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What Do You Think of Bowflex?


What do you guys think of a bowflex? Ignoring the cost, do you think it provides enough exercises? Could someone get everything they need out of it?

Also, I have another question... most of the bulk up guides ive read so far, say to calculate how many calories you eat each day, and increase by 500 each week until you reach a certain number.. what are the benefits of this?.. is it just easier then jumping right to your goal? or is it more efficient?

I am very skinny (6'4", 150lbs).. I've been trying to eat as much as I can, but it is hard.. expecially since I work 12hours somedays and dont have time to eat anything except sandwiches.. I also dont have time to go to the store as much as I should. I do however plan to lower my work schedule soon and get on a regular workout and eating schedule. Ok, i am blabbing now..

Thanks in advance


Complete waste of money and time. Read the beginner articles/stickies.


Has it arrived yet/can you still return it?

If so DO SO!

Why not just join a gym?


Welcome. I've been lifting a long time and have this advice:

  1. Return/sell your bowflex
  2. Take the time to find a gym with serious lifters. What you might not expect is that the more serious lifters are typically the ones most willing to help you out if you show you are there to work.
  3. If you can't do that now, you're better off w/ something like Pavel's 'Naked Warrior' or Brooks Kubik's bodyweight training course, or something of the like. You can actually accomplish a ton w/ bodyweight resistance if you know what you're doing.
  4. If you're going to lift weights, do it right.



Man.. people go to the gym to improve themselves. Overweight, underweight. You are making an effort to improve yoruself for whatever reasons are in your head. You are not in a competition with anybody else but yourself. Just to let you know I understand how you feel. You walk into a gym, see guys benching press 2 plates on each side, and you can only do 1 small plate on each side... makes you feel insuperior.

But hell... everybody started somewhere. When they didn't have much more then you, and if they did it was probably fat. What is really nice is seeing yourself improve.
About the bowflex, if you do feel an attachement to it then by all means keep it. But eventually you are going to learn the benifits of things like deadlifts, squats and barbell bench press.

I can't prove it, but I will still say with certainty that those good looking guys bowflex uses for their ads didn't build their body on a bow flex.

If you do have a 30 day grace period to get rid of it I would take everybody's advice and pack it back up. Hehe, what a bitch that is going to be.


I echo what everyone else said and see if you can return your Bowflex. I've never personally used/owned one, but my cousin did, and it broke on him after about a year. Naturally, he was upset he spent a lot of money for something to break on him so soon, and was unable to return or exchange it for another. That's been about 5 years, so I don't know what the policy is now.

And I agree with DanErickson, you gotta start somewhere. Even the big guys had to start somewhere. Don't worry about what other people think of you, just focus on yourself. Definitely get a gym membership, focus on eating big and healthy and moving big weights, and even ask some of the bigger guys for advice.

Good luck with your goals.


Thanks for all the advice, I will very likely get a gym membership in the near future. Until then I am going to grind it out on my bowflex and hopifully get my moneys worth :slightly_smiling:

Ill possibly buy some free weights or something too.. I think I am going to move to a house when my lease runs out too, so I can probably buy whatever i need then. Thanks again



It's easy to get around the looks, go to a chain type gym and then you'll fit right in with who is there :wink: I joined a chain gym and thought some of the 'big guys' might look at me that way. Once I saw that the big guys on campus are squatting 135 with a weight belt it became clear that just because some guys are big doesn't mean they are strong. (mind you I didn't see anyone squat for the first 2 months I went, and I go every morning!)
Now I sometimes get asked how to do things (5 months from starting to lift) as me and my training partner seem to be ones who live around the squat rack.
BTW having used a bowflex and almost thinking the same as you 6 months ago (buying one), get rid of it and get a gym membership :slight_smile: Deadlifts, squats, bench press and the Olympic lifts are WAY more fun and useful.

TTYL, Jeff


say I got a gym membership... would the bowflex be good enough to use on days i cant make it to the gym??

I realize equitywise it wouldnt be a good idea, but ignore the price, since it is already paid for and I dont really mind that I may have wasted money on it :).


I guess......

I'd rathr just do pushups and pullups though.


Dude EVERYONE who has posted has said that if you can get rid of it then do so. If you can't then make room by your door so you can hang your hat or coat on it when you get back from the GYM.

You didn't even buy that thing to workout with anyways. You bought it because you think that by spending assloads of money on a piece of equipment is going to make you workout based on the principle that you wont want to waste that money. So get rid of the bowflex. If you have to spend an assload of money to get yourself in the gym then spend all that money on some protein and fishoil caps.

Even Klip recomended you get rid of it. ( sorry klip I had to take a shot at ya.)

Why in the world would you spend so much money on something you don't even know you will stick with. That being said I think it would rock if you really started training. I however just think you are trying to guilt yourself into it. So if you are serious then listen to the people who know what the fuck is going on.


GET RID OF BOWFLEX. It will waste your time and as you see no results, crush your spirits.

All you need is a squat stand, a barbell, and some plates. You can buy more plates later. You don't even need a bench at first.

With a squat stand and a bar you can even do chinups/pullups.

Being 6'4" you need a 6' or 7' bar probably so your arms don't hit the plates, that could be a problem in your small apartment. If so, you can get a pair of dumbells instead but if you can fit a 7' bar, that is better.

If you are saying stuff like "when I can't make it to the gym" that tells me that you won't go to the gym and prefer to workout at home.

GOOD advice on the adding 500 calories per week, much better than rushing in adding 2,000 calories one day. Get used to eating more.

Dude you can pack on 30 pounds of muscle in a year if not much sooner. Then you might start slowing down. But you will find rapid progress early on.

And finally, this book is a good one

Practical Programming


I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone starting out as a good basis of understanding the many aspects of weight training. You will hear a lot of conflicting opinions and crap out there about how to train, this book will give you a base to understand everything from and keep you doing what works instead of some super duper ridiculous routine, wasting your time, and sending you looking for the next super routine.


I always thought its funny how they talk about what a great workout it is, and then marvel at how light-weight and easy to move the plates are.


I wouldn't say it is totally useless and if money is not a problem, well, no problem. But I believe you said SPACE was a problem, in which case, a barbell and a squat rack are the best things. You don't even need the squat rack because you can stick to deadlift, clean, overhead press, etc.. and that will do fine for a while.

If space is a REAL problem then one dumbell, and a door frame chinup bar, and a weighed belt can do most things. Or, a chinup bar and weighted vest. There are many ways around space limitations believe me, I know, I've done them all.

The real problem with the bowflex are these:

  • squats are very important and it doesn't do them well enough if at all

  • the resistance increases through the movement, not a bad thing but the resistance is too low at the lower end

  • any machine, and I mean ANY machine, that forces you through a certain movement pattern, is not a good idea. It creates injury and strengthens you in one path, but neglects stablisation that only free movement can give you

However, if you keep it at home, and go to the gym, you could use it between days, just to warmup/rehab/recovery workout for your muscles. Not totally useless. But really nothing replaces a barbell.


you make some great points.. i can definately tell the resistance increases throughout the motion. Space isnt the main issue, my main concern was actually about making noise with weights.. i dont know if this should be a concern or not, i never really used real weights :slightly_smiling: .. now that i think about it.. it does seem like a pretty stupid concern, i shouldnt be throwing them around :slightly_smiling:


Sorry, I haven't read any replies....

Return it if you can. Make a reason up if you have to. If you can't, you can still make good progress on it - you just have to use it!


Get rid of it if possible. As it's already been a few months, you might not be able to return it.

As far as dropping free weights goes, you will probably get more out of doing controlled negatives at this stage in your training, and for a while yet to come. Not superslow, but in the 2-5 second range. And you won't be maxing out too much for a long time, so max weights should not be an issue. Best thing is a gym membership, if you use it. If not, then get the barbell/dumbbell set-up.

Bowflex sucks. If you have to keep it, use it only for isolation exercises on off days, or as a warmup complex, and do everything else with your dumbbells, barbell, or doorframe (chins--a bonus is it makes your fingers a lot stronger when you use just the doorframe). Bowflex doesn't do legs, and it inflates the numbers that you can lift.

Eg--about 6 years ago, when I was weaker, and I could only do about 8 plates for 6 reps on the lat pulldown machine at the gym, I saw a Bowflex on limited time display at a sports store. I sat down and did "130 lbs" 12 times on the pulldowns. 1.5x the weight for 2x the reps?? No, I don't think so.

The only good thing about it is that it's a cable system and allows more free motion than a "true" machine movement, so you're not at much risk for locking yourself in to an artificial motion and creating injury potential.


Never buy anything that you see on late night infomercials. Period.


1) There are rarely situations where you can't get to a gym. I have worked 2 fulltime jobs over summer break (80 hr weeks) and still found time to stay on schedule with my lifts.

2) Bowflex- is it better than nothing, yes. But it is far from being as good as a gym full of free weights.

3) No, I would say none of those people in in the infomercials use it. A kid i played fball with is a model and has done some local fitness ads. And met with some "big time" (are infomercial actors big time in that line of work???) people and all of them work out hard in a real gym. Most of them will do freeweight exercises inbetween shots to get a good pump and then hop on the product of the month for the shot.

4) If you really want to work, it just takes determination and ingenuity, not an azzload of money and useless machines.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do with your clothes rack...err...bowflex tho.


Take me as an example. I bought a used SoloFlex for $350. I still think I paid too much for that clothes rack. I have worked out on the machine and the workout is no where near as effective as lifting weights in a gym.

If you bought the thig new, return it as soon as possible. Nothing good will come from you using this machine.

Thai Boxer