Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym Review

updated August 3, 2018

Bowflex have been revolutionizing the home fitness industry for more than three decades. Their power rod resistance system has become well known as a replacement to the traditional iron plate forms of resistance. The PR1000 home gym was introduced to the market in 2008 and has proven to be one of Bowflex’s most popular selling home gym offerings.

In this article we go in depth on the Bowflex PR1000 so you can determine if it is a good fit for your home gym.

PROS

  • Compact & Foldable
  • Horizontal, Incline & Decline Bench
  • Lat Pulldown
  • More than 30 exercises
  • 210 Pounds of resistance
  • Built in rowing machine

CONS

  • Resistance level cannot be upgraded
  • Limited negative resistance

Features

Power Rods

bowflex pr1000 home gym

The most identifiable feature of any Bowflex home gym is its use of flexible polymer rods to provide the resistance. The great advantage of these rods is that they are lightweight and compact when compared to using traditional iron plates. These power rods provide you with a very smooth and fluid movement, which will prevent connective tissue injury.

Bowflex power rods are made from a composite material. The rods are sheathed with a protective rubber coating. Each rod has a weight rating.

The power rod weightings on the PR1000 are as follows:

  • 5 pounds
  • 10 pounds
  • 30 pounds
  • 50 pounds

The combined potential maximum weight allowance on the PR1000 is 210 pounds, which is not a great deal if you are intent on building muscle. You are unable to add extra resistance to the system, so you are not able to progressively increase your workouts over as period of time.​

The power rod system operates a lot like a bow and arrow. As you load the bow by pulling back on the string, it gets harder and harder to pull. It’s the same with a power rod. During the first one third of the movement, the resistance is relatively easy, increasing during the second third and reaching a peak during the last one third of your range of motion. This is because the rod gets much tighter at the end of the movement.

​The biggest benefit of the power rod system is that uses an elastic resistance similar to that of a rubber band. A study conducted by Dr. Jim Stoppani, compared the muscular strength and hypertrophy effects of using elastic resistance compared to conventional iron weight training. Here is what Stoppani concluded . . .

bowflex home gym

A program using elastic tubing resistance can provide similar benefits to a program that uses free-weight resistance, such as increased muscle strength, increase muscle tone and size and 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.​

The power rod system feels different than using traditional weight machines. The positive part of the movement (concentric) is more fluid that on normal weight machines. However, the big negative when using power rods is that there is very little in the way of negative, or concentric, resistance. With studies confirming that the eccentric part of the movement actually builds more muscle than the concentric, this is a problem if you are buying a Bowflex power rod gym to build muscle.

The Power Rods have been in use for a long time now. Many user reviews reveal that they are prone to losing their elasticity and resistance over time. Although the rods come with a five year warranty, this does not cover normal wear and tear

30 + Exercises

Bowflex PR1000 leg exercise

The Bowflex PR1000 provides you with the ability to do more than 30 exercises. These include the bench press at all three angles (horizontal, incline, decline), seated lat pulldowns, rear delt rows, scapular rotation, low back extensions, shoulder press, shoulder raise, bicep curls, wrist curls, ab crunches, leg extensions, leg press, calf raises and hip abductions.

The Bowflex PR1000 includes a rowing machine rail. This allows you to add a form of cardio training to your workout program in order to burn fat and get aerobically fit.

Hand & Foot Supports

The PR1000 comes with a range of hand and foot grips to enhance your hold while exercising. Comfortable cushion padded grips allow for a strong, secure hold. You also get a leg press belt which secures around your waist and allows you to safely perform such exercises as the leg press.

Storage

The Bowflex PR1000 can be folded down to a compact size for ease of storage. It is recommended that the power rods be removed from the unit when not in use, so these will also have to be stored. Folding the unit up is quick and easy, however having to attach and detach the power rods every time you use the machine is a little time consuming.

The dimensions of the PR1000 when set up for use are 84 x 38 x 81 inches. The minimum floorspace that is recommended is 103 x 80 x 82 inches. The shipping weight of the unit is 148 pounds.

Warranty

The Bowflex PR1000 comes with the following warranty:

  • 1 year on the body of the machine
  • 5 years on the power rods
  • 60 days on parts

Set Up

Th PR1000 arrives in a box. It is relatively easy to set up. Your purchase arrives with a step-by-step instruction manual. It should take between 90 minutes and two hours to put together. By the way, your purchase also comes with a well written and comprehensive workout guide so you can get started immediately regardless of your experience level.

Built-In Rowing Station

The PR1000 comes with a built-in rowing feature. This allows you to get in an effective cardio workout to complement your strength training. While it is not the best rowing machine out there, it is functional, allowing for a full range of motion to get those calories burning.

Build Quality

The Bowflex PR1000 is a budget model in terms of the Bowflex home gym stable. For a complete home gym that includes a rowing machine that comes in around five hundred dollars, the build on this machine is very good. This is in keeping with the great reputation that Bowflex have earned for themselves over the years.

The framing is made of high quality commercial steel. Tension cables are made from high strength braided steel. The power rods that provide the resistance system are even stronger than steel.

The seat on the PR1000 is very comfortable, making use of a durafirm leather padding. This material is tear resistant and looks great to boot.

Bowflex PR1000 Alternatives

PROS

  • 30+ exercises
  • Well priced
  • Heavy duty steel construction
  • Removable preacher curl pad
  • Weight stack lock

CONS

  • Limited to 150 pound weight stack
Marcy 150 Pound MWM990

The Marcy 150 Pound MWM990 Multifunction gym is a conventional weight stack based home gym that provides you with just as many exercise options as the Bowflex PR1000. It does not include a rowing machine and the weight stack is limited to 150 pounds. However, this machine comes in at a very impressive price point and would be an an ideal set-up for a beginner / intermediate level trainer.

The Marcy MWM990 is made from heavy duty steel tubing and reinforced guard rails to hold the weights in place. A safety lock is added to the weight stack to ensure that your kids don’t have opportunity to play with the weights. The dual action press arms on this machine allow for unilateral action on such exercises as the vertical bench press, pec dec fly and rear delt raise.

This home gym even comes with a removable preacher curl pad that allows you to target your biceps and triceps. It also features leg curl and extension attachments.

Bowflex Blaze Home Gym

The Bowflex Blaze Home Gym is the big brother of the PR1000. It offers twice as many exercises and, although it comes with the same 210 pound power rod resistance capacity as the PR1000, the rods are upgradeable to either 310 pounds or 410 pounds. As with the PR1000, the Blaze also features a rowing machine.

The Bowflex Blaze features a lat tower with an angled lat bar that provides you with a very good lat pulldown experience. It also features an attachable leg extension and leg pulley. The bench seat is fully adjustable to allow you to customize the positioning for your own body. With Blaze you also get a lifetime warranty on the power rods, along with a 5 year warranty on the construction.

The Blaze home gym is quite a bulky unit. With your purchase you get a Workout DVD which provides you with a great workout and training tips. You also get a training manual with full details of every exercise.

Unlike the Marcy MWM990, the Bowflex Blaze does not come with a preacher arm curl attachment.​

Body Solid Powerline Home Gym

The Body Solid Powerline Home Gym is a conventional weight stack home gym that provides you with a 160-pound weight stack. It is constructed from 11-gauge main frame steel. It has a telescopic, chrome plated, adjustable seat post for quick adjustments.

The cabling on the Body Solid home gym is fitted with 2,200 pound tensile strength, military grade aircraft cables with swivel ends that are of very high quality. The footprint of this unit is 42 x 80 x 70 inches. The unit comes with a seated rowing plate to allow you to get a secure placement.

Your purchase of the Body Solid Powerline Home Gym comes with a limited 10-year warranty on the frame and a one year warranty on the parts.

The Body Solid allows you to do about the same number of exercises as the Bowflex PR1000. However, the weight allowance is about 50 pounds lighter.

So, Should You Invest in the Bowflex PR1000?

As we’ve seen, the Bowflex PR1000 provides you with a comprehensive range of exercises, including a form of cardio exercise at a great price. For people who are new to exercise, those looking to tone up or lose body fat, the PR1000 will be a good option. However, people are experienced weight lifters will have to expect a major adjustment curve as they transition to the different type of resistance that comes from power rods. Combine this with the inability to progress beyond 200 pounds, and the lack of eccentric resistance and we have to conclude that the Bowflex PR100 is not the best choice of you are looking to seriously build muscle and boost your strength levels.

Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym Review
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