Home gyms come in all different shapes, sizes, functions and capabilities. Many brands have experimented with different ways of delivering resistance. Yet, only a few designs have ever come close to the efficiency and reliability of a standard weight stack setup. Bowflex is one of those few exceptions. Introduced in the mid-’80s, Bowflex brought innovation to the world of fitness. Today we’ll show you our picks for the 3 best Bowflex home gyms for almost anyone! Later, we’ll talk about why Bowflex is such a successful platform, what to look for in one, and more!
Top Bowflex Home Gyms At a Glance
Best Bowflex Home Gym Overall
The Bowflex PR3000 represents an awesome, well-rounded solution for those who are looking for the best bang for their buck. This model features the Quick Change System and also comes with a removable seat. The 50+ exercises and 210 lbs of resistance it offers will definitely provide the challenging workout you’re after!
Best Bowflex for Beginners
The PR1000 is a relatively basic model. It’s an affordable rig that will bring you a decent amount of functionality. You’re getting over 200 lbs of resistance, a fully adjustable bench, and over 26 exercises that target the whole body.
Best Advanced Bowflex Home Gym
The Xceed brings a whole lot in a compact package. This machine is perfect for those working with smaller spaces. It features several flagship traits such as the lat pulldown bar, the ability to upgrade the Power Rods to 410 lbs of resistance, and more. This is the model you go for if you plan on using Bowflex for a long time.
The Best Bowflex Home Gyms
|Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym||
|Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym||
|Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym|
|Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym|
The Bowflex PR3000 is the best value item offered by Bowflex. It doesn’t pack the most bells and whistles, and it’s not the most complex system they offer, but the PR3000 will give you the absolute best bang for your buck.
One thing that stands out right away is the footprint of this machine. It’s a fairly compact package that can become even more compact as the seat is fully removable.
The PR3000 features a simple yet sturdy frame that Bowflex has become known for. They’ve used quality steel tubing that’s been shaped for maximum efficiency. The result is a system that’s almost completely vertical. All of the pulleys are routed neatly around the frame, allowing the whole thing to be very compact. The overall build quality is on point.
What sets the Bowflex PR3000 apart from most other home gyms is its versatility. You’re looking at a machine that allows you to do over 50 different exercises, hitting the entire body. The PR3000 comes with an adjustable seat, which is particularly useful for getting the most out of the lower-body station. The machine comes with a 210 lbs worth of Power Rod resistance out of the box, as well as the multi-use hand grips. This alone is enough to keep an average user occupied for a while. In case you need more, you can always add Power Rods and enjoy up to 310 lbs of resistance. If you’re looking for a Bowflex setup that does it all, this is it.
- One of the most flexible systems in Bowflex’ offer
- Features 210 lbs worth of Power Rods
- Upgradable up to 310 lbs
- Compact footprint makes it perfect for those with limited space
- Removable bench for more functionality
The Not So Good
- Putting it together can be confusing thanks to the tricky manual
- The handles on the pulldown station aren’t the best choice for lat pulldowns
The full range of Bowflex home gyms all starts with the Bowflex PR1000. This is their most basic model. Despite that, it still offers very good functionality. The whole package is geared towards beginners who are just starting out and need something that won’t break the bank. The PR1000 features the same vertical frame design found on other models, but with a different base.
Since it comes with a hybrid bench, the base of the frame is different compared to the PR3000 and other models. It’s much more stable, although basic in design. The bench that comes with the machine can be used in both horizontal and vertical modes. On top of that, it can be used as a rolling seat for the rowing exercise. Since the bench is not removable, the PR1000 does take a little bit more space than other Bowflex models.
The Bowflex PR1000 offers over 200 lbs of Power Rod resistance that can be utilized through 25 different exercises. However, switching between exercises requires you to reroute the cables depending on what you want to do. In all honesty, this isn’t a big deal but it’s worth knowing. Also, unlike most other Bowflex home gyms, the PR1000 can’t be upgraded to a higher weight capacity; 210 lbs. is it.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the overall build quality is very good. This rig even comes with a media rack, so you can enjoy some entertainment while you exercise.
- A highly affordable Bowflex machine
- Features a multi-functional bench
- Comes with over 200 lbs of Power Rod resistance
- Offers over 25 exercises including rowing
- Comes with a media rack
The Not So Good
- You’ll have to reroute the cables between exercises
- Fixed bench component means a larger footprint
If you’re looking for something that’s compact, the Bowflex Xceed might be the one for you. As far as the frame design, the Xceed is most comparable to the PR3000. They share the same upright frame component. Just like the PR3000, this rig is rock solid in terms of stability and overall robustness.
These are shipped with 210 lbs worth of Power Rod resistance from the factory. However, not only can you upgrade to 310 lbs, you can take it up to 410 lbs. The Bowflex Xceed allows you to harness that resistance and perform over 65 exercises using its numerous stations. The Xceed arguably improves on the design of the PR3000 by offering a proper lat pulldown bar. On top of that, you’re getting an abundance of workout stations including the lower pulley system. When paired with the leg extender, it provides a very decent lower body workout.
- One of the most compact models in the Bowflex home gym range
- Solid build quality
- Can accommodate up to 410 lbs of Power Rods
- Features a lat pulldown bar
The Not So Good
- It requires a cable change between stations
- Assembly can be confusing
Should You Get a Bowflex Home Gym?
Bowflex have proven themselves as among the leaders in home gym makers. If you’re looking for a home gym that’s highly functional but doesn’t take a whole lot of space, Bowflex is definitely worth looking into. As far as home gyms go, most models on the market are clunky, absolutely massive, and often complicated to use.
You’ll see all kinds of rigs with complex cable and pulley systems. Bowflex simplifies everything by using the Power Rod technology instead of the usual weight stack. With Bowflex, the entire pulley system is reduced to a minimum. Some of their models require you to reroute cables while others don’t. Either way, you’re dealing with far fewer pulleys which means there are fewer places where the machine can break down.
Not to mention that Bowflex Power Rods allow for plenty of upgrade options. You can double the resistance of your machine and greatly improve its potential.
The list above includes what we think are the best Bowflex home gyms, although this is only a part of this company’s entire offer.
Choosing the Right Bowflex Home Gym
The cool thing about the Bowflex system is that most of the models are based on the same or very similar platforms. That alone makes choosing the right rig much easier. With a consistent build quality and uniform core design, you can base your decision on the functions that the machine offers. Here are some design features you might want to pay attention to when choosing the best Bowflex home gym for your needs.
Size and Footprint
Right off the bat, it’s important to understand the size of Bowflex home gyms. Not all of them are compact and not all of them are suitable for those who have limited room to spare. The models on our list depict the two possibilities of Bowflex size. We have the PR1000 with its fixed bench that takes a fair bit of space, and then there’s the Xceed which is a relatively compact home gym.
When calculating how much space you’ll need, make sure to account for more than the listed product dimensions. This is because certain exercises require you to stand next to the machine and pull away from it, so you’ll need floor space around the machine to work with. Bowflex are good in this regard in that they provide both the product dimensions, and an estimation of the ”workout area” needed.
Ease of Use
Bowflex systems either come with the Quick Change System or without it. Although both systems work, having to change cables to use different workout stations can become tiresome after a while. On the other hand, machines without this feature will generally be more affordable.
The choice is ultimately yours. Also, keep in mind that Quick Change System is available in both the lower and higher end of the Bowflex spectrum, just not on every machine. That’s why it’s important to choose carefully. The Quick Change System is part of the reason why we’ve chosen the PR3000 as our top pick and why it’s among the best home gyms on the market right now. It’s just so easy to use.
Power Rods Capacity
Progressive overload is how you build muscle. One of the best things about free weights is the fact that you can keep adding on those plates as you go. If you run out, you can always just get more. With home gyms, it’s not that easy. You’re limited by what the home gym offers.
Bowflex generally offers 200 lbs worth of Power Rod resistance and most rigs can be upgraded. However, some can be upgraded to 310 lbs while others can push that number to 410 lbs. How much resistance you need is obviously determined by how experienced you are in weight training.
Different Bowflex models can facilitate a number of different exercises. For example, the PR1000 will allow you to do around 26+ exercises while the Xceed pushes that number to a solid 65+. Both of these models will give you a solid full-body workout, it’s just that the Xceed is easier to fine tune based on specific needs. The Xceed will also be more effective at isolating individual muscle groups.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bowflex Home Gyms
Now, you’re a discerning person, which is why you’re doing your homework before pulling the trigger on an expensive piece of exercise equipment. Like most people you probably have plenty of questions about Bowflex home gyms because, frankly, they look different and potentially gimmicky. We’ve provided answers below to some of the most common question asked of these machines.
Is Bowflex Good for Building Muscle?
Building muscle mass comes down to progressive overload. In other words, progressively stressing the muscle to greater extents, which leads to various physiological responses and, ultimately, muscle growth. As long as you can overload the muscles in your body (and your nutrition and sleep is well regulated) you’ll build muscle. How you overload your muscles doesn’t matter too much. It can be free weights or a Bowflex machine – both will work. With Bowflex, you’re getting the convenience and functionality that’s generally unparalleled in the home gym market.
What’s the difference between the footprint and the working area?
Like most home gyms, Bowflex machines have a set of dimensions when they’re not in use – this is the footprint. However, a number of stations, such as the leg extension pads extend out when you’re using them. This creates the working area; this is the minimum space you’ll need to use the machine effectively.
How long do the Power Rods last?
This depends on how much you use them, but generally you should get at least 3 – 5 years of regular use out of them.
Are Bowflex home gyms difficult to put together?
Yes, Bowflex machines are fairly difficult to put together. That said, most home gyms can be tricky to assemble. This is due to the fact that they have a lot of moving parts, plenty of precise components that must be aligned and bolted together properly, and multiple systems of pulleys that can be fiddly to set up.
Well, there you have it: The Best Bowflex Home Gyms
The home gym market is full of interesting models but Bowflex definitely stands out. The models we’ve selected represent a good cross-section of what this company offers. We’ve included the affordable choice, a compact rig, and an overall value model. All you have to do is choose the one that best fits your needs!