I have had a Bowflex for ten years and disagree with some of the below. I'm not a fitness expert but I probably have more time in gyms and rigorous exercise programs than many folks thanks to 20 years in the Marines.
You can work real hard at home too. Different strokes for different folks. Sometimes I like going to the gym; sometimes I don't. Just because someone doesn't, doesn't mean that won't achieve results.
Originally Posted by gramboh
Problems with bowflex:
1) Exercises are performed on a predetermined pathway (same as exercise machines at the gym) rather than their natural pathway (e.g. bodyweight exercises or barbell/dumbbells) - you do not build strength in all the positions required for athletic movement
Not that predetermined unless you can't control the direction of the cable. In that case, you are't ready to work out yet.
2) Intensity. Randomly doing stuff for 15min at a time without real programming/goals/results tracking will do basically nothing which ends up leading to frustration and abandonment of the equipment/exercises. You NEED goals/programming/tracking for results which leads to motivation and increased performance.
This has nothing to do with the performance of the Bowflex. I used to run (literally) the run for lunch bunch or whatever else you want to call the folks that were too fat or weak to make Marine standards once in the Fleet.. 15 minutes 2 or 3 times a day as Bonni is suggesting will have her in competition with the Bowflex gandma in their ads providing she stays with it. Shorter workouts were the heart rate gets to 110(ish) is the fat burning zone. Even 15 minutes once a day is better than nothing.
Without a doubt you can achieve those results doing crossfit and several other programs but the key is to stay with it. Some people don't want the "total" body and are happy with just shedding a few pounds or toning up.
3) No real way to build leg strength properly. Leg extensions are horrible (create prying force on the knee) which is what Bowflex appears to offer.
This isn't accurate at all. There are probably more than 20 exercises to do without doing leg extentions (agree you shouldn't do these). Many are offered in the manual/dvd that comes with it and even the slightest imagination will yield a dozen more. I don't have Arnold legs but my wife says I have lolly columns; steel on the outside and cement in the center. For the last couple of years, all I do is stationary cycle, bowflex, ski and swim. I do walk a bit at work. I used to run but when I retired 10 years ago I decided I had run enough.
Going to a good gym is a much better idea. You go there, workout with intesnity (very important), feel good and leave to go home to relax. If you are serious about fitness this is the way to go. Where in MA are you? I recommend looking into a CrossFit gym, it mgiht seem bizzaire/overly intense at first, but the trainers are qualified, the workouts are highly scalable and if you stick with it, you will be amazed with results. Hard work = real results.
If I had the time and money to throw at it I might join a gym again but lately I have neither. I could drive 30 minutes there, workout for an hour, drive 30 minutes back. Or I can go to my basement, listen to MY music and save the 60 minutes and the membership.
Bonni just bought a gym for less than a 6 months gym membership.Bonni
The negatives I know of with the bowflex is that the powerods aren't at full resitence until they are fully flex. This can be compensated for by positioning yourself. I can be an advantage at times - too much resistence, move closer, not enough, move further away. This way you aren't changing the power rods constantly. The other way to handle this is to buy the Revolution. I think it's only $2k. I would love one if anyone would like to send one to me for x-mas.
It's also pretty easy to max out the rods on leg presses (210#) unless you have very long legs (can't get to the full arch). This isn't easily compensated for by positioning. I do many, many, many reps instead.
I also found that doing the exercises slowly as described in the book "Power of Ten" intensifies it more. I disagree with the book on the only working out once a week. Mainly because I need a routine and once a week keeps ending up being tomorrow.
Enjoy it. I love mine.