One of my clients, Brian, called me up last week asking me how he can continue his workouts while at home.
We discussed several home gym options but finally settled with the Bowflex Revolution.
This innovative equipment features SpiraFlex technology, which is used on the International Space Station.
Every inch of movement is met with perfect resistance, and it’s more sleek compared to your average gym equipment.
- Length – 112 inches
- Width – 38 inches
- Height – 73 inches
- 10-year coverage on the machine and SpiraFlex packs
- Around 6 to 8 hours
- Allen wrenches (included in the box)
- Screwdrivers (not included in the box)
- Adjustable wrenches (not included in the box)
- 336.2 lbs
Maximum User Weight
- 300 lbs
Number of Exercise Options
- Over 100
- Transport wheels
- Foldable frame
Minimum Required Space
- 120 by 84 inches
- 10 positions
Maximum Weight Limit for Cables
- 2,000 lbs
Backrest Main Positions
- 180 and 45 degrees
- Triceps pushdown
- French press
- Standing french press
- Lying triceps press
- Cross triceps extension
- Rope pushdowns
- Standing trunk rotation
- Trunk rotation
- Standing oblique crunch
- Kneeling wood chop
- Kneeling low to high trunk rotation
- Reverse crunch
- Standing wide-angle lat row
- Seated lat rows
- Lying lat fly
- Stiff arm pulldown
- Lying shoulder pullover
- Wide pulldowns
- Chest fly
- Resisted punch
- Lying cable crossover
- Standing chest press
- Decline chest press
- Standing decline chest fly
- Leg extension
- Prone leg curls
- Calf raise
- Dorsi flexion
- Leg press
- Lying hip internal rotation
- Rear deltoid rows
- Seated shoulder press
- Shoulder shrug
- Scapular protraction
- Lying front shoulder raise
- Reverse fly cable cross
- Up to 100 lbs per side or a total of 220 lbs
- Resistance can be upgraded to 300 lbs of total resistance weight.
Summary: This machine is designed to help you perform workouts with specifically targeted resistance in each motion you make. Basically, it’s a complete gym system made using resistance bands—a highly effective alternative to free weights and weight plates. Despite missing the traditional cast iron stacking weights you see in a traditional home gym, the Bowflex Revolution boasts a total resistance of up to 300 lbs for upper body workouts and 600 lbs for lower body exercises. Although this machine does come off as quite a huge unit needing 10 by 7 feet of space, it’s easily portable and can be put away easily because of its folding body and transport wheels that make it easier to move around.
- The frame is mostly made of durable high-gauge steel
- The design is sleek and modern, which can motivate you further
- The pulleys feature sealed bearings to prolong its lifespan
- It comes with a gliding seat that allows you to perform full-motion rows and leg press workouts
- The SpiraFlex resistance system eliminates the need for bulky traditional stacking weight attachments
- You can perform over 100 different workouts
- Assembly is easy with most of the internal parts already assembled for you
- It comes with a descriptive manual that teaches you how to perform the exercises
- It does not come with all the tools needed for assembly which means you need to look for additional screwdrivers and adjustable wrenches
- You cannot perform standard deadlifts or squats on this machine
- The resistance may not be enough for professional weightlifters who need more than 150 lbs of resistance per arm
- Requires at least 10 by 7 feet of space
- Assembly takes six to eight hours
About The Bowflex Company
Bowflex got its beginnings in the 1980s advertising home gym equipment through infomercials.
Now known as Nautilus Inc, the Vancouver-based company shifted their focus from primarily home gym machines to include cardio trainers fit for users of all fitness levels.
Since the beginning, it has been a name associated with innovative equipment.
Their TreadClimber and Max Trainer line of equipment gave home gym shoppers a low-impact alternative to standard treadmills and elliptical equipment.
It was the higher efficiency and success rate of burning fat and toning muscles that established their fan base.
Since then, Bowflex has consistently put out unique home gym equipment that feature high-tech qualities like their patented power rod technology.
Bowflex Revolution Notable Features & Benefits
That machine certainly doesn’t look like your average piece of gym equipment. In fact, you might be confused as to how it can help you tone your body and perform over 100 exercises at the comfort of your home, especially since it doesn’t have any of the more familiar components you might be used to.
Just because it doesn’t look like your average piece of equipment doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. In fact, their machines are well-known for their efficiency without stressing out your joints and muscles.
The Resistance System
The Bowflex Revolution resistance system is unique from previous models that use their patented power rod technology. Instead, it utilizes the SpiraFlex resistance system. The SpiraFlex system is utilized in the International Space Station where there is very limited gravity.
This system utilizes one resistance pack on each side that features a heavy-duty elastic strap. The elastic strap then tightens around a coil while the discs rotate when you pull the cables.
This unique resistance system allows you to load less heavy resistance plates and turn them into up to 300 lbs of resistance for your workouts. Although similar in theory to dumbbell weights, the four weight discs that come with a Revolution machine only weigh five, ten, twenty, and forty pounds.
There are various disc weight combinations you can try out, which will increase or decrease your resistance weight.
The Bowflex Revolution features a well-thought-out design that targets your upper and lower body effectively. One thing you tend to worry about with home gym systems that claim to target your whole-body is that they fall short in some aspects.
This is not the case with the Bowflex. The Revolution utilizes several attachments that come with the box-like leg press attachments. The leg press station allows you to perform a variation of the traditional heavy squats you’re usually able to perform on traditional equipment.
Additionally, the adjustable bench allows you to perform various flat, inclined, and declined workouts. One of the things that makes the Revolution effective is the fact that each motion is met with optimal resistance.
This means you’re not neglecting any part of your body while performing your workouts.
400 Workout Variations
This model is designed for comfort as much as resistance. There are over 100 workout options you can perform on the Revolution. But what most users don’t know is that there are also up to 400 variations of those 100 workouts.
The adjustable arms and 360-degree cable motion allow you to adjust your workouts exactly to your liking. But more than that, the easy adjustments in the unit allow you to switch between workouts with less hassle.
This means you’re saving time you usually would spend changing cable attachments or loading weights when you’re at the gym. Essentially, it keeps your workout time shorter while keeping your heart rate up longer, which allows you to burn more calories faster.
Summary: The Bowflex Revolution is a high-tech piece of equipment built to maximize your workout times. The adjustable arms and 360-degree cable adjustment allows you to focus on working out instead of changing components in between your workout. Moreover, its unique SpiraFlex technology utilizes lighter weight discs compared to traditional equipment while giving you up to 300 lbs of upper body resistance and up to 600 lbs of lower-body resistance.
Dimensions: 112 x 38 x 73 inches LWH
Number of Workouts: over 100
Exercise Variations: up to 400
Maximum User Weight: 300 lbs
Maximum Upper Body Weight Resistance: 300 lbs
Maximum Lower Body Weight Resistance: 600 lbs
Weight Discs: four
Warranty: the 10-year frame and SpiraFlex warranty
Reliability and Warranty
The Bowflex brand is heavily associated with quality customer service. This model, in particular, comes with an easy to follow the owner’s manual and a 10-year warranty on the frame and SpiraFlex technology.
The total shipping weight of the unit is 94.77 lbs so it is definitely on the heavy side of home gym equipment. If you order on their website, standard expected delivery is within four weeks from your date of purchase.
You could also opt for two-day shipping or overnight shipping if you’re in a hurry to try out your new unit.
Bowflex Revolution Alternatives
The Revolution is a worthy investment if you’re looking for a piece of equipment that allows you to tone your muscles and quickly burn fat without putting too much strain on your joints. However, you may want to consider looking into alternatives if you’re looking for something more affordable, closer to a real gym experience, or compact.
Force USA G3
The Force USA G3 comes closest to the Revolution when it comes to price range. It’s only around $500 more expensive than the Bowflex. But that isn’t to say that the G3 is similar to the Bowflex. In fact, both units are drastically different in function and use.
Price: Around $2200
Number of Exercises: 75+
Exercise Stations: 5
Weight Rating: 450 kgs
Cable Rating: 2000 lbs
Smith Machine Rating: 400 kgs
Machine Weight: 153 kg
Exercise Stations: The G3 Power Rack gives you access to five exercise stations. If you purchase the leg attachment, it can be upgraded to six exercise stations. Each station is designed to mimic an authentic gym experience apart from the power rack, which is technically a half rack.
Size and Portability: the G3 is quite large and requires at least 7 square feet of space for you to be able to properly perform your workouts. That said, it isn’t easy to move around, and it doesn’t fold up like the Revolution, so you may have difficulty repositioning it on your own.
Total Gym Fit
The FIT is a more affordable unit compared to the Revolution. It features a compact design and gravity resistance that relies on your bodyweight to customize resistance levels.
Price: Around $1500
Number of Exercises: over 85
Assembly: not required
Weight Rating: 450 lbs
Resistance Levels: 12 settings
Machine Weight: 66 lbs
Workouts: the Total Gym FIT home gyms relies heavily on your body weight to create resistance for your workouts. This eliminates the need for additional weight entirely unlike with the Bowflex.
Size and Portability: The key selling feature the Total Gym FIT has over the Bowflex is its compact size and lightweight design. It weighs only 66 pounds and can be easily folded up for storing, which means you don’t need to have a dedicated room for it in your home.
Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym
The Xtreme 2 SE is one of the “older” units that Bowflex has. It utilizes the patented power rod technology is known for and is ideal if you want more resistance than the Revolution can offer.
Price: around $1600
Number of Exercises: 70
Machine Type: Power rod resistance
Weight Rating: 300 lbs
Maximum Resistance Rating: 410 lbs
Machine Weight: 185 lbs
Warranty: 7-year machine warranty and lifetime warranty on the power rods
Workouts: the Xtreme utilizes the more familiar power rod technology of Bowflex. The power rods are designed to gradually increase resistance as you workout. This means your body is gradually conditioned to perform workouts with a higher resistance level instead of having to adjust immediately once you set it.
Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym
The PR1000 is an ideal choice if you’re looking for something cheaper, but still arguably gives you a good range of resistance options. It uses the patented power rod technology Bowflex is known for and can supply you with up to 210 lbs of resistance.
Price: around $600
Number of Exercises: over 30
Machine Type: power rod resistance
Weight Rating: 300 lbs
Resistance Range: from 5 to 210 lbs
Warranty: 1 year frame, 5 year rods, and 60 days parts warranty
Workouts: the PR1000 is better suited for beginners. However, if you’re in the market for a cheaper maintenance unit, it can also do the job for you. Unlike the Revolution that utilizes weight discs, it utilizes power rods which remove the need for additional weight equipment.
Questions & Answers
Whenever I recommend Bowflex as a brand, I’m met with a barrage of questions. I took some of the most popular and answered them for you below.
Are Bowflex Machines Worth It?
I heard a lot of positive things about Bowflex home machines, and they sold the Bowflex lower body fat-reduction system to me. I’ve had one for quite some time, and I have to say, that it does an outstanding job in its job. It has come in handy in a number of workouts and has also been used in a lot of vacation home fitness routines. So the question then, is are they worth the money? Well, most of the reviews are on the 5 stars or higher standard. With that said, they’re not perfect. Pros: Very good price, $699.00. The arms will fit an average size individual with some difficulty. It is fairly sturdy for the price. It’s a very good fit, although there is a bit of room to adjust.
The table is removable which can be a big plus when you want to do cardio in your house. Very easy to adjust the length of your legs. Cons: The main issue I have with the best machine, is that the machine is not very adjustable for your height. Even though this is a no-frills exercise machine, I would expect to have a little more wiggle room for your height. I recommend changing the height of the squatting platform to allow for more range of motion for shorter people. Also, the knees do not lock in place when you do squats. If you want to work on leg extension work, you’re better off doing that on the leg extensions rather than the leg curls.
Bowflex Revolution vs TonalAside from the lack of bells and whistles that I don’t feel are necessary, the Bowflex Revolution has a lot of competition in the freestyle lineup from Tonal. Tonal is an affordable and easy-to-use trainer, and its $649 price tag is quite attractive. So with $100 less, would I choose the Tonal or the Bowflex? I can’t decide, as it’s a tough decision that comes down to how much of a difference features like music, program selection, and the app will make. I’ll get more into that a little later. Spinning with the Tonal could also be good for beginners to find a trainer to see how things work before spending thousands of dollars on a dedicated bike.
Can You Build Muscle With the Bowflex Revolution?In the end, it was the Revolution Max RPMs that sold the old man and I on the Bowflex rowing machine—this is where you really get the dramatic gains in hypertrophy. We both agreed the lower and upper bands on the Revolution Max were much more effective at isolating and training the lower portion of your body. Steve Chambers’ most recent book is due for publication next year. For the second year running a group of local theatre, lovers have come together to bring a Shakespeare company to our little town in the midst of winter. Suburban New Hampshire has become a mecca for Shakespeare lovers from all over the world. For the past several years, Shakespeare in the Suburbs, a non-profit organization has been providing one of the world’s most famous plays, Macbeth, to the communities surrounding the city of New Hampshire. Unlike much other conventional weight training equipment, the Bowflex Revolution requires no fancy cables or pulleys to work. The handles on the two-stage steel body pulley system retract downward, allowing you to deadlift with almost no effort.
Does Bowflex Revolution Really Work?
If you’ve ever had an inkling that your squat and bench press are maybe not as bad as they look, take it to Bowflex. The company’s new Revolution program, complete with its pretty cool infrared camera, is an efficient system that’ll finally help you keep them in check. On the surface, it’s simple enough to use: press down on a series of pushups, dips, and squats. The dual-action movie weights should help stimulate muscle growth in targeted areas—a new lower back, hip, glute, and butt muscles.
With that workout, your muscles should really be holding steady in those areas, and the added exercise helps them recover. Just remember that you won’t see all that much action in the upper body and arms. The real key to the program, like most other rowing machines, is portion control and keeping it short and sweet,” Bowflex head of training Dave Dyas says. “Think about it as having a series of 15 minutes on the leg press versus 30 minutes on the machine.
Final Words / The Takeaways
The Bowflex Revolution is a good piece of equipment to invest in if you’re looking for a solidly built all-in-one home gym that doesn’t require too many confusing attachments.
Its unique SpiraFlex technology removes the need for traditional gym weights that not only clutter up your space, but can also be a pain to load into the machine. The way the Revolution is designed, it allows you to maximize your workout time by cutting down the unnecessary downtime you get when you have to switch certain accessories for your next workout.
However, if you’re a powerlifter, you may not appreciate the maximum resistance of 150 lbs for each arm. I would instead recommend you look into either the Force USA G3 which can lift up to 2,000 lbs or the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE that can handle up to 410 lbs.
BOWFLEX REVOLUTION comes with a descriptive manual that teaches you how to perform the exercises
Force USA G3 (#1 Choice)
The Force USA G3 gives you access to five exercise stations