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 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!
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 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 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.
I put this together myself, which is a pretty good workout in itself. (OK, my husband helped a bit, but I did 90% of it.) It's sturdy, but not rock solid. It's fairly small for a work out machine, and the bench can fold up, so the footprint is about 4'x3'. It's about 6 1/2 feet tall. I'm 5'4" and it's tall enough for me. My husband is 5'11" and this is just barely tall enough for him. The bars "weight" is 105 lbs for each side, which might not be enough for a body builder, but it's good for us. After a half hour work out, my muscles know I've been doing something.
The booklet that comes with the machine has several exercises, but going out to the web will get you a lot more exercises.
This is a very good exercise machine for the casual exerciser, as long as you're not too tall. It's easy to use, it doesn't take up too much space, and it's not prohibitively expensive. It's sturdy, and you can work out all your muscles.
on April 20, 2011
I purchased this from Amazon a while ago - wanted to get some time using it before writing a review. As always, my experience with Amazon was a good one - it arrived in excellent condition much sooner than the estimated delivery. All the pieces were in the box and nothing was damaged, bent, dented, broken or messed up in any other way.
I was able to assemble the product myself - the only parts not included are two adjustable wrenches (and you will very likely need TWO). The assembly wasn't any more difficult than many other things I've assembled - just read and follow the directions carefully and it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Some of the steps were a little tricky by myself so having another for a few things probably wouldn't hurt, but as I said I was able to do it without any help and I didn't go crazy or anything like that in the process. My only complaint with the assembly was a few of the small pieces that I had to hunt for. I noticed during the assembly, and now from using it, the equipment is very sturdy. Not cheap plastic or anything like that, so you're definitely getting something that won't easily break.
As far as the exercising, I was basically looking for something with a wide range of strength exercises to supplement an existing routine I was already doing. It needed to be something that could do a number of things, but that I could use safely on my own. I looked at a few different pieces before settling on this and I'm glad I got it. It supports a wide number of exercises for different muscles, and the manual that lists them was a nice addition - there were definitely some exercises in there I wouldn't have thought to try with it. When you first start using it you may find it a little awkward, especially since each hand is working a different set of flex rods without the stability or support of a solid rod like normal weight lifting. After a bit, though, you'll get used to it and won't really notice it at all. It didn't take too long to get used to adjusting the rods and doing the exercises and after a week or two you'll have no trouble setting the machine up for whatever you need. I wouldn't call this a heavy, heavy strength training machine - it's not gonna turn you into a 1980s Schwarzenneger, but for most people looking at strength training equipment this is a good choice. A few people did mention they didn't think the max 210 was enough for their legs, but I would agree with some others that if you're performing your reps in a slow and controlled manner then you'll find yourself getting a good workout.
A few other things - as I said it comes with a manual that outlines different exercises along with some routines that you can follow throughout the week to get started, so even if you're not familiar with the exercises there's stuff there to get you going. The bench can fold up, and it's very easy to do so - no hassle to get it up and down like some other equipment I've used. So overall I'd certainly recommend this to home exercisers - it made a very good addition to my routine and probably will for you as well.