Bowflex M8 Max Trainer

9.4 score
[Editors rating (9.4)] = (Garage Gym Ideas - Ultimate Home Gym Design) score (9.4)/10

Editor rating: 9.4 / 10
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Editor’s Conclusion
Looking for a unique cardio machine that helps to build muscle as you burn fat? If you have grown tired of the same old cardio machines, the Bowflex M8 Max Trainer is worth checking out.

It takes the muscle burning of a stair stepper and combines it with the fluid motion of an elliptical for an intense cardio experience. The specifically designed pedals boast a unique design that engages your upper body muscle more than any classic cardio machine.

It’s packed with helpful features to keep your workouts engaging, and the user-friendly display logs up to 4 different users making it something that your whole family can use.

Compared to average cardio machines such as treadmills or stationary bikes, the M8 is much smaller and compact and works better in smaller workout spaces.

Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into the advanced features that make the Bowflex M8 Max Trainer a great cardio machine that is worth checking out!
Bowflex M8 Max Trainer Review Facts
Editor's Pros & Cons

Magnetic locking tablet display
Compatible with the JRNY app
A great low-impact cardio workout that also builds strength
Offers up to 20 levels of resistance
Compatible with 4 unique users
The onboard display includes pre-programmed workouts


Slightly expensive
JRNY app requires a monthly membership fee

Key Features


Low impact workouts don’t have to mean easier. What I love most about this machine is that it delivers an intense workout that sheds calories and burns muscles throughout your entire body while taking it easy on your knees and joints.

Part elliptical and part stair-stepper, the M8 Max Trainer makes cardio fun. The pedals on this machine were designed not only to build muscle in your legs but in your upper body as well.

As you move on this machine, your core also gets a little workout as you stabilize yourself. When used with the handlebars, it turns basic cardio into a killer compound workout that leaves no muscle groups left behind.

When used at the lowest setting, it’s a great way to shed calories on those longer workout days. If you are running short on time or just want to fit in some HIIT, simply pop the resistance up a notch to really give those muscle groups a workout.

What makes this machine unique is that it is a great tool for nice and easy recovery days, and easily transforms into a brutal high-intensity workout machine when you only have 10 minutes to squeeze in a workout into your busy day.


The dual LCD and LED screens are easy to read at a glance. While they’re not quite as impressive as many of the full-color touch screen displays seen on modern machines, the simple design helps to keep the price tag low.

The screen may seem a little simple, but it helps to track all of your workout info in an easy-to-read display that helps you achieve your workout goals. It also comes pre-programmed with a few workout programs that automatically adjust the tension on the line as you move through your workout. Each workout option is a little more difficult than the next, which allows you to work up to harder and more challenging workouts.

This display also allows you to program calorie workout goals that automatically shut off once you’ve hit your calorie goal.

If you splurged on a jelly donut at that morning meeting, you can plug those calories into the machine for a special jelly donut-burning workout!

It also tracks other important information such as your speed, resistance levels, time spent on the machine, distance, and even your heart rate. It has an onboard heart rate monitor built into the stationary handlebars, but this HRM monitor is a little less than accurate.

For a more accurate heart rate reading, I suggest investing in a good heart rate monitor and pairing it to this device via Bluetooth.


If you have limited space in your home for cardio machines this is a great option. Compared to your traditional treadmill, this design takes up half as much room.

It measures to be 47.9 inches long, 30.8 inches wide, and stands to be 65.2 inches tall. While it stands taller than it is wide, it works in most workout spaces- even basements with low ceilings.

It stands to be about 5 feet 5 inches tall, which will give even tall users just enough clearance for low ceiling areas.

It’s also important to note that this machine has an impressive max weight capacity of 300 pounds, which will accommodate most users.

When fully assembled, it also weighs in at just shy of 150 pounds. Be sure that you find the perfect spot to set up your machine because the heavyweight and absence of wheels along the base make this machine a bit tricky to move when needed.


The onboard display is fine, but it lacks the advanced features of some of the higher-end options that have a full-color touch screen.

What I love most about this design is that it has a premium tablet rack built right into the machine to load up your favorite workout programs, or just to watch a TV show as you work out.

Other machines out there on the market have a table rack that you simply set your tablet into. These designs work well enough, but you risk them falling off if you accidentally bump your machine.

What I love most about this tablet rack is that it has a top arm that swivels down to lock your tablet in place.

Once it is locked in place, it behaves like it was built right into the machine. It also has a USB charging port on the side of the onboard display that allows you to charge your devices so you don’t run out of juice in the middle of your workout!


You can download the JRNY app right to your tablet and receive customized workouts catered to your workout style and performance level.

Typically, I’m not a fan of subscription apps, but the JRNY app is incredibly versatile and costs less than a monthly gym membership (and it’s also a lot less than a Peloton membership).

What I love most about this app is that it has a large library or workout videos to select from that are geared toward your cardio machine. It also has a recommended workout feature that is similar to recommended videos on YouTube.

It tracks the videos you like and makes new recommendations based upon the videos that you watch the most.

By plugging in a few key pieces of information about yourself and your workout style, the JRNY app also works as a personal trainer.

It provides unique workouts based upon your fitness level and increases the difficulty as you grow stronger.

If you need a little kick in the pants to dial it up a notch, the JRNY app is well worth the subscription cost!


This machine is built like a tank, and clocks in at a pretty steep price point. However, when you compare this machine to similar designs with a color touchscreen display, the overall price point is a little more affordable.

It is a machine that is built to last, comes with helpful additional features to keep your workouts exciting and engaging, and is insanely versatile.

There are few cardio machines out there that provide easy recovery workouts to killer HIIT programs in one small and compact machine.

Comparison to Previous Versions

The Bowflex M8 Max Trainer isn’t the first in the Max Trainer lineup, and it won’t be the last. Bowflex constantly makes sleek changes to this style of a cardio machine without losing the magic of what made the original so special.

Compared to previous versions, the M8 has more resistance levels, connects more users, and has a more durable tablet display case.

The M6 only had 16 resistance levels compared to 20, and it connected 2 users instead of 4. The tablet rack was simple in older designs and didn’t lock your devices securely in place as you worked out. The display between the two is similar, but the M8 looks a little more sleek and modern.

As far as performance is concerned, these two machines are virtually the same. They are both exactly the same size, can accommodate up to 300 pounds, and weigh in just shy of 150 pounds.

The biggest performance difference between the two machines boils down to 4 additional levels of resistance found on the M8.

Another two great Bowflex products we reviewed are the Velocore 16IC Bike and the T7 Treadmill, so make sure to check them out as well.


Feeling a little uninspired to lace up your sneakers to hit the treadmill? Or are your joints begging for a lower impact workout? The Bowflex M8 Max Trainer is insanely popular among the home gym crowd for a very good reason.

It has a smaller footprint that works well in most indoor spaces, and the design of the pedals is kind to your joints. It provides the muscle-building challenge of a stair stepper with the fat-burning design of an elliptical. It’s fun to use and great for both recovery days or HIIT.

If you are on the hunt for a cardio machine that is a little bit different, the Bowflex M8 Max Trainer is worth checking out!