BowFlex Blaze Home Gym Review

The PR1000 home gymI’ve just had a couple weeks to give the Bowflex Blaze a try, and my opinion is officially formed. While this wasn’t my first rodeo with BowFlex machines, I knew I needed something that would cover a little bit more of everything with my next purchase.

The machines I’ve relied on in the past did a decent job covering specific body parts, but I was hoping to find one that would allow me a bit more creativity. That’s one of the downsides of some home gyms—you’re sort of locked into the workouts they provide.

Luckily I’ve gotten a decent chance to get comfortable with the machine and deliver my BoxFlex Blaze Home Gym Review, so lets dive in.

Who is Bowflex?

bowflex home gymIf you don’t know, welcome to the fitness world! Kidding. Really, though, Bowflex is sort of synonymous with at-home gym at this point. They were one of the pioneers of this type of machine when they started in 1984.

A machine that relies on rod resistance instead of weights definitely has its perks, so its not uncommon at all to see virtually anybody’s basement serving as a home for one of these things. The Blaze is a semi-recent model, so I wanted to see what it could do

Features

Lets dump some numbers really fast.

Specs

  • 210 pounds of rod resistance (can upgrade to 310 or 410 pounds)
  • Size: 90 by 83 by 38 inches (W x H x D)
  • Up to 60 different strength training workouts
  • Leg extension/leg curl attachment;
  • 4.5/5 stars on Amazon

So, what are the features on this thing? Well, you can pretty much do some form of any workout you need to with the exception of deadlifts. There’s a lower pulley/squat station that lets you work your hamstrings, glutes, and quads. You can hit the other parts of your legs with the sliding seat (which doubles as a rowing machine and a leg press,) and the leg extension/curl attachment. The lat tower helps you target your shoulders and upper back, and the bench means you can do bench-presses too.  Overall, this thing provides a pretty rounded workout if you’re willing to use all of its features.

Who’s The Blaze Good For?

The Blaze is in an ideal middle ground for people who take fitness seriously but aren’t hyper-crazed about it. The initial resistance weight of 210 means that already-ripped people don’t have much to gain, but it’s high enough that people with some experience under their belt have something to work towards. The upgrade is affordable, too.

With the exception of deadlifts, you can fit most of any reasonable person’s gym routine into this machine. You’ll have to make some adjustments and work around the limitations, but if you’re goal is well-rounded, average fitness this machine probably fits the bill.

Let’s get to the important stuff!

The Pros

  • Solid Build Quality.
    • There’s no way I could break this thing if I tried.
  • Can’t Drop the Weights.
    • Like most rod-based machines, you can max out without getting anxious about dropping the weights. They’ll just snap back into place.
  • Allows for Workout Creativity
    • I was able to lie down with the handles and do some Pilates-type workouts that I could never dream of with other home gyms.
  • Spacious
    • This machine is big, and so is the bench. That means I’m able to spread out and enjoy my space a bit.
  • Row Machine
    • Some people say the rowing and leg press features aren’t up to snuff with higher end stuff, but I didn’t notice much. I could see it being an issue for professional rowers, but I loved having a built in option.

The Cons

  • Hard to Build
    • Sort of self-explanatory. It took me around five hours to assemble this after it shipped.
  • Lots of Adjustment
    • You’ll spend a lot of time adjusting wires and setting up new workouts, which can be frustrating. Also leads to the next con.
  • You’ll Need Gloves
    • The wires aren’t sharp, necessarily, but I sort of tore up my hands from all the adjusting. Worth an investment in gloves.
  • The Squats Don’t Feel ‘Real.’
    • Machine squats rarely do, and it’s a shame. Still a nice workout, but I would prefer to just hop under a squat rack.

Other Options

I decided to compare this machine to two other Bowflex machines I have some experience with: the PR1000 and the PR3000. They all serve different functions, but they’re similar enough that you may want to take a look. Good to know what’s out there.

The PR1000

The PR1000The Bowflex Blaze vs. the PR1000 isn’t really a contest. The PR1000 is an all-around inferior machine. This doesn’t make it bad, it’s just less money for less stuff. It allows for a solid 30 different workouts (compared to the Blaze’s 60.) There’s no squat station, and no slideable bench. Still, not a bad situation for beginners. If you’re looking for something cheaper, give it a look.

The PR3000

The PR3000 home gymThe Blaze vs. the PR3000 is a bit trickier since they’re in a similar price range. It basically comes down to what you’re looking for. The PR3000 has a slightly different handle-based system that makes for less adjustment. It offers 50 different workouts compared to the Blaze’s 60, and ultimately trades a little more style for a little less functionality. Worth considering.

The Verdict

Beyond the glove thing, I have no real complaints about the Blaze. It’s a nice piece of equipment that people really are enjoying, and it does its job well. I’m worried I’ll get stronger than it a bit too fast, but in that case I’ll just upgrade the weight. There are definitely other options to consider, but I’d say the Blaze keeps up with the competition. It’s providing a balanced workout—I’ll just need to find a way to keep some real squats in my routine while I’m using it.

About the Author Dumbbellsgeek

Hey! My name is Paul Sheldon. I live in Nashville, TN and I love all things related to sports. Naturally I love workking out and I do it every day. If you want to talk feel freee to hit me a message or if you happen to be in Nashville we can get a coffee, I know a great place. Peace!