Because lifting bananas was just not cutting it anymore.
Welcome to the jungle, we’ve got fun & gains
Fancy a safari expedition into the wilds of fitness? The product in today’s spotlight has a few cool things going for it, and in this Gorilla Bow Review I’ll share my experiences having owned one for about a year or so.
I’ll also give you the total scoop on every detail I’ve learned about it, useful tips & facts to pass along on how to use it, & how to get quality workouts with it from Day 1.
Here are some topics I’ll be going over:
- Is the Gorilla Bow worth it?
- How it’s designed
- Comparing different Gorilla Bow models
- Gorilla Bow customer reviews/testimonials
- Its Pros & Cons
- How to use the Gorilla Bow
- Safety tips & equipment care
- All-access membership to live & on-demand workouts
- Gorilla Bow vs. barbells & resistance bands
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 Gorilla Bow Worth It?
In short, yes. The Gorilla Bow is a standout with its easy transport, versatility, and simplicity, making it ideal for beginners and intermediate level fitness enthusiasts to work out anywhere they choose.
But for advanced weightlifters who swear by traditional free weights like barbells and dumbbells, it won’t fully replace those trusty old friends. How could it?
Nonetheless, even for the hardcore lifter it’s still a simple, portable (& kinda fun) backup for those days when you can’t hit the power rack at the gym or just need a change of pace.
All in all, the Gorilla Bow is a welcome shot of variety for any home (or anywhere) workout routine.
Background & Design of the Gorilla Bow
The Gorilla Bow story began with the friendship between its founders, Chris and Tom, who shared a love of sports and archery.
Inspired by the ancient sport’s potential for fitness, the Gorilla Bow was born out of their goal to offer something fresh in the fitness landscape, not just rehash existing equipment.
Their vision materialized into the Gorilla Bow, combining the design of an archer’s bow with the functionality of resistance bands. Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, it boasts a hefty tension capacity of up to 350 lb.
Portable & adaptable
One of the Gorilla Bow’s main selling points is its adaptability. It offers users the ability to easily adjust the intensity of workouts by attaching up to four resistance bands that come in a wide range of resistance, from 10 – 350 lb.
Whether you are a seasoned gym-goer or just starting your fitness journey, the Gorilla Bow can provide an effective full-body workout.
You can use it to perform a wide variety of exercises that mimic traditional movements you’d with a barbell, dumbbells, pulley cables, or resistance bands.
It shines in its portability and compact design, with a weight of just 6 lb., making it perfect for home workouts or taking your routine on the road, or anywhere you feel like working out.
Comparing the Different Gorilla Bow Models
They have four different models. When you see the word ‘Travel’, those are the bows that are collapsible for (real) easy packing on the go.
When you see the word ‘Lite’, those two are the smaller models — they’re 17″ shorter & weighs a few pounds less than the Original & Travel bows.
Original Gorilla Bow
This model started it all, designed to deliver a comprehensive workout with max resistance of up to 300lb. and a length of around 4 1/2 feet. All models ship with 4 bands of various weighted resistance, so you can work all your muscle groups with this one lightweight piece of equipment.
It’s easy to dial in your resistance level for each exercise quickly, making it ideal for both beginner & advanced fitness fans.
Gorilla Bow Travel
This is the one I bought, and easily my fave of the bunch. It’s the same size as the Original and can do everything it does, but the Travel bow has three important upgrades, for me anyways:
- it has a max resistance 50 lb. heavier than the original, 350 lb. vs. 300.
- the bow easily breaks down into 3 small pieces you can throw in a backpack or carry on.
- it’s made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, which means it’s strong as heck but real light too.
Gorilla Bow Lite
Perfect for those seeking a smaller, lighter, easy-to-handle version of the Gorilla Bow. It weighs only 2.4 lb., is less than 3 1/2 feet long, and can handle up to 150 lb. of tension.
I think this model is geared for someone who:
- is smaller or perhaps weaker than normal, or
- wants a low weight/high rep finisher tool for certain exercises, or
- is seeking high rep, high intensity workouts like Tabata or HIIT.
(By the way, it also comes in black or green if pink’s not your thing…)
Gorilla Bow Travel Lite
This is the ‘travel’ version of the Lite model, so it provides 150 lb. of resistance while weighing under 2 1/2 lb., and it’s easily taken apart into 3 pieces for on-the-go convenience.
By the way, all of the models come with an optional free trial of Gorilla Bow’s live & on-demand classes. If you’re someone who has trouble motivating yourself to commit to a solid workout plan, this might be worth checking out.
People who’ve joined the membership have high praise for the quality of the programming, which can enhance your Gorilla Bow experience and help you make the most of your workouts.
Gorilla Bow Customer Reviews
I took the time to gather and analyze thousands of Gorilla Bow buyer reviews across the internet, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
From a total of over 4,000 reviews, the Gorilla Bow has received an impressive average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. And more than 90% of buyers gave the Gorilla Bow a 4- or 5-star rating.
People who’ve bought and used the Gorilla Bow have a lot to say about it, and here are a few samples of that.
Derek W. likes the resistance bands more than weights. Milton V. saw benefits after only two weeks, and Kenneth M. loves how his Gorilla Bow helps his health kick.
Michael likes getting a total workout from just one device. Nancy S. used her Gorilla Bow to strengthen her muscles after chiropractic care.
At 81, Dennis thinks the Gorilla Bow beats the gym. It fits easily into his routine, and he doesn’t need a gym membership anymore.
Steve finds the Gorilla Bow great for workouts on the road, making hotel fitness fun. Tom C. also likes his Gorilla Bow for travel – easy to use, loves all the possible exercises.
In summary, customers love the Gorilla Bow
Its versatility, ease of use, and effectiveness at building strength and promoting a healthier lifestyle have earned it high praise.
If the many positive reviews are any indication, the Gorilla Bow might just be the convenient, effective home workout solution you’ve been looking for, depending on what you’re looking for of course.
PROs and CONs of the Gorilla Bow
I put together a quick list of high & low points, just based on my own opinion & experiences with the Gorilla Bow.
What I Like
- Lightweight and portable for on-the-go fitness.
- Suitable for use in various settings, indoor or outdoor.
- Occupies minimal space at home.
- Allows performing a wide range of exercises used in barbell workouts.
- Very user-friendly for beginners.
- Compact alternative to bulky gym equipment like free weights and benches.
- Cost-effective compared to gym memberships and home gym equipment.
- Adjustable resistance for customized workouts.
- Can be used by people of different age groups.
- Lower risk of injury due to smooth, fluid movements & lightweight design.
What Could Be Improved
- To get the 3-piece collapsible bow, you need to pay extra for the Travel model.
- The product packaging could include a chart of exercises for reference.
- Gorilla Bow the company could make their “Getting Started” videos & info easier to find on their site.
Using the Gorilla Bow
When you first use the Gorilla Bow, you’ll realize it’s definitely not a gimmicky infomercial toy. Its sturdy build inspires confidence, and the innovative approach it brings to strength training workouts is refreshing.
I see it being a tool people new to resistance training could connect with for sure. It doesn’t intimidate like I’ve seen 45 lb. plates, barbells, & power racks do to workout newbies at the gym.
I can tell it immediately feels familiar, if that’s the right word.
I recommend first-time users to visit the official Gorilla Bow Get Started page. Scroll down until you find the “8 Week Gorilla Bow Program” link.
That’ll open up a comprehensive PDF with a detailed 2-month workout routine, including links to tutorial videos for each exercise. This full-body program equips you with the basics to target every muscle group from day one.
If any of the exercises you want to do aren’t linked to videos, just hop over to the Gorilla Bow YouTube channel, and search for them there; that’s where they’ll be.
Whether you’re new to resistance-based workouts or a seasoned free weight user, you’ll find the video tutorials on how to maximize your potential with the Gorilla Bow very helpful.
Understanding Resistance and Tension Levels
If you’re new to weightlifting or strength training with resistance bands, comprehending resistance levels with the Gorilla Bow might seem tricky at first.
You might wonder which band to use or how much resistance you should be targeting during workouts. According to Gorilla Bow, these depend on a couple of factors:
- Your current level of strength;
- The point of resistance, which is influenced by your height.
They recommend using the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale, which is a subjective assessment of how hard you feel an exercise is.
I agree with their approach here; this is easy enough for anyone to put to use.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 represents something you can do all day long without tiring, while 10 is your maximum effort – a level where one rep feels like enough.
For a more comprehensive understanding, check out Gorilla Bow’s resistance guidance video on YouTube.
This short video explains how to determine the right amount of resistance for different exercises, making it easier for you to get started right away & progress at your own pace.
May I humbly suggest that you also remember to keep a journal to track your progress so you can determine when it’s time to increase your resistance levels.
Progressive overload is what we call this approach, and it’s how you get stronger, add muscle, lose fat, look toned, all that.
Gorilla Bow Safety Tips
I put this bullet-point list of tips & advice together after watching one of their “Getting Started videos.
I think knowing this stuff right off the bat is a wise move, and can make your relationship with the Gorilla Bow even better.
- Wear appropriate footwear: Always be sure you’re wearing sneakers for optimal grip and safety during exercises.
- Proper placement of bands: Always place the bands under the arch of each foot for secure and safe exercises.
- Control over exercises: Always maintain control during your exercises, avoid pulling the bar towards your face or head for safety reasons.
- Band condition: Make sure your bands are in proper working condition. If they’re worn, it’s best to replace your bands. They’re pretty cheap, last time I checked. Remember to store them off the bow and out of direct sunlight when not in use.
- Number of bands: You can add four bands to the Gorilla Bow and Gorilla Bow travel versions, and two bands to the Gorilla Bow Lite.
- Band selection: Select the band you’d like to put on the bow. In this example, we use the 20 pound, 30 pound, 50 pound, and 60 pound bands.
Securing the Bow
- Securing process: Grab the other end of the band with one hand while securing the bow with the other hand. Stretch the band over the bow and ensure to secure in the claw. Pull it tight to make sure it’s seated properly and the protective sleeve is pulled into the claw. Repeat this with all of the bands.
- Special note for 90 pound short bands: If you’re using the 90 pound short bands, there’s a specific technique to get them on and off your bow.
How to Stretch the Band
- Achieving rated tension: In order to get the rated tension, you need to stretch the band 2.5 times its original length. For the full-size Gorilla Bow, stretch the 47-inch band to 118 inches.
Tips on Using Your Bow
- Changing tension without changing bands: You can change the tension without changing the bands. Just grab the bands you do not want to use while securing the bands you will be using during your exercise under your feet or anchor point.
- Use of Large Band Wrap: You can use the large band wrap to secure the bands and reduce their wear.
- Use of Small Band Wrap: For exercises such as bench press, you can use the small wrap to keep the bands from separating.
Now, you’re all set and ready to get started with your Gorilla Bow training! Enjoy your journey to fitness, and remember to always prioritize safety and proper use.
On-Demand All-Access Membership
With Gorilla Bow’s all-access membership, you get to tap into a vast library of live and on-demand classes right from your phone, tablet, or computer.
This offering makes it easy to customize your workout regimen to fit your fitness level and personal goals.
I also think that the structured classes help motivate a lot of people who otherwise might no ‘get after it’ as much, as far as their workouts are concerned.
Here’s what you can expect:
- Beginner Classes: These sessions are designed to help newcomers learn the basics of using the Gorilla Bow and familiarize themselves with the most frequently used exercises in the Gorilla Bow workout library.
- Strength Classes: Aiming for strength gains? These classes slow the pace and emphasize using heavier bands with fewer repetitions.
- HIIT Classes: If you prefer fast-paced, high-intensity workouts, these classes focus on maximum effort intervals paired with shorter recovery rounds.
- Tabata Classes: Get ready for some intense workout sessions with Tabata. This protocol involves an all-out effort for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of recovery, repeated over 8 rounds.
- Functional Training: These sessions mimic daily life movements, designed to train your body in all three planes of motion and prepare for life’s increasing demands.
- Flow Classes: The Gorilla Bow flow classes pair familiar movements together, creating sequences designed for a full body workout.
I see on their site that you can start your journey with a 7-day free trial. If it fits your needs, you can choose either a monthly ($14.99) or annual ($149.99) plan.
Either way, you gain access to their full library of classes, unlimited live classes, and helpful health, wellness, and nutrition tips.
Feedback I got from some Gorilla Bow membership users suggests that the all-access plan helps them towards their fitness or body transformation goals.
User testimonials on their site also say they’ve found the wide variety of workouts & quality instruction helpful in incorporating the Gorilla Bow into their fitness routines consistently.
Gorilla Bow (the company) offers a variety of accessories to enhance your Gorilla Bow workout experience.
On their site I found they sort them based on the type of bow they’re compatible with: Original & Travel Bow accessories on one page, with Lite & Travel Lite Bows’ accessories on the others.
Accessories for the Original & Travel Bows include:
- Resistance Bands: Individual bands and 4-band kits at various resistance levels.
- Add-On Kits: For heavier resistance workouts.
- Carrying Cases: For easy transportation and storage.
- Band Wraps: To hold the bands together during exercises.
- Wall Chart/Poster: For exercise reference.
- Racks: To hang your bows and bands.
For the Lite & Travel Lite Bows, you’ll find similar offerings tailored to fit these smaller, thinner models.
I think the additional band kits that come with heavier resistance that Gorilla Bow sells can be very useful to anyone who’s strong or getting stronger.
(I have the Gorilla Bow Travel, and I added the Deluxe Kit that comes with two 100 lb. bands & two 90 lb. bands. The “heavier” bands make the basic exercises I’m stronger at easy to set up.)
Gorilla Bow seems to have made an effort to provide all the accessories someone might need to dial in their workout experience.
Gorilla Bow vs. Other Home Gym Gear
In my experience with it, the Gorilla Bow exercises remind me either of barbell exercises or resistance band exercises.
(For reference, I bought the Gorilla Bow about a year ago. I’ve been lifting with free weights for over 40 years, and I started using resistance bands about 15 years ago or so.)
I’ll share some of my thoughts on their comparisons below.
Gorilla Bow vs. Barbells
Gorilla Bow’s workouts can mimic the ones you’d use barbells for, at least that what I do most of the time I use it. I’m a fan of the basic compound (aka multi-joint) barbell exercises that build muscle & strength.
Thanks to the bow itself, you can easily do squats, bench press, military presses, and many other common barbell movements.
Obviously, stretching rubber bands to create resistance is going to feel different than a few hundred pounds of metal under load.
But for most people this won’t ever be an issue, and so the Gorilla Bow can provide a solid & satisfying strength training session, regardless of which muscle groups you’re working that day.
For the super strong
But even though I’ve given up lifting real heavy long ago, I could still feel that some of the moves with the Gorilla Bow — bench press and deadlift come to mind — wouldn’t feel ‘right’ for advanced lifters loading over 350 or so, people who’re so dialed into the feel of a bar.
I also felt that anyone who needs to rep out over 350 lb. with either their bench, deadlift, or squat should probably just stick to using their plates & barbell in a power rack or Smith machine anyway.
Mainly because again, at that high level of resistance, I think it’d be tough to do heavy lifting comfortably — like over 400 lb. — with the Gorilla Bow.
No knock on the Gorilla Bow from me on this point. In my world, heavy lifts like that should be done safely at the gym with proper gear.
Gorilla Bow vs. Resistance Bands
Lots of similarities to me in terms of feel, range of motion, pump/burn, etc., between resistance bands and the Gorilla Bow.
The main difference I noticed of course was the ‘bar’ aspect of the bow contrasted with the two separate handles of the resistance bands.
I’m no kinesiologist, but I’m guessing the workout quality between the two — would be similar throughout the various muscle groups.
Sort of like the way dumbbell squats vs. barbell squats are similar, at least as far as your quads go.
Dumbbell squats can’t go as heavy as barbell squats because your hands will poop out trying to grip really heavy dumbbells, way before your legs get worked properly.
Not the exact same situation as that between Gorilla Bow & resistance bands, but it seemed kind of similar to me.
I felt the bar – held by both hands – ‘steadied’ some of the exercises that I went heavy (for me) on, allowing me use greater resistance with the Gorilla Bow vs. resistance bands.
So a better workout resulted in my case, because the Gorilla Bow was easier to use in that situation.
Another thing with resistance bands that I felt the Gorilla Bow had an advantage: for some resistance band exercises you need a door anchor.
What if you don’t want to fuss with setting up the anchor or work out by a door, or you want to go outside & train? In that regard, the Gorilla Bow is much more convenient to use.
Price and Long-Term Value
When it comes to cost, at between $200 & $300 for all their different models, I believe the Gorilla Bow is worth it.
We all have our own set of value preferences for sure. I’m sizing up the cost of the Gorilla Bow against the annual cost of a gym membership (USA avg. = $500 or so), plus adding all the time, energy, & money it takes to get to & from the gym, and the dealing with being in the gym., etc.
I’d need to be OK with not being able to use the gym’s barbells, powerlifting benches, and squat racks (so, all the barbell exercises).
In my case I stopped going to the gym years ago, and haven’t missed anything. So I guess I was OK giving that up (I have dumbbells, resistance bands, a weight bench, and for the last year, a Gorilla Bow).
Plus I saved all those years of membership money.
Resistance bands & a barbell in one, sort of
I think the Gorilla Bow does a more than decent job imitating a barbell for those exercises, and does a great job keeping pace with the advantages resistance bands provide too.
So you get a lot for your money, that’s how I feel. And I’ve seen it work nicely for total beginners too, once I pointed them in the direction of all the helpful video tutorials on the Gorilla Bow YouTube channel.
Here are helpful answers to a handful of common questions asked about the Gorilla Bow.
Can the Gorilla Bow be used by beginners?
Absolutely, the Gorilla Bow is perfect for beginners. The resistance can be adjusted to suit all fitness levels, and its design makes it simple and straightforward to use.
How long is the Gorilla Bow Warranty?
Gorilla Bow products have a solid warranty, given their very affordable price range. The Gorilla Bow itself has a 2-year warranty, while the bands, accessories, and apparel all come with a 6-month warranty.
Is the Gorilla Bow suitable for rehabilitation purposes?
Yes, the Gorilla Bow can be used for rehabilitation, similar to the way resistance bands are. It has easily adjustable resistance levels and it's gentler on the joints than free weights.
Can the Gorilla Bow be used for travel?
The Gorilla Bow ‘Travel’ model is excellent for taking with you wherever you go. It's lightweight and portable, fitting into most suitcases. So you can do a full body workout with it anytime you travel.
What’s the advantage of the Protective Sleeve?
The Protective Sleeve is a great feature. Made of tough nylon, it protects the bands from damage due to friction with rough surfaces and disperses pressure to your body during high tension movements.
How should I care for my Gorilla Bow?
Caring for your Gorilla Bow is simple. You can stash it anywhere between use – just remember to loosen the bands to extend their lifespan.
You can put it in a case if you have one, slide it under the nearest couch, or hang it using the Gorilla Bow wall mount.
The bands can be cleaned with dish soap and water. Just make sure to keep them out of sunlight to prolong their life.
What bands are the best for certain exercises?
When it comes to choosing bands for certain exercises, check out the Get Started eBook available here.
It includes an illustrated exercise glossary, tutorials, workouts, and an 8-week plan.
How does the Gorilla Bow compare to traditional weightlifting?
The Gorilla Bow can offer a similar workout experience to traditional weightlifting. However, the feel may be different due to the stretchy bands replacing heavy plates, if you’ve never worked out with resistance bands before.
It’s perfect for people who want to experience the benefits of weightlifting at home or anywhere really, since it’s very easy to work out with the Gorilla Bow wherever you want.
Are there any limitations to the exercises that can be done with the Gorilla Bow?
I found that most barbell exercises can be done with the Gorilla Bow in some form or another. They might just need a little adjusting to mimic the movement of their barbell counterparts.
Also, if you’re an advanced powerlifter or recreational bodybuilder, you might find the range of motion or its feel to be less than what you’re used to with traditional free weights.
But overall, the Gorilla Bow provides a comprehensive workout that can be customized to fit your needs.
Related articles here on heydayDo
I think I’ve covered everything I wanted to share with you in this Gorilla Bow review. Here’s a quick recap of the key points I’ve highlighted:
- The Gorilla Bow is a versatile and innovative home fitness solution, which is very convenient for workouts both at home and basically anywhere you want to do some strength training.
- It offers a range of resistance levels, from as low as 10 pounds up to 330 pounds. This plus the wide range of possible exercises make it a good portable, easy to stash option for beginners & gym veterans alike.
- Comparing the Gorilla Bow to traditional weightlifting, I think many barbell exercises ‘translate’ decently with the Gorilla Bow, and most people can create satisfying muscle building workouts with it.
- For extreme weightlifters, I don’t think it can replace the heaviest lifts, nor replace the critical ‘feel’ through the range of motion they’re used to. For everybody else, there are resistance training benefits to be had.
- The Gorilla Bow is very-well reviewed by its customers, with over 4,000 buyers giving it a 4.7 out of 5 stars rating.
- The Gorilla Bow app has a wealth of workouts, training tips, exercise tutorials, & nutrition plans to help you set & reach your fitness goals using the Gorilla Bow to get there.
I hope this article is useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.