Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Review (2020) | Comparison & Alternatives

Brian Adams – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is an ergonomically designed home gym geared towards removing the inconvenience you’d likely come across when you’re trying to hook and re-hook cables between workouts thanks to its no-change pulley system. 

It allows you to perform a good range of exercises within the comfort of your home for less than $2000. 

Most of its exercises and stations are designed to help you focus on strength training. But more than that, it’s manufactured by a well-regarded brand in the market: Nautilus Inc., which has been around since 1986.

While the Bowflex Xtreme is fairly compact and only needs 8 by 6 feet of space, it certainly isn’t the most compact piece of home gym equipment in the market.  There are also other models that could give you more value for your money if you want to focus on performing heavy lifting and having an authentic gym workout experience.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE

Xtreme 2 SE

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Review Summary: While it does give you a good range of exercise options to choose from and enough resistance for the most newbie to intermediate trainers, it isn’t ideal if you’re looking for a unit that will fit into small spaces. It only needs six by 8 eight feet of space. However, this means you might need to have a dedicated room for your equipment. If this isn’t possible, I recommend taking a look at the Total Gym FIT instead, which costs nearly the same as the SE but only requires two square feet of space.

On the other hand, the budget isn’t an issue. I recommend you look into the Force USA G3. It costs slightly more than the Bowflex at over $2000, but it offers more exercise options and is designed to feel more like the equipment you’re used to at the gym. It gives you access to over 75 different exercise options with an unlimited number of variations because it combines up to six different exercise stations: the chin-up station, functional trainer, power rack, landmine station, and vertical leg station.

PROS

  • Gives you access to over 70 unique exercise options
  • The standard power rod resistance is 210 lbs, the standard machine includes a lat tower with an angled lat bar, which is plenty for most newbie and intermediate trainers
  • The kernel resistance is upgradeable up to 410 lbs for power trainers
  • It comes with a helpful and descriptive exercise manual so you can maximize your equipment and better determine a full-body workout regimen that works for you specifically
  • It comes with a 7-year machine warranty
  • The power rods are covered by a lifetime warranty
    The machine only weighs 185 lbs, which makes it easy to transport
  • You don’t have to change the cables in between workouts
  • Also provides all of the benefits of free weights without the risk to joint injuries.

CONS

  • It does not come with the foldable bench
  • The standard 210 lbs of resistance may not be enough for intermediate strength trainers
  • Purchasing upgrades with your machine like the kernel resistance upgrades can cost you more than just a little over $1500
  • Assembly takes 3 to 5 hours and is quite difficult to do so
    Professional assembly is quite expensive and will cost you nearly $300
  • It requires multiple additional tools for assembly
  • It requires eight by six feet of space, so it isn’t the most compact option and will ideally require a dedicated room for your equipment
  • The cables will wear down eventually, so you have to watch them constantly

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Most important characteristics:

Dimensions
Length: 53 inches
Width: 49 inches
Height: 83.25 inches

Number of Exercises
Over 70

Maximum Resistance
210 lbs standard upgradeable to 310 or 410 lbs

Warranty:
Machine: 7-year warranty
Rods: Lifetime warranty

Shipping
Shipping is free on Amazon. Otherwise, it may vary.

Assembly
Required
In-home installation for under $300

Average Assembly Time
3 to 5 hours minimum

Tools Required
Allen wrenches (comes with the equipment)
Adjustable wrenches
Screwdrivers
Rubber mallet

Floor Clearance
8×6 feet

Equipment Weight
185 lbs

Equipment Type
Power rods

Maximum User Weight
300 lbs

Who this product is the best for? Do I recommend it?

I highly recommend this model if you’re a beginner or are just getting into a home fitness regimen. You truly can get a full-body, complete workout with this machine. The no-change sheave system is designed to remove the usual inconveniences that come with weight-based pulley equipment. 

That means you don’t have to worry about hooking and unhooking cables when switching between different workouts. 

Leg Extention FeatureThe unique power rod system also gives you the right resistance without straining your joints and muscles, which makes it ideal for low-impact strength trainers. This mid-range total body home gym is going to cost you around $1500.

However, if you’re planning on purchasing the upgrades and attachments that come with it, I suggest you look into the ForceUSA G3 Machine instead since the attachments and upgrades can be pricey and would end up costing over $2000.

Moreover, this machine—while certainly not a large piece of equipment by any means, and requires 8 by 6 feet of space for you to be able to perform your workouts properly. 

If space is an issue and you’re looking for a more compact unit, I suggest you look into other models such as the TotalGymFIT, which is around the same price range as the Xtreme 2 SE. 

Unlike the Xtreme 2 SE, the FIT only requires two square feet of space and can be folded away and stored easily when not in use.

What Are the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE’s Most Notable Features?

Xtreme 2 SE

It is one of the latest models Bowflex has to offer. However, the new design on this model does not include the proprietary fold-down bench that usually comes with Bowflex equipment.

That said, the bench on the Xtreme 2 SE is comfortable and functional enough to allow you to perform over 70 different workouts with no issue. The only drawback is it doesn’t fold down, which could have saved you space when not in use.

Moreover, the Xtreme 2 SE also comes with its own set of features that makes it unique from other Bowflex models like the quick-change system. Abdominal crunch shoulder harness.

Take a look at some of its most notable features below:

No-Change System

The cable sheave system on the SE is also quite unique in the fact that it isn’t available on other Bowflex models as of late. 

BowflexThe innovative no-change sheave system allows you complete versatility over your machine while making it convenient. Usually, when you’re dealing with cable equipment like this, you’re expected to change your equipment and cables as you switch between workouts. 

The Bowflex removes extra hassle by removing the need to change cables and attachments in between workouts.

One of the biggest concerns my clients have with home gym equipment is losing precious workout time by having to figure out how to unhook and rehook various cables and attachments. 

The no-change system is a welcome feature for anyone who is trying to maximize their workout times, removing the need to hook and unhook certain attachments and cables in between exercises means you have a few extra minutes to focus on your workouts, and that you spend less time getting distracted.

That said, I recommend that you take the time to inspect your cables before every workout. As with any sheave system, there is always a small chance that your cables could have worn down. 

And with this model, in particular, the cables tend to get overworked. It’s important to make sure there isn’t any wear on your cables before you start shredding like the hulk.

Five-Way Hand Grip and Ankle Cuffs

This model comes with unique hand-grips and ankle cuffs that allow you to customize the angle of resistance with each workout.

This allows you to be more comfortable while performing workouts. After all, each body is different, and while most equipment comes with standardized angles, it may not work for everyone. So if you’ve found that you’ve had trouble maintaining your comfort during resistance training in the past, this feature just might help you out.

Ease of Use

One of the most notable things about the Bowflex when you first use it is how easy it is to use. In fact, even if this is your first time encountering any type of gym equipment, the Xtreme 2 SE is designed to make it easy for you to understand what you can do with your machine.

 This is partly thanks to the descriptive exercise manual that comes with the unit. However, it can also be chalked up to some of the more unique features the Xtreme 2 SE offers, like the no-change sheave system.

For anyone who’s just starting out, it can be difficult to understand or to remember which cables, pulleys, and attachments are required for certain workouts.

 The Bowflex’s innovative no-change sheave system makes it easier for you to switch between workouts without having to worry about changing cables or reconfiguring weight requirements.

Power Rod Resistance

Bowflex’s patented power kernel technology gives you the full free-weight experience without putting your joints at risk of getting overly strained. 

RodThe power rods feature multiple resistance adjustment settings that allow you to get just the right amount of resistance and tension without having to worry about your joints and muscles getting too stressed out. 

However, the standard rod resistance is only 210 lbs. The standard 210 lbs of resistance may be enough for most beginners to intermediate users. 

However, if you find yourself unsatisfied with that, you have the option to upgrade to a 310-lb or 410-lb resistance. 

One of my clients recently tested out the 410-lb resistance setting, and it works well for him. However, I found that if you’re a powerlifter like me, it isn’t enough.

The power rods themselves also come with a lifetime warranty on them, so you know you’re covered by Bowflex insurance. However, the rods themselves are made of highly durable composite material, so there’s virtually no chance of them breaking before you do.

Highly Descriptive Exercise Manual and Fitness Guide

To make the most out of your machine, Bowflex packs a detailed exercise manual and fitness guide with your purchase of the Xtreme 2 SE. 

This makes it ideal for beginners or users who are not quite sure where to start. These will also benefit you if you’re used to having a personal trainer with you while you train since it keeps you organized and gives you tips on how to maintain your workout regimen.

Attachments That Come with the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE

This machine comes with the following attachments to help you perform a good variety of workouts on the machine efficiently:

  • Preacher curl attachment
  • Leg press plate
  • Leg press seatback
  • Foot harness
  • Curl and pulldown bar

Exercises You Can Do with Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE. Versatility!

This top machine gives you access to some basic whole-body exercises like:

  • Leg extension
  • Leg curl
  • Leg kickback
  • Flat press
  • Incline press
  • Decline press
  • Lat pulldowns
  • Rows
  • Lower back extensions
  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep pushdown
  • Shoulder presses
  • Shoulder delt raises
  • Shrugs
  • Ab crunches
  • Trunk rotations
  • Oblique crunches
  • Bench presses
  • Chest fly
  • Reverse fly
  • Rear deltoid rows
  • Front shoulder raises
  • Seated shoulder presses
  • Bent over rows
  • Reverse grip pulldowns
  • Resisted dips
  • Hammer curl
  • Wrist curls
  • Squats
  • Standing hip extensions
  • Hip flexions
  • Deadlifts
  • Hip adduction
  • Hip abduction
  • Calf raises
Take note that the exercises listed above are not the only workouts you can perform on this machine. As mentioned before, you will have the ability to perform over 70 different workouts that target different parts of your body. This means you can better determine which workouts are most effective for you and that you can also develop your own workout routine based on your own fitness goals.

Dimensions

Bowflex Dimensions

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE’s overall machine dimensions are 96x78x83 inches (lwh). However, you will need at least eight by six by five feet of workout space to make it work for you.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Trainer Reliability and Warranty

Bowflex is owned by Nautilus Inc., which is a well-respected manufacturer of gym equipment. Bowflex, by itself, is also highly regarded as a brand and is backed by thousands of positive customer reviews. 

That said, the warranty that comes with your Xtreme 2 SE purchase is also quite significant. The machine itself is covered by a 7-year manufacturer warranty while the power rods are covered by Bowflex’s lifetime warranty.

Final Words / Who Is the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Best for?

In conclusion, I highly recommend Bowflex model if you’re looking for unique equipment that offers a wide variety of resistance settings for low-impact workouts.

It’s better suited for beginners, and I highly recommend purchasing it only if you’re not pressed for space or if you don’t plan to purchase any upgrades.

In which case, the Total Gym FIT is a better option if you’re looking for something that is more compact, space-saving, and affordable since it only needs 2 to 3 feet of space. It’s roughly within the same price range of under $2000 and doesn’t require assembly as well.

However, if budget and space isn’t an issue, the Force USA G3 all-in-one trainer gives you more value for your money. G3 is one of the few all-in-one machines in the market that come close to an authentic gym experience without having to invest in several different types of equipment.

Force USA Monster G3

#1 Exercise Equipment Choice (fitgraded)

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