T Nation


Is Bowflex a waste of money or can you get a good workout? I have a new daughter and getting to the gym is getting tough?

Instead of Bowflex, pick up a set of powerblocks and a bench or anti-burst swiss ball and you will have a better and more versatile system for the same amount of money.

Squat rack, adjustable bench, free weights. Half the price, ten times as versatile and more effective.

My dad got a generic version of the Chuck Norris Total Gym for like half the price. You can do some cool stuff on there.

Power Rack with chin-up and plate load pulley attachments. Free weights Olympic DB and standard Olympic bar. Adjustable bench and maybe a good set of dip bars.
Best of Luck.

A Bowflex is a great piece of equipment if you can supplement your training with occasional free weights. You will miss the free weights. Get some of those selectorized dumbells, and use your Bowflex bench for some of the supplemental work. The pump and cramping effect that you get from a Bowflex has to be experienced to be believed.

Don’t waste any money on gimmicks. Just get a 300lb weight set & some mats to lift on.

Bowflex is one of the best investments I made.
This forum is a bad place to get unbiased information. These guys love their weights and machines.
Anyway I get just as good of a workout in the gym as I do on the Bowflex.
The infomercials are a joke but the product delivers.
Find a freind to try one first if you’re worried.
I love mine. I have a set of free wights that I rotate every other week with the bowflex. The muscles sure work different between the two.

Well, it can be used as a coat hanger. :slight_smile:


I had a bowflex for 8 months and I just sold it. I have spent half as much as I spent on the bowflex and got free weights, fully adjustable bench and squat rack. I won’t say bowflex is bad for the average middle age guy who wants to work out, don’t get me wrong, I got sore after using the thing. But, after using free weights for a few months, and then trying the bowflex again, I found the bowflex to be very different. I hate the way you do a bench on the bowflex, never liked it from day one. Also, the rods say ya know, 50, 30 . . .pounds of resistence. This is not always true, they will be off a few pounds. One reason the bowflex felt weird after using free weights was that when you do a lift, say biceps curls with 30 on either side, well even if you are getting 30 lbs of resistence on either side, that is only when the rod is fully bent, that is, touching the cable thread. So if you only bend the rod halfway, you’re not getting 30 lbs on either side. For the person serious about lifting and gaining, get free weights, that is why I switched. Oh yeah, I sold my bowflex to a friend who was looking for and exercise machine for his wife.

Bowflex exercises are indeed good exercises. The problem is this: You will be doing the same bowflex exercises week after week. Your muscles will get “used” to the exercises and will stop growing optimally (and maybe all together!) Instead of bowflex, try to make it to the gym (shorten your workouts, go in the morning perhaps, etc). If you really cant get to the gym, consider purchasing a good free weight setup - bench, dumbells, squat cage. You can do a lot with that.

The Bowflex is a decent idea, but they really cheapened out on the product. Conversely the Soloflex is a poorer idea, but the thing is a tank! I read about a guy who loaded up his bowflex with 300lbs for the chest and it snapped in half and ruined his back. I totally believe this story since the bench is so flimsy. So although you can get a decent workout on it, be careful of how much weight you use and how you use the product. I like mine for those time where you can’t get to the gym.


What are your goals? If you want to ‘stay fit’, or something else trendy, go with that or the Total Gym. If you wanna be hardcore and get stronger and bigger, go with either the swiss ball and powerblocks or squat rack.

"Jim H. 2002-06-27 13:56:33
Bowflex exercises are indeed good exercises. The problem is this: You will be doing the same bowflex exercises week after week. Your muscles will get “used” to the exercises and will stop growing optimally (and maybe all together!) " what what whaaaaat? why do you say this you friggen idiot? so you “read” some rags and go, “gee, I will get used to exercises” shut up!! you can do alot of exercises with bowflex (and NO I don’t have one). what do you BASE your IDEAS on???

I’ve had my Bow since '94, and have used the max weight~310 lbs at least every other workout, with no problems (lifetime guarentee)~will buy another 2 50 lb rods soon, I think 410 is the max it can hold. I have dumbells and barbells and about 200+ lbs of free weights, but most of my work IS on the Bow, and I’m at my biggest, yet still pretty lean, and strongest in my life! It has limitations (different ones for different people), but I work around any I have. You can do dozens of different exercises on the thing, you can change them weekly, or use a program where you do use the same exercises and increase weight/reps, etc for a specific timeframe. On curls, etc, your arm, leg, chest, shoulder, etc moves thru its own ark, working that muscle for that weight, if it isn’t heavy enough, put on 5, 10, 20, 30, 50 lbs, on EACH side! it IS a compound/isolation/circuit training goldmine of possibilities!! No spotter needed!!! Am I biased?? You bet! I’m an advanced bodybuilder who loves the workouts I get with it!! I woulda gotten rid of it long ago if it didn’t work! Are other machines maybe as good or better? Maybe!! Again, no spotters!! LOL I work out alone with some hard music as I pump the Bow, year in and year out (lifetime guarentee)!!

As a side note, the commercial gives the impression to the “naive” exerciser-wanna-be that all those great bods you see in the infomercial can be had for 20 minutes, 3 times per week. If that were true, Biotest would be out of business.

Anyway, I have a NorticTrac Ultra Lift, which I used for about 6 months when my schedule just would not permit me to get to the gym, and I must say that that machine was the closest simulation to free weights I found.

You actually lifted different percentages of your bodyweight, up to 150%!! Would I want to lift on a machine like that permanently? No. However, it is a good alternative when your lifestyle just does not permit regular gym attendance.


How many times do we have to go over this? Bowflex is for FAGGOTS!

Bowflex??? Are you kidding me??? HA HA HA HA HA! It’s for wussies who can’t lift real weights!

Bowflex is the best machine you can buy for your home. Well, the best that offers multiple exercises anyway. My father has one and really enjoys it, but as he says for his purposes it really works well. His purposes are doing some sort of resistance training at home and safely. I tried it out when I was visting for Christmas, no gyms were open, and it was ok just to supplement my workout and do something. But for my purposes of powerlifting there is no way a Bowflex would work. So as stated before if your goals are just for a quick workout that is safe it is the best home machine you can buy. BUT if you are going to be making an investment for the next 10 years until you have enough time to make it to the gym go with the other suggestions and buy some free weights and have buddies come over to train with you so you have spotters. BTW, it really sucks for leg work. You could just buy some sandbags too, they will give you a good workout.