joints and connective tissue than free weights.
The power rods themselves are made from a composite polymer material. They are sheathed with a protective rubber coating. Each individual rod is weighted, with typical weightings being as follows: 5, 10, 30, 50. Most Bowflex home gyms provide you with a total potential max resistance of 210 pounds, with some of them being upgradeable to 310 and 410 pounds with the purchase of additional power rods. The biggest benefit of the power rod system is that it uses an elastic resistance similar to that of a rubber band.
Let’s face it - there isn’t a single piece of home gear, no matter how great it is, that will help you get into shape unless you are willing to work for the results. You must make the necessary diet and lifestyle adjustments as well. Bowflex gear is not much different than your old, regular home gym equipment. If you use it regularly, it will build your muscles and burn calories, simple as that. As we said, the key here is routine, otherwise, you won’t see any results!
You might wonder about the effectiveness of Bowflex machines when you first look at them - they are relatively small and don’t come with the heavyweights and plates other pieces of equipment usually come with. Do not disregard the machines because they are weird - instead, embrace their weirdness because they are incredibly versatile. Instead of using gravity, as regular machines do, Bowflex machines use resistance to help you build muscle. This resistance comes from flexible rubber rods, or power rods, as they like to call them. The intensity of your workout can be changed by adjusting the resistance on the aforementioned rods. The resistance ranges from just 5 pounds to a whopping 410 pounds!
A program using elastic tubing resistance can provide similar benefits to a program that uses free-weight resistance, such as increased muscle strength, increased muscle tone and size and also decreased body fat. In addition, a program that uses elastic tubing resistance can also provide benefits that are not offered by free-weight resistance programs, such as more functional strength, better injury prevention, greater ability to change muscle emphasis during exercises, greater muscle power development and easier use. So how does the power rod technology compare to conventional free weights? As already mentioned, you do not get the true resistance for the full range of motion on the Power Rod system. For that reason, it is not a true equivalent to the same weight on a plate. When you are doing a bench press with a bar the hardest part of the movement occurs about a third of the way up. Once you get past that point, it gets easier. This is the opposite of the Power Rod system. As a result, the two exercises will feel very different. Many people prefer the Power Rods, but many others find it too unnatural. The Power Rod system does not do as good a job as free weight in providing negative resistance. The negative part of my exercise is the key to building muscle, which makes free weights a smarter choice if serious muscle building is your goal.
Truth be told, none of these machines come cheap. So it’s only logical to worry about the durability of the machines that you will be purchasing - once you invest in them, they better last long, right?
These machines are built to last, that is for sure. They all have a sturdy steel frame, durable pads on the seats and are usually reinforced, able to withstand a lot of pressure. This does not mean that they will last forever. Once you check out their website, you will notice that they offer many spare parts. This should let you know which parts are the first to give in, and should also give you some peace of mind since you won’t have to stop using the whole machine if something insignificant breaks. If you use the machines more often than not, expect them to break! Nothing lasts forever. As far as user reviews on the power rod system go, there have been a number of reports that they tend to lose their resistance over time. The rods do come with a 5-year warranty, but that coverage does not include normal wear and tear. Treat your machines gently, and they will serve you for many years to come.
If you researched the brand before, you are probably aware that there have been some recalls in the past. This could set off troublesome thoughts, where you might start to wonder whether the machines are truly safe or not. Truth be told, if you practice proper form and technique, you won’t have any troubles. But the Bowflex Power Pro XTL should be mentioned as a particularly risky machine.
The recall we just mentioned happened thanks to this specific machine. It was recalled way back in January 2004. There were a few problems it had, the first one appearing when the machine was used in an inclined position. The backboard bench of the machine had a tendency to collapse unexpectedly, breaking completely and causing injury. Bowflex Received as much as 70 reports that claimed this particular problem, and 59 of those reports also mentioned neck and back injuries. The lat tower on the machine was also problematic. Once you being used, the tower was capable of rotating forward, falling on the head, neck or shoulders of the unsuspecting users. Most of these injuries were minors, although there were a few that required stitches! You can still find this machine in second-hand stores, but they come with repair kits, which Bowflex sent out to each and every user that had the machine. The kit has a steel bar, which supported the bench, and a steel bracket that gave support to the tower. All in all, if you avoid this particular model, the chances of you injuring yourself on one of these machines are pretty slim!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
You already know that working out is great for your body, but did you know that it can do wonders for the brain as well? Believe it or not, aerobic exercise can actually bolster thinking more than brain exercises and thinking itself! When you work out regularly, you stimulate neurogenesis or the birth of new neurons. So the next time you go to exercise in your brand new home gym, you will be building the “muscles” of your brain too!
Other Factors to Consider
The Bowflex concept of polymer rod resistance came from an Ethiopian engineering student, who designed the resistance method after being inspired by bamboo bows in his native land. Bowflex of America was incorporated in 1986, releasing its first product, the Bowflex 2000X shortly thereafter. The new technology became a hit and the company changed its name to Bowflex, Inc. and became a publicly listed company.
New versions of the Bowflex were regularly rolled out. In 1999, the name of the company was again changed, this time to Direct Focus, Inc. The company then purchased several other fitness companies, including Nautilus, Schwinn and Stairmaster. They are now known as Nautilus, Inc. There have been a number of recalls of Bowflex products. In January 2004, 420,000 Bowflex machines were recalled due to mechanical problems. Another 800,000 were recalled in December of that year. The Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that the seats of Power Pro Bowflex machines could break and that the incline of the bench was potentially unsafe. In December 2007, 68,000 home gyms were recalled, with another 78,000 in 2009. There have been no recalls of Bowflex home gyms since then.
The Bowflex range of home gyms has introduced and cemented into the marketplace a unique form of resistance that millions of users prefer over traditional barbells, dumbbells, and cables. This technology is built around flexible polymer power rods. These lightweight, compact rods provide you with the same resistance that you get from heavyweight plates.
The Bowflex range of home gyms offer a viable alternative to the conventional weights and plates home gym model. The Bowflex Power Rod system is a tried and proven resistance method, but it cannot fully replicate the feel and resistance of free weights. It’s a good choice for general fitness enthusiasts, but bodybuilders will be better off sticking to traditional barbells and dumbbells. The new Revolution Spiraflex system, however, is another story. This system seems to be on par with traditional training methods, but is a lot lighter and safer to use. If you can afford it, we definitely recommend trying out the Bowflex Revolution.
Frequently Asked Questions
You are most likely getting Bowflex equipment to work on building your muscles, and it’s only natural you wonder about this aspect of the machines. Each and every Bowflex machine can, and will, build your muscle and maintain your mass, but if you use it regularly! The only true limitation you have with the machines is the 410-pound resistance limit. If you are already close to this limit, or you want to build way beyond that, then the Bowflex machines might not be so good for you. Otherwise, go on ahead and hop onto your Bowflex equipment!
As you obviously already guessed this is an exaggeration. Think about it this way - if you add up those 20 minutes, you get only an hour of exercise a week, and since an average session at the gym lasts this much it’s easy to deduce that this is simply not enough. It will take much more than that to get into proper shape. Plus, you also have to think about your diet. If you only focus on working out, you won’t achieve as much as you would by restricting your diet and exercising at the same time.
All of their machines are super versatile, and they could pretty much be the only machines that you need to build muscles. But if you want the best possible results, you need to combine their machines with cardio activities as well, like walking or jogging. If you do not have the time to do this, then you might need more than one piece of equipment to reach your goal!
The Bowflex equipment is truly a good choice if you are a beginner, or if you are recovering from injuries, thanks to the adjustable resistance levels. You can set the limit for as little as 5 mere pounds, which is not enough to hurt you additionally, and can actually aid your healing progress. The pulley system on the machines is also smooth and stress-free, so your injuries will be definitely spared.
As we mentioned, the machines are quite versatile, so you might wonder whether or not the model actually matters. Truth be told, it does matter. The older models were flimsy, ineffective and a safety hazard. The newer models are improved, durable and much better, so you should consider buying newer models to get the most out of them!