Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Review (2024) | 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


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.


  • 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.


  • 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


Most important characteristics:

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

Machine: 7-year warranty
Rods: Lifetime warranty

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

In-home installation for under $300

Average Assembly Time
3 to 5 hours minimum

Tools Required
Allen wrenches (comes with the equipment)
Adjustable wrenches
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 2SE, 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 2SE 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 2SE also comes with its own set of features that makes it unique from other Bowflex home models like the quick-shift 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-shift 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-shift 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 2SE 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 2SE offers, like the no-shift 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-shift 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!

What exercises can I do with Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE? 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.

What is the Difference Between Bowflex Xtreme 2 and Xtreme 2 SE?

Have you ever found yourself wondering, “What is the difference between the Bowflex Xtreme 2 and the Xtreme 2SE?” You’re not alone. Many of our readers have asked us the same question. So we created a primer on the key differences between these models. And the good news is, despite being identical in every way, the Xtreme 2SE is on sale right now at Amazon for the lowest price we’ve seen in months. When we tested the original Xtreme, we found it to be the most versatile piece of fitness equipment we’d ever tested. With its multitude of stations, it’s perfect for getting a variety of high-intensity workouts in at one time. And if you really want to challenge yourself, you can attach a Bowflex Pro Rail to your standard cable from the bar to make it even more intense.

Our full home gym review of the original Xtreme, in case you need a refresher, is right here. The 2nd Model, however, is a high-performance upgrade to the original Xtreme. Whereas the original Xtreme has more than a dozen different station configurations, the Xtreme 2SE only has 11. Each of those stations has less functionality. Each of those stations has a different resistance rating and a different software load, making each station’s workout different.


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.

Does the Bowflex Xtreme 2 Fold Up?

No. The Xtreme 2 doesn’t fold, at least not like many other adjustable dumbbells. When the primary set is removed, the machine still weighs in at over 20 lbs. The drop-down dumbbells are connected to the dumbbell ends with stainless steel clips that snap in or out. They’re not going anywhere. For the second set of two dumbbells, you have to remove the large set of two dumbbells that’s more than 20 lbs. before you can drop down to the second set. For some people, that’s a deal-breaker. At least the Xtreme 2 comes with a cable storage rack that you can get a bit of a grip on. But it’s certainly not convenient to drop down to the second set if you need to quickly grab a set of 2’s or 3’s for an overhead exercise.

How Much Space Do You Need for a Bowflex Xtreme 2?

Whether you’re cutting weight to win a fight or just taking your workouts to new levels, the Xtreme 2 Bowflex would be a solid option for your home gym. Because this machine is so unique in its design, you can’t expect it to come cheap. You’ll spend at least $5,000 on an Xtreme 2 Bowflex, but if you’re willing to pay a little more for a quality machine, you’ll get more for your money. The regular Xtreme 2 cost $3,919, but it comes with a pair of different weights sets and a spotter, so that’s the starting price. Meanwhile, the Ultimate 2 costs $5,299, and it comes with a pair of different weights sets and a spotter, so the starting price is even higher. This machine might sound a bit pricey, but the materials are just as good as what you’d get from a name-brand machine. The features you get are worth the cost of admission.

Can You Really Build Muscle With Bowflex?

There is no “quick fix” for improving your fitness; you have to keep working hard at the new things you want to do. Some of the most popular personal trainers and trainers in magazines have made careers out of saying this. But it isn’t a popular take in the strength and conditioning world, and it is often used to discourage people from trying new things. But in the second installment of this series, we will get into the details of Bowflex and how they can help people achieve their goals. Before we jump into the details, it is important to state that the size of the machine and the amount of resistance (weights) you use is what really matters, in terms of how much you can build muscle. The size of the machine does not really matter, because people use the large version or the medium version just as often, and it can be adjusted to different.

Are Bowflex Xtreme Any Good?

The question isn’t if you can build your own home gym in your living room, but can you afford it? And, if so, do you want to spend that money on a home gym that can, well, you know, move? Forget that. We can take care of that. Simply start by hiring a commercial mover. Or hire one of our exceptionally talented and experienced contractors who will help you bring your gym home. Your life will change forever. Your home gym’s first workout Follow our step-by-step instructions below to build a home gym inside your living room.

What is the Difference Between Bowflex Xtreme 2 and SE?

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 and SE are both popular home gym models offered by Bowflex, designed to provide effective strength training workouts. While they share some similarities, they also exhibit significant differences in terms of design, functionality, and features, catering to the varying needs and preferences of fitness enthusiasts.

Design and Build:

Frame Structure: The Bowflex Xtreme 2 features a more robust and durable frame, designed to withstand heavy use and accommodate more intense workouts. In contrast, the SE model comes with a lighter and more compact frame, making it suitable for users with limited space or less demanding workout routines.

Pulley System: The Xtreme 2 incorporates a unique and advanced pulley system with adjustable positions, allowing users to perform a broader range of exercises targeting different muscle groups. The SE, while versatile, offers a more straightforward pulley setup with fewer adjustment options.

Resistance Technology:

Power Rods: Both models utilize Bowflex’s patented Power Rod technology, providing resistance through flexible rods that bend and create tension during exercises. However, the Xtreme 2 comes with a higher standard resistance capacity, allowing for a more extensive weight range compared to the SE.

Upgrade Options: The Xtreme 2 offers the possibility of upgrading the standard Power Rods to increase the overall resistance, providing room for progression as users advance in their strength training journey. The SE, on the other hand, may have limited upgrade options, restricting its potential for accommodating advanced lifters seeking higher resistance levels.

Exercise Variability:

Exercise Range: The Bowflex Xtreme 2 boasts a more extensive exercise library due to its versatile pulley system, enabling users to perform over 70 different exercises. The SE model offers a respectable variety as well but may have a slightly more limited exercise range compared to the Xtreme 2.

Attachment and Accessories: The Xtreme 2 typically comes with a broader array of included attachments and accessories, such as a lat tower, leg developer, and squat bar, enhancing workout diversity. The SE may have a more basic set of attachments, which may be sufficient for some users but may lack the versatility provided by the additional accessories of the Xtreme 2.

Price and Affordability:

Cost: As a more advanced and feature-rich model, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 generally comes at a higher price point compared to the SE. The SE, being a more budget-friendly option, can be an attractive choice for users seeking a cost-effective home gym solution.
In conclusion, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 and SE differ significantly in their design, features, and overall capabilities. The Xtreme 2’s robust frame, versatile pulley system, higher resistance range, and extensive exercise options make it ideal for users looking for a comprehensive home gym experience with room for progression. On the other hand, the SE’s more compact design, affordability, and sufficient exercise variety may suit individuals with limited space or less advanced fitness goals. Understanding these differences allows potential buyers to make an informed choice based on their specific fitness requirements and preferences.

Is Bowflex Xtreme 2 Discontinued?

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 remained available for purchase through various retailers, both online and in physical stores. However, it’s important to note that product availability can change over time due to factors such as market demand, manufacturing decisions, and company strategies. Bowflex periodically updates its product lineup, introducing new models and discontinuing older ones to meet evolving consumer needs and technological advancements. While the Bowflex Xtreme 2 may still be accessible through certain channels, it’s advisable to verify its current status directly from Bowflex or authorized dealers for the most accurate information. Additionally, considering the fast-paced nature of the fitness equipment industry, staying informed about product releases and updates can help individuals make informed decisions about their purchases. Whether the Bowflex Xtreme 2 remains in production or has been discontinued, exploring alternatives and comparing features can aid in selecting the most suitable home gym equipment to meet specific fitness goals and preferences. Therefore, individuals interested in acquiring the Bowflex Xtreme 2 or seeking comparable options should conduct thorough research and consult reliable sources for up-to-date information on its availability and potential alternatives.

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)