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#1 Bowflex XTL Home Gym Review

Chris L.
February 17, 2021

The Bowflex XTL comes with everything you need for solid upper and lower body workouts. The adjustable pulley allows you to alter effortlessly between weights. It also provides 310 pounds of resistance or (if you really want to push yourself), is customizable to upwards of 410 pounds.

Is the Bowflex XTL Home Gym best for you?

The Bowflex XTL is an effective home gym for building and sculpting muscle. It makes it easy to target the exact muscle group you want to focus on, whether that's your arms, shoulders, or core. If you don't know where to start, then you can benefit from the instruction manual, which provides graphs of how to perform various workouts.

This machine really does take the place of a gym membership. You can even get some cardio into your regimen with the built-in rowing machine. The inclusion of a t-bar means you can gradually increase the intensity of your rows to continually challenge yourself.

Consider Bowflex XTL if...

  • You need safety. With 310 pounds of resistance, you're able to lift quite a lot. But with the adjustable pulley system, it's far safer, and you don't have to worry as much about hurting your joints.
  • You want cardio, too. The weights are just the beginning. It also comes with a rowing station, which works amazing for a warm-up and/or cool-down.
  • You like guidance. Every Bowflex XTL comes with an instruction manual. It provides you with notes about how to get started, which is helpful if you're completely new to lifting weights.

Avoid Bowflex XTL if...

  • You need to really push yourself. The XTL is customizable to an extent. You can increase the weights up to 410 pounds. However, this pails in comparison to the Bowflex Revolution which goes all the way up to 600 pounds.
  • You want something compact. The XTL is fairly large. It even comes with attachments that take up even more space. You really need to measure the space you have in your home to make sure it's going to fit before getting it.
  • You like something more modern. The XTL has received various upgrades over the years with people not being able to get the Bowflex Power Pro XTL. As such, it can be harder to find just the basic XTL model.

Bowflex XTL pros & cons


  • Angled bar and lateral tower
  • Ankle cuffs and hand grips
  • Leg curl attachments
  • Leg-press
  • T-bar


  • Large footprint
  • A bit outdated

What areas of the body does Bowflex XTL target?

  • Arms: You can exercise several different muscles in your arms with this machine as it allows you to perform the reverse cable grip pulldown.
  • Legs: You're able to build and tone your leg muscles courtesy of the leg extension, leg-press, and leg curl attachments that come with this machine.
  • Chest: The XTL allows you to perform a resisted punch, which is great for building those pectoral muscles and the muscles surrounding your chest.
  • Back: A seated cable lower back extension allows you to give your back muscles a workout.
  • Shoulders: The seated cable shoulder press works out the upper trapezius as well as the triceps.
  • Core: Contract your core muscles with the reverse fly motion.

Is the Bowflex XTL easy to use?

With a detailed instruction manual, it's fairly simple to put the Bowflex XTL together. One person should be able to handle it. Plus, once it's ready to go, you can effortlessly move from one exercise to the next, even if it's focusing on different muscle groups.

Key Bowflex XTL Specs

# of Exercises
Easy To Switch Exercises?
Max Weight Capacity
300 pounds
Size (Dimensions)
92" x 50" x 83.5"
7 years

Reasons to buy Bowflex XTL?

  1. You want to save money in lieu of a gym membership. You get a decent variety of workout options on the XTL. Many people who just want to lift weights find they're able to avoid a gym membership, allowing them to save money in the long run.
  2. You want affordability. The XTL may be an older model. As such, you can usually find it at cheaper prices.
  3. You need help moving your machine. This model comes with wheels. Even if you live by yourself and need to move it temporarily, you can do so fairly easily.

Reasons to avoid Bowflex XTL?

  1. You're shorter. Since the machine is so large, it can be tough to reach the pulleys for some users, particularly if you're under 5'4".

What real Bowflex XTL reviews say

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

What reviewers like

  1. "I started doing a few exercises and I thought it felt very similar to free weights."
  2. "One thing I like, as opposed to weights -- it is SILENT."
  3. "You can do a wide variety of exercises and they give you a booklet that shows you the exercises and even a DVD with the guy doing it and explaining proper form."
  4. "It looks like something you'd see in a commercial gym."
  5. "Once you get accustomed to using this system you will begin to love it."

What reviewers dislike

  1. "It's weakest point is the leg extension."
  2. "The poundage listed on the rods does not correspond to free weights."
  3. "One flaw is that some of the components seem cheap."
  4. "Construction is pretty good, however I needed to clamp, bend, adjust, and lubricate one of the pulleys."
  5. "Machine takes up a lot of space, know where you want it before you put it together, It won't go through a standard doorway."

Our verdict

The Bowflex XTL is a bit dated, but it still comes with pretty much everything you need for a full-body workout. There are various stations that allow you to work out your shoulders, chest, legs, and more. Plus, you'll be comfortable the entire time you exercise with versatile hand grips that are a joy to get ahold of.

The XTL has seen plenty of advancements over the years. For greater confidence, you may want to consider upgrading. But if you really need to save money and don't mind foregoing all the bells and whistles, it's a decent choice for your home.

Where to buy Bowflex XTL

Amazon has the Bowflex XTL, as well as many other Bowflex machines, for the best prices. Plus, they ship fast and free with Amazon's Prime delivery.