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Thread: Bowlfex vs. Free Weights

  1. #1
    Wanna be lean busterdouglas's Avatar
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    Bowlfex vs. Free Weights

    To start, I had limited to no knowledge about weight training. My wife bought the bowflex for us to start “weight training”.
    When we both started using the bowflex, we both thought it was a great machine.

    Not knowing any different, we followed the routines in the book that was provided. The routines was more of a circuit training which consisted of about 8-10 exercises with 1-2 sets at 8-10 reps.
    The easy to use cable system made changing exercises easy and fast.

    The exercises such as the seated bench press did not use a bar, it was individual handles that forced you to push the weight. It appeared at the start that this was working secondary muscles as you had to stabilize the motion under resistance. I felt I was outgrowing the machine when I started benching all the resistance rods (210lbs) for 4-5 sets at 10 reps.
    It became quite clear that this machine was not accurate at all when compared to free weights. I am currently doing SS and on my flat bench, doing 140lbs on my 3rd set is difficult to do the last 1-2 reps.

    I also couldn’t effectively do squats with the bowlfex as I had to try and get under the bar while under resistance, as the machine does not come with stands.

    The bowlfex is a marketing machine designed to induce the thought that doing something is better than nothing to the uneducated consumer. You will get some gains but you are limited to progression on it. You cannot microload and do any proper linear progression as the smallest resistance bars are 5lbs per side, so increasing weight every exercise would be 10lbs.

    However my wife does still use the machine for leg extensions, rows, abs (I also use it for abs) but now that she has seen some results already in my glutes, quads, back and shoulders (after 1 month), that she has now altered her routine to include squats and deadlifts using the power rack and free weights.

    Why someone is not doing an info commercial with a power rack and free weights blows my mind. I feel very safe without a spotter using the cage and only wish I got this set-up sooner than wasting so much time and $$$ on the bowflex.

    The funny thing is that the cost for a good power rack cage and 300lbs and Olympic bar cost $650.00 and the bowflex cost $1300.00, so you are paying twice as much for less than ˝ the results.

    If anyone has had a positive experience with a bowflex, please share.
    Last edited by busterdouglas; 11-17-2009 at 10:54 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Ya, they certainly are a rip off. You are very right about the fact that they play on the idea of "doing something is better then nothing". Also, just like everything else in the "fitness world" nowadays, it makes "training" look fun, easy, and convienient.

    Good thing you realized that the bowflex sucks though.
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    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing. I was very curious about your progress since you switched to free weights. I'm glad you are liking the results.
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    cakin Cirino83's Avatar
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    the body by jake, tower 200 that randy cotoure endorses doesn't look too bad compared to everything else on the market



    well for explosive movements anyways, but still nothing you can't do with some bands
    Last edited by Cirino83; 11-17-2009 at 12:20 PM.

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    Wow. That is certainly a rip off. Gues nothing beats the good old basics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyeD View Post
    Wow. That is certainly a rip off. Gues nothing beats the good old basics.
    Few things are better for weightlifting than simply lifting weights

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    Quote Originally Posted by busterdouglas View Post
    Why someone is not doing an info commercial with a power rack and free weights blows my mind.
    Because as with other things in life in general, perception becomes a self full filing prophecy. The bowflex looks easier, and the models are all good looking, so most people tend to believe it's the way to go. The perception ofsSquat racks and barbells is that of fat bald guys with gotees lifting in a dark dirty warehouse, so it's never going to be mainstream, let alone as an infomercial. I say THANK GOD! It's exactly the way I like it. The bowflex and similar things in the fitness industry keeps the non-serious guys out of the powerlifting gyms.

    Quote Originally Posted by busterdouglas View Post
    the bowflex cost $1300.00
    Pure craziness. I could probably find a good used monolift for that.

  8. #8
    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    Because if people buy a bowflex and it doesn't "work", chances are they will also buy the next thing which comes along. What you get are a lot of expensive coat racks.

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    Wanna be lean busterdouglas's Avatar
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    Well I am sure glad I came across WBB and asked questions in the forums or I would still be using that machine as my other option was to by the expansion rod upgrade to 410 lbs resistance, which would have meant more wasted $ and me bragging that I bench over 400lbs...

    I would like to know exactly how they come up with their weights scale caliberation as it is clear that 100lbs of resistance is not equal to 100lbs of plate weight.

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    Wanna be lean busterdouglas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTallOx View Post
    I say THANK GOD! It's exactly the way I like it. The bowflex and similar things in the fitness industry keeps the non-serious guys out of the powerlifting gyms.
    It is unfortunate that someone who is actually serious but uneducated gets suckered into these machines. Same as the smith machines in fitness centers.

    As I mentioned above if I did not come across WBB, i too would still be seriously wanting gains but using non-serious equipment.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DMedley's Avatar
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    Ya, they certainly are a rip off.

    they play on the idea of "doing something is better then nothing".

    Also, just like everything else in the "fitness world" nowadays, it makes "training" look fun, easy, and convienient.

    Good thing you realized that the bowflex sucks though.

    Because if people buy a bowflex and it doesn't "work"
    Only an Idiot swats a Bee Hive with a Stick ... I intend to be the Idiot.
    Threads like this remind me of comparing a Volkswagon to a Semi Truck.

    So what the heck.

    The year was 2002 and I had a heart attack. I weighed about 240 lbs and I had a 46" waist. About 3 weeks after getting a Bowflex and watching my nutrition this is what I looked like.


    I continued using the bowflex and mixing in dumbbell training and watching my nutrition until I looked like this after 6 months.


    In 2007 I was in a bad crash and physically impaired until 6 months ago. At that point I once again at a weight of 222 and a body fat of 36% started using the bowflex again and getting myself back into some type of conditioning. I now workout at the gym 4 days per week. I do squats and Dead-Lifts. I do all the big lifts and I know that I would be unable to do this if I had not first done something to get my physical conditioning back up first. In my case I chose the bowflex.

    A rip off ... no more so than most things but it is priced too high.

    Does it "suck" or "doesn't work", no it does work for what it was intended to do.

    it makes "training" look fun, easy, and convenient. This is true, since when is there something wrong with exercise being fun or convenient?

    I agree that it is not serious weight training but it also is not weights. The principal that makes the weight wrong is the progression of weight. The farther you push the power rod the stronger it gets, I know this is wrong after all its like putting chains on a barbell for bench press.

    Now perhaps we should compare a 22 rifle to a Battle Ship.

  12. #12
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    DMedley, that is a very impressive change in a short time. It is obvious that you put a lot of effort into your transformation and that is such a big factor in the success of any routine. I applaude that effort.
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    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMedley View Post
    Now perhaps we should compare a 22 rifle to a Battle Ship.

    If this is true, am I going to have to pay more for that little 22 rifle like I would for a bowflex over my free weights?

    I donno man, I think I'd rather buy a battle ship and save a few bucks.
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    Senior Member DMedley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    DMedley, that is a very impressive change in a short time. It is obvious that you put a lot of effort into your transformation and that is such a big factor in the success of any routine. I applaude that effort.
    Thanks Off Road, Effort and Determination is the name of the game. A person needs to set small goals and reach them, then set the next goal.

    At that time everyone said I might not pull it off because after all, I was 57 years old. Well I did and then progressed from there until my accident. Now, I intend to pull it off again at the age of 64.

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    Senior Member DMedley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichMcGuire View Post
    If this is true, am I going to have to pay more for that little 22 rifle like I would for a bowflex over my free weights?

    I donno man, I think I'd rather buy a battle ship and save a few bucks.
    Rich, do not take it wrong. It would have been less expensive to get free weights. I ended up with free weights. I also think the Bowflex at 1300 bucks is way over priced. On the other side of that coin, the bowflex was cheap compared to the funeral I probably would have had.

    I don't recommend the bowflex for most people. I also do not say it can not work without knowing peoples physical problems or their goals.

    Now, near me there is an old battle ship sitting in the mud ... we might be able to get a good deal on it.

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    DMedly if you dont mind me asking what routine did you use on the blowflex? I have one which was free! and my smiths machine shud be here in january so a head start would be great. love to see what you used.
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    Mr. Skinny Wrists Nicky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James_perkins View Post
    my smiths machine shud be here in january
    Is it too late to get your money back?
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    Senior Member DMedley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James_perkins View Post
    DMedly if you dont mind me asking what routine did you use on the blowflex? I have one which was free! and my smiths machine shud be here in january so a head start would be great. love to see what you used.
    James when I began I used a very basic program
    3 sets of 10 - 12 reps
    Seated overhead press
    Lateral Raises
    Chest press
    Triceps extensions
    Biceps Curls
    High rows
    Low rows
    When I got the attachment for bench press I added.
    Squats
    Flat Bench Press

    During the first six months I changed and moved into the 5 - 8 rep range. At this same time I added the extra power rods.

    Not very exciting: I also worked to get the rest between sets down to 15 seconds and rest between exercises under 1 minute.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicky View Post
    Is it too late to get your money back?
    The smiths machine is also free! lol my friend is gettin rid of all his stuff so i was like ill take it.

    DMedly thank you very much for your time..Ill let you know how it goes.
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    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James_perkins View Post
    The smiths machine is also free! lol my friend is gettin rid of all his stuff so i was like ill take it.
    Now you can sell the smith machine and bowflex, take the money and buy a really nice squat rack and barbell set.
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    Senior Member tnathletics2b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    Now you can sell the smith machine and bowflex, take the money and buy a really nice squat rack and barbell set.
    +1
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    I wish i cud sell them, but my dad being the its free we can use it, its just as good as blah blah blah.. so instead ill save and get a decent one myself! and he can use everything else and ill use my squat rack and barbell set
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    Wannabebig Member Pumping Manny's Avatar
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    Well sometime you have to start somewhere.
    Has for myself, back in the days, I used dumbells the one with the sand inside. I did a lot of exercices with them.
    I was in my dad garage.

    Then I went to my work place gym, with Keiser machine, working with air pressure as resistance (I hated those pretty fast).

    Then, when knowledge came after a couple of years, I decide what was the best for me, and it was to get a member ship in a gym.

    What I want to say is that we learn from experience. The only bad choice is to do nothing.
    Last edited by Pumping Manny; 11-18-2009 at 10:56 AM.
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    Wanna be lean busterdouglas's Avatar
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    True, doing nothing at all is the worst choice, so I look at it like this:
    If I never got the bowflex and outgrew it, I probably would never have found WBB and you great bunch of people who have given me so much advice and support.

    So I guess I owe some thanks to the bowflex company.
    Last edited by busterdouglas; 11-18-2009 at 11:53 AM.

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