Why am I hearing bad things here about Bowflex?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by 88MONDIAL, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. 88MONDIAL

    88MONDIAL Formula 3

    Apr 13, 2005
    Racine, Wisconsin
    Full Name:
    Jim Smith
    I am 36 (today as a matter of fact!), I got a bowflex that I've been using for 6 weeks now. I have done NO exercise until getting this. I work at a desk and I am becoming very stiff from it. I do a number of excersising with the Bowflex, curls, bench press, ect.. with stretching in between reps as I need to become more limber. I want to tone my chest a little and my arms and add a little muscle and flexibility throughout my body. Is this Bowflex NOT going to help me with my goals? What is it about the bowflex that garners no love (see some recent posts here lately)? I'm hoping I'm on the right track. Thanks for the feedback.
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  3. nthfinity

    nthfinity F1 Veteran

    Mar 21, 2005
    South East MI
    Full Name:
    Isaac not Issac
    Resistance isn't linear; and ultimately your muscles aren't worked "naturally" whereas weights offer "infinite" resistance. It doesn't mean you aren't working, or getting in better shape. The price/ performance just isn't what it ought to be. That is why gyms don't have them.

    At least, that is my understanding.

    More than a few people I have come to with questions whom I trust their fitness judgement 100% told me in no mysterious ways to stay away from all Bowflex products.
  4. 88MONDIAL

    88MONDIAL Formula 3

    Apr 13, 2005
    Racine, Wisconsin
    Full Name:
    Jim Smith
    Thanks for the reply! So it sounds like it's alright, it just doesn't give you quite all the benefits of doing free weights. For what I'm looking for, it sounds like the Bowflex will work for me.
  5. Mbutner

    Mbutner Formula 3

    Aug 11, 2005
    Bay Area / Washington DC
    Full Name:
    Quick Draw
    Nthfinity hit the nail on the head. Bowflex, while providing some resistance, and providing a workout, the cost is much to high for the return on investment. For my dollar I would much rather have a few free weights or even kettle bells for a circuit of simple compound exercises. People often think of working out like coloring by numbers: I'll just do a bit of curls to enhance my biceps, but not too much b/c I don't want to get too big... this kind of thinking is absurd. You can workout like an animal for weeks or months and have modest changes in your body. Its about genetics, hormones, diet, sleep patterns, and many other factors.

    In a nut shell, Bowflex cannot deliver on its promises. Its marketed well but in 15 minutes a day, you will remain a puffy office worker pulling on an akward machine. You want to limber up? Get a bit more in shape? Go running a couple miles a day (takes 10/15 minutes) and do Yoga. You'll be slimmer, healthier and be less stiff, for much less $$$.

    My $.02 worth.
  6. GG

    GG Formula 3

    Feb 21, 2008
    You can't do compound movements with Bowflex.
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  8. GregD

    GregD Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    Full Name:

    I too did no weightlifting exercises in my early 20s & decided to buy a soloflex, which worked out well for about a year until I started having a re-occurring lower back ache.
    I sold the soloflex shortly after, but still have the back ache occassionally to this day.

    Be sure to learn proper form and dont lift too much weight when you start out.

    if I had it to do over, I would have done cardio and very light weights first, built up my core, then slowly started doing light weight lifting with a knowledgable trainer that had
    experience in re-hab.
  9. AbsolutFerrari

    AbsolutFerrari Formula Junior

    Jul 23, 2009
    Rocky Hill
    Full Name:
    Rick S
    I have a buddy in RI that swears by the bowflex and has been using it for years. He is in great shape. My not have all the benefits of free weights but you will do fine.
  10. 88MONDIAL

    88MONDIAL Formula 3

    Apr 13, 2005
    Racine, Wisconsin
    Full Name:
    Jim Smith
    Thanks for the feedback GregD and AbsolutFerrari. GregD, any specific excersise that hurt your back? Were you lifting a fair amount of wait? Also, did you notice your body in better shape after that year with the soloflex (besides the back injury - sorry to hear that)?
  11. robbreid

    robbreid Karting

    Feb 25, 2007
    Bowflex, which ironically bought Nautilus and has renamed the company - Natilus Inc..

    I say ironic, because Arthur Jones who started Nautilus an whose machines are credited with the beginnings of the fitness craze, and whose son Gary - created the hardcore Hammer Strength machines - which generally are awesome machines -

    So they went from inventing many of the original machines, to making awesome machines, to a lame mass produced machine for home use by out of shape people, or the very rare person in shape already who uses it to maintain themselves.

    Although Bowflex came out in the early 90's, and I've been involved in fitness decades before that!, I've never met anyone in my life, who built themselves from out of shape, or basic shape, into a fit person you see on Men's Health or anything close.

    The reason people say they suck, because for people who've never worked out, they certainly feel anything they do. However, if you've worked out at a decent gym, you know the difference immediately between free weights and bowflex.

    Bowflex for light weights is okay, and I mean okay - as in not great. However as soon as you go heavy - in other words what you need to build muscle - the Bowflex is completely unstable, and in my opinion not safe. I find it very frustrating to use, its' like working out with heavy - bent - dumbells - those who work out know what I mean.

    Now if you've never worked out, your basic couch potato, and your much too lazy to join a gym, then Bowflex may be for you - you'll never be in shape, but at least you'll feel guilty for not working out, everytime you walk past your little used Bowflex.

    Just my opinion, yes I've used Bowflex, and they suck.
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  13. GregD

    GregD Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    Full Name:
    sorry, a little late in answering. I don't really know what caused it and after mri's, cat scans etc, they dont really know what the problem is...soft tissue injury was the last guess.. I swim now and eat healthy to stay in shape and its good.

    Was not using that much weight. And I agree that if you add more weights the soloflex is unstable and could be dangerous.

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

    Nov 1, 2003
    Victory Circle
    Full Name:
    If you are feeling stiff I would suggest you do lots of stretching. Focus on touching your toes w legs straight, this will loosen your hamstrings which tighten a lot from sitting at a desk

    Tight hamstrings can cause back problems and stifness

    Also work on loosening your hips, stand w your feet at shoulder width and move your hips in a circle 1st left 5x then right 5 x, repeat as required

    RE the Bowfles, it may not be as good as free weights but its better than nothing

    If you just do 20-30 minutes a day you will see a differnce after a few weeks
  15. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

    Dec 4, 2004
    It feels like a rubberband to me...I guess if you live on the International Space Station, it's better than free weights, which would feel weightless (lol).

    I tried doing a curl with a Bowflex at ******'s Sporting Goods and put the resistance at "100" or something around there (no idea what units they use). It was too easy...I was used to doing 45+lb curls at the time so there is no way that was "100lbs."
  16. curtisc63

    curtisc63 Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Dec 13, 2005
    Full Name:
    Curtis Campbell
    I have one and have used it off and on for years. Coupled with a better diet and 20-30 minutes 4-5 times a week on the Bowflex I dropped 35 pounds and felt great.

    It got me off the couch and into other activities. It can still give me a good circuit type workout and get the blood pumping - which is the point of any exercise.

    If you have aspirations of a Fitness Magazine body you will have to do a lot more and commit to many many lifestyle changes. I never wanted that so the Bowflex worked out for me. Give it a try and see what you find - just pay attention to exercise positions and maintain proper core support and you should be fine.

  17. Evolved

    Evolved F1 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2003
    Pittsburgh, PA
    You can get resistence tubing that you can take anywhere for twenty bucks or buy a bowflex that is similar.

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