The Bowflex HVT (or Hybrid Velocity Trainer) is a cardio and strength training machine that provides a wide variety of workouts and training options that can get your heart pounding or light up your muscles like a Christmas tree. It has a small and compact frame with a durable platform to engage in a wide variety of lifts.
If you are short on space but are longing for a workout that is unique, versatile, and engaging- this machine is a great choice.
What makes this machine unique from other workout stations is that it drops the weight stack and instead replaces it with a centralized flywheel for organic resistance that requires little ongoing maintenance.
It also includes an easy-to-use LCD screen that comes with pre-programmed workouts catered to circuits, HIIT, or overall strength building.
Excellent rubber grips
Great for cardio or strength training
Flywheel uses magnetic resistance for strength training
Affordable price point
The display includes free workout programs
Free Bowflex HVT app includes 50 additional video workouts
Difficult to set up
Cardio workouts? Check. Circuit training? Check. Strength training? Check. The Bowflex HVT is a machine that can do it all. Often, users have to determine whether they want to invest in a machine that is geared more towards cardio, or more towards strength training. However, the unique and innovative design of this machine provides users with both!
It is built with three sets of cable pulleys that are attached to a central flywheel. There is a set of narrow cables at the top, a pair of central wide pulleys in the middle, and a set of pulleys at the base of the unit. The top cables are designed to activate all those muscles in your arms and upper back.
I like to use them for curls, flys, pull-downs, and tricep extensions. The pace that you set for these workouts determines the intensity. If you are looking for a good pump, adjust the tension via the magnetic adjustments along the back of the unit.
The bottom pair of pulleys is where the magic really happens. These pulleys are designed to activate the muscles in your legs, and they are incredibly effective. Most users opt for the bottom pulleys for lifts such as rows or curls, but they can also be used to improve your deadlift form.
I like to tinker around with my stance and use these pulleys for straight, sumo, and even Romanian deadlifts (which I am always a little reluctant to try with a straight bar).
What makes the Bowflex HVT unique is that instead of using a weight stack to provide users with resistance, it instead uses a centralized flywheel. For cardio work, this flywheel increases the difficulty the faster that you move.
This style of resistance helps to shed calories with fast interval workouts and requires very little tinkering with the adjustments to the tension on the line. If you want to sculpt killer muscles, simply pull the line quicker. For a nice and easy workout, pull the cables slower.
You may be wondering how a machine that uses a simple cardio-inspired flywheel can also provide strength-training workouts. Sure, a simple flywheel can sculpt muscle, but how can it build strength? The answer to this question is found behind the flywheel.
What makes this design unique is that it also uses magnets on the flywheel to make pulling the cables a lot harder. You can adjust the tension to the flywheel by placing the magnets close to the wheel. This design provides users with up to 16 levels of intense resistance that is perfect for powerlifting and bodybuilders as well.
It’s super important that this machine utilizes firm yet comfortable grips, and Bowflex has you covered. The handles are composed of a super durable rubber material that holds up quite well over the years. Plus, the use of rubber provides a premium grip, even as your hands start to sweat.
When engaging in cable work, I sometimes find that my hands fail to be before my muscles burn out. The rubber grips on this design have a modest give to them and I can really squeeze them in place to prevent hand fatigue and blisters. The handles are simple, but they are incredibly effective.
The Bowflex HVT boasts a bright backlit screen that is easy to read at a glance. If you just want to pop on the machine and burn through a few quick sets, the screen automatically tracks your progress.
However, if you want to use a pre-programmed workout setting, Bowflex makes it super easy to set without the need of cracking open the user manual.
The console of this unit has 4 central buttons that make it easy to select from one of the preprogrammed workout settings without digging through menus. The buttons include Sprint, Circuit, Builder, or Manual.
What I also love about the central console of this screen is that it also allows you to make adjustments to the tension on the flywheel. By turning the tension knob, you push the magnets on the back of the unit close to the wheel and increase the resistance to build muscle.
This design is also Bluetooth 4.0 compatible with most smartphones. This means that you can pair this machine with many of your existing health apps on your phone to track your progress.
I highly suggest downloading the free Bowflex HVT app for access to more complex workouts that will help you get the most out of your machine.
The additional features offered on this machine are small but make a big difference. The machine comes equipped with a water bottle holder to keep you hydrated, as well as a place to place a tablet or smartphone.
To me, the tablet holder is an amazing feature. I suggest downloading the Bowflex HVT app and playing a video workout on the app. Place your tablet into the secure holder (placed conveniently at eye-level and is able to be adjusted), and follow along with a trainer-inspired workout. These features might be small, but make a world of difference as you work out!
While this machine is considered to be compact, it will take up a bit of room in your home gym. When you take into account the versatility of this machine and how many muscle groups and exercises it hits in one unit, it eliminates the need to invest in other machines for your small space.
As far as the footprint is concerned, this machine is quite small. It measures to be 65 inches long and around 45 inches wide. It’s important to note that it stands to be 83 inches tall, which is a few inches shy of 7 feet. Be sure that you take measurements of your ceiling to ensure that you have enough ceiling clearance for this tall design.
What I also love about this machine is that it boasts a high weight capacity. It can comfortably accommodate users that weigh up to 300 pounds.
If you weigh over 300 pounds the machine won’t burst into flames or snap in half, but it will suffer in overall durability as well as stability.
I was pleasantly surprised at the super affordable price tag of this unit. With all of the advanced features and versatile design that target every muscle group and workout style, the price tag clocks in at under 4 digits.
To get the same level of cardio and strength training, you would often have to invest in more than one machine.
However, the Bowflex HVT combines heart-pumping cardio workouts with complex strength training to help you shed pounds and build muscle, while also taking it pretty easy on your bank account.
This machine is incredibly popular and often out of stock, so be sure to set an alert when it becomes available so you can pounce on this amazing deal!
What makes it unique is that the pulley system also comes with a magnetic resistance option that is perfect for powerlifters looking to build muscle mass and overall strength.
The user-friendly design is perfect for beginners and scales with you as you increase your endurance and strength.
Overall, I would recommend this machine to pretty much anyone that has a fitness goal in mind. If weight loss is your number one goal, the HIIT and circuit settings on this machine are perfect for shedding pounds while keeping our workouts new and exciting.
If you are looking to build strength, the 16 levels of magnetic resistance feel very similar to using a weight stack and can be adjusted with the turn of a knob.