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Bowflex Review: An Expert's Guide to Purchasing A Bowflex ® Machine

Should I Purchase A Bowflex ®?

Many people come to our site and ask questions about the Bowflex ® resistance machines. We do not sell the Bowflex ®, but are here to give advice and our personal opinions as highly educated fitness experts who design personalized programs for those who own a Bowflex ® and sign up to train with us. We highly recommend the various Bowflex ® machines, but they may not be for everyone and a great deal of thought should go into determining which model Bowflex ® is right for you. In our own personal fitness training gym we have a Bowflex ® PowerPro XL, which was purchased in 2001. It has been a great machine for us and has held up through a lot of heavy duty usage.

We have more information about how one goes about finding a good deal on a Bowflex ® later on this page and will give you an opportunity to contact us if you have any further questions not covered on this page. Please do not call or write us about manufacturer problems with your new or used Bowflex ®. Please feel free to contact us if your questions are about purchasing a Bowflex ® or designing a program using your Bowflex ®. We are here to help you make an informed decision, but we do not have assembly instructions, warranty information, etc. for your new or used Bowflex ®. Please contact Bowflex ® directly for help with these things.

Is Bowflex ® Right For Me?

The decision to purchase a Bowflex ® machine should not be taken lightly. The Bowflex ® is not inexpensive and even the basic models require a sizable investment on your part. It is also important to assess yourself, your fitness level, your habits, your home environment, and your family before choosing a Bowflex ®. Before you begin thinking about which Bowflex ® is right for you, you need to decide if any Bowflex ® is right for you. Many of these general suggestions are appropriate when thinking about purchasing any exercise equipment or home gym product which requires a substantial investment and user commitment.

Assessments to Make Before Deciding to Purchase a Bowflex ®

Before deciding to purchase a Bowflex ®, you need to make the following assessments:

Advanced exerciser, body builder, power lifter or larger individuals

The Bowflex ® is a good machine for the general public, but it may not meet the needs and desires of an advanced exerciser. The weight capacity for all the Bowflex resistance machines (using Power Rod ® technology or Spiraflex ® plate technology) is 300 pounds, so that is a consideration for larger individuals.

The right home environment to use a Bowflex ®

Although the Bowflex ® takes up relatively little space, you do need a space to use it. If you have to move furniture or shift things around every time you use it, you are less likely to use it than if you have a dedicated space for it. Make sure that if you have family members who will be around when you work out that they will not hinder your ability to work out at home. You should have a space where you can work out without disturbing the rest of the family or without being distracted or interrupted by kids, pets, etc. If your family will be around while you use your Bowflex ®, make using your Bowflex ® a family activity. You need to be able to work out at home without anyone or anything distracting you, or preventing you from working out.


Make sure you can you work out on your own at home. If you need someone to work out with to stay focused and on track, find that person and work out with them. Do not look for excuses or find distractions when trying to work out at home. If you think you cannot work out on your own and at home consistently, then you need to have someone (preferably a family member) who will be dedicated enough to work out with you. Think long and hard about different ways to motivate yourself to work out on your own and at home. Many people have good intentions when purchasing exercise equipment to use at home, but underestimate their ability to work out at home (and end up hanging clothes on their new purchase).

Enjoying using the Bowflex ®

You need to enjoy using your Bowflex ®. You need to enjoy any activity or machine you expect to use consistently. You cannot fake this.

The support of my family and those with whom I live

Having the support of your family and those you live with is a large part of any home workout program. Work with your family to have this support. (Most family members will not be supportive if your new Bowflex ® blocks the TV during the big game or their one favorite show!)

Assembling the Bowflex ®

Bowflex ® machines require assembly. Keep this in mind when choosing a Bowflex ®.

Which Bowflex ® Model Should I Buy?

Bowflex ® offers a wide range of resistance machines to suit your needs:

Bowflex ® offers a wide range of its resistance machines including five models that use its Power Rod ® technology. There are the Bowflex ® Ultimate models ( Bowflex Ultimate ® 2 and Ultimate ™ XTLU), two models of the the Bowflex ® Xtreme (Bowflex Xtreme ® 2 SE and Bowflex Xtreme ® SE ), and the Bowflex ® Blaze ™. Bowflex also has two models which use their Spiraflex ® plate technology, the Bowflex Revolution ® and the Bowflex Revolution ® XP. We cannot choose which Bowflex ® is right for you, but we have some questions you should ask yourself when selecting which Bowflex ® is right for you.

Beginning exercisers

The entry level Bowflex ® offers over 60 exercises (Bowflex ® Blaze ™). It is upgradable to the same amount of Power Rod ® resistance (410 pounds) as the other Bowflex ® models that use Power Rod ® technology and should meet the needs of most beginning exercisers. There is no need to purchase more machine than you need or will use, so carefully weigh your needs when choosing your Bowflex ®.

Experienced exercisers

An experienced exerciser may or may not need to choose a more advanced Bowflex ®. This does not necessarily mean that you need to go to the top-of-the-line models, but that you need to decide what options and features are important to you. If the resistance is your main issue, then remember that all Power Rod ® models can be upgraded to the maximum Power Rod ® resistance of 410 pounds. All models come with standard resistance of 210 or 310 pounds (Bowflex ® Ultimate models have 310 standard, all others have 210 standard). The Spiraflex ® plate technology models (Revolution ® XP and Revolution ®) come with standard resistance of 200 and 220 pounds, respectively, but both can be upgraded. (Revolution ® XP to 280 pounds and Revolution ® to 300 pounds for the upper body and 600 pounds for the lower body.) Find the model with the features/options you want, and if you want to upgrade the resistance, remember that it can be upgraded in the future and you do not need to upgrade right away. We do recommend the lat pull attachent for everyone, so keep that in mind if you choose a model that requires an add-on (and additional money) for the lat pulldown.

Who will be using the Bowflex ®?

Will you be the only person using your Bowflex ®? If not, factors like features, attachments, and Power Rod ® resistance will need to be considered for each person who will using the Bowflex ®. Your choice may be very different if you are buying a Bowflex ® that will be used by more than one person. If choosing a Bowflex ® for people with a range of fitness levels, choose the one that will accommodate the more advanced user. A beginner can use the most advanced Bowflex ®, but an advanced exerciser may not be satisfied with an entry level model. If more that one person will be using the Bowflex ®, you will also need to agree on whether you want an upright or prone model. Since the upright models do not fold for storage, space may be a factor when choosing upright or prone also.

Storage of your Bowflex ® and where to use it

Figure out where you are going to store your Bowflex ® and where you are going to use it. Make sure you are very realistic about this and remember that your Bowflex ® should be stored near where you are going to use it. (You are less likely to use your Bowflex ® if it is difficult to take out and put away.) If possible, use your Bowflex ® in a place where you do not need to move it or store it. After you have figured out where you are going to store and use your Bowflex ®, take accurate measurements of these areas. Details for each model list the measurements you need, including the dimensions, the folded footprint (if applicable) and the workout area. Make sure that you choose a Bowflex ® that can be stored and used in the place you have selected. Legitimate retailers (both online and brick and mortar) should have the dimensions of any Bowflex ® product offered. The space you have to work with may be the main factor when choosing your Bowflex ®.

Upright/vertical workout position

Some of the Bowflex ® machines are upright models with vertical workout positioning. If you want an upright design, you will need to choose one of these models. Likewise, if you want horizontal positioning, you should not choose these models. It is important to note that the two Bowflex Xtreme ® models do not fold for storage.

Moving from station to station and exercise to exercise without changing cables

Of the machines using Power Rod ® technology, the Bowflex Ultimate ® 2 model and the Bowflex Xtreme ® 2 SE are designed so that there are no cable changes needed between exercises and stations. These would be the models to consider if you do not want to change cables between exercises.

The ability to do cardio workouts (rowing) on my Bowflex ®

The two Bowflex ® Ultimate models, as well as the Bowflex ® Blaze ™ model allow you to do a cardio rowing workout. The Bowflex Revolution ® also allows you to row. If you want to have the ability to do cardio rowing, you will need to choose one of these machines. Although Bowflex ® offers rowing as a cardio feature on some of its machines, it is primarily a resistance training machine and thus functions much better as a resistance training machine than as a cardio machine.

Importance of the warranty

All Bowflex ® Power Rod ® resistance models come with a no-time-limit Power Rod ® warranty, but the limited warranty on the machines ranges from five to twelve years (upgraded from two to ten years) for the original purchaser only. The more expensive, more advanced models have a longer warranty than the less expensive models. The more advanced models are designed to be more durable than the less expensive models. Both the Revolution ® models have a ten year machine limited warranty and a ten year weight stack warranty.

Your budget

When purchasing any home gym, you should develop a budget and stick with it. Although Bowflex ® offers financing that seems attractive, we do not recommend that you incur debt or finance any fitness machine. No money down and low payments may seem like a good idea, but most financing for fitness equipment comes with a very high interest rate. If you do choose to finance any home gym equipment, please look over any financial agreement and terms very carefully. If your purchase a Bowflex ® (or any fitness machine), choose a model that fits comfortably within your budget.

Obviously there are many more questions you should ask yourself when deciding which Bowflex ® model is right for you. Our questions are designed to help you make an informed decision and to point out some of the less obvious things you should think about when making your choice.

Bowflex ® Demos in the Fantasy Fit Online Video Library

Own a Video Demo CD by clicking here to purchase.

Over the years, many people have come to us asking us to design personalized programs using their Bowflex ® . Fantasy Fit does include effective Bowflex ® exercises in our client-area online video demo library and on our CD Rom. These exercises are demonstrated on a Bowflex ® PowerPro XL purchased in 2001 so not all Bowflex ® exercises on every model Bowflex ® are included. Like all the demos in our video library, the exercises are not demonstrated by models, but by actual employees and clients of Fantasy Fit.

This CD of high-quality video demos, formally exclusively available to Fantasy Fit clients, is available to those who are not Fantasy Fit clients. To view a sample exercise video clip, go to our video demo page. Click here to purchase our video clip demo CD Rom.

Where Can I Find a Good Deal on a Bowflex ®?

After someone has made the decision to purchase a Bowflex ® machine, the next question we hear is, "Where can I find a good deal on a Bowflex ®?" There are a few things that will be true no matter where you purchase your Bowflex ®, including the no-time-limit Power Rod ® waranty, the limited warranty on the machine (depending on the model - ranges from five to twelve years for the original purchaser), and the six-week 100% satisfaction guarantee.

With that being said, we would like to make a point about the guarantee. It is a positive incentive when a manufacturer stands behind their product like this, but it is important to understand that most people will not return their Bowflex ® if they do not see the results they expected. To receive a full refund (less shipping and handling) for your Bowflex ®, you must return it, along with its accessories, in its original condition and packaging. Not very many people will take the time and effort to pack it up and do this.

If you need further information about purchasing a Bowflex ®, training with us using a Bowflex ®, or if you would like more information about our services or CD Rom, ask your questions directly by using the Contact Us Form, or call us toll-free at 1-888-203-6791.

Bowflex and Power Rod are both registered tradmarks of The Nautilus Group Inc. and Nautilus, Inc.