Bowflex Blaze Home Gym Review
Working out and building muscle no longer require an expensive gym membership. Investing in a good home gym can save you a lot of money over time. It can also start saving you time immediately. It isn't always easy to get to the gym when you want to work out, but it's simple to walk to the end of the hall. When it comes to home gym equipment, Bowflex is one of the largest names. Bowflex has sturdy, high-quality equipment that's versatile in how it can be used.
This review will discuss one especially nice piece of Bowflex equipment - the Bowflex Blaze. Marketed as a beginner-to-intermediate system, this is one of Bowflex's more popular sellers because it can be easily used by nearly anyone, even those of us who know very little about home gym equipment. It's also safer than a lot of other home gyms because it's equipped with low-resistance power rods, which put very little strain on your joints.
Bowflex Blaze: Key Specs and Features
The Blaze is a very versatile machine. You can just do so much with it. In the user manual alone (download below), there are over 60 listed, unique exercises you can do with the Blaze, which far exceeds the capabilities of the previous model PR1000. These are just the ones listed for you by the Bowflex company. The machine also comes with a wide variety of settings and included accessories. You can use these to create your own exercises. Here are few of the core areas and the ways you can use the machine to tone and maintain them.
- Toning Your Core: Oblique Crunch, Trunk Rotation and Ab Crunch
- Shoulders: Shoulder Shrugs, Delt Raise and Press
- Arms: Triceps Push-Down and Bicep Curls
- Strengthening the Back: Lower Back Extension, Row, Pull-Down
- Building the Chest: Decline Press, Incline and Flat
- Legs: Kickback, Curl and Leg Extensions
In addition to the wide array of settings, plentiful accessories and in-depth user guide, the Blaze also comes with a 20-minute long DVD showcasing a strong workout that can help you if you're new to fitness.
If you want to look into the detail of wht the Blaze has to offer then you can download the full manaul direct from Bowflex here: Bowflex Blaze User Guide Download
As we've already mentioned, the low-resistance power rods on this machine are excellent because they don't put much stress on your joints. They also give you up to 210 pounds of resistance, which is usually more than enough for home gyms, especially those in the homes of beginning-to-intermediate users.
If you need more resistance, though, you can purchase additional rods that allow you up to 410 pounds of resistance. Despite the heavy resistance weights, the rods are actually quite lightweight, making moving the Blaze quite a bit easier than moving most home gym equipment we review. The rods on the machine are also backed by Bowflex's five-year warranty. If they're damaged due to a manufacturing error, Bowflex will replace them.
Bowflex Blaze Pro's and Con's
- Up to 210 Pounds Max Resistance
- Comes with a Multitude of Settings, accessories, a thorough User Manual (with Exercises Included) and a 20-Minute Routine Workout DVD
- Over 60 Exercise Options
- Lightweight Rods Make Transporting Machine Easier
- One-Year Warranty on Machine's Frame
- Five-Year Warranty on Rods
- Fold up to save space
- Very quiet, great for apartments
- Max Resistance of 210 Might Not Suit Advanced/Pro Lifters
- Bulky, takes up space when not folded up
The Blaze's dimensions measure 8′4″ by 6′6″. It's a large machine. This is a downside for users who might not have a lot of space for their home gyms. However, the bench can be folded up, which saves space when not in use, but you definitely want to take your room's measurements before investing in the Blaze.
Bowflex Blaze: Ease of Use
Another point in the Blaze's favor? It's incredibly easy to use, even if you're just starting out. Plus, it comes with both the DVD and a detailed user manual which can help clear up any lingering confusion. These are both especially useful to someone trying to target specific muscle groups for growth.
The Blaze also works well both for building muscle and maintaining it, so no matter where you are in your fitness goals, the Blaze can help. Plus, as you get more advanced in your workouts, you can stop using the Bowflex sample workout and design your own to focus on your target areas.
Bowflex Blaze: In Use
The Blaze is great for people of all ages, but it's a particular favorite of those in the 30- to 40-year-old range. It's also popular with parents of small children and people with chaotic work schedules because it gives them the freedom to work out from home on their own schedules.
But first, let's talk about the set-up. When you first open the box, you may feel a bit nervous, but don't panic. It won't take calling on the greatest scholars of the time to put it together. The set-up is actually pretty simple and convenient, but it does take about three hours. You may want to use some of your own tools instead of sticking only to the ones provided because they aren't great.
Setup and Getting Started
Once you get the Blaze set up and start using it, you'll be quite impressed. The resistance rods are excellent. You can also expand and add rods if you need to do so. As has already been mentioned, the rods are low-resistance, so you shouldn't experience much or any joint pain when using this machine, which is a huge plus for those in their 40's or older who are starting to feel the aches and pains of age.
All the exercises for the mid- to upper-body are great. There's some weakness in the leg exercises, but it isn't hard to find ways to supplement that issue. Now, we're going to give you a tip on using this machine that'll save you a ton of time. Write down your weight for each exercise!
You'll struggle a little the first time trying to find the right resistance for each exercise, but if you'll write it down so it's easy to start up next time, you'll have no trouble. Another tip: Use one station a day for all the exercises done at that station if possible.
Changing resistance weights and stations can be a little time-consuming. However, focusing as much as possible on one station - or two if need be - each day will make your workout feel smoother. It'll also keep you from having to change the weight resistance so often.
Also, you'll want to purchase some gloves because the swivels and cables can get rough on your hands. If you use the machine consistently, you should start to see results in as little as two months. You'll see noticeable changes in your body, but more importantly, you'll start to notice good things happening health-wise. It's a pretty intensive workout, so don't be surprised if you feel it the next day for the first couple weeks and each time you go up to a heavier resistance.
Don't be too quick to buy the extra extension rods either. Some of the strongest users of the Blaze say the 210-pound resistance rods actually worked quite well for them. In fact, most people don't even seem to hit max capacity.
Start slow. Don't hurt yourself. You'll be surprised how heavy 80 pounds feel. One of the few downsides to the Blaze is the rowing eexercises. Your feet are just kind of resting there with no straps or anything, and once you get going, they fly off. If you're buying this mainly for rowing, save your money and get a proper rowing machine!
All of the rest of the equipment works well, though, so if you're looking for a full-body gym, the Blaze is excellent. As for the rowing equipment, play around with it. See if you can find a comfortable position that works for you. If not, the stationary rows are fine.
Use Your Imagination
One of the great things about the Bowflex Blaze is how creative it allows you to be with your workouts. You can incorporate a wide variety of exercise styles into use with this machine, including Pilates. Using the Blaze can even improve your flexibility, and it can definitely strengthen your core for Yoga.
The included exercises are a great workout, but there's so much more you can do with the machine. The bar for leg extensions isn't optimal either. Leg extensions are actually a bit of a controversial exercise in the fitness world, with many trainers insisting they do more harm than good. The machine facilitates other leg exercises, like leg curls, which are much more preferable. Here are some more ways to build strength in your legs.
The only other real downside is the bench/seat can get a little shaky after a while, which makes keeping your balance difficult during some of the more complicated exercises. Be aware of that and adjust accordingly.
Overall, though, the machine is excellent. It's one of the best Bowflex machines for beginner-to-intermediate users. For all that you get with it, the price isn't bad either.
Bowflex Blaze: Price
It really isn't all that pricey for a home gym of this size that includes this much equipment and extras. If you intend to use this machine regularly as your go-to gym equipment, the price might even be considered a steal. Remember, even without adding in your own created exercises, the Blaze gives you over 60 full-body exercises to do. That's a full-body workout every night if you want it - for as long as you want it.
It's a good price, especially when you throw in the accessories and, more importantly, the warranties Bowflex offers.
Bowflex Blaze: Warranty
The Blaze has decent warranties, including:
- Power Rods - Five (5) Years
- Blaze Frame - One (1) Year
- Additional Accessories - 60 Days
The Bowflex Blaze is an excellent home gym machine that can act as your main home gym equipment. It's incredibly versatile and comes ready to perform over 60 outlined exercises, but you can create dozens more of your own. This gym works best for beginning-to-intermediate users.
It isn't optimal for advanced lifters, though they could use it with the purchase of extra resistance rods (sold separately). It's a large gym, so it'll require you to have a decently sized room in which to put it, but if you have an extra room with 8′4″ by 6′6″ dimensions to spare, the Blaze might just be the versatile fitness tool you've been missing.