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Bowflex, worth it?

  1. Sep 1, 2007 #1
    Does anyone in here have a Bowflex or have personal experience with it? Not just a one-time work out, but actually a work-out routine with proven results?

    I'm thinking of getting one, but I don't know anyone who has one so I can't really get any feedback on it. I was thinking of just buying some weights but I really would like to have a home-gym.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2007 #2
    why dont you just join a good ole gym?
  4. Sep 2, 2007 #3

    Chi Meson

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    Any form of resistance will give you results as long as it is used. Whether it's actual weights, stretching bungees, or flexing rods, you still have to push and pull. Thew great advantage of the latter two is they are easier to move. Purists will insist that there is no real substitute for free weights, but if you get to that point, you won't be asking questions here.
  5. Sep 2, 2007 #4


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    My ex husband that worked out a lot bought one and didn't like it. He sold it.
  6. Sep 2, 2007 #5


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    I only believe in free weights and some cables to work the back and some triceps.

    I would just go to the gym. I get ideas from seeing other people and I can get spotters. I don't see how you can do negatives or really heavy weight from Bowflex. How can someone spot you?
  7. Sep 2, 2007 #6
    Save your money and invest in a gym membership. A mix between free weights (not necessarily heavy) and machines is ideal. And by the way... The people you see training on the bowflex in the commerical DO NOT train with only a bowflex. They might actually use one, but certainly not exclusively.
  8. Sep 2, 2007 #7
    Heck, I don't think you really even need to buy those insanely expensive GYM memberships. I'd stick with buying some free weights (barbells and dumbbells) and working out at home. It will be MUCH cheaper in the long run. For most muscle groups, this will work. The only time you might need something more if when you're doing bench press type workout and squat work outs -- because you will more than likely want to get a spotter for these 2 exercises. However, you can get home gyms that have a "safety catch" feature so you can do bench-type and squat-type exercises for cheaper prices than bowflex. You can always do dumbbell squats and not use spotters I suppose, but it won't be as effective at training your quads as the good old behind-the-neck barbell squat.

    Another piece of advise to save money, when you buy dumbbells, buy the adjustable ones. That's the kind where you can insert or remove "plates" of weights, so you don't need to go out and buy 10 different sets of dumbbells. Also, if you like to have a wide back, get a pull up bar you can screw onto a door frame -- you can buy them at Dick's Sporting Goods for around $18, for example.
  9. Sep 2, 2007 #8
    Also, if you work out at a GYM, when you are having car problems or if the road conditions are bad and can't go to the gym, it will adversely affect your workout schedule. So I'd say, buy the free weights and work out at home. It's easier and cheaper than going to the GYM I think.
  10. Sep 2, 2007 #9


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    I agree with the 3 previous posts.

    A home gym, Universal or Bowflex, is not necessary.

    In addition to free weights, one can use one's own body mass/weight, doing pushups, both lateral and vertical (hand stand), pull-ups, dips and situps.

    Running/swimming and stretching are also important. Using a jump rope is also good.

    With the money saved on a gym, one could buy a nice bike and/or kayak.
  11. Sep 2, 2007 #10
    My understanding is that an intense session of jumping rope burns more calories than running! Plus it's more fun to double dutch :)

    Or a new set of wardrobes.
  12. Sep 2, 2007 #11
    Gym membership is like 30 bucks a month, thats not insanely expensive. Plus I go to the school gym which is free for students.
  13. Sep 2, 2007 #12


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    I own a Bowflex. I have to say that I do use it quite often and I have owned it for almost 10 years now (damn). I have definite opinions when it comes to people wanting one. I think they fit one niche very, very well. I think whether or not you would like one depends highly on what you want out of your exercise regimen.

    I would say that if you are young and are looking for building mass and real power, then definitely stick to free weights. Nothing beats free weights IMO. I spent a lot of years, especially my Army years, working free weights.

    The thing that the Bowflex does for me and I think does really well, is that it is meant for an exercise regimen that is based on getting some strength but keeping flexibility, toning and a decent cardio aspect (if you train like they recommend). I bought it because I spent so much time on free weights and heavy lifting that I definitely needed to work on core strength and reducing my mass, especially for my martial arts training. It is a very different work out. For me, no matter how much I lift, it pretty much has the same feeling as if I did a large rep workout with free weights.

    The pros (as I see them) are:
    - Can fold up and does not take up too much space.
    - Well built. Mine has been going strong for a long time now.
    - Definitely a good workout.
    - Quick change to go to different exercises.
    - Add ons available. I own the leg extension.

    - Wicked expensive. You would have to have a gym membership for 4-5 years to equal the cost of a new Bowflex.
    - You will not look like a Bowflex spokesperson by only working with a Bowflex.

    Take it for what it's worth.
  14. Sep 2, 2007 #13
    Yeah, you're right. It's not terribly expensive (although I can't find any close to my area in that price range). But it does add up month after month, year after year.
  15. Sep 2, 2007 #14
    What are gym memberships in your area? Mine is 35$ a month and is the most expensive I've ever heard of around here. I pay that much not because it is a great gym, but it is 24-hour key card access, and the high monthly fee keeps away all of the stupid students from the local university.
  16. Sep 2, 2007 #15
    they are total crap, the tensions aren't representative of real weights and they detension really quickly. free weights is where it's at

    you can easily construct a very very good home gym for ~1000$
  17. Sep 2, 2007 #16
    There is more to big muscles and physical fitness than just lifting. A few years ago my son and I were digging out some medium sized tree stumps. My son had brought along a friend who was an avid weight lifter.

    It was supposed to be the friends job to pick up the tree stumps and carry them to the truck. I was surprised at how easily he could pick them up, but surprised even more when I realized that he could not walk with them.
  18. Sep 2, 2007 #17
    As far as exercise devices go Bow Flex appears to have a good rating.

    http://products.howstuffworks.com/bowflex-xtreme-2-review.htm [Broken]

    One things for sure, don't buy a monster 300lb weight set if you live in a second floor apartment.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  19. Sep 2, 2007 #18


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    My suggestion would be to get a monthly membership at a gym before you start deciding to buy ANY home equipment. You don't need to sign up for a full year plan or anything like that, just try it month-to-month for a bit. Figure out what type of equipment you enjoy and suits your needs, use one of their trainers to help you learn to use it properly, find out what weight range you're capable of handling and what your target would be if you kept going, and generally make sure it's something you would want to continue doing after a few months. If all that works out, THEN you can look into home equipment that suits what you really want to do, and knowing you'll keep up the routine if you put the investment in.
  20. Sep 2, 2007 #19
    that's cause he doesn't do farmer walks, all good weight lifters do powerlifts like the farmer's walk
  21. Sep 2, 2007 #20


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    You can't tone by the way.
  22. Sep 3, 2007 #21


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    Yeah, but he doesn't have you any more either, so how can we trust his judgement?
  23. Sep 3, 2007 #22
    I was able to get great results with a sandbag body weight exercises and running. I've worked out in gyms and used free weights but it just didn't feel quick paced enough or intense enough for my tastes so I decided to change the way I worked out. It was cheap as hell too.

    Sandbags are pretty simple and the only one that will cost you any money(not much at that). All you need to do is go out and buy a big strong duffel bag and at least 3 bags of sand. Take the sand and fill up 1/3 of a zip lock bag, then put that zip lock bag into another zip lock bag and tape it shut. almost all workouts you can do with free weights you can do with a sandbag, and when lifting it it sways and shifts making it hard to grip and keep straight. You can easily put in or take out zip lock bags making it heavier or lighter for whatever workout you are going to do.
    Another thing that is great about a sandbag is you can do a few things that you could never do with free weights, carry them and throw them. The possibilities are endless with sandbags and I highly recommend it but I'm not saying that you shouldn't use free weights or cable training, they are both fine as well :)

    The other thing that you should use and use allot is body weight training. From my experience being "one" with your body weight will open up doors to things that you never thought you could do before. Doing Pullups, pressups, squats, dips or any other one I believe is just as effective as cable training and if you get to light and it gets too easy for you then you could just put on a backpack full of weight and make it even harder. Nothing is better and cheaper at getting your body stronger and thinner than body weight exercises, because basically the only way to do them well is to get thinner and stronger, and it's something to work towards.

    Then comes the running. When i work out I always like to use the fartlek running method. Which is basically running at a normal pace and then sprinting followed by more running than sprinting. Basically it works like this
    3/4 the track running
    1/4 the track sprinting
    3/4 the track running
    ect. ect...

    But when doing this make sure to warm up before and warm down after because failing to do so could end in disaster.

    TL;DR: use sandbags running and body weight for a cheap workout that works, don't use the boflex
  24. Sep 6, 2007 #23
    I like going to the gym. It's a social thing. Plus the one I go to NYSC has tons of hot chicks.

  25. Mar 15, 2009 #24
    My two cents as someone who purchased a bowflex ultimate a few years back:

    I think it's worth every penny, but like any exercise you have to actually do it consistently and correctly. It's best paired with the bowflex body book. I'd still say eventually free weights are a good idea, but if you're just looking to get in shape, bowflex will do it.

    I went from 175lbs to 120lbs in 6 months, and now am working on getting some serious definition. Don't get me wrong though, it's a lot of work, and you have to watch your diet, otherwise all you'll achieve is getting stronger.

    Some notes:

    *The bowflex ultimate models do not fold up, but they come with a lat tower and leg attachment
    *My bowflex came used for 500 usd with no issues, at year 1 I chose to replace the bars with an upgrade
    *It takes up a lot of space, so in its better versions, it's a workout room or garage piece
    *You won't get the superhero tv style body with the bowflex unless you actually adopt a bodybuilder lifestyle (i.e. controlled meals, 6-8 times a day, using primarily superfood, protein shakes, and night-time formulated protein drinks/snacks that inhibit protein catabolism from acting on your muscles)
    *It is work, so if you are 'kinda want' about getting in shape, don't bother.

    Personal note: I destroyed my knees doing track when I was younger in combination with weightlifting, so unless you're going to be doing an elliptical trainer and paying very close attention to joint health (by taking glucosamine chondroitin and other supplements), I wouldn't recommend more than walking every night for 15-45 minutes. By and large, walking will accomplish far more if done in the range of 3.5-4mph.

    I don't have time to actually go to a gym with my work schedule (no lifetime fitness or 24 hour where I live), so it's very nice to be able to do my workout routine early morning or late evening. The one big advantage to going to a *GOOD* gym is the support and encouragement of those you work out with.

    So, there's my two cents.
  26. Mar 15, 2009 #25
    They make men loose all their body hair. At least thats what the TV ad for it shows.
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