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#1 Bowflex Ultimate Home Gym Review

Chris L.
February 17, 2021

The Bowflex Ultimate has everything you need to work up a sweat. The adjustable pulley system makes it easy to go from one exercise to the next, even if you're switching from your arms to your legs. You can even utilize the rowing machine aspect to get in some much-needed cardio.

Is the Bowflex Ultimate Home Gym best for you?

The Bowflex Ultimate home gym was built to last with its solid steel frame. It also includes high-density padding to keep you comfortable. It features 310 pounds of resistance, yet you don't have to stop there as upgrades are available to take it up to 410 pounds.

When you're not using it, this home gym easily folds in on itself. It even comes with wheels, so if you need to momentarily get it out of the way, you can do so. With 90 different exercises offered, you can also learn how to do each one from the manual.

Consider Bowflex Ultimate if...

  • You need variety. "Ultimate" isn't just a name. This model comes with over 90 different exercises for you to try out, so you aren't going to get bored easily.
  • You want room for growth. On its own, you can get up to 310 pounds of resistance. However, upgrades are available to push it up to 410 pounds.
  • You like cardio, too. It even comes with a built-in rowing machine, which makes for a great warm-up or cool-down.

Avoid Bowflex Ultimate if...

  • You need something more affordable. Some home gyms out there retail for less than $1,000, like the Bowflex PR1000. This one can cost you up to $2,000.
  • You want something more modern. The Bowflex Ultimate isn't manufactured anymore to make way for the Bowflex Ultimate 2. As such, it may be hard to track down.
  • You like a longer warranty. You get 10 years of coverage on this machine. It should be fine for most, but it may not inspire the same level of confidence as a lifetime warranty.
  • Bowflex Ultimate pros & cons


  • 5-way hand-grips
  • Powder-coated steel frame
  • High-density padding with vinyl cover on the frame
  • Lat tower with angled lat bar


  • Pricey
  • A bit outdated

What areas of the body does Bowflex Ultimate target?

  • Arms: The adjustable pulley system makes it easy to work out various muscle groups in your arms through exercises like a stiff arm pulldown.
  • Legs: You can develop strong, muscular legs via the leg extension or curl attachment to perform a variety of exercises from a stiff-leg deadlift to a kneeling leg kickback.
  • Chest: You're able to adjust the pulleys and optimize the bench-press to perform chest-fly exercises.
  • Back: The integrated lat tower makes it easy to build your back muscles with low back extensions and other workouts.
  • Shoulders: The lat tower is also great for bulking up your shoulders.

Is the Bowflex Ultimate easy to use?

Reviewers have noted how it's fairly straightforward to put this machine together. You may need one extra person, but it's typically accomplished in just a couple of hours. Once it's up, you can effortlessly move from one type of workout to the next without extensively adjusting the pulleys.

Key Bowflex Ultimate Specs

Resistance Power rod # of Exercises 90+ Easy To Switch Exercises? Yes Max Weight Capacity 300 pounds Size (Dimensions) 83" x 98" x 50" Foldable? Yes Warranty 10 years

Reasons to buy Bowflex Ultimate?

  1. You need to save on space. While the Bowflex Ultimate is a bit large when it's fully displayed, you're able to fold it in when it's not in use. This makes more room in your home, which is preferable for when you're having guests over.
  2. You want to work out your entire body. Some home gyms exclusively focus on either your upper or lower body. With this one, you can do both, so there's really only a need for the single unit.
  3. You want to go easier on your joints. Older individuals or people recovering from injuries should absolutely get a home gym with power rod resistance. It offers smoother motions compared to free weights.

Reasons to avoid Bowflex Ultimate?

  1. You want upgrades. There are several other models within the Bowflex Ultimate line. They're easier to find and come with other features. If you have the money to spend, you may be better off getting something newer.

What real Bowflex Ultimate reviews say

We spent 18 hours scouring the web (reading over 253 customer reviews). Our conclusion? Bowflex Ultimate receives high praise! Our average consolidated user rating sits around a 4.6 - 4.8 (across several hundred reviews). Bowflex Ultimate scored higher, on average, compared to their closest competitors.

What reviewers like

  1. "The assembly is incredibly easy. Assistance by one other person is best."
  2. "This is an incredible machine, you can essentially do anything on the Ultimate that you do in a gym."
  3. "Any exercise you can think of you can do on this machine, and they all provide great resistance."
  4. "The exercises are easy and effective."
  5. "Financially, this was a great investment."

What reviewers dislike

  1. "It would be nice if this product came with a DVD to aid the manual."
  2. "Since it didn't include any storage for the accessories (either wall mount or on the unit [itself]) I'm going to give it a 4."
  3. "Since it uses bows, I do not feel much of negative weight (It has some negative weight)."
  4. "Leg attachment is a bit flimsy."
  5. "Requires a fair amount of self motivation since you are training in solitude."

Our verdict

The Bowflex Ultimate is still a solid choice. With over 90 exercises to choose from, you can change up your workouts on a daily basis to tone up your entire body. You can start slow and gradually purchase upgrades over time if you wish to push yourself even further by going up to power rods that offer 410 pounds of resistance.

That being said, there are newer Bowflex Ultimate models out there. Not only are they easier to find, but they may be preferable to people who are serious about bulking up. But if you don't mind taking things slow and can get your hands on one for a good price, then the Bowflex Ultimate may work great for you.

Where to buy Bowflex Ultimate

The Bowflex Ultimate has since been discontinued on Amazon. However, you can still get your hands on several (newer) Bowflex models on Amazon at the best prices.