Top positive review
66 people found this helpful
Useful for 'moderate' athletes/workouts
on May 4, 2014
I'll start off by saying I'm roughly 6'1"/175 lbs. I'm a 'moderate' workout warrior (and more of an 'endurance' to 'strength' guy). I'm in the military and regularly score high on PT tests. I'm not Sly Stallone or Arnie, but I'm not Bobby Hill or Mr. Burns. If you saw me in a bar and I pissed you off you'd probably think that you could take me. But I digress... I'm 'normal' and this review is from the POV of an 'average' athletic person (although, with America being so increasingly obese, perhaps I am 'above average'... but whatever, I digress again...)
After more than six months of use, I feel like a proper review is due. I like the Bowflex brand and I own many of their products (resistance bands, adjustable bench and weights), which is why I trusted them and bought this tower and not others.
I'll break down each aspect of this product properly, by grade, then give an overall grade.
BLUF: This is good-to-great (certainly useful) for 'moderate' athletes like myself, but probably not quite as good/useful for more 'advanced' athletes (over 6'2" and/or 220 lbs), and certainly not a substitute for circuit training/general gym workouts. If you use this to supplement your routines or to learn/perfect new exercises you like, go for it. This product qualifies as 'quality' and 'bang for your buck'.
Shipped fast, isn't too bulky or large to get into a tight space or doorway (as packaged). The average person will need to two-person carry, but any moderately athletic person should be able to single carry (or push) this without injuring themselves.
Nothing too complicated. One person can do it. The hardest part is, after assembling the bottom 'A' frame and top 'H' frame, connecting the top and bottom. The tower is over six feet tall and is not lightweight (relatively speaking), so having to get the short screws through the 'A' frame and screw them tight to the 'H' frame is a hassle. I tipped the tower over on it's side and did it that way. Other than that, assembly was straight forward and simple.
Maybe I just have narrow doors in my apartment, but, when assembled, this will not fit through a doorway if you wish to move this from room to room (or to a garage, storage, etc.). The bottom 'A' frame is too wide, so you'd have to 'pivot' this through a doorway (provided your hallways had the proper angle to do this), IF that is possible... this tower is over six feet tall... not sure there is any angle available to 'pivot' this through a doorway. So the only way to move this around your house/apartment/condo/place of residence would be to disassemble the (bottom) 'A' frame from the (top) 'H' frame, move the separate parts and then reassemble. This might not be a problem for those with a dedicated space they KNOW they will be using. For those who might be prone to moving around, it's an inconvenience. So basically, be sure you KNOW where you want this to be at, because it's not meant to be relocated at will.
It says it supports up to a 300 lb person. As previously stated, I am roughly 6'1", 175-180 lbs. If you do the exercises properly (no jerking; nice, controlled movement(s)) then this works, no problem. If I were over 200 lbs (220+) this would probably feel more problematic. I haven't had any problems with tipping, but again, I'm more 'streamlined' (or 'skeletal') build. Weights could be added to the bottom 'A' frame for those concerned with/experiencing tipping, or other methods could be used (put this in a corner/against a wall, pads used under it to help with 'grip', etc.). Most shouldn't have problems with stability.
The adjustable arms work good, too. Unless improperly secured, they don't seem likely to 'come loose'. Adjusting them requires moderate effort (removing pins, unhooking metal 'catches' from holes), but nothing too extreme. I don't adjust the arms often enough for it to be a point of annoyance.
Exercises: This product claims to be able to help you perform eight (8) exercises. They are:
Squat (single leg): N/A
I haven't done this one yet (why not just do body squats?). I imagine it wouldn't be difficult to do and that one would feel the effects of the exercise.
Chin up: B+
One of the main reasons why I bought this. Again, I'm 6'1"/175. This is JUST tall enough to support me on this exercise (with my knees bent). The tower moves a little, but nothing worrisome. It's best to move the 'arms' down low so they don't get in the way when doing chin/pull ups. The top bar doesn't get in the way of getting your chin above it. The exercise is functional and effective with this tower... but I'm not sure it would be for someone taller/heavier (6'3"+/220+)
Triceps Dip: A
One of the main reasons why I bought this. This tower makes it easy to perform dips. Arms are locked in and stable during and the height is perfect to execute the exercise. The only minor annoyance is the chin up bar, which one MIGHT hit their head on if they bob their head around (especially if they keep the arm slings attached; I hook them on the top bar). Just control your movement (and/or unclip the arm slings) and no problem.
Push-ups (decline): N/A (B+)
I don't do this exercise often enough to know for sure (I just do tons of regular pushups), but I did TRY them as shown. The rubber mat keeps your legs steady and you certainly feel the exercise. This tower could help someone do declined pushups if that was their thing.
Supine Row: N/A
I tried these, but I'm not familiar with this exercise (I'm more of a pull ups/lat pull down guy). I don't want to comment on something I don't feel qualified to. All I will say is that this tower seemed to provide adequate spacing to perform the exercise as shown.
Raised Bridge: N/A (B+)
I just do (regular) planks, but this is fully functional for the exercise as shown. It might not be a 'perfect fit' for each person since their height/arm length varies and this tower has specific sets (holes for arms to rest in), but it's not like it would be a drastic difference in height/length. If one wanted to do this exercise, they could with stability and effectiveness.
Vertical Knee Raise: A/A+
One of the main reasons why I bought this. I don't know why, but this tower/arm slings makes this exercise BURN. Boy, does your core feel these. I mean that in a good way. As a fairly tall person, it's hard not to tap my feet (toes) on the floor slightly when doing these, but if anything that helps with stability and/or concentration. The adjustable arms may get in the way for some, too, but I keep them at dip length and don't have a problem.
I only tried these just to see how they'd work, so... maybe it's just me and maybe I'm being unfair. I'm an avid cruncher, so maybe I'm so used to doing these on different surfaces/with different feet holders and perhaps even 'incorrectly'. I found this tower impractical for crunches/sit ups though. You have to lower the adjustable arms all the way down and lock them in and the arms protrude out. The rubber mat doesn't really hold my feet all that steady and I have canoe-sized feet. The mat/arms clattered back and forth as I did the exercise, which was an annoying as hell sound. It's just not comfortable to do crunches or sit ups with this tower. Maybe if I had a better mat below the tower it would work better? I don't think so.
Exercises Overall: A
The three exercises I bought this for work GREAT with this. I could/would do all others, but one, if I wanted to. You can cover nearly every muscle group working out on this. I'm not sure how well sculpted (or muscular) you'd get doing JUST this, but you COULD work just about every muscle group using only this.
Product Overall: B (more advanced athletes) to A (less advanced/'moderate' athletes)
Like I said in the BLUF, this is less practical/effective the more athletic you are. Taller people will likely be annoyed by some exercise discomfort(s) based on the tower design. Heavier/more muscular people may be less comfortable and/or be less stable and/or feel less 'burn' compared to more 'advanced' exercise regiments available. For those building up their athleticism, looking to consolidate equipment, looking for a lightweight substitute for bulkier equipment or as a home gym substitute/starter this works quite well.
If you're looking to supplement your workout(s) and/or consolidate how you perform the varying exercises that this tower can help you do, then this is a great buy.