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If you hear “Bowflex” and a ’90s infomercial comes to mind, think again. The company, which has been developing home workout equipment for more than 30 years, is at the forefront of the industry — and its home gym remains popular today.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many people out of traditional gyms, forcing a transition to home workouts. Today, it’s more important than ever to maintain physical activity.

In fact, one recent study found that people who performed more than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity or more than 15 minutes per day of vigorous physical activity had a lower risk of prevalent depressive and anxiety symptoms (1).

While you don’t need fancy equipment for an effective workout, home gyms may provide many of the perks you’re missing from a traditional gym setting. Bowflex currently offers two home gym models.

This article explores the Bowflex home gym options, discussing their pros, cons, and costs, as well as whether they’re worth the investment.

Some details across the board

  • Installation charges: $299
  • Shipping: For the Revolution, $199.99 in Continental U.S. ($499.99 in Hawaii/Alaska); for the Xtreme 2 SE, $169.99 in the Continental U.S. ($424.99 in Hawaii/Alaska)
  • Warranty: Revolution has a warranty of 10 years on parts and 90 days on labor; Xtreme 2 SE has a warranty of 7 years on the machine and a lifetime on the Power Rods
  • Refund policy: Must request to return product within 6 weeks of delivery date
  • Financing options: $139/month for 18 months for the Revolution; $67/month for 18 months for the Xtreme 2 SE

While you can still purchase the company’s older home gym models, Bowflex currently offers two new models of its home gym: the Revolution and Xtreme 2 SE. Each offers unique features.

ModelPriceWeight resistanceFloor space requiredExercise capacityProsCons
Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE$1,499Standard 210 pounds of Power Rod resistance (upgradable to 410 pounds)96 inches x 78 inches (244 cm x 198 cm)Over 70 possible exercisesNo need to switch cables to go from one exercise to another

Being able to upgrade resistance to 410 pounds means even more serious athletes can get a good workout
Machine not set up for leg curls

Not having a bench limits the number of possible chest-focused activities
The Revolution$2,899Standard 220 pounds of SpiraFlex resistance (upgradable to 300 pounds)120 inches x 84 inches (305 cm x 214 cm)Over 100 possible exercisesAble to fold for small footprint when not being used

Comes with a workout DVD for instruction on possible exercises
No media rack to store iPads, etc.

Have to pay additionally for all the possible configuration pieces

The Revolution

The Bowflex Revolution home gym costs $2,899. It comes with 220 pounds (100 kg) of SpiraFlex resistance — a type of technology that replaces weights — and can be upgraded to 300 pounds (136 kg) at an additional cost.

You can execute up to 100 exercises on this machine, which features a Freedom Arm system that adjusts independently based on your workout. The Revolution requires a 10-by-7-foot (3.1-by-2.1-meter) area, according to the company.

Who it’s best for: Because of the wide range of exercises it supports, the Bowflex Revolution is great for those who want to be able to switch quickly between exercises. Because of the range in resistance levels, it’s also a fit for families with multiple people of different weightlifting abilities.

The Xtreme 2 SE

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE home gym comes with 210 pounds (95 kg) of Power Rod resistance and can be upgraded to 410 pounds (185.8 kg) for an additional cost.

You can perform 70 exercises on this model, which features a lat tower with an angled lat bar and a no-change cable pulley system. Floor space of 8 by 6.5 feet (2.4 by 2 meters) is required, according to the company.

At $1,499, the Xtreme 2 SE model is less expensive than the $2,899 Revolution. This article focuses on the Xtreme 2 SE model.

Who it’s best for: The power rod system gives a proper amount of resistance without straining joints or muscles. This makes the Xtreme 2 SE ideal for those looking for a full body, lower impact strength training workout.

Its lower price point compared with the Revolution makes it a good fit for beginning to intermediate users. By paying for the upgrades, it can also advance as users get stronger or be appropriate for more serious athletes.

Bowflex’s Xtreme 2 SE home gym is based on its trademarked Power Rod resistance system, which provides resistance that feels comparable to that of free weights but without the associated inertia. Free weights may pose a risk for injury because they aren’t fixed.

In fact, in a study of emergency room cases involving gym accidents, overexertion was the most common cause of injury, plus the main cause related to general free weight activities. Crush injuries due to falling weights were common for all free weight activities as well (2).

Another benefit of the Xtreme 2 SE home gym’s resistance system is the no-change pulley apparatus, which relieves you from adjusting any cables or handles when moving from upper to lower body exercises, for instance.

Atop the machine, a lat bar tower allows you to target your upper body, such as your back and shoulders, with exercises like lat pulldowns and rows.

At the bottom, a four-position lower pulley station lets you do squats, deadlifts, and other lower body exercises. There’s also a leg extension bar off the seat to target your quads.

Accessories and workout manual

Five-way handgrips and ankle cuffs are included with the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE home gym, as well as a squat bar and ab crunch shoulder harness.

Sample workouts are also available in the manual. The manual offers seven workouts for those looking for some guidance on how to use the machine:

  • 20-Minute Better Body: a full-body conditioning routine great for beginners
  • 20-Minute Upper Body: targets the chest, back, shoulders, and arms
  • 20-Minute Lower Body: targets the legs and core
  • Bodybuilding: a focused program that strength trains each body part individually
  • Circuit Training Anaerobic: a full-body resistance training workout
  • True Aerobic: adds a burst of cardio in between each strength exercise
  • Strength Training: an advanced program designed to boost strength

Exercises you can perform

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE provides a full-body workout. Some exercises you can perform on it include:

  • Lower body: squats, deadlifts, leg extension, and kickbacks
  • Upper body: lat pulldown, chest press, rows, chest fly, raises, and curls
  • Core: ab crunch and oblique crunch

Maximize your time by picking a few of the exercises from each area — lower body, upper body, and core — for a full-body workout, or target each area individually once per week.

Benefits of the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE home gym is a versatile option for someone looking to get a full-body workout at home. Its benefits include:

  • Numerous workouts. This home gym offers 70 exercises on one machine.
  • 210 pounds (95 kg) of resistance. For a beginner or intermediate weightlifter, this high level of resistance is more than enough. More advanced lifters can upgrade the machine to 410 pounds (186 kg) of resistance.
  • No-change pulley system. This simple pulley system minimizes confusion and downtime in between exercises because you don’t have to adjust handles or cables.
  • Relatively compact footprint. The Xtreme 2 SE doesn’t have a foldout bench — just a vertical seat — which keeps its footprint small.
  • Excellent warranty. The machine itself comes with a 7-year warranty, while the Power Rods come with a lifetime warranty.

Downsides of the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE home gym has a few drawbacks, such as:

  • High cost. While cheaper than the Bowflex Revolution home gym, the Xtreme 2 SE is still an investment. Keep in mind that the company offers financing options.
  • No bench. The lack of a bench limits the exercises that you can perform, namely chest-focused moves.
  • Limited usability for experienced lifters. For someone with bodybuilding or athletic-focused goals, this home gym may not provide enough resistance or exercise options.
Summary
  • The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE home gym provides a well-rounded, full-body workout and is easy to use and store.
  • It’s an investment at nearly $1,500 and lacks a bench, which may present restrictions for experienced lifters, especially those with intense strength or muscle goals.
  • It features a lat bar tower and four-position lower pulley station to provide a full-body workout. An easy-to-use pulley system ties everything together.
  • The Bowflex home gym includes several accessories, such as handgrips, ankle cuffs, a squat bar, and an ab crunch shoulder harness.

The Bowflex Revolution includes SpiraFlex Technology, Freedom Arms with 10 positions and 170-degree adjustments, and a leg press station with up to 600 pounds of resistance. It also has a preacher curl attachment, vertical bench press, and leg extension.

The Bowflex Revolution offers 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of resistance. (This can be extended up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms) with the additional SpiraFlex resistance plate upgrade.)

The machine is 112 inches by 37.8 inches by 73 inches (284 cm by 96 cm by 185.4 cm), but it can be folded up to a size of 55 inches by 38 inches (140 cm by 96.5 cm).

The maximum capacity of the machine is 300 pounds (136 kg). It has a 10-year warranty on parts and 90 days on labor.

Accessories and workout manual

For an additional $199, you can purchase the Revolution Accessory Rack. The SpiraFlex resistance plate upgrade costs $99. The Bowflex Tricep Rope is also available as a separate purchase for $34.99

The Bowflex Revolution comes with a workout DVD, and there are others you can purchase as well to provide motivation and instruction for proper exercise form.

Exercises you can perform

You can perform over 100 exercises (and over 400 variations) with the Bowflex Revolution. These equal a comprehensive core and abs workout, chest exercises, back exercises, shoulder exercises, arms exercises, and leg exercises.

An included DVD provides ideas and instructions for proper form.

Some examples of possible exercises include:

  • bench press
  • chest fly
  • resisted punch
  • standing trunk rotation
  • standing oblique crunch
  • kneeling wood chop
  • standing wide angle lat row
  • narrow pulldowns with hand grips
  • seated lat rows

Benefits of the Bowflex Revolution

  • One benefit to the Bowflex Revolution is the many exercises that can be performed with it. (Users have the option of over 100 different exercises with more than 400 possible variations.)
  • The weights are easy to adjust, which makes working out a fairly seamless process. The Bowflex Revolution can also be folded up when not in use to take up less space during those times.
  • Finally, it can be returned for up to 6 weeks and comes with a 10-year warranty on the parts to help prevent buyer’s remorse.

Downsides of the Bowflex Revolution

  • The most noticeable drawback to the Bowflex Revolution is the large price tag. While financing plans are available, it will still cost $139 per month for 18 months.
  • The Bowflex Revolution is also pretty large, so you’ll need a decent amount of floor space for it. (If you’re just looking to do a little bit of toning up at home, it might be overkill for your needs.)
  • Additionally, while the Bowflex Revolution has many great features, it is missing one key thing: a media rack to hold tablets, etc.

Bowflex isn’t the only company selling home gyms. There are lots of options out there.

Some competitors provide tons of equipment (and sleek ways to store it), while others take advantage of technology to minimize equipment and bring studio-style classes and personal trainers to you through mirrors.

Here’s a quick look at some of the other options available and who they might be best for:

ProductPriceProsConsWho It’s Best For
The MirrorBasic package starts at $1,495Takes up minimal floor space, and the app allows you to take your favorite classes with you when you travel. You can control the music and sync with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. May need to purchase additional equipment depending on which classes you want to take, and the monthly subscription cost ($39/month) can add up over time.Those with limited floor space for large exercise equipment who like a variety of studio-style classes will appreciate The Mirror. The Mirror also offers personal training and feedback options for those missing that during at-home workouts.
The Tonal$2,995 plus $495 for smart accessoriesIt adapts for a range of fitness levels, and you won’t need to manually adjust weights. (As a bonus, Tonal keeps track of your progress, so you won’t have to keep track of how much weight to use for an exercise.)It can take a while for the Tonal to be delivered, the smart accessories have to be purchased separately, and some users complain that the machine is a little loud. The Tonal works well for individuals interested in unique resistance-based weight workouts. In addition to having some wall space, you’ll also need a budget that allows for the monthly subscription cost ($49/month).
Tempo Studio$2,495 for the starter packageAttractive enough to not be hidden away and designed to hold a significant amount of workout equipment. The quality of equipment included is also high.Takes up a decent amount of floor space 72 inches × 26 inches × 16 inches (183 cm × 66 cm × 41 cm) (freestanding base only) and focuses pretty heavily on strength-based classes.The Tempo Studio works well for individuals looking for a basic weightlifting setup they can hide away inside their home. If high quality equipment is important to you and you have some space to give up, the Tempo Studio might be worth a look.

Bowflex’s Xtreme 2 SE and Revolution are versatile home gyms that provide full-body workouts.

The Xtreme 2 SE’s high price tag and lack of a bench may steer some people away, but this product comes equipped with 210 pounds (95 kg) of resistance, a user-friendly pulley system, and a great warranty.

The Xtreme 2 SE is a great choice for not-so-serious lifters who want a good at-home strength workout.

Similarly, the Revolution’s even higher price tag and lack of a media rack might be deal breakers for some, but you can perform 100 different exercises on it from the comfort of your home.

If you have to or prefer to work out at home, either of these home gyms offers many of the basics you would find at a commercial gym.