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Should I Use A Bowflex?
I'm just starting to get serious about lifting weights. I was thinking about buying a Bowflex and I was wondering if you knew anything about them, so I could have another opinion on buying one or not.
This really comes down to what are your overall goals. A Bowflex is not a bad choice for a piece of home equipment. Since you are able to dictate the movement more than a machine and have a variety of exercises it may be reasonable to some people. However, you must also realize some of the flaws. In all the exercises the weight becomes heavier as you lift. While this is a nice trick for some exercises like a bench press (where usually the top portion is underloaded) other exercises could be problematic. In the example of a leg curl, you actually want the weight to become lighter as the muscles come closer to full contraction. The reason is that the muscles are not able to generate as much force during a fully contracted postion. This has to deal with a concept known as strength curves.
I did a little homework and a Bowflex can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. For that price I could build a much better home gym set. A power rack can run you around $400, an Olympic bar $100, set of plates $200. Right there we are still less than the most basic Bowflex but already have greatly increased your choices of exercises and methods of training. Many used sports stores will sell bars, plates, or dumbbells for very inexpensive. You can even use old methods such as sandbags to perform various presses, curls, extensions, squats, etc. In the end, your chances of reaching your goals are more likely if you stay with core lifts that are offered by free weights. You will also find that your options are greatly expanded with free weights. Bowflex brags that their top machine can do over 90 exercises. How about if I told you I have over 50 exercises for just the chest?! I hope that drives home my point.