Finally, a piece of equipment that won’t hang your laundry.
If sweat is just fat crying…
So we’re chatting about working out at home today. Imagine this: getting out of bed, slipping on your gym clothes or not, and—voila!—you’re already at your gym.
No traffic, no membership fees, no waiting for equipment to free up. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Today I’ll be sharing my opinion & experiences with the Bowflex Blaze home gym machine, equipment I’ve product-tested & played around with a handful of times over the past decade or so.
The Blaze is designed so you can bust a move on dozens of different standard strength training exercises, all without leaving your living room.
But first a little bit about Bowflex.
They’ve got a well-earned reputation for coming up with cool stuff like the SelectTech adjustable dumbbells and the unique Velocore spin bike that leans, which gives you the realistic feeling of street cycling inside your home.
The Blaze has been one of their most popular home gym machines for years for good reason. It has a number of good things going for it that make it a nice choice for many people looking for an easy-to-use home gym.
But at the same time it’s definitely not for everyone, so in this Bowflex Blaze review I’ll cover every feature & fault I can think of.
My goal with this article is to provide you with enough useful info to help you decide if the Blaze is a great fit for your unique fitness goals or not.
Science resources included
As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science and medical resources, clinical studies, & nutritional data used in this article.
Is the Bowflex Blaze worth it?
In short, if you’re at the beginning or intermediate stage of your fitness journey, the Blaze might be just what you need.
This high-quality home gym machine provides a broad range of exercises with ample resistance, ideal for your muscle building & weight loss goals.
The Bowflex Blaze is sturdy, backed by a strong warranty, and made by a trusted company, though it requires a good bit of space and isn’t portable once it’s built.
And if you’re an advanced lifter who favors the feel of free weights, this probably isn’t your cup of tea.
Features & technical info
OK, let’s start with all of the basic information about the Blaze, including its resistance system, the attachments & accessories it ships with, etc.
I also want to do a quick flyover of the machine’s workout potential, as it relates to the type of resistance it comes with. I’ll have more exercise & workout detail a bit later on.
Bowflex Blaze dimensions & tech specs
Let’s break down what the Bowflex Blaze is packing:
- Resistance: Comes with a solid 210 pounds’ worth (95 kg), but if you’re looking to push your limits, you can add up to 410 lb. (186 kg).
- Size: Not really compact, it’s a sizable beast with dimensions of 90″ long, 38″ wide and 83″ high (229 cm x 97 cm x 211 cm).
- Workout Space: You’ll need a spot that’s about 100″ long and 78″ wide (254 cm x 198 cm) to comfortably work out.
- When Folded: Takes up a little less room, shrinking to 52″ long, but keeps the 38″ width and 83″ height (132 cm x 97 cm x 211 cm).
- Machine Weight: Not a lightweight, tipping the scales at 191 lb. (86.5 kg).
- User Weight Limit: Can handle users up to 300 lb. (136 kg).
- Warranty: You get 5 years for the machine parts, and the Power Rods are covered for a lifetime.
My 2¢ Summary:
* In my experience, the standard 210 lb. resistance is great for folks starting out or someone who’s not into heavy hardcore lifting.
* I think the workout space suggested by Bowflex can be a little tight, so I recommend giving yourself a bit more room: around 9 feet long and 6.5 feet wide, with a 7.5 foot ceiling.
* Folding the machine isn’t complicated but it’s more of a job for occasional storage rather than a post-workout routine.
* I appreciate the real solid warranty, just remember that the rods naturally lose resistance over time which isn’t covered.
Overview of the Power Rod® resistance system
Power Rods are what make the Bowflex Blaze tick. These rods are coated with a special rubber that gives them their flexibility and durability.
Each rod is marked with its weight, and you can use one or more at a time to get your preferred resistance level. You can also upgrade the rods to increase the total resistance if you feel like pushing your limits.
I find the Power Rod system is designed pretty intuitively, and changing resistance levels is quick.
Bowflex Blaze workout options
The Bowflex Blaze really shines as far as workout versatility is concerned. It’s designed like a set of cable pulley machines you’d find at a gym, but morphed into a convenient home gym format.
You can do over 60 different exercises, targeting all the major muscle groups. From what I’ve witnessed in my previous life as a fitness trainer & recreational bodybuilder, 60 movements is WAY more than enough for most folks.
So you have several exercises per muscle group to choose from, including many of the (important) compound exercises like squats, bench presses, rows, etc.
I recommend starting with these key exercises for each muscle group and building up your workouts from there. More on this topic later.
Attachments & accessories
The Bowflex Blaze comes kitted out with a range of helpful add-ons:
- Hand Grips: These snugly fit your hand, ankle, or wrist and are essential for attaching to the cables for a lot of exercises.
- Lat Bar: Perfect for exercises like pull-downs and rows.
- Leg Extension / Leg Curl: The adjustable cushion provides support for leg extensions and curls, giving your quads and hamstrings a good workout.
- Squat Bar: Helpful for doing squats without any weights resting on your shoulders.
- Sliding Seat Rail: Allows you to do aerobic rowing or leg presses, and it’s adjustable so you can dial in the right position.
My 2¢ Summary: The included accessories add a lot to the Bowflex Blaze’s versatility — they’re all useful and easy to attach & adjust, which is great for moving between exercises smoothly.
As an example, the sliding seat rail is a nice add. With it you can do leg presses, which usually aren’t an option on semi-compact home gym machines like this one.
You can also use the slide rail to get a good low-impact HIIT or cardio groove going with aerobic rowing too.
Bowflex Blaze assembly & shipping
Building the Bowflex Blaze can be a fun little project with benefits, or it could be a royal pain in the petunia. Red pill, blue pill….which one you goin’ with?
(Just teasing, it’s really nowhere near that ominous).
You’re given an assembly manual that is crystal clear & easy to follow, a short list of common household tools to gather up for the job, and a well-packaged box of parts & accessories that are easy to organize before you start.
Throw in a dash of enthusiasm — heck, you’re building your own home gym, and it’s a good one too. I just want to share my insight on building the Blaze with you, and pass along any useful tips to help the cause.
I never built one myself but I know people who have, I’ve seen it being put together, and I’m pals with people who know Bowflex machines inside & out.
Build it where you’ll use it
Here’s a big tip: build your Bowflex Blaze in the same room where you plan to exercise.
Trust me, it might look neat and tidy in the pictures, but once it’s all set up it’s quite a bulky thing to move around. Even when it’s folded up, it’s still too big to fit through most doors.
So it’s way better to save yourself the hassle and set it up where you’re going to use it.
The assembly manual: from a user’s view
The quality of the assembly manual you get with the Bowflex Blaze is a big plus. I’ve looked at loads of product manuals & assembly instructions in my time — I’m sure you have too — and this one lends a helpful hand.
Here’s a link to its PDF if you want to take a peek at it: The Bowflex Blaze Assembly Manual.
I think it’s easy to understand, straightforward, and carefully arranged in a logical order. Even someone new to building gym equipment would find it easy to follow.
(Quick note:You get two manuals with the Blaze. One is for Assembly, and also there’s a Workout/Owner’s manual.)
It starts by suggesting the best place to set up your home gym and gives you a full list of the parts you’ll be working on, complete with pictures.
It also gives you various bits of easy-to-remember advice, like “Righty tighty, lefty loosey” which might sound silly, but it’s just a simple way to remember which way to turn bolts and nuts.
Building the Blaze: What Customers Say
To get a feel for what building the Blaze is really like for other people, I checked out what dozens of customers had to say.
Bottom line: A lot of people chose to put it together themselves and most of them didn’t feel the need to complain in their reviews – always a good sign.
Most folks said it took between 2 1/2 to 4 hours to put together. More than a handful of others finished it in an hour.
People generally liked the manual’s thoroughness and layout, and thought the packaging was smart, making the building process smoother.
Of course, not everyone found it a piece of cake. Some people found the assembly tough and a small number even found it frustrating. But most people had a good experience.
A few people chose to not build it themselves, and hired a professional to build their machine instead. Related: I should mention that because Bowflex doesn’t sell the Blaze directly anymore, they don’t offer in-home assembly for this product.
Also stores like Amazon, Walmart, and Dick’s Sporting Goods don’t offer assembly services for this machine either. So your options are to do it yourself or hire someone.
All in all, building the Bowflex Blaze can be a pretty smooth experience if you have some patience, the right tools, and that good assembly manual to guide you.
If you’re thinking of getting a Bowflex Blaze, there’s some good news when it comes to shipping and costs.
Both Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods, the two biggest online retailers for the Blaze, offer free shipping. That’s a big plus because remember, this machine weighs in at a beefy 190 lb.
I can pass along that the Blaze comes in a single box with all the parts and accessories nicely packed inside, and the box I’ve seen is about 5′ x 2′ x 2′.
So it’s pretty compact considering it’s a home gym machine. Amazon lists the box’s dimensions as 59″ x 20″ x 13.5″, which seems sort of similar to my experience.
When it comes to delivery, Amazon says they provide “FREE Inside Entryway delivery…” (I’m looking at that phrase on the Blaze’s Amazon product page).
That doesn’t mean they’ll take it right to the room you’re going to set it up in, but it’s nice to know they’ll at least get it inside your home.
If it ends up being delivered outside, maybe because you’re not home or maybe Amazon drivers aren’t delivering in your area, don’t worry.
The box might be heavy, but its relatively small size (for a home gym machine, at least) means a good dolly can handle it no problem. And because it’s more slender before it’s built, you can easily roll it to wherever you’re planning to set it up.
Bowflex Blaze Warranty
The warranty for the Bowflex Blaze is clear and straightforward: you get 5 years of coverage on the machine, and a lifetime “No-Time-Limit” warranty on the resistance rods.
I think this is an excellent warranty, which isn’t surprising considering it’s coming from Bowflex and the Blaze is a well-built (and not cheap) machine costing around $900 to $1000.
Here is some detail that I got from the Bowflex’s warranty page:
* The Blaze comes with a warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship but doesn’t include misuse, accidents, or use by people over 300 lb.
* You need to activate the warranty by returning the Registration Card within 30 days of purchase.
* Bowflex, managed by Nautilus, will repair or replace a defective Blaze. If a direct replacement isn’t available, they might offer a similar or better product.
* It’s important to note that if a part is defective, you’ll have to return it at your expense, but they’ll ship it back for free.
Amazon policy for the Bowflex Blaze
* Purchased from Amazon? You can return, refund, or replace it within 90 days of receipt. But think it through before buying, as repacking this baby is no easy feat.
My summary: Great warranty protection that offers you peace of mind that you’re investing in a long-lasting, valuable product.
When a great company like Bowflex stands behind its product with a solid warranty, it shows they believe in its quality, durability, and performance. That gives you confidence in your purchase, knowing you’re getting a product with value that will last for years to come.
Bowflex Blaze exercises
Here’s a handy link for you: it’s to the Bowflex Blaze Owner’s Manual and Fitness Guide.
It’s a 77-page PDF, and most of those pages are dedicated to going over all of the available exercises on the Blaze. (They run from pgs.18-52.)
The manual lists 8 chest exercises you can do on the Blaze, 6 of them will be familiar to you if you’ve lifted weights before:
- Presses – flat, incline, & decline;
- Flys – incline & decline;
- Cable crossovers.
There are 9 back exercises – among them 4 types of lat pulldowns, 2 rowing moves, & a low back extension.
14 — that’s not a typo — exercises for your delts & traps (OK, deltoids & trapezius, or just call the whole gang your shoulder muscles).
All the basic ones you want are here — shoulder press, shrugs, shoulder raises, plus many more than you’d ever need for strength & muscle building, tho’ a few of the minor movements here can be used with real light weight to effectively improve rotator & shoulder function.
Loads of arm exercises, no surprise to you & I at this point. I count 8 triceps exercises, mostly variations of extensions & pushdowns, 4 kinds of biceps curls, & a few wrist curl/forearm moves.
Here are a handful of crunches & reverse crunches, some using resistance, targeting your abs & obliques.
Legs, glutes, calves
You’ll be able to do Bowflex Blaze versions of all the traditional weightlifting leg exercises:
- leg presses
- leg curls
- leg extensions
- calf raises
And there are several ‘functional fitness‘ cable exercises for your hips too.
Customers’ Bowflex Blaze Reviews
Bottom line: 4.6 stars out of 5 — 4000+ buyer ratings; 92% of buyers giving it 5 or 4 star reviews.
I counted up all of the online reviews I could find to calculate an overall customer rating & ‘buyer satisfaction’ level.
Nowadays Amazon has the whale’s share of customer reviews, and other stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, Best Buy, etc., have a few apiece too.
But before Bowflex stopped selling the Blaze on their site, there were a couple thousand reviews posted there, and I kept a record of those too.
All this to say that the Bowflex Blaze has been a popular & well-liked home gym machine for several years now.
I counted over 4,000 reviews from all sources, and they average out to somewhere between 4.6 and 4.7 stars out of 5. And well over 90% of all customers’ reviews submitted give the Bowflex Blaze a thumbs up with the “recommend to a friend” button.
Bowflex Blaze pros & cons
Here are lists of what I think are the Bowflex Blaze’s best qualities & features, as well as those things that may or may not be dealbreakers for you.
- Versatility: Over 60 different exercise options provide a total body workout, from beginner to intermediate fitness levels.
- Power Rod Resistance: Offers a unique, smooth, and adaptable workout, from 5 lb. to 210 lb. (upgradeable to 410 lb.)
- Somewhat compact Design: Despite its exercise range, the Blaze isn’t as big as other all-in-one home gym machines.
- Workout support: A detailed workout manual and exercise placard make getting started easy.
- Durability: Sturdy steel frame and high-quality components tell you this thing can last.
- Great warranty: A 5-year machine warranty and lifetime Power Rod coverage reflect Bowflex’s confidence.
- Assembly: Clear instructions & well-packaged parts make painless assembly achievable in an hour or two for some, 3-4 hours for most.
- Efficient workouts: Switching exercises & resistance levels is as time-efficient as switching free weights at a gym.
- Assembly: A few customers found the assembly challenging, though most did not.
- Advanced Weightlifters: Not a great choice for advanced weightlifters or anyone with substantial strength.
- User Weight Limit: At 300 lb. capacity, the Blaze is not for real heavy individuals.
Who the Bowflex Blaze is Ideal For
Having hung around the fitness industry scene in the US for a long long time, I can say with confidence that if you’re at the start of your fitness journey or at a ‘casual gym goer’ intermediate stage, the Bowflex Blaze could become your best friend.
This goes double if you’re thinking of transitioning from using commercial gym ‘circuit’ machines to home workouts too.
Working out at home has A LOT of perks — I love it as well as all the money & time I’ve saved since going 100% home lifting 15+ years ago.
And the Blaze is more than ready to help you with your body transformation goals, if you have the room for it & the willingness to commit the time necessary to achieve them.
I find the Bowflex Blaze is also a good fit for those who may not be super strong yet but have set their sights on achieving this goal.
The variety of exercises and the ability to get a total body workout right in the comfort of your own home can keep your routine interesting and consistent.
Who Should Not Buy the Bowflex Blaze
If you’re an advanced weightlifter, strong athlete, or heavy lifter, I’d suggest that the Blaze is not ideal for you. The machine’s maximum resistance of 210 lb. could limit you. (Sure you can add to it, but you’ll have to pay for it to get up to 410 lb. of resistance.)
From my own experience, if you’re a fan of the feel of free weights — barbell and dumbbell moves, heavy lifting in a power rack/squat rack set up — I think the machine-based workout of the Blaze might leave you wanting more.
Also, if you’re over 300 lb., that’s above the Blaze’s max capacity so you’re outside the ‘safety range’ limitations of the machine, plus you lose your warranty protection.
Bowflex Blaze Cost
These days the Bowflex Blaze typically shows a list price of $1,100 or so across the internet.
On Amazon today I see it’s being offered for $899.99, but since prices bounce around all over the place lately, I suggest you check today’s price to confirm.
I also notice that other places online like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, and Best Buy are currently listing the Blaze slightly higher around $950, and some online shopping sites are even selling it for over $1,000, which is to be expected.
The Blaze vs. other Bowflex home gyms
I thought it’d be a good idea to compare the Blaze to its two closest siblings, the Bowflex PR3000 & PR1000. So I put together a couple of tables giving you a peek at how they look head-to-head.
I think the Bowflex Blaze is the best out of these three, but those are based on my preferences, not yours. Check them out, see what you think.
Bowflex Blaze vs. Bowflex PR3000
|Feature||Bowflex Blaze||Bowflex PR3000|
|Resistance – Standard||210 lb||210 lb|
|Resistance – Maximum||410 lb||310 lb|
|Dimensions||90″ L x 38″ W x 83″ H||63″ L x 41″ W x 82″ H|
|Workout Area||100″ x 78″||76″ x 86″|
|Folded Footprint||52″ L x 38″ W x 83″ H||Doesn’t fold|
|Assembled Machine Weight||191 lb.||154 lb.|
|User Weight Limit||300 lb.||300 lb.|
|Warranty||5 years on the machine, Lifetime on the Power Rods||1 year on the frame, 5 years on Power Rods, parts: 60 days|
|Key Features||60+ exercises, aerobic rowing, leg presses, multiple cable or pulley positions, angled lat bar and squat bar||50+ exercises, No-Change Cable Pulley System|
My summary: In comparison to the PR3000, I’d make the case that the Blaze offers more value for your money than the PR3000, and I list my reasons below.
The flip side of my argument points out that switching between exercises on the PR3000 is much faster, because it has a simpler cable pulley system than the Blaze does, and I get that.
Some people want that extra layer of convenience, so for them that alone is worth the higher price tag, slightly less features, & a much shorter warranty.
I used pulleys in the gym on occasion for decades. Not in every workout, since free weights were my thing, but often enough. So I think the extra 15-30 seconds needed to set up between sets on the Blaze isn’t a big deal.
It’s no different than being at the gym and having to walk over to a different pulley machine, clip whatever attachment you’re using, & set the weight pin before you start.
So versus the PR3000, the Bowflex Blaze:
- has a lower price,
- has a much better warranty,
- provides more resistance options as you get stronger,
- comes with more exercise choices, has a larger workout area & a folding design for a slight edge in space efficiency.
My guess on why the warranty protection — especially regarding the Power Rods — is so much better on the Blaze then the PR3000 has everything to do with the additional pulleys that the Blaze comes with.
Bowflex Blaze vs. PR1000
|Feature||Bowflex Blaze||Bowflex PR1000|
|Resistance – Standard||210 lb.||210 lb.|
|Resistance – Maximum||410 lb.||210 lb.|
|Dimensions||90″ L x 38″ W x 83″ H||103″ L x 80″ W x 83″ H|
|Workout Area||100″ x 78″||100″ x 78″|
|Folded Footprint||52″ L x 38″ W x 83″ H||80″ W x 44.7″ L x 82″ H|
|Assembled Machine Weight||191 lb.||144 lb.|
|User Weight Limit||300 lb.||300 lb.|
|Warranty||5 years on the machine, Lifetime on the Power Rods||5 years Power Rods, 60 days parts, 1 year frame|
|Key Features||60+ exercises, aerobic rowing, leg presses, multiple cable or pulley positions, angled lat bar and squat bar||25+ exercises, aerobic rowing, multiple cable pulley positions, vertical folding bench|
My summary: This comparison has to also weigh in on the price difference between the two because it’s at least 300 bucks, depending on where you’d be buying one of these. In my mind, the Blaze is the better-built machine, the superior warranty & additional workout features point that out clearly enough.
But whether all that is worth a minimum of $300 out of pocket will depend on each person’s individual preferences on ‘how much machine’ they want in line with their unique fitness & body transformation goals.
Here are answers to a few of the commonly asked questions regarding the Bowflex Blaze Home Gym.
What is the maximum user weight capacity of the Bowflex Blaze?
The Bowflex Blaze has a maximum user weight capacity of 300 lb.
Can the Bowflex Blaze be used by beginners or is it more suitable for advanced users?
The Bowflex Blaze is ideal for beginners, and casual gym-goers used to gym machines.
Its simplicity, versatility, and range of resistance levels cater well to these user categories, but it’s not for advanced weight lifters.
Does the Bowflex work?
Yes, the Bowflex Blaze is effective at building and toning muscles, getting you in shape, and shedding pounds.
It works on the principle of resistance training, which is proven to build muscle and burn fat.
Consistent workouts combined with a balanced diet can yield impressive results.
Where can I buy the Bowflex Blaze?
The Bowflex Blaze can be purchased online at Amazon its primary retailer, as well as from Dick's Sporting Goods.com, Walmart.com, and similar stores.
Bowflex no longer sells the Blaze on their website, but they still manufacture the Blaze and ship it to these online retailers.
Is the Bowflex Blaze suitable for tall individuals?
Opinions vary among tall users (6'4" and taller). While several tall individuals reported a fantastic experience with the Bowflex Blaze, a few had concerns about limited range of motion.
It appears that some tall users might need to adjust certain exercises to ensure effectiveness and comfort.
How long do Bowflex rods last?
Bowflex Power Rods can last for years, demonstrating their robust design, and Bowflex stands by this longevity with a “No Time Limit” warranty for the rods used on the Bowflex Blaze.
Keep in mind though — the rods can lose their original resistance level after prolonged and intense use. This depends on your workout routine & the amount of resistance you use, how often & consistent your workouts are, and how well you take care of them.
Bowflex suggests (in the Bowflex Blaze manual) a simple process for you to do when you’re not working out on the Blaze.
Disconnect the cables from the Power Rod unit and use the included rod binding strap to tie all the rods together at the top.
Removing all of the tension this way when they’re not in use helps the Bowflex rods last a lot longer.
Who invented Bowflex?
The inventive mind behind the unique Bowflex idea was that of an Ethiopian engineering student named Dossoma Tesha Shifferaw.
While working on an ergonomic chair design at the City College of San Francisco in the 1980s, he came up with the idea for a home gym type of weight resistance machine that used bendable rods instead of weight plates.
The first product was called Bowflex 2000X, and it came out in 1986 under the company name Bowflex of America, Inc. It uniquely used polymer rods to create constant resistance, a concept birthed from Shifferaw’s patent.
How to use a Bowflex?
If you want to get real results using the Bowflex Blaze to lose weight & tone your muscle, start with setting the resistance with the Power Rods so that it’s at a level that challenges you to complete 12 repetitions or so.
The Bowflex machine allows for a full-body workout, meaning you can work all of your major muscle groups over the course of a workout, or split up over a couple of workouts.
For weight loss, maintain a consistent workout schedule of 4-5 days per week in combo with a clean & balanced diet. To tone muscles, choose the resistance that makes your muscles work harder without compromising proper exercise form.
Related articles here on heydayDo
That about does it for our time with the Bowflex Blaze; I think I’ve shared everything I know about it. If not, I’ll come back & update this blog post.
The Bowflex Blaze is a tool that could make your workout path more accessible, more convenient, and more effective. As always, it comes down to whether each of its best features as well as its drawbacks make a difference to you or not.
It’s my sincere hope that this information is useful to you as you navigate the terrain of home fitness, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.