Bowflex are one the most well known and respected names in the home fitness business and the Bowflex Revolution is their top of the line model. This machine is innovative, versatile, robust and powerful. It’s also expensive and enormous. So, is it worth it?
In this article, we’ll provide an in depth review of the Bowflex Revolution. We’ll also compare the Revolution with three competing home gyms to allow you to make the best decision as to which gym deserves to be in your home.
The Bowflex Revolution is one of the best home gyms on the market in terms of exercise variety, angle and full body capacity. However, it is also one of the most expensive home gyms out there. It also introduces a brand new resistance system which may take a bit of getting used to. Overall, the Bowflex Revolution provides a great option if you can afford it.
The Bowflex Revolution brings to the game a whole new resistance technology, following in the foot-steps of their Power Rod technology. It is called Spiraflex and it is the key feature of this, Bowflex’s flagship home gym. The Revolution allows you to do more than 100 exercises, making it the most versatile gym in the Bowflex stable.
- Spiraflex technology
- 100+ exercises
- 300 lb max resistance
- Large footprint
- Hard to assemble
Spiraflex Resistance Technology
The Spiraflex resistance system has borrowed the very same technology that is used on the International Space Station. Working out in space with conventional weights is a problem due to the absence of gravity. As a result, NASA set it’s super brains to come up with a viable alternative to barbells and dumbbells. What they came up with was a system that is built round a unique plate that has a heavy duty elastic strap inside it. When you do an exercise, the plate spins around its center. As a result, the elastic strap is stretched and resistance is created. The plate is also connected with technology inside the machine that provides a constant resistance throughout the full range of motion.
This is the very technology that is used in the Spiraflex system. It results in a smooth, consistent tension when you are performing an exercise. Spiraflex plates come in 4 poundages as follows:
- 5 pounds
- 10 pounds
- 20 pounds
- 40 pounds
Because of the unique resistance system, each of these plates weighs just a few pounds. This makes them easier and safer to use than traditional weights.
Full Body Training
Most home gym manufacturers place their emphasis on providing upper body exercises with a cheap leg extension /curl attachment thrown in as a token leg workout. That is not what you get on the Bowflex Revolution. In fact, it provides you with a top of the line leg press station along with a harness set up that allows you to perform squats. As a result, you get a quality workout for both the upper and lower body.
Range of Exercises
With more than a hundred exercises to choose from, the Bowflex Revolution gives you far more exercise range than you’ll need – and far more than you’ll get from most other home gyms. What’s more, you are able to perform many exercises at a range of angles to allow you to work the muscle through all insertion points. You can also perform your chest work from flat, incline and decline angles to allow for complete pectoral development.
The Bowflex Revolution provides you with independently moving arms that provide a range of motion over 170 degrees that can be adjusted to ten positions. You also get a leg extension/ leg curl attachment and, as mentioned, a leg press.
The Bowflex Revolution provides you with very quick change between exercises. This means that you can go from one exercise to the next without interrupting your training and bringing down your training heart rate. In order to change the set up between exercises, you can instantly change the arm position. To adjust the cables all you have to do is to adjust the snap lock hook adjustments.
The Bowflex Revolution is a pretty bulky unit. It weighs in at 300 pounds and takes up a large footprint. Fortunately, it is also fitted with transportation wheels to make it easy to move around your training area. The unit also folds down to a compact size so that it can be stored away when your workout is over.
The following accessories are available for the Bowflex Revolution:
- Tall Seat Back
- Leg Press Plate
- Leg Press Seat Back
- Preacher Curl Assembly
- Resistance packs
- Handgrips and foot harnesses
The Bowflex Revolution provides you with a more comfortable workout experience that you get with previous Bowflex home gyms. The Bowflex people have clearly listened to user complaints about such things as low quality cushioning n the seat and back supports. You also get a wider seat than on previous models. This machine also introduces an innovative sliding rail system that features a locking pin to increase your exercise versatility and range.
The Bowflex Revolution comes with a very complete user manual that runs to over a hundred pages. This fully illustrated is well written and comprehensive. It also include a weight loss program and full assembly instruction – be sure to follow it when putting this thing together. However, this machine does not come with a video training guide, which is rather disappointing.
What’s Not So Good
The Bowflex Revolution requires regular maintenance. You have to regularly lube the engine and perform safety checks that are detailed in the user manual. This can be a hassle for busy working people.
The Bowflex Revolution provides you with a maximum of 300 pounds of resistance by way of the Spiraflex system. Unlike the Bowflex home gyms that are based on the Power Rod resistance system, you are unable to purchase additional resistance to extend that maximum capacity. That means that, for some exercises at least, it is possible to grow this machine.
The Bowflex Revolution comes with a 10-year warranty, which, on the face of it, looks pretty impressive. However, when you dig a little deeper, you discover that the ten year warranty only covers defects in workmanship and materials. You only get a 90-day labor coverage, which is very poor, especially when you consider the price that you are paying for this machine.
Bowflex Revolution Alternatives
Total Gym 1400 Deluxe
TheTotal Gym 1400 Deluxe is the latest model out of the Total Gym stable. Total Gym have been around for more than 40 years and, in that time, have built a well deserved reputation for excellence in home fitness equipment. You can more than 60 exercises on this home gym, using the well known slant board bodyweight cable system that has become a Total Gym trademark. The frame of the Total Gym is made from heavy duty tubular steel, along with hardy plastic components.
You get eight levels of resistance with this machine, providing you with plenty or intensity options. The space saving design of the Total Gym 1400 makes it far more user friendly than the Bowflex Revolution. It can also be folded up to a compact footprint that can easily be stored away under a bed or in a cupboard.
The Total Gym 1400 is a high quality exercise machine. When you exercise on this machine, it feels very study and reliable. This is important when you are exercising at an angle on a slant board. Overall, this is an impressive complete home gym that can be purchased for a lot less than the Bowflex Revolution, but doesn’t offer as much versatility or resistance capability.
Body Solid GP378 Pro
The Body Solid GP378 Prois a conventional power rack based home gym. You get a heavy duty frame, consisting of 3 inch x 3 inch, 11 gauge steel uprights. All accessories are made from industrial grade componentry. A chip resistant and scratch resistant powder coating finishes off the look of this impressive unit. Each of the uprights has 20 hole spacings which are placed three inches apart. A 41 inch wide knurled pull-up bar cab be found at the top of this unit.
The Body Solid GP378 features high quality cabling and a lat pulldown bar to allow you to work your upper body more effectively. You also get a 200 pound plate weight stack with this unit and with a low pulley so that you can do cable curls, upright rows and other low pulley moves. The maximum weight allowance on this machine is 800 pounds, which should be ample for most users. You can also extend the capacity of the Body Solid GP378 with the following accessories:
- Calf Squat Block
- 210 pound weight stack
- Dip attachment
- Chin up grips
- T-bar row platform
You get an impressive warranty with the machine. In fact, you get a lifetime warranty for everything from framing, pulleys and cables. On top of that you also get a commercial warranty that covers welds, plates, frames and guide rods. There’s also a one-year warranty on upholstery and cables.
The Bowflex Blaze is a popular Bowflex home gym which uses their traditional power rod resistance system. It allows you to do more than 60 exercises, including nearly every move that you can do with free weights. You’ll get a full body workout, along with mid level pulleys to allow you to exercise from a variety workout angles. You also get a sliding seat to allow you to perform aerobic moves.
The power rods provide you with 210 pounds of resistance, upgradeable to either 310 or 410 pounds. A lat tower with angled lat pulldown allows you to effectively work the muscles of your upper back.Triple function hand grip/ankle cuffs allow you to extend you workout variety even further.
The Blaze is a pared down version of the Bowflex Revolution. It has fewer exercises, less plush cushioning and a less advanced resistance system.
The Bowflex Revolution is a top end home gym that provides you with a ton of exercises and delivers a comfortable, safe workout platform. However, it does introduce a new type of resistance which some people may not gel with. For that reason you will probably want to try before you buy.