The 6 Best Bowflex Home Gym Machines Reviewed 2020

It’s not always easy to find the time to get to the gym and work out. This is especially true if your gym is not close to your home or work, making it a lengthy commute.

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to leave your house to work out? 

While there are quite a few home gyms you can choose, the best Bowflex gyms can be a great solution. They beat a crowded gym any day, and they allow you to train your entire body with one easy to use machine.

If you’ve never thought about a Bowflex, this guide can help you make the choice that best fits your needs.

Let’s get started!

In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:

Quick Answer – The 6 Best Bowflex Home Gym Machines 

  1. Bowflex Blaze – Best Overall
  2. Bowflex Xceed – Best For Mass & Strength Training
  3. Bowflex PR1000 – Best Budget
  4. Bowflex PR3000 – Best Space Saving
  5. Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym – Best Versatility
  6. Bowflex Revolution – Best Exercise Selection

Reviews – The Best Bowflex Home Gym Machines

1. Bowflex Blaze – Best Overall

The Bowflex Blaze Home Gym features 210 lbs of resistance using Power Rod technology, with upgrades to 310 lbs and 410 lbs. 

There are 60 exercises available and 7 free workout programs designed by a trainer. 

One of the unique options of the Blaze is a sliding seat that lets you do leg presses and aerobic rowing. 

Included also is a lat bar, a squat bar, and triple function hand-grip/ ankle cuffs. There’s a flat/incline bench for bench presses and other exercises. 

The Blaze also provides multiple cable and pulley positions for a wide variety of exercises. 

The Bowflex Blaze folds up for easy storage and includes transport wheels so you can move it if you need to.

PROS

  • Includes Squat Bar, Leg Press Option, Lat Bar & Aerobic Rowing Option
  • Up To 410 lbs Of Resistance
  • Folds For Easy Storage

CONS

  • Cables Have To Be Changed When You Change Exercises

2. Bowflex Xceed – Best For Mass & Strength Training

The Bowflex Xceed Home Gym comes with 210 lbs. of Power Rod resistance with extra-cost upgrades to either 310 lbs. or 410 lbs. 

It has a heavy-duty steel frame and has a user weight capacity of up to 300 lbs. 

This Bowflex is a good choice for mass or strength training and allows over 65 exercises to be used. 

While the Bowflex Xceed features a compact space-saving design, it does not fold for storage.

The Xceed provides multiple cable and pulley positions that let you do exercises like seated bench presses, lat pulldowns, as well as dumbbell-style work. There’s also a lat bar that allows multiple back and arm exercises to be performed. 

As far as leg work, you can do leg extensions and leg curls. A big plus is the included bar for squats. 

Overall, the Bowflex Xceed is a great choice for bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts that want to do mass and strength training.

Read our Bowflex Xceed Home Gym Review

PROS

  • Designed For Mass & Strength Workouts With Over 65 Exercises
  • Multiple Angle Pulley & Cable System
  • Includes A Squat Bar

CONS

  • May Be Hard For Some Users To Upgrade The Resistance

3. Bowflex PR1000 – Best Budget

The Bowflex PR1000 features 210lbs of adjustable Power Rod resistance, with both an upper and lower pulley system. 

There are 25 available exercises and this machine includes a flat bench. The bench can be used for flat/incline chest work, and the bench converts to a sliding seat for aerobic rowing. 

There’s also access to 7 trainer-designed workout programs. However, you will have to change cables as needed when you change to a new exercise. 

The bench folds up for space-saving storage, so it works well in smaller rooms. However, you will need to allow space for the flat bench when it’s being used. 

The Bowflex PR1000 has good features and versatility matched by a good price point, making it the best budget Bowflex gym.

PROS

  • 25 Exercises – 210 lbs. Of Power Rod Resistance
  • Includes A Bench For Flat and Incline Exercises
  • The Bench Converts To A Rowing Machine For Cardio

CONS

  • Does Not Include The Quick Change Cable System
  • May Not Work For Very Small Spaces Because The Bench Takes Up Extra Space

4. Bowflex PR3000 – Best Space Saving

The Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym features up to 310 lbs of Power Rod resistance, with 210 lbs standard and the extra 100 lbs upgradeable. You can increase the resistance in 5lb increments. 

There are over 50 exercises, and the PR3000 has the “quick change” cable system, which means no cable changes are required when you change exercises.

Also, there are 2 sets of grip handles, so you can move between exercises without changing handles. 

There’s no bench, so chest work is done seated. Still, this also means the unit is more compact. 

There’s also an instructional placard right on the front of the machine.

PROS

  • Up To 310 lbs. Of Resistance (With Extra Cost Upgrade)
  • No Between-Set Cable Changes Needed
  • Over 50 Available Exercises 

CONS

  • Comes With 210 lbs., The Upgrade To 310 lbs Is An Extra Cost Option

5. Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym – Best Versatility

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE provides 70 exercises and comes with a height-adjustable lat tower. 

There’s 210lbs of Power Rod resistance that can be upgraded (at extra cost) to either 310 lbs. or 410 lbs. 

The Xtreme 2 SE has the “quick change” cable system so you can move from exercise to exercise easier and faster. 

Included with the Xtreme is the 7 workout program feature you’ll find on some of the other Bowflex models. It comes with an Ab training strap, squat bar, lat bar, and 5-way hand grip or ankle cuffs. 

Additionally, the lack of a flat bench makes this a more compact design. The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is the top of the line for Power Rod models.

PROS

  • 70+ Exercises
  • Height Adjustable Lat Tower
  • Includes The Quick Change Cable System

CONS

  • No Bench For Flat/Incline Chest Work
  • No Aerobic Options

6. Bowflex Revolution – Best Exercise Selection

The Bowflex Revolution is a unique home gym for Bowflex because it uses a weight plate-like technology they call “SpiraFlex”. 

This machine features up to 600 lbs of resistance (with extra cost upgrades) and 100 exercises. 

The other unique feature is the “Freedom arms” that move independently of each other. The Freedom arms feature 10 positions with 170-degree adjustments. 

There’s an adjustable bench that allows for flat and incline work, and it folds up for storage. 

There’s also the sliding seat some of the other Bowflex units have which allows for leg presses and aerobic rowing. 

There’s no lat bar or straight bar of any kind, which will affect users’ ability to do some exercises. Still, this is a very versatile and innovative home gym.

PROS

  • Features SpiraFlex Technology – 600 lbs Upgradeable Resistance
  • Freedom Arms Allow 10 Positions & Multiple Adjustments
  • Adjustable Bench That Converts Into Sliding Seat For SAerobic Rowing
  • Folds For Storage

CONS

  • No Lat Bar Or Squat Bar
  • The Biggest Bowflex Home Gym

Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Bowflex Home Gym Machine?

Bowflex has used Power Rod Technology since 1986 and is the first home gym design that used this type of resistance. 

Bowflex home gyms are designed to work the entire body, and some include cardio options as well. 

The Bowflex concept is similar to the single weight stack style of exercise machine except the weight stack has been replaced with “Power Rods”. 

The Rods provide good resistance and the machines are well built, making Bowflex a good choice for anyone that is considering a gym for home use. 

Bowflex is a member of the Nautilus company, which includes Schwinn, Universal, Octane Fitness, and Modern Movement. 

While Bowflex is mainly known for its home gyms, the brand makes numerous types of home fitness equipment, including benches, treadmills, ellipticals, and HIIT trainers. (1)

Power Rod vs. SpiraFlex Technology

Power Rod Technology has been the standard form of Bowflex resistance since 1986. It uses flexible patented polymer rods located at the back of the unit. 

With Power Rods, the start of the exercise is reasonably easy but gets progressively harder as you go through the movement. 

The thinking here is that you are weakest at the beginning of a movement, therefore easier resistance means less strain on your muscles and joints. 

This approach may not be the best choice for every type of training style. Still, it’s an effective way to train and is a good solution for naturally varying degrees of strength during an exercise. 

The downside is that the start of the movement isn’t training you to get stronger. 

As far as available weight, the standard load is 210 lbs, with extra cost upgrades available depending on the machine: you can upgrade to 310 lbs or 410 lbs.

SpiraFlex Technology is the newest type of Bowflex resistance technology and it’s used mainly with the Bowflex Revolution. It provides an even amount of resistance through the complete exercise. 

SpiraFlex comes in a disc design that looks like weight plates. Inside these plates are resistance bands that are pulled in a rotating fashion as you exercise. 

Like Power Rods, the SpiraFlex plates don’t weigh as much as the resistance might suggest. Also like the Power Rod, the standard resistance is 210 lbs, but it’s upgradeable at extra cost to 300 lbs, and 600lbs with the leg press. 

Available Exercises

Depending on the Bowflex model, you can perform from 25 to as many as 100 exercises. 

Not all Bowflex home gyms come with a lat bar, but you can perform all the expected exercises on any Bowflex model. This would include chest presses, back work, shoulder work, arm work, abs, and legs. 

Specific exercises can be performed based on the machine. For example, exercises such as bench presses can be done using a flat/incline bench on some machines, such as the PR1000, while on others it’s done seated. 

Most machines include a lat station, but the Revolution doesn’t, instead, it features unique “Freedom Arms”, which function similarly to dumbbells. 

Squat bars are available on some machines, leg presses on a few others, but all machines allow leg extensions and leg curls. 

Finally, only a few machines feature the sliding seat/aerobic rowing option for cardio (the PR1000, Blaze, and Revolution).

Space

Like most home gyms, you’ll need to be sure you have enough available space for a Bowflex. 

While many of them are relatively compact and some fold up, you still need enough space to use the machine. 

For example, the bench on the PR1000 folds up, but if you want to do bench presses, you will need several feet of space for the bench to fold down. 

You should always check the dimensions and measure, and most importantly measure the height. 

As noted above, one advantage of a Bowflex is that the units are not as heavy as you may think. This is because the Rods and SpiraFlex plates do not weigh what the resistance might indicate. This means it’s easier to move than a home gym with a 150lb or 200lb weight stack.

Budget

Bowflex models range in prices, with a model that will fit most budgets. If budget is the primary purchasing factor, you may not be able to get the options you want. Still, Bowflex home gyms are a good choice regardless of your budget.

Benefits Of A Bowflex

There are quite a few benefits to using a Bowflex, such as:

  • On the models that use Power Rod resistance, you can change the level of resistance reasonably fast by connecting the rods to the cables. In terms of speed, think of this the same as you would think of changing plates on a bar.
  • The “Quick Change” System lets you change exercises without having to switch cables, so you can train as fast as your program dictates.
  • The variety of exercises offered by some machines makes it easier to add variety to your workout.
  • Some units include rowing as a cardio exercise.
  • Since you can work your entire body with a Bowflex, they’re convenient, and you only need one machine. 
  • The compact size of many of the Bowflex units, combined with the fact you only need a single machine, means you will not need a large space to work out. 

Conclusion

In this guide, we have looked at every Bowflex Blaze home gym currently made. The best overall is the Bowflex Blaze. This unit offers up to 410lbs of resistance, over 60 exercises, and 7 trainer-designed exercise programs. One of the advantages of this machine is the included squat bar. It’s also foldable for easy storage. 

If budget is a deciding factor, the Bowflex PR1000 is the best choice. There’s a flat bench for flat/incline work, and it converts to a sliding seat for aerobic rowing. There’s also 7 trainer designed programs. 

Finally, there’s something completely different for Bowflex, the Revolution. This has the most exercise versatility with over 100 exercises to choose from.

It also has the exclusive Freedom arms that work independently like dumbbells, and feature 10 positions. This unit also has the SpiraFlex “Disc” Technology that provides even resistance throughout the movement. 

There’s no doubt, with so much variety, Bowflex has a gym for everyone!

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowflex#History
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