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The Bowflex Body Plan: The Power is Yours - Build More Muscle, Lose More Fat Hardcover – November 15, 2003

98 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Who hasn't seen the infomercial on BowFlex, an ultra muscle-tightening, weight-reducing, cable-bending workout machine that looks like it takes a rocket scientist to assemble? Well, here's that infomercial in book form-with a number of additional features. Darden, who has a doctorate in exercise science and is the former director of research for Nautilus, extols BowFlex's benefits and describes exercise routines designed to improve weak arms, flabby stomachs and sagging rear-ends. He also offers a muscle-promoting diet, a plan for "superhydration," several motivational pep talks, testimonials and a question and answer section. For owners of the machine, the manual is a must-have; for those pondering an investment in the machine, Darden's treatise-which makes the Bowflex sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread-will probably have them reaching for their wallets. 60 black & white photographs
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"If you want to get in shape FAST, get started on The Bowflex Body Plan right NOW!"--Peter Fleck, Two-time X Games Water Ski Jump Champion

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (November 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579546897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579546892
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ellington Darden has a goal: To help people live leaner and stronger longer. For the last 40 years he has worked with thousands of men and women who wanted to feel better physically, look more attractive, and improve overall health through a disciplined approach to nutrition and exercise.

He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in physical education from Baylor University and a doctorate in exercise science from Florida State University. Two years of post-doctoral study in food and nutrition set him on the trail that led to his ongoing interest in physical fitness, research, and writing.

Dr. Darden was director of research of Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries for 20 years. There he helped develop and popularize the high acclaimed Nautilus exercise machines. His work with Nautilus led to a number of best-selling publications, including The Nautilus Book, The Nautilus Diet, A Flat Stomach ASAP, and The New High Intensity Training. His most recent book is titled: The Body Fat Breakthrough: Tap the Muscle-Building Power of Negative Training and Lose Up to 30 Pounds in 30 Days.

Dr. Darden's research, which is applied in his books, is one of the reasons he was honored by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition as one of the top ten health leaders in the United States. He lives with his family in Orlando, Florida. His web site is

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 106 people found the following review helpful By John Rosevear on September 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
First the good: If you're an exercise novice who recently acquired a Bowflex and got brain-lock while looking at the huge list of potential exercises that came with it, this book -- which is officially sanctioned by Bowflex's manufacturer -- is a Godsend. Darden picks only the most relevant exercises, describes them in great detail with good photos showing correct form, and organizes them into a series of plans (for novices, for intermediates, for advanced bodybuilder types, for people looking to build or slim specific areas of the body) that couldn't be easier to follow -- and that work.

For that alone, the book is worthwhile. Armed with these plans, the new Bowflex owner is much more likely to actually use his or her machine on an ongoing basis, and that's very good. The plans make it very easy to get going, and tangible gains start to come within the first few sessions. Good stuff.

But there's some not-so-good, too. Throughout the book (and indeed, throughout the officially-sanctioned Bowflex literature) there is case study after case study showing folks who made incredible gains -- losing 30 lb in a month, that sort of thing -- following "The Bowflex Plan". What becomes clear after reading is that those gains have less to do with the Bowflex than they do with the rather extreme (1500 cal/day) diet that's part of the "Plan". And, of course, the official Bowflex literature doesn't address the mounds of research showing that weight lost via extreme calorie restriction doesn't tend to stay off long-term. Take these case studies with the appropriate grains of salt.

There's another not-so-good factor in this book, at least from my perspective. Darden is a bodybuilder.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By E. Clevesy on March 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I ordered this book because the manual that came with my Bowflex didn't have instructions for a few exercises and attachments (like the belt and instructions for the leg extensions)and I was hoping the book would have them. It did.

The book came and my first reaction was... this guy is nuts. I read most of the book thinking it would just get placed on the book shelf with all the other diet books I've collected over the years.

My second reaction was... this is different than all those other books (including the manual) and all those other books aren't working so what do I have to lose but some flab? I'm on my second week following the plan in this book and I've lost around 8 pounds and I can see my arms are toning up. The ice water is good, the diet is do-able and I like doing my light cardio workout after dinner.

I learned a lot of little secrets and I'm really convinced that I can last the initial six week plan and continue on after that with my Bowflex.

If you are doing multiple sets of 12 or more reps with light weights with little results... you'd benefit by getting this book and changing the way you're doing things.
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103 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Weatherman on March 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like Ellington Darden alot. He DOES know his stuff. So Anyway I own the Ultimate Bowflex. I used to own the regular Bowflex with no attachments and I really never used it. It just sat for a very long time. Alot of it was I just wasn't sure how to do the exercises. So I went on a low carb diet, started walking and lost weight. Then I hit a HUGE stall. I always new I needed to strength train but never did. I hated going to the gym and wasted my money on a year membership. So this past winter I got an offer to send back the regular bowflex, trade it in, get 1000 toward an ultimate with EVERYTHING. So I did it. Get a brand new machine with all the bells and whistles. Again I still wasnt sure what to do. THe video that comes with the ultimate is great, gives a good description of what to do. So I was looking around one day and saw this book and brought it. Well I love it. It is great. Gives GREAT detail instructions and tips for the best exercises on the bowflex. It also has several plans, for gaining muscle, losing fat, for your hips, for your arms, for your chest and for your abs. I still need to lose fat before I can try other routines. But I went on his meal plan which is real simple and good for you. I am eating stuff that was restricted on a low carb diet. And I lost weight. I used to not be able to go down past 168 no matter what I did. Now I am 5'11" and 162 lbs (which is actually just right I just need to lose fat and gain muscle). Also if I cheat I don't balloon up. I highly recommend this book if you have the bowflex. His workout routines and eating plans are also worth it. There is also background information on the bowflex and he also explains healthy information (such as increasing water intake and the like). Ellington Darden knows his stuff and I want to read his other books. Take care.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I don't know strength training, at all. Unlike other reviewers I have no idea who the author is or even his credentials (having read they book they seem to be pretty good).
I do have a Bowflex. And while the routines presented in the Bowflex Users Manual that shipped with the machine are good, I found them lacking because I also needed to lose weight, not just build strength. This book is right up my alley. It presents an integrated program for beginners (my wife and I are in our 30s and 40s but neither of us have ever worked out) that blends a steadily advancing work out routine with a reduced calorie diet. And if we persist and stay on program, this book should last us for a few years (if not longer) with the advanced programs for targeting specific muscle development as well as additional, more advanced strength training techniques.
The menu plans are specific, but we'll be modifying it slightly simply because a few of the meals (Lunch particularly) aren't all that appealing. But because the meals are based on calories consumed - substitutions are no problem. For those that don't want to worry about meal planning, you've come to the right place. And for those that are more finicky eaters, you'll come away with the base knowlege to build your own meal plan and still achieve your goals.
Overall I think this book is well thought-out, with specific workouts and meals. The photos are clear and the explanations on how to do the recommended workouts are slightly better than the manual. More useful is the fact the author selected what he thinks are the best of the exercises (in total, only about 30% of the total possible workouts are presented). You'll be happier if you have the Leg Attachment, although you can just substitute other leg exercises that are also in the book. But eventually you'll probably find the variety lacking.
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