If getting up at the crack of dawn and dragging yourself, half asleep, to the gym doesn’t excite you, don’t worry; it doesn’t excite anyone.
Rather than forcing yourself to leave the comfort of your home, waste gas, wait in traffic, and wait in line for everyone else that wants to use the machines in the gym, why not work out at home?
How? With a home gym that brings the weight room to your spare room. Enter Bowflex home gym: a comprehensive fitness system that allows you to perform a workout at the comfort of your own home. On this page, I've put together some helpful information to consider when choosing the best Bowflex home gym for your needs.
Quick Overview: Our Top 5 Bowflex Home Gyms
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
Choosing a Bowflex model
Well, since every health organization on the planet touts the benefits of working out, it’s kind of a no-brainer that you should get into this habit. Since Bowflex has been selling this equipment since the 1980s, it’s safe to assume they’ve developed a good product that stands the test of time.
Over years of product development, Bowflex has designed multiple versions of their home gym equipment, each one boasting more advanced features than the last.
Currently, most models make use of two technologies; Power Rod and Spiraflex. Both allow users to create varying levels of tension on the muscle while performing resistance training movements.
Power Rod Vs. Spiraflex technology
Power Rod technology derives its resistance from flexible rods that extend from the machine.
Users perform each exercise through varying degrees of resistance: the beginning of the move is easier, while the end of the movement is usually more difficult due to increased tension on the rods.
Because the resistance provided by these rods varies throughout the movement, it may be necessary to increase the number of reps to create a challenging exercise. Of course, you can also choose to increase the resistance.
Spiraflex is used in the Bowflex Revolution. Spiraflex technology was developed by NASA and provides resistance without the use of gravity.
According to Bowflex Spiraflex provides a linear strength curve which will give you a smooth even resistance throughout the entire motion. The Bowflex Revolution utilizes this technology and allows users to perform over 100 exercises. If you're looking for an advanced machine with a lot of exercises, then you might want to take a look at the Revolution.
Furthermore, you may want to take into account that not every Bowflex machine has an upgradable resistance. This specifically applies to users who want to use their machine for muscle growth.
Users who want to use their machine for muscle growth might experience that after a while some of the exercises get too easy, even at the maximum resistance level. This would be a good moment to upgrade the maximum resistance. So they might want to choose a more advanced model which allows them to upgrade the resistance.
What are the benefits of a Bowflex home gym?
Firstly, the models with Power Rod technology offer resistance without ever having to pick up a dumbbell, barbell, or weight plate. This means you can quickly change from one exercise to another. Plus, this also means its relatively easy to change the level of resistance.
Since Bowflex machines offer anywhere from around 30 to more than 100 exercises, it’s possible to create a complete training session each time you work out. Without the need to make major adjustments to the machine, you can progress through a series of exercises much more efficiently, which is useful for circuit training.
Additionally, these machines are versatile and allow users to perform resistance exercises in a controlled range of motion. Some people claim that the controlled range of motion carries less risk compared to for example free weights.
Lastly, convenience is another consideration when it comes to working out. As humans, we are always on the lookout for convenience. What could be more convenient than working out at the comfort of your own home without the need of several machines? Of course, this is a benefit that applies to most all-in-one workout machines.
So to summarize;
How to use a Bowflex home gym?
Since the Bowflex home gym is so versatile, there are many ways to set up a workout program. They offer strength training, circuit training, and core training, along with a lot of other options. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is to start slow and increase the intensity over time.
Setting up Your Program
Depending on your level of fitness I would start with four to six exercises per workout, covering both upper and lower body. As you become comfortable with the equipment and your muscles have a chance to adapt, you may want to add more exercises or perform more repetitions.
Most models allow you to choose from a certain number of exercises for your upper-body including; bench press, seated row, shoulder press, bicep curl, triceps pushdown, and others.
Lower body movements may include; leg extension, leg curl, calf raise, leg press, and several others. To create a full-body workout, it is necessary to choose exercises that cover all muscle groups, with a focus on the major muscle groups: legs, chest, and back.
Perform your chosen series of exercises three to four times a week for 8-12 repetitions each on nonconsecutive days. This will allow your muscles time to recover in between sessions to ensure you do not overstress them and risk injuring yourself.
Here's a video of someone explaining how to do a bench press exercises on the Xtreme 2SE:
Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. Furthermore, I strongly recommend reading the manual. The manuals from Bowflex are pretty detailed. They also include instructions on how to perform different exercises and most even include workout schedules.
Bowflex Home Gym Models Reviewed (Our top 5 picks)
So how do you know which one is best for your needs? Here are the reviews on five popular models to help you determine which one is best for you.
The PR1000 offers over 30 strength exercises which allow you to train your shoulders, back, abs, chest and lower body. The power rods provide up to 210 pounds of resistance.
Additionally, the PR1000 also includes a rowing machine rail which can be used for rowing. So you can use this machine for strength training as well as cardio training.
Compared to the other Bowflex models the PR1000 is with 84 inches quite long. The fully assembled machine has a length of 84-inches, a width of 38-inches and a height of 82 inches. However, when you’re done with your workout, you can always choose to fold the bench which saves you some room.
- Good for beginners and intermediate users.
- Built-in rowing rail for cardio exercise.
- It is relatively easy to assemble and comes with step-by-step assembly instructions.
- Only provides up to 210 pounds of resistance, so it might be less suited for advanced users. You can’t upgrade the resistance on this model.
- When fully assembled and in use, it is relatively long.
In some way, the PR3000 is a more advanced version of the PR1000. It has over 50 strength exercises and a standard resistance of 210 pounds, which can be upgraded to 310 pounds. However, it doesn’t have a rowing rail.
The fact that it has an upgradeable resistance and no rowing rail might be interesting for more advanced users who may want to upgrade the maximum resistance level, but don’t necessarily need a rowing rail.
- More than 50 strength training exercises.
- Upgradeable resistance up to 310 Lbs, which might be useful for more serious users.
- Does not have a cardio rowing feature like the PR1000.
The Bowflex Blaze offers over 60 exercises and to provide resistance; it also makes use of power rod technology. The owners manual gives step-by-step instructions with pictures on how to perform 66 exercises, which will probably be enough for most users to vary their training.
Furthermore, it provides up to 210 pounds of resistance and also includes a sliding seat so that you can use the Blaze as a rowing machine. This machine has the option to upgrade the maximum resistance to either 310 or 410 pounds, which might be useful for more advanced users.
- You can upgrade the maximum resistance to 410 Lbs.
- It has a sliding seat for cardio rowing.
- The Blaze provides over 60 exercises.
- Might be a bit difficult for some people to assemble.
The Xtreme 2SE offers over 70 strength training exercises and 210 pounds of resistance. It also comes with the option to upgrade the resistance to either 310, or 410 pounds. The option to upgrade might be useful if you get stronger.
The exercises which you can perform on the 2SE vary a lot. For example, it has an integrated angled lat bar and lat tower, which can be used to strengthen your shoulders and back. Or you can use the leg extension to train your legs. So you probably won’t get bored anytime soon.
- The machine has over 70 exercises.
- The resistance is upgradeable.
- It has more leg exercises than most models.
- No built-in cardio rowing seat. Although, you can perform seated rows by using the hand grips as you sit in front of the machine.
The BodyTower comes equipped with handgrips and sling straps for performing abdominal work-outs and has easily-adjustable horizontal bars to vary the workout intensity.
- Well-suited for upper-body workouts
- Includes sling straps for abdominal work-outs.
- At 113-pounds it's probably easier to move from one room to another.
- The compact design might make it easier to find a good spot for the machine.
- It does not offer many lower body exercises.
- You have to use your body weight, which means you’ll have fewer resistance training options. Obviously, this also means that there’s no upgradeable resistance.
In my opinion, The Bowflex Blaze is the winner. While it may not offer quite as many exercises as the Xtreme 2SE, it does offer over 60 exercises and also has the cardio rowing feature.
If you’re looking for a machine that offers a full-body workout, you probably will want to have a cardio option on the list of features. Since this model offers the ability to perform cardio rows, it allows users to design effective circuit training workouts with a cardio component.
Another attractive feature of this model is the relatively large amount of leg exercises. Lower-body training is often overlooked, so the amount of leg exercises is just one more reason why in my opinion the Blaze is the clear winner.
Since this model also offers upgradeable resistance, it is suitable for both beginners and advanced users. If you’re a beginner or advanced user on the hunt for a versatile machine that’s user-friendly and will help you achieve results, then the Blaze could be a great option!