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  1. #1
    Registered User lockstock271's Avatar
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    Free Weights vs. Bowflex -- effectiveness

    Sorry if you've seen this before, I'm new to the forums and accidently posted it in the Women's Training Section.

    I have been contesting this point for some time with my father. He bought a bowflex about two or three years ago and has been using it off and on ever since. I have been trying practically since he got it that if he really wants to gain muscle mass, he has got to switch to free weights. Everyone I know has told me this and I have tried the bowflex and feel like it does not give me the same workout. He says resistence is resistence and your muscles do not know the difference. I disagree and say they do. However, I have no scientific evidence or solid reasoning to back up my claim. Can anyone give me some periodicals/scientific reviews/research literature/reputable authority that advocates the use of free weights over the bowflex bands and can give a good reason for it?
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  2. #2
    No cardio No cry RU4A69's Avatar
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    Smile

    It's good your dad is exercising, and by all means he should keep at it even if it's just a Bowflex........but you CANNOT work your legs on a bowflex-the maximum resistance (what the max on those things exactly-'bout 105 total?) does not allow for a true squats-there are leterally over 1000 articles on the main page, and an equal number of post by AJ (:.), about how beneficial freeweight squats are. In addition, I can't imagine it providing enough resistance for you lower back. As for resistance being resistance........I won't even get started. Mechanized resistance is far better than none:if it weren't, then my GF would have no leg definition. I don't advise bothering him about all of this if he's over 50, but you do have a valid point.
    Last edited by RU4A69; 04-14-2005 at 01:13 AM.
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  3. #3
    I sleep on a meathook iron_on_my_mind's Avatar
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    When it comes to free-weights vs. Bowflex, there is NO comparison.

    Don't be fooled by the few ripped/massive dudes they have on their commercials. They didn't get that way by using that thing. It's a glorified cable/pulley system that uses rods.

    But if you've got your Dad using it and liking it, then by all means. Just know that it'll probably never meet your own needs.
    Last edited by iron_on_my_mind; 04-14-2005 at 06:13 AM.
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  4. #4
    Squats traps to grass Defiant1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lockstock271
    Sorry if you've seen this before, I'm new to the forums and accidently posted it in the Women's Training Section.

    I have been contesting this point for some time with my father. He bought a bowflex about two or three years ago and has been using it off and on ever since. I have been trying practically since he got it that if he really wants to gain muscle mass, he has got to switch to free weights. Everyone I know has told me this and I have tried the bowflex and feel like it does not give me the same workout. He says resistence is resistence and your muscles do not know the difference. I disagree and say they do. However, I have no scientific evidence or solid reasoning to back up my claim. Can anyone give me some periodicals/scientific reviews/research literature/reputable authority that advocates the use of free weights over the bowflex bands and can give a good reason for it?
    Actually, your body DOES know the difference...

    First, kudos to him for working out. Working out with a Bowflex is better than talking about working out with free weights.

    The science? Exercise effectiveness (ceteris paribus) is determined by activation of the nervous system of a particular exercise. This is an exercises NMA factor. Translation: the more real world the exercise is, the better the body responds. Evolution wise, this makes sense, as unnecessary "aesthetic" building is a waste of precious bodily resources.

    Best NMA (highest, therefore greatest bodily response and therefore effectiveness) from best to worst:

    -Free body exercises; moving the body through space (e.g. squats, chins, dips)
    -Free weight compounds (dbs slightly higher) (e.g. DB bench, Bent row etc)
    (above 2 groups are very close)
    -Free weight isolation exercises (eg flyes, laterals etc)
    -Machine compounds, non variable resistance (eg smith presses, cable rows etc)
    -machine isolations non var. resistance (cable flyes, old fashioned leg extension, home style leg curls)

    There is some overlap with the above 2 groups, say smith presses and flyes. Which is better? they are close.

    the worst groups:

    -machine compounds, variable resistance (nautilus press etc)
    -machine isolations, variable resistance (nautilus leg curl, extension)

    You can see, Bowflex would fall into the bottom two categories (the resistance curve of the bow gives variable resistance)

    The point of this is not to say that exercises are "bad" or "good", just to give some order to the chaos of exercise selection, especially for beginners.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Eric_FXST's Avatar
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    Man Defiant...remind me again, did you go to school for this stuff?
    Great info. !!!!
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