T Nation

Bowflex vs. Free Weights


I was just wondering if what I heard about Resistance training was true. I was told that Bowflex will not build as much muscle as fast as free weights(dead weight).I was considering buying one and wanted to know if I was wasting my money.


You would be wasting your money. I used to sell the bowfelx extrem2. They actually don't work that bad for the casual lifter, but the main problem is that for a serious lifter, there won't be enough weight to use on the bows. Plus there is the fact that free weights are just better


Quite frankly, yes. Not only is the bowflex less versatile, but it got some bad critics as to quality of the product. Not to mention the number of moves are limited..... Don't invest in useless gimmicks and gadgets.

Best thing is to have a home gym, and short of that a good iron pit gym. Definitely worth the cost


Yes, you would be wasting your money. I have had a Bowflex for about 11 years and to start it was better than doing nothing. For the money of a Bowflex you could set up a NICE power rack with a good bar, adjustable bench, weights and maybe a small set of Powerblocks. Provided you have the space. I have not used the Bowflex much at all in the last 5 years. In case of emergency only use the Bowflex.

Check your local want ads for used exercise equipment. Also search this site for Bowflex to get other opinions.



You can build muscle with either.

I prefer FW's simply because there is a little more freedom with exercise selection.

Also, I've tried a Bowflex and to me the movement was very "choppy" feeling. For the money and even when tight on space I'd prefer me or my clients to go with free weights, such as DBs, MBs, an adjustable bench etc.


I'm pretty dense, and I don't know what an MD is.


You can find a similar machine sold by Gold's Gym online for less than 1/4 the price. In factit was sold on HSN awhile back for less than $300 with shipping included. You use a different system for resistance so its easier to change. I personally like these cable machines as I get fuller extensions without risking injury.


I, unfortunately, wasted too much money to get a Bowflex for my fat fucking ex (while we were still married). I used it a lot until I got into the gym (this site, back in the archaic days, got me going on real programs thank fucking god.) I thought it was a bullshit piece of equipment after a few months of use. Fuck the Bowflex. Fuck the Bowflex. Repeat as necessary. Seriously.


a bowflex is useful if you're going to squat or deadlift it.


Tate would use it for a box... Refer to test-fest article.


They are so damn expensive!

Buy the 350 pound Oly weight set and a good bench, and a few dumbells would set you up much better, for far cheaper.

Or join a gym


But the guy on the commercial is really ripped!


I was never a big fan of the Bowflex. Even less so, after this giant recall a while back:

800,000 units recalled, with 42 reports of injuries to the back, neck, and head.

Technically, a home gym would be better than nothing, but, free weights should always be the cornerstone of your home set-up.


And even better than free weight home gyms? Free weight warehouse gyms!


Don't you love how they always have a really ripped guy promoting a piece of equipment that is supposedly "brand new", yet he acts like he's been using it for years. This applys to a lot of things, not just the bowflex (as the bowflex isn't new).

Basically think of it this way- if it is sold on an infomercial, no matter what it is- DON'T BUY IT!! I can't stress that enough. If they were worth anything, Gym's would have them.


What I did was find a nice used bowflex in a local newspaper and put it up for auction on e-bay. I ended up getting about $500 on top of what I paid for it(idioys on e-bay will pay anything to win their auction). I then used the money to buy a powerrack at a local Sams' Club for about $250 that came with a bench, curl attachment and 310lbs of weight; also a lat-pulldown, seated row, pec-deck, and standing calf machine with only a couple of extra dollars thrown in. The bowflex was garbage but it was one of the better fitness investments I've made. LONG LIVE E-BAY!!!!!!!!!


Sure you did... Ok, you DIDN'T buy that bowflex for yourself and you DIDN'T buy it on ebay for $500 more than in the paper. Oh, and you DIDN'T get ripped off because you're an idiot. Oh and that crap you bought at Sams' club; it ISN'T complete sh1t.
Now keep telling yourself that.


Did you see Arnold on a Bowflex?


I actually bought the bowflex for my wife when we had our first child and I was going to a local gym. Bought it off of a guy in a local magazine called the penny pincher.he was selling it for $750 because he tore his rotator cuff and couldn't use it properly and wanted to get rid of it. Turned it around and sold it on e-bay for $1280 to a person in Georgia(even had them pay for the shipping whick was $120!).

Used that money to start my own gym 5 yrs ago and now have about $4000 invested in it. Don't know why the hate came my way over this (maybe you were the dumb-ass who bought it from me?) but I took a bad situation and turned it into a positive thing for both my wife and I and our 2 sons when they get bigger while you still probably go to your local gym, pay your $40 a month fees to wait for equipment and wonder how smart you could be if you actually had a fuckin clue what you are talking about!!!!!

Gotta go my sweet home gym awaits. By the way only the rack came from Sam's, the rest was bought from an online store called fitnessfactory and is all bodysolid equipment, but you would know that because I'm the idiot right???????


(1)Power rack (2) 350 lbs weight set
(3)Good quality bench.

This will serve you much better than some bs piece of infomercial junk.

Might also like a couple of kettlebells, just for fun.