Pros: Compact, no change pulley systme; loaded with features.
Cons: You can get other bow machines for less; no rowing capability .
Hi Jo: I am still struggling with all the Bowflex models. I want to buy one for my dad. Can you tell me what the difference are between the Xtreme 2 and the Xtreme XTLU? I know you reviewed the XTLU but I cant find a review from you of the xtreme 2. Thanks xxx
Thanks for writing. Ironically a friend not too long ago asked me the same question. So Im prepared for yours!
As you know there are many models of Bowflex machines out there. I have been working out for over 25 years and am a Personal Trainer. I am spending considerable time using these various models. The first difference is price. The XTLU can now be had for about $1000. (It has come down in price as new models take over.) The Xtreme 2 will run you about $1400.
Details about the Bowflex Xtreme 2 and how it is used:
I like to explain a bit about weight machines when reviewing those using bows. You probably know the difference since you are already looking at them but others may not. There are many different types of machines. The ones you may be most used to use stacks. That means the weights are stacked one on top of the other. A pin goes into the amount of weight you want whether it is 20 pounds or 200. You may also have experience with machines that use resistance digitally or benches where you put on plates to give you the amount of weight you want.
Bowflex uses what they call Power Rods. These power rods are made in the USA and are specifically engineered for strength and long life. They are made using a proprietary (meaning we do not know nor do they have to disclose it) process that is tested to ensure quality, durability and strength.
Both the 2 and the XTLU come standard with 210 pounds of power rod resistance. You can add more resistance and upgrade to 310 or 410 pounds for $99.00 each. You can upgrade from 210 to 410 pounds at one time for $198 so they dont give you a discount for upgrading to the top.
The way the rods work is that they are hooked to a cable pulley system. You can hook one, two, three, four or all of the Power Rods to the cable pulley system and go from as little as 5 pounds all the way up to 210 or the upgraded resistance.
One of the biggest differences between the two and one that Bowflex is very proud of is the 2s ability to be used without my having go change cables. What does this mean and how is this done? Well Bowflex has doubled the number of cables and pulleys making this possible. Let me give you an example. If I am using the lat tower (lat pulldowns for my back perhaps) and then go to leg extensions I would, with other machines, have to get off the machine, unclip the lat tower from the cable; then clip the leg extension to a cable. The Xtreme 2 allows me to use the lat tower and then just let go. I then can use the leg extension, making any resistance changes I want but without having to change cables. This is a really nice feature. I like it a lot. One question people ask me is how hard is it to change attachments. The Xtreme 2 makes it perhaps the easiest Bowflex to use for this reason.
I still have to stand up to change the bow resistance but I prefer that to other similar bow machines (Crossbow, for example) which has me twist to change the bows.
What you get:
With both machines youll get an upholstered bench made of from durable polyurethane and then fused to a high grade PVC. This is used in the car industry and resists moisture, cracks and tears. I have never seen an Xtreme with a ripped bench. I do believe this bench may be the best in the business. In addition there is an important feature in the Xtreme series. Both machines have separate upper benches traditionally seen in gyms. That allows great comfort in doing many exercises. This is not a crucial difference for many. But it means that I can just sit on the bench with your back against the padding and do a chest press for example. With other models I have to move the bench from a lying position to an upright position. The seat is adjustable in height and extra wide.
The bows are quite flexible. I can do a chest press fairly easily with the bows in a bent shape. Each bow has a loop on it which attaches to a cable. Essentially that is all there is to these 2 models. They are easy to use with no technology to break down. There is no knowledge of programming needed. The 2 is advertised as have the ability to do over 70 exercises versus the XTLU which has the ability to do 65 exercises.
They both have lat towers which in my opinion is a must. The lat tower is the tall pole in the middle made of carbon steel. It is used primarily to work the back. As a point of comparison The Ultimate series does not have a lat tower. It is a $200 option.
They both come with leg attachments. It is another $200 option on the Ultimate. The leg attachment will work all areas of your legs. Just to name two popular exercises it works your quadriceps with leg extension exercises and your hamstrings with hamstring curls. The areas that will hit your ankles for example are comfortable, as is the bench. I have no problem with the comfort of the machine. The leg attachment is easily put on and off with pins and will have to be taken off to do some exercises.
They both come with workout handles, which are made of material. The handle has a strap so it can be used in various ways. I use it with as a regular grip holding the handle. I put it around my ankle or foot. These handles are used for many exercises such as bicep curls and flyes for your chest area.
They both come with quick-reference workout poster and a training manual.
Please note: the Xtreme Series are compact machines unlike the Ultimate series. On major difference between the 2 and XTLU and other models is the lack of rowing capability. Given that I dont love the rowing workout I get on the Bowflex models I would easily give that up and get a cardio vascular machine in place of a Bowflex with a rower because I like the 2 a lot. In addition rowing is not for everyone so if you dont row and buy a machine with that capability youre wasting your money.
If you read that it has a squat station and do not understand how or what that means I will briefly explain. A squat works your butt, quadriceps (front of thighs) hamstrings (back of thighs) and even calves. It is a great exercise. All Bowflex means regarding the station is essentially a platform on which to stand. The base is x-shaped and does give the machine stability but I have not found any of them to be unstable.
Both come unassembled. Please give yourself time to put it together.
The 2 measures 6 feet 11 inches high by 4 feet 8 inches long by 4 feet 2 inches wide. The XTLU is the same size.
They both have a 7 year warranty. The Power Rods are guaranteed forever.
Some examples of exercises that can be done include biceps curls, seated row (for your back), shoulder press (I hate that exercise if you are over 40 and/or have had any shoulder problems), seated ab crunch and chest flyes. Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise program especially if you are a man over 40, a woman over 50 or have a medical condition.
My Final Thoughts:
Bow machine take some getting used to if you have used traditional machines for many years. I am getting to like them a lot. The Xtreme 2s no-change pulley system is a really nice feature. You will see similar machines for less money. I think Bowflex makes a really decent quality product and unlike some other companies I havent received any e-mails complaining about customer service.
I hope you have all the information you need to make an informed decision but please feel free to leave me a comment or question.
I hesitate giving the Xtreme 2 5 stars but if something comes along that I like a lot more by Bowflex I will change it to 4 stars. Since I gave the XTLU 4 stars and like the 2 better, then my rating makes sense.
Other Bowflex reviews. Thanks for reading. jo
Bowflex, Exercise, Food and Abs • What you should know about the Bowflex Brand • Jo Gives Readers Information on the Bowflex Brand • What you should know about Bowflex and the Treadclimber
Bowflex Ultimate 2 • Bowflex TreadClimber TC 1000 ~ Bowflex Treadclimber TC3000 • Bowflex HighTech Select Dumbbells Bowflex Xtreme XTLU •
Bowflex Motivator 2 • Bowflex Sport