Pros: Simple; no fancy technology; able to do exercises without cables and pulleys.
Cons: The price; moving pieces around.
Ive had a chance to see a couple of pieces of equipment made by Soloflex. The first one Im reviewing is the Soloflex machine that has been around for about 20 years.
The Soloflex is really a simple machine. There is no technology to set. There are no buttons to push. There are attachments that have to be put on and taken off. I will talk about those later.
The Soloflex, given all the exercises that can be done on it, only weighs. 170 pounds. This is light for a machine such as this. In spite of the low weight I found it to be quite stable. It sits on a heavy metal base. At no time did I feel as if I were going to tip over the machine.
It is 6 feet tall and 4 feet by 4 feet at the base so it takes up a lot less room than other machines. The bench will hold up to 1,500 pounds!
Soloflex has a 30-day money back guarantee. Their warranty covers the equipment, parts, weightstraps and attachments for five years.
What it comes with:
This machine is going to run you close to $2,000. I do know that there are many on the market that are used and you can get a good deal if you look around. Of course you wont have the warranty but other than the weightstraps there isnt much that can go wrong with the Soloflex.
Youll get 2, 2 1/2 pound weightstraps (Ill explain these.); 2, 5 pounds straps; 4, 10 pound straps; 2, 25 pound straps; 2, 50 pound straps and 2, 100 pound straps. The total is 405 pounds. Of course these straps dont weigh this amount but youll have to keep reading! Youll also get a workout guide and a video, a leg extension attachment, and a dip bar. In addition you can use free weights on the bar alone or with the straps.
Lets use it:
The weightstraps are interesting. I dont totally understand the science behind them but the way it has been explained to me is that these heavy duty hard rubber straps use the stored energy in the rubber to equal the resistance I would get with free weights. There are two bars on the back of the machine on which the straps are attached. These rods are attached to the barbell arm which is essentially the main component of the Soloflex.
The barbell arm comes off easily with a large pin that goes through holes. The barbell arm as well as the bench are totally adjustable which is terrific. I could easily raise the barbell arm to whatever height I wanted. So for example if I wanted to do a bicep curl I sat on the comfortable bench facing the machine. I put the arm at the height that was most comfortable for me.
This barbell arm is called a floating arm because it is attached to one point loosely. So it sort of floats up and down on each side. This is much more like a barbell or dumbbells than youll find on other machines. I have talked in other reviews about the benefit of dumbbells. What happens with a machine is that I can cheat. If I am doing a chest press and my left arm is the weaker one my right arm will take over. Using dumbbells or a bar, especially dumbbells it is impossible to cheat because I have a dumbbell in each arm. The sensation of the floating arm on the Soloflex is more like using free weights than any machine Ive used.
To do pull ups for my back I raised the bar to the top, moved the bench out of the way and was good to go. So everything was movable and adjustable. The bench easily turned sideways so I could step on it to do calf raises and bent over rows (calf and back). The bench, with a pin, can get raised to an incline position making crunches and reverse curls (abdominals) easy to do.
Weight plates can be put on the arm but I didnt. I found the resistance of the straps more than enough for me. In fact I didnt use them all. The straps did feel about the weight of a dumbbell when I was using the machine which amazed me.
Other exercises I did include leg presses, leg curls, dips and squats. I felt the machine to be extremely safe and easy to use however you will need patience because you will be finding yourself moving pieces, attaching pieces and taking pieces off.
Some more of my thoughts:
I really enjoyed using the Soloflex. I felt all the exercises I did. As I said I didnt use weights but it will handle 500 pounds of weights so the total of 900 pounds should be enough for anyone!
Like many/most machines this one seems to be made for men or taller people. I found the bench to be high even at the lowest position to do some exercises. One in particular was the row. I could do it but my legs didnt touch the ground. Im almost 5 feet 5 inches tall. I am used to this however because many gym pieces such as lat machines arent made for anyone my height.
I do like the fact that there are no cables or pulleys to have to put attachments on however remember that there are pins to attach and detach. However there are only three pins which really arent a lot to work around and after a bit of practice it wont take long to move the pieces around. I am very used to machines so perhaps it was quicker for me than the novice but youll get the drift.
The Soloflex is a simple, safe machine. I wont give it five stars because it costs a lot for a machine that is really very simple. If you can get it for less I would definitely recommend it.
Thanks for reading. Other fitness equipment reviews by me can be found here jo