Infomercial products, especially "miracle exercise products" such as the Bowflex or the Soloflex usually have a stigma attached to them as gimmicky or a fad. Do these machines live up to their far-fetched claims? Or will they end up on the classifieds or the closet?
Recommend this product?
This review will compare the Bowflex to the Soloflex and to free-weights, go into detail about assembly and usage of the Bowflex, and some cons with the machine.
THE SOLOFLEX VS. THE BOWFLEX
This section will be short and sweet. I've owned both a Soloflex and a Bowflex, and there is a reason why I still own my Bowflex while the Soloflex has been sold. There is also a reaon why a Soloflex gets sold for 75% off its retail price in classified ads while a Bowflex is sold for 10-20% off retail if you can even find anyone willing to part with it.
The Soloflex's "feel" is horrible. As the rubber bands stretch, the resistance progresses so quickly that it is impossible to end the range of motion. It is also a pain to switch between exercises on the Soloflex...the pieces are heavy and clunky.
Winner:Bowflex, by far.
THE BOWFLEX VS. FREE-WEIGHTS
Purists will tell you, "There is nothing that can replace the flexibility and ease-of-use of free-weights. Why spend $1000 on that piece of informercial crud?" There is a certain merit to that argument. $1,000 will buy you a whole bunch of free-weight equipment and a nice bench with all the bells and whistles.
However, if you are like me, I hate the idea of having, at times, a hundred or more pounds of iron plates either above your neck or just somehow hanging above your head. There are the issues of having to have a spotter. It's just not practical for me.
I think the Bowflex does a fine job. The Power Rod Resistance is VERY smooth and does the job well. It does NOT feel exactly like free weights, but I got used the feel very quickly. There resistance is fairly consistent as the rods are bent. It's an excellent feel. Plus, it feels so much safer not having iron plates all around.
Winner: Bowflex, by a nose.
BOWFLEX: ASSEMBLY, EXERCISES, AND MUSCLES
Assembly is fairly easy. Follow the instructions carefully and have a couple of household tools handy and you'll be set in an hour or so.
The exercises are great. There are many to choose from and you'll love the PowerPro's rowing exercise. I can say it's fun. It helps build muscle, helps build your strength, and because the exercises are fairly free form, you'll strengthen all those stabilizer muscles as well.
Changing over from exercises to exercise is easy. Changing weight is easy too. I would say it's easier than changing plates on a free-weight set.
There are 60 some odd exercises to choose from in the booklet. It comes with an instructional video and poster. It's a nice package.
I can only think of one disadvantage to a Bowflex. Getting into position for some of the exercises will prove to be something that needs getting used to.
You have to extend your arms backwards and pull the grips into position (which is made harder because weight is already attached) for the bench press and various other exercises.
It's not a big deal.
BOWFLEX: FINAL WORDS
This is no miracle exercise machine. It's a GREAT machine for those looking for a solid piece of equipment letting you do the variety of exercises you do at the gym, without having to deal with free-weights.
Follow the routines and a good diet and you'll see the results you want.
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