Bowflex Gym

Does the Bowflex Gym Work?


The Bowflex home gym has often been advertised as convenient and superior to standard professional gym equipment. Any type of resistance training can work, but how effective is the Bowflex home gym at delivering a challenging workout, while at the same time helping the user achieve his fitness goals?


The Bowflex home gym offers several different models. The various models use Bowflex’s patented Power Rod technology or the newer proprietary SpiraFlex system.

The Power Rod resistance is based on a pulley and cable system. Bowflex explains that the weight resistance comes from the long, flexible rods that are made from a special composite material. During a repetition, the resistance starts easy and progressively becomes more difficult. The Power Rod technology has the similar concept as a bow and arrow. As you pull a bow string back, it is fairly easy but gradually becomes more difficult.

The SpiraFlex system also operates with a cable and pulley. However, the resistance is different from the original Power Rod Bowflex gym. This resistance provides equal tension throughout the entire movement. This technology has a closer feel to free weights, while at the same time provides constant resistance.


Bowflex sells three home gyms with the Power Rod technology. You can perform upper and lower body exercise on these machines. Depending on the model, you can do anywhere from 30 to 90 separate exercises.

There are also two Bowflex gyms on the market that utilize the SpiraFlex system. Both units allow you to perform over 90 exercises for the upper and lower body.


The American College of Sports Medicine recommends two to three days a week of full body resistance training to maintain muscular endurance and fitness. These fitness goals can definitely be accomplished with the Bowflex home gym. The Bowflex home gym takes up very little space compared to its free weight counterpart and at the same time allows the user to work out the entire body. The Bowflex can also be safer than using free weights. Most exercises don’t require a spotter, and changing the resistance is easy.


Bowflex home gyms are sufficient for maintaining fitness and toning the muscles. However, people who want to gain size and strength may accomplish their goals easier by using free weights. Bowflex’s SpiraFlex technology does a better job at duplicating the negative resistance of free weights but is still not the same as the real thing. Athletes use explosive movements such as clings and snatches with free weights. These power lifts often help football players, wrestlers and mixed martial arts fighters gain speed and power. Greater stability and more muscle control are needed for free weights. This will activate more muscle fibers, which will ultimately equate to increased strength.

Bottom Line

Fitness expert Dr. Ellington Darden documented case studies where the Bowflex home gym helped people lose weight and at the same time gain more muscle mass. The Power Rod Bowflex machine has proven that it can assist users in maintaining fitness and developing muscles. The SpiraFlex Bowflex gym gives the user additional strength gains due to the enhanced resistance technology. Athletes looking for sports-specific exercises may be better off using free weights. At the same time, for people looking to maintain their fitness or get in shape, the Bowflex home gym can help accomplish those fitness goals.