on December 12, 2011
**Update 2 years later below***This review is for the Bow flex PR1000 and my use of it over the last 3 months.
I don't think it's necessary to go into great detail concerning the shipping etc. but the machine is packaged very well.
Assembly time- With me and a friend it took about 1 hour.
Quality- I was surprised on the quality of the machine. It is sturdy and very well made. After three months it is holding up as it did on the first day.
Workouts- There is a lot of workouts you can do on this machine. I would highly recommend the bow flex body plan book as it is a valuable reference.
Concerning the workouts the point of the Bow flex is resistance. Each motion of exercise should be controlled.
Workout results-With dieting I have lost 35 lbs. and using the bow flex only 3 times a week for approx. 30 minutes a workout.
Other Models- I was somewhat overwhelmed at the different models and Bow flex nor do reviews on Amazon really help in this area. After doing exhaustive research I found the main difference between this model and the Pr3000 is mostly the Pr3000 comes with 100 extra lbs. of resistance. For another 500 bucks, they can keep it.
*Side note. There are numerous articles and videos showing how you can add more power bars/replace with higher weight without buying a more expensive model. It's actually quite easy.
Free weights vs. Bow flex. You will have friends and so called experts argue one over the other. Through my own experience now and in the past, the bow flex concentrates on and makes you use smaller muscles you thought you never had.
Will you top out the weights/power bars is a concern I had when buying this. At this point the answer is no. If you're looking to be the next Mr. Olympia then you wouldn't be buying this anyways. But the short answer is this will get you in shape, tone or add some bulk, depending on your workouts. And will continue to do so for years to come.
Space required- This is not a small machine so a good 8x10 area is recommended for use.
Does it work? - The answer is yes as long as you use it.You will see results as long as the machine is used and you diet.
Overall rating- The Bow flex pr1000 definitely is worth the money. The machine is well made and will do its job.
**Update Two Years Later*
This machine has helped me lose 60llbs of fat in a healthy way, that is not starving myself but by exercising. I have been going to a local gym and still the use bow flex when I am short on time or the weather is bad.
I can now speak from experience from using both the Bow flex and free weights in a gym. The bow flex will still do its job and do it well. The key is still to do the exercises slowly. For example, when doing a bench press don't jerk up, push up counting to three, hold, and then come down in three.
It will hit the little muscles and will really sculpt you.
Works excellent, rods are fine, it has stayed together nicely.
The bowflex works if you use it!
on February 5, 2010
I have been a personal fitness trainer for many years and at first I too was a skeptic about the whole resistance rod thing. I have read other reviews where people who bought this particular unit say that 210lbs is not enough weight to get a good work out.
I would suggest to those of you who think you need more weight than that to try slowing the motion of your reps on whatever exercise you are doing way, way down. Say for instance you are doing bicep curls: As you curl up, do so with a slow count of 8. At the bottom of the movement start the count at one, then SLOWY curl it up to the top of the movement ending on eight, then do the same on the way back down to the bottom of the movement to get the negative resistance, which makes each single rep more like two reps both positive and negative, up then down.
This will cause you to have to MUSCLE the weight up and down as opposed to using momentum. I would also suggest that you try working each muscle group to failure if you can handle it. This method can make 20lbs seem like 50 after just two sets if you do it correctly. Mind you, you will be so very soar, but in a good way and the results will no doubt satisfy.
on January 31, 2015
well made, and with a little warranty voiding custom work, can be made to work with the 310lb and 410 lb upgrade kits. See my pictures in the customer uploaded pictures section for my instructions on how i did it. i dont know how safe this is, so do this at your own risk. it works fine on my bowflex though.
on March 28, 2012
Read many reviews on many websites. And after looking it all over, I figured I knew enough about working out, how to use equipment, and that the huge difference in price between the PR1000 and the next model up was not worth it.
Overall, I'm glad with my decision to purchase the PR1000. Free shipping with Amazon and about $75 cheaper than picking up at my local Walmart, so this was a bonus. Got in one day after I ordered it. Came UPS right to my front door, so this was another bonus since I didn't have to go through the store process of getting it to my door by myself. Assembly was easy. Probably an hour to put together.
One negative that influenced my purchase was that I have seen in some reviews that you can max out the weights (especially with the leg press) and you cannot upgrade it. I completely understand this, however, I think for 90% of owners, the 210 lbs it came with is not going to be a factor. The whole idea with this machine is to go SLOWER than using free weights. You also get the force of the rods in BOTH directions of the exercise. So if you are doing a bicep curl, for instance, you would be taking 2-4 seconds to do the upward motion against the resistance rods and then 2-4 seconds going back down against the resistance rods...with each complete motion you are getting DOUBLE workout. If you are doing it in a paced controlled manner, getting up to the 210 lbs weight limit doing 8-12 reps of 4-8 second motions...times 2-4 sets of reps...this is a LOT of working out for one exercise. If you are a gym rat, yes indeed you could be saying that's not enough weight for you. But if you are Joe/Jane Public getting your 30 minute workout each day, you will have trouble getting out of bed the next morning maxing out the rods on your exercises assuming you are doing them with the suggested methods. And quite frankly, you are beyond home gym and need to get into a real gym at that point.
So the big negative I read about not being able to upgrade the weights may or may not ever be reached by me given my workout habits. I'm just looking for strength training and so far after a couple of weeks, I'm super pleased with it overall. Only takes about 30 seconds to change over from bicep curls to leg curls or a lat pull down. Its really really simply. All the pulleys, attachments, and surfaces are nicely built and comfortable to use. I don't have any negatives so far other than that I wish you could lay down on the bench and somehow do hamstring curls. You can only do it standing in an awkward fashion, but it does concentrate right on the glutes and hammy.
Comparing the weight numbers on the resistance rods to what you can do in free weights...well, you can just forget that. Since you are using a machine, you do get a bit of a mechanical advantage. However, its not as easy as you think that you can do more weight. You are pulling at angles that don't necessarily give you the mechanical advantage you expect. And when you are doing the exercises in a slow and deliberate manner, the 10th rep feels 5x heavier than the 1st rep. Its deceiving and you need a few workouts to work out your ideal weight resistance rods.
Folding it up and down is very easy. I hate to say it, but even my wife can do it without help ;) Once she used it a few times, she doesn't need my help at all on how to switch out to do another exercise; what handle goes where, etc. I would assume for most people that your experience would be the same and you could quickly change from one exercise to another. There is a manual that comes with it that covers most exercises that would concentrate on a particular area. It also includes a couple of varied training regiments with suggestions for Day 1, Day 2, etc. Very useful, I think.
Overall, I think it was a great purchase for $450. I easily get a quality workout on professional quality equipment. Compared to my days of going to the gym and spending more time waiting inline for equipment than using it, I LOVE my BowFlex.
on November 13, 2008
This just arrived today. Took about 2 hours to assemble, but it's pretty easy. I almost bought this from another site, because they were going to assemble it (would've been 200 extra dollars for that) and I am very glad I did it myself.
This unit is extremely sturdy and well put together. I was a bit nervous to buy this because I have young kids I did not want to trash it. Believe me, they couldn't! This is far too well-designed and durable.
Worked out for about an hour, and I love it. Lots of exercises you can do (both muscular and cardio) and you can really feel it.
As others have noted on other models, I can see how the weights (200 lbs) might not be enough, but I am not looking to become the Incredible Hulk. This unit is perfect to stay fit and not let those holiday meals get the upper hand.
I really recommend this to anyone who wants to work at home and does not want to be bored with the same old routine (treadmill, stationary bike, etc.)
Great job, Bowflex!
I bought this about 3 weeks ago on Amazon. I have used it about every other day. I am overall very happy:
1. It doesn't take as much space in my garage as I feared (about 1/3 of one car space)
2. The bands are smooth, it's not like it starts easy then gets hard, which is what some people have said
3. Switching between exercises is far quicker than walking between stations at the gym
4. My body gets sore after each workout. AWESOME.
It does suck for biceps though, unless you happen to be 6' 4" and have short arms. I am 5' 10" and have very regular length arms, and so what happens is that the handles you use for biceps doesn't "kick in" until you have already done about 1/5 of the bicep curl. The handles attach to the red bar you see towards the bottom of the machine. So you stand in the curl position, and you start pulling up on the handles. Then you realize that you are pulling up and up, but it hasn't started to bend the bar yet, then when you are well into the curl, it'll start to bend the weight bar back.
Overall though, I'm very happy. What I do to counter the bicep issue, is keep a set of dumbbells nearby and just use those. Take a look at my pics they show how much of my 3rd car space gets used up by the machine. It's really not bad! I really love this, especially for chest, tricep and shoulder exercises. Thanks for reading!
on May 13, 2010
This review is broken into the following sections:
* Ordering and Shipping
* The Machine
Ordering and Shipping:
I purchased this for a good price via Amazon. Shipping went well, product arrived in a timely manner.
I assembled the machine yesterday. For a short woman in her 50's whose only "helper" was her dog, I found the assembly went pretty well (4 hours). In a couple of places the instructions could have been a bit clearer. I can see how assembly would have been a snap if I had had a different helper or if I were taller - or if I already had a bowflex body :-) for tightening down all the bolts - but all it all, assembly wasn't too bad.
The machine includes an Owner's Manual which describes two things.
1. Various exercise routines (list of exercises) you can follow depending on your goals and current level of fitness. These purport to be aligned to adhere to the 20 mins-per-day, 3 days-per-week mantra that is part of their advertising.
2. A title of each exercise, the equipment to use for the exercise, and a drawing attempting to depict the movement being done in the exercise. This is the first place where I found the "system" to be lacking. Not having been a gym rat, I had had only minimal previous experience with gym equipment and the drawings aren't clear what movement is expected. They also provide a card that gives the initial and final position for some of the exercises, but again, no information on what one is to do to get from A to B. Between the manual, the card, and a few videos out on the Internet, I could figure out what most of the exercises are, but this area is sorely lacking. Since this is supposed to be an entry-level machine, it would have been expected that Bowflex would provide better guidance in this area. So I docked them one star for this.
The machine itself appears to be of good quality. And after the first workout, I am sore, which is what's to be expected. But I am an overweight, out-of-shape, 50-yr-old woman and even I could Leg Press the full weight (210lbs) on my first workout. And unfortunately, as others have observed, you cannot upgrade the PR1000.
This seems to me to be the second drawback, for which I docked them their second star. Coupled with the relatively low maximum weight, I could see the inability to upgrade being a big limitation for most men and any strong woman who is already in great shape. If that's you, I would skip this machine and spend the money on another model - or plan to supplement it.
Since I don't come anywhere near to maxing out the weight for any of the upper-torso exercises, the machine is still very useful to me. If my upper body is able to max it out in a year or two I will be delighted. But for a really effective full-body workout, I'll have to pull out my old "Thighs of Steel" and "Buns of Steel" videos to supplement my treadmill/Bowflex regimen.
on January 21, 2010
Let's just say that Amazon is AWESOME!! Instead of paying over 150 dollars for shipping and over a hundred for tax, this was worth every penny! Assembly was really simple except for the seat bar, you almost need two people for that one to balance it out...but I got it on with some patience. Everything was easy to put together and the machine looks incredible!
Now I have worked out on free weights for over 8 years now, getting the Bowflex was a big step for me, but I wanted a gym at home instead of joining a gym and wasting money on membership fees and having to wait in line for the weight area to become free. The first exercise I did was bench press, I was immediately impressed by how great the machine made my muscles contract. My arms shook a lot in the beginning probably because I was not used to doing bench press without a bar, but I got down to the rhythm of it in just a few repetitions. After using the machine and getting an amazing ab workout, I woke up this morning feeling like a truck hit me...which is exactly how I like to feel the morning after a good workout! Sore is a good sign that the machine works! My max on bench press is 275 pounds and 285 on decline, so for a machine that has a max weight of 210 pounds to give me a great workout is just what I was looking for.
I would recommend this machine to anyone because 1.) The price you can not beat with free shipping and no tax 2.) It works your body just like free weights do 3.) You will probably spend the same amount that you pay for this thing over a two year period with a gym that does not belong to you at all 4.) MOST IMPORTANTLY!!! You can work out at home ANYTIME you want and not have to worry about how you look, the weather or the extra expense of driving all the way over there! I think this is a great product, and so far it has made my entire body sore, exactly what I was looking for. I hope the review helps :-).
on August 9, 2009
I assembled this Bowflex in less than two hours without any difficulty. The build quality is very good, and the manual is rich with information for configuring a work-out. After one week of use, however, I regret my purchase. This unit's maximum resistance cannot be upgraded. It's rated for 210 lbs, but it doesn't even come close to that free-weight equivalent. The resistance numbers are arbitrary. For example, the resistance of a combination of a 30 lb and a 20 lb rod feels half as heavy as a 50lb rod. I am athletic but not massive, and I could bench the entire "210 lbs". Biceps curls and triceps pushdowns are fine. For leg exercises, the weight is inadequate, period.
This machine offers aerobic activity in addition to strength training. It just doesn't offer the resistance for body building. That said, using this machine has convinced me that Bowflex and resistance technology could offer a good strength workout, just not in this limited configuration. I recommend the PR3000.
After years of focusing on cardio to lose weight (and not seeing any results - zip, zero, zilch, nada, not a pound), I've returned to intense, focused weight training, which I did 12 years ago when I lost 50 lbs to drop from 215 to 165. I realized that since I'm now 40 years old, my metabolism is faltering, and my knee and ankle joints preclude me from running, weight training is the answer.
Well, "weight training" is a misnomer here. It really is resistance training. The Bowflex is an incredible example of ingenuity and engineering. I was never skeptical, but I didn't expect just how rigorous the workouts would be. As plenty of others have noted, the resistance rods force you to engage your primary and stabilizing muscles. Gym machines are fine and all, but they do a lot of the work for you. When using the resistance rods, your muscles WILL tremble as you engage all of them. I was doing incline chest presses and my forearms quivered and I squeezed out that last rep. It was great. Tremendous burn. Expect to feel the impact for awhile afterwards. It's amazing just how many muscles you can work with these simple, yet brilliant rods. You can hit every major and minor muscle in 20-30 minutes a day. That's much better than an hour on a stair master or elliptical machine. Color me impressed.
The assembly was probably a bit more complicated than it could have been. I believe numbering or labeling the screws would have been very helpful (I'm not mechanically inclined, at all). All in all, it took a couple of hours, but once set up, it's very stable and durable. No one's going to knock it over.
My only knock on it is that I find leg extensions a bit uncomfortable. The pads, in my opinion, don't offer enough cushioning. But I'll adjust.
I also purchased The Bowflex Body Plan book here on Amazon. I was able to get it for about $4.50 used after shipping. I highly recommend it. The control study cited in the book indicated that the average six week weight loss for men was 25+ lbs for me and 17 lbs for women. That's not unsubstantial.
Lastly, take a look at the difference between sprinters and marathon runners. Which do you want to be? Sprinters are sleek, svelte, muscular and, in my opinion, much more pleasant to look at. Sprinters weight train. That's the key.
Count me among the converted.