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Bowflex Exercise Equipment System Review


Bowflex Exercise Equipment System Review


Quick Overview
  • Difficulty
  • Cost
  • Trial Period
    6 Weeks

The Bowflex exercise system is a complete workout package that includes both strength training and cardiovascular exercise routines. The program allows you to cut fat, build muscle, strengthen your heart and improve the appearance of your body is as little as six weeks, with under three hours per week devoted to exercise.

By combining the Bowflex exercise program with a healthy diet, you can see results even faster. Bowflex offers a 6-week money back guarantee on their equipment, allowing you to receive a full refund if you don't experience the results you're expecting.

There are four separate Bowflex Home Gym models to choose from, three of which utilize the familiar Power Rod technology that's been a Bowflex standby since the company's beginnings. Power Rods offer smooth resistance and create the feel of free weights without excess inertia and impact.

Bowflex Revolution, the newest and most advanced Home Gym model, eliminates Power Rods in favor of SpiraFlex technology. SpiraFlex uses lightweight, interlocking plates powered by heavy-gauge elastic straps in order to create smooth, linear, easily-adjustable resistance.

One of the biggest advantages of the Bowflex exercise program is the sheer volume of possible exercises, ranging from 30+ with the basic model up to 100+ for the Bowflex Ultimate. Even more exercises are available when you upgrade your Home Gym with attachments.


    • Proven method of building muscle mass and eliminating body fat.
    • Over 100 available exercises, depending on model.
    • Comfortable seat allows for extended exercise.
    • Space requirements are relatively low.
    • Power Rod resistance reduces chance of improper form.
    • Easy to use, even for fitness beginners.
    • Customer support is excellent.
    • Manual contains complete overview of all exercises.
    • Bowflex Home Gyms can be folded up for storage.


    • Some Bowflex Home Gym models are relatively expensive.
    • Assembly can be difficult.
    • Shipping costs for Home Gyms can be pricey due to weight of equipment.
    • Resistance maximums may be too low for some users, unless 410lb resistance upgrade is purchased for approximately $100

Intent of Fitness Program

The Bowflex fitness program is a fully-featured exercise system that can help you lose body fat, build muscle mass and density, increase strength, gain cardiovascular endurance and develop toned definition throughout your entire body. The Bowflex fitness program is centered around the Bowflex Home Gym, which includes models such as the Bowflex Revolution, Bowflex Xtreme SE and Bowflex Classic. The Bowflex fitness program comes with the following items:

  • Bowflex Home Gym
  • Bowflex Workout Guide
  • Instructional DVD
  • Gym-quality Attachments (available separately)

The various Home Gym models available from Bowflex have various features and resistance maximims commensurate with their price points. Some of the key features are as follows:

Bowflex Classic

  • Exercises: 30+
  • Aerobic Rowing: Yes
  • Resistance: Power Rods
  • Resistance Maximum: 210 lbs
  • Includes Leg Developer
  • Includes Lat Tower

Bowflex Xtreme SE

  • Exercises: 65+
  • Aerobic Rowing: No
  • Resistance: Power Rods
  • Resistance Maximum: 210 lbs (or 410 lbs with upgrade)
  • Includes Leg Developer
  • Includes Lat Tower
  • Supports Preacher Curl Attachment
  • Supports Gym-Style Ab Attachment

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE

  • Exercises: 70+
  • Aerobic Rowing: No
  • Resistance: Power Rods
  • Resistance Maximum: 210 lbs (or 410 lbs with upgrade)
  • Includes Leg Developer
  • Includes Lat Tower
  • Includes Quick-Change Power Rod System
  • Supports Preacher Curl Attachment
  • Supports Gym-Style Ab Attachment

Bowflex Revolution

  • Exercises: 100+
  • Aerobic Rowing: Yes
  • Resistance: Spiraflex
  • Resistance Maximum: 220 lbs (or 300 lbs with upgrade)
  • Includes Leg Developer
  • Includes Preacher Curl Attachment
  • Includes Freedom Arms

Primary Areas Worked

The Bowflex workout program is designed to a provide a comprehensive workout regimen that includes strength training, cardiovascular exercise, stretching and more. The various exercise routines target all muscle groups and are intended to promote muscle strength, muscle endurance, muscle power, body composition, balanced strength, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. The Bowflex exercise program emphasizes the importance of creating a customized exercise routine that fits your current physical abilities and fitness goals. The program asks users to assess a number of variables, including training frequency, training intensity, training volume and rest intervals, in order to create the ideal plan.

The Bowflex workout program includes a vast array of exercises. Examples of these exercises, which are intended to target various muscle groups, are listed below:

Chest Exercises

  • Chest Fly
  • Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Decline Bench Press
  • Resisted Punch

Shoulder Exercises

  • Standing Lateral Shoulder Raise
  • Rear Deltoids Rows
  • Front Shoulder Raise
  • Seated Shoulder Press
  • Shoulder Shrug

Back Exercises

  • Low Back Extension
  • Standing Lat Row
  • Wide Pulldowns with Grip
  • Lying Lat Pulldowns
  • Seated Lat Rows

Arm Exercises

  • French Press
  • Triceps Pushdown
  • Cross Triceps Extension
  • Seated Biceps Curl
  • Seated Wrist Curl

Abdominals Exercises

  • Reverse Crunch
  • Resisted Reverse Crunch
  • Trunk Rotation
  • Seated Abdominals Crunch
  • Seated Oblique Abdominals Crunch

Leg Exercises

  • Leg Extension
  • Lunge
  • Lying Leg Extension
  • Leg Press
  • Dorsi Flexion

In total, the Bowflex workout program provides for over 100 different exercises. The exercises can be performed in groups according to the targeted muscular areas, allowing for certain muscle groups to rest while others are worked.

Program Length/Frequency

The basic Bowflex exercise program is divided into two major types of workout routines: cardio and strength. Cardio workouts last for 20 minutes each, and should be performed three times per week. Strength workouts last for 30 minutes, and should be performed two or three times per week. The Bowflex exercise program recommends that cardio is performed immediately following strength workouts. Individuals should allow for a full day of rest between each workout. In total, the Bowflex exercise program lasts for six weeks. Of course, this is only a recommended starting routine. Most Bowflex users continue to use their Bowflex Home Gyms long after the initial 6 week period.

When performing a strength workout, individuals should complete between one and three sets per exercise, including up to 12 reps per set. Once you feel like you can complete more than 12 reps in a single set, you should add more resistance to your workout. It is advisable to work on one or two muscle groups per day, and alternate through the muscle groups as your Bowflex workout program continues.

You can complete the cardio workouts using the aerobic rowing feature included with some Bowflex Home Gyms. Cardio workouts can also be performed with machines such as the Bowflex TreadClimber or any exercise bike, treadmill, elliptical machine or stepper. The Bowflex exercise program recommends interval training for cardio workouts. To accomplish this, you can exercise at maximum effort for one minute, and then reduce your efforts to 60% for the following minute. Alternate between the two until a total of 10 minutes have passed, at which point you can continue to exercise at a brisk pace for another 10 minutes.

Effectiveness/Results of the Program

By following the strength training and cardio workout routines outlined in the Bowflex workout program, individuals can expect to see results well within the 6 week trial period. By performing the exercises correctly, you'll lose body fat, increase muscle mass, gain balance and improve your flexibility. If you're strictly looking to build muscle mass quickly, it is advisable to perform fewer reps at a higher resistance during a strength training routine. If you're trying to achieve weight loss and tone your physique, additional reps with less resistance are preferable.

For best results, it's best to combine the Bowflex exercise program with a healthy diet customized according to your goals. Your overall caloric intake and the types of food that you consume will depend on the results you're seeking, whether it's to burn fat, build muscle, tone specific areas of the body or some combination of these.

Equipment/Space Requirements

In order to properly use the Bowflex exercise system, you'll need a rectangle of free space measuring at least 8'4" x 6'6" surrounding the equipment, or 10' by 7' if you choose the Bowflex Ultimate. The amount of space required may increase if you purchase and install additional attachments for the Bowflex home gym. When you receive your Bowflex workout system, you should have some basic tools on hand that will be required to assemble the equipment.

One of the major benefits of the Bowflex exercise program is that it includes virtually everything you'll need to complete all of the possible exercises, which it should considering its relatively high cost. You'll only need to provide a few of the basics, such as shoes, exercise clothing, and a water bottle. If your purchase a Home Gym that supports aerobic rowing, you may want to consider a heart rate monitor in order to maximize the efficiency of your cardio. This is a simple device that will allow you to constantly track your heart rate as you exercise. By keeping your heart rate at its maximum (which is 220 minus your age), you can burn more calories per hour. A heart rate monitor will also allow you to incorporate more accuracy into your interval training when you increase or reduce your efforts.

Physical Requirements

The Bowflex exercise system can be used by both veterans and newcomers to fitness programs. As such, there are no physical requirements aside from a maximum 300 pound weight limit on some machines. If you're a serious, advanced bodybuilder, you may find yourself quickly purchasing a resistance upgrade that boosts maximum resistance to either 300 or 410 lbs, depending on the Home Gym model you purchase. If you're a novice or intermediate fitness seeker, the factory-configured resistance levels should suffice.

As with any exercise program, Bowflex exercise program users are advised to check with their doctor or another health care professional before beginning a workout routine. Children should not use the Bowflex Home Gym except under strict supervision.


Bowflex is a massive, multi-national corporation with the resources necessary to provide some of the best customer support in the fitness industry. As such, their website contains an extensive customer service section with the following features:

  • Free DVD info kits
  • Financing help
  • Troubleshooting and product assembly videos
  • A detailed FAQ section
  • Order tracking
  • Replacement part order forms
  • Downloadable product manuals
  • Safety tips and notices
  • Maintenance tips

Direct support for the Bowflex exercise program is provided through email and toll-free phone. The Bowflex customer support hours range from 6am until 5pm PST, Monday through Friday.

If you're unsatisfied with your Bowflex Home Gym for any reason, you can return the equipment within 6 weeks of the date of purchase in order to receive a refund, minus shipping and handling. You'll need to ensure that the item arrives back with the company within 2 weeks of receiving the return authorization.


The cost of the Bowflex workout program depends on the type of Blowflex Home Gym that you purchase. Each model comes standard with a warranty between 5 and 10 years, a workout DVD, and the capability to provide for a full range of exercises covering all muscle groups.

Prices for the four available Bowflex Home Gyms are listed below:

  • Bowflex Revolution (with SpiraFlex technology) - $2,999
  • Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE - $1,599
  • Bowflex Xtreme SE - $1,299
  • Bowflex Classic - $649

Shipping prices range from $129 to $199 within the continental US depending on the model you choose.

Bowflex can also provide in-home assembly starting at $299. This service includes assembly by a Bowflex technician, testing and calibration of the Bowflex equipment, and removal of packing materials and boxes.


The Bowflex exercise program is an excellent purchase for anyone looking to make a serious investment in their fitness. Although the equipment is relatively costly, it remains a good value because of how closely it replicates an actual gym. The equipment itself is very durable, and Bowflex stands behind its products with some of the longest warranties you'll find in this industry.

It's worth mentioning, however, that Bowflex is primarily designed as a strength building program, not a cardio one. While the aerobic rowing exercise does provide a cardiovascular workout, you'll probably want more variety over the course of a long-term fitness regimen.

The fact that Bowflex is an established company with a 20 year history and over 1.5 million customers also speaks to the value and quality of the Bowflex workout program. The core concepts behind the equipment have evolved over the years while maintaining the same principles, a strong indication of the Bowflex exercise program's value.