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  1. #1
    Registered User Vegan66's Avatar
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    Question Can "band" resistance machines build MASS? i.e. Soloflex, Bowflex

    Hi,

    I've read in many places where machines such as Soloflex and BowFlex are only good for toning muscle, but not good for building a decent amout of mass.

    All other aspects and pros and cons of these machines aside, can anyone give DETAILED info as to WHY these types of machines using "band" type resistance do not do well building mass? ... or can they actually build a decent amount of mass when properly used and maybe all the rumours are false?

    thanks ;-)
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    Registered User NoEasyWay's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Vegan66
    Hi,

    All other aspects and pros and cons of these machines aside, can anyone give DETAILED info as to WHY these types of machines using "band" type resistance do not do well building mass? ... or can they actually build a decent amount of mass when properly used and maybe all the rumours are false?

    thanks ;-)
    The bands have a totally different feel to them. You don't get near the resistance coming down with the bands, The weight vary's throughout the whole motion. Going up you don't really get any resistance till you have moved the bar about a foot.

    On the bench press I just don't feel like I get a good workout from doing it on the soloflex without using free weights on the bar with the bands. It seems like that makes it a bit better. I only put 100 pounds free weights on the bar when I have to stick my head under it then fill the rest I need in with the bands.

    The standing bicep curls are really have a weird feeling to them in the lower back, I dont know if its from the bands or just the way your positioned. as you start its easy then through the middle its hard but as you top out the resistance drops a lot. So you only have resistance through the centre of the motion.

    I can only speek for the soloflex because I have used it for a year and a half before I ever picked up a free weight.


    Some more I wrote about the soloflex
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=464443
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  3. #3
    Registered User testdog65's Avatar
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    My husband bought a Band Flex (similar to soloflex, but less expensive) about 6 months ago. I worked out on it for awhile (about 5 months), but am back to free weights now. For me, there is no comparison.

    One major problem I have with the resistance machines is that you can't make small adjustments in "weight". Moving from a lighter band to the next band up often was too much for me, but the lesser band was too easy. Also, on at least one of the excercises (leg press) I was maxed out (using all the bands) - and I'm a 120 lb. female. You can order more of the heavier bands, but once you replace the lighter ones, what do you do for some of the excercises where you need the ligher resistance?

    I've been back to free weights for about a month now and am already seeing major improvements over the Band Flex in terms of muscle development. Free weights feel more natural to me, better range of motion, less jerky, etc.

    Just my experience...

    ~Ellen
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    Originally Posted by Vegan66
    or can they actually build a decent amount of mass when properly used and maybe all the rumours are false?
    I've also heard people claim you can build mass but you just can't strong. A lot of people talk out their rears about these machines. The truth is your muscle don't care how or what it is being stretched out with and strained with. The thing that matters as far as mass building is concerned is that you stretch it out and get it under the neccesary strain.

    My understanding is you can build mass with anything that can provide enough resistance for you to reach failure within 12 reps. You can actually build mass with things that don't fit that guideline, but for the purpose of BBing using "mainstream" bodybuilding philosophy, this is a good rule of thumb.

    The real question is, is using one of those machines the best choice you can make for yourself? If I was buying today, I would not buy a bowflex again.
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    Registered User applexpanther's Avatar
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    the bowflex isnt even in the same category as the rubber band machines.

    any workout machine that you do 8-12 reps and continually increase weight each time u adapt to the previous weight in combination with sleep and good diet...you will build mass..

    i have the bowflex ultimate, and i wouldnt trade it for a gym membership ever. however the squats are not the easiest thing to do on the bowflex..id prefer a cage.
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    CaneGuru Dinotrainer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Vegan66
    Hi,

    I've read in many places where machines such as Soloflex and BowFlex are only good for toning muscle, but not good for building a decent amout of mass.

    All other aspects and pros and cons of these machines aside, can anyone give DETAILED info as to WHY these types of machines using "band" type resistance do not do well building mass? ... or can they actually build a decent amount of mass when properly used and maybe all the rumours are false?

    thanks ;-)
    Depends on what your definition of "decent amount of mass" is. Will SoloFlex or Bowflex training increase mass on someone who starts out without any appreciable amount of muscle mass? Sure it could, if properly used and all other factors (proper recovery, nutrition etc.) are met. If however, you want mass progression beyond what basically amounts to a "gymnasts type" of development, then these machines fall short. They're just not the right tool for the job. Sorry I cant give you any DETAILED info, or studies (take these with a grain of salt) to back up what I say, just practical experience.
    Last edited by Dinotrainer; 07-10-2006 at 11:16 AM.
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    Registered User WillPullForFood's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Vegan66]
    Can "band" resistance machines build MASS? i.e. Soloflex, Bowflex
    [QUOTE]

    Yes...lift these machines over your head repeatedly. Mass building will follow.
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    Registered User Vegan66's Avatar
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    Thanks for ALL your repsonses :-) I may post this question in the general forum to see if anyone can provide the technicals details I'm looking for.

    I wasn't looking to buy one, I've actually had mine for 14 years now and I certainly agree the feel is sometimes odd, even though it does provide a large resistance against your muscles. True, the biceps curl is simply in the opposite arc natural to your body and the first several inches of the movement don't provide adequate resistance compared to the remainder of the movement. I feel I can get a good workout though despite these shortcomings in some of the exercises. I just wasn't sure about the mass aspect.

    lokischild: That's what I thought, .. that pretty much anything that can provide enough resistance for less than 12 reps can build mass. I just haven't read any testimonies to this effect regarding the Soloflex, unfortunately.

    applexpanther: Yeah, by band machines I meant machines that use resistance which increases proportionately to the distance it's stretched. I believe both the Soloflex Bands and the Bowflex Rods share this physical property.

    Dinotrainer: A gymnast's physique would be pretty decent in my opinion, hehe ... that's good to know. Too bad I still can't seem to find out exactly why such machines "apparently" wouldn't allow you to progress further compared to free weights. This just doesn't make sense to me.

    WillPullForFood: hahaha, yeah, it does weigh a ton!
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  9. #9
    CaneGuru Dinotrainer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Vegan66
    Dinotrainer: A gymnast's physique would be pretty decent in my opinion, hehe ... that's good to know. Too bad I still can't seem to find out exactly why such machines "apparently" wouldn't allow you to progress further compared to free weights. This just doesn't make sense to me.
    It's O.K. to read about all the different theories as to why the different supposed systems work (or don't), but like I said, take them with a grain of salt. Productive training is a much simpler activity than the equipment manufacturers and all of these "trainers" (and all the great theories) out there would have you believe. If these "band flex" type machines were anywhere near as efficient as good 'ole free weights (properly executed), then they would already be in widespread use by people in advanced condition (or by people who want to get there).
    Don't complicate things by making things complicated.....
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  10. #10
    Registered User Vegan66's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Dinotrainer
    If these "band flex" type machines were anywhere near as efficient as good 'ole free weights (properly executed), then they would already be in widespread use by people in advanced condition (or by people who want to get there).
    Well said, I think that's probably just about the gist of it... thanks Dino.
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  11. #11
    Certified Bookworm jsewell0203's Avatar
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    Bowflex Works

    Guys,

    I've got a Bowflex that I use in concert with dumbells, Barbells, Benches, etc. It is great for certain exercizes like seated crossover rows, leg kickouts, leg curls and extensions, lat pulldowns, chest flys, etc.

    Of course it works. I have 310 pounds of resistance, which is a hell of a lot of weight and more than you need for 95% of your exersizes.

    Of course you can gain mass with the Bowflex. Those other crappy knock-offs, well I am not so sure.

    I use it for just one or two specific exersizes per workout. Partly because I don't want to change things around, adjust this and that, etc. So I set it up for one or two exersizes and set out three or four sets of dumbells and bars. Then I can go through my routine without having to think too much or waiste time between sets.

    This is not an either or discussion. I have always loved cable machines because you can do a lot of great exersizes with tremendous range of motion that is very dificult to duplicate with dumbells.

    For me it is an awesome machine because it gives me about a thousand different cable exersizes that I can do right there in my garage without having to go to the gym.

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    For me free weights are my first choice. However, when I travel I bring some cheezy bands with handels ($20.00 set) and do my curls, arm extensions, shoulders. I also do tons of pushups combined with the bands.

    So could a bowflex work? If my $20 bands work I am sure a bowflex can work. I just think free weights or machines with full ROM resistance are a much better "first choice". Also a bowflex is not cheap. You could buy a hella good rack, adjustable bench and 300# weight set for about the same. As far as I know all the big name bb and powerlifters use the good ol rack and olympic bar predominately. So why reinvent the wheel when you can use the same type equipment as the elite bb and powerlifters for about same price as a bowflex?
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    [QUOTE=WillPullForFood][QUOTE=Vegan66]
    Can "band" resistance machines build MASS? i.e. Soloflex, Bowflex

    Yes...lift these machines over your head repeatedly. Mass building will follow.

    LOL! In the words of Big Ron Coleman, "Everybody wanna be a bodybuilder, but don't nobody wanna lift no HEAVY ASS WEIGHT! YEAH BUDDY!!!"
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    the bowflex is kind of like 1/4 reps, better for strength development than mass
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    Look at some of the bigger guys on the board and see what they use to train. I guarantee you none of them soley use a Bowflex or anything like it, if at all.
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    Registered User cowrun's Avatar
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    bowflex

    Yes a bowflex will put on mass. I got a bowflex extreme 2 and this thing is awesome. I started out with the 310 lbs I had to get the 410lbs upgrade. I weight 278 lbs. Been working out one the bowflex for 2 years now 4-5 days a week. It will put on mass. I know personally.
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    Question for BOWFLEX users ...

    Does the resistance of the BowFlex rods give the same feeling as the resistance of the SoloFlex bands whereby the further you stretch them, the harder it gets?? i.e. more effort required near the very end of the movement?

    Or is that effect maybe not as pronounced with the rods as it is with the bands?
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    Originally Posted by Vegan66
    Does the resistance of the BowFlex rods give the same feeling as the resistance of the SoloFlex bands whereby the further you stretch them, the harder it gets?? i.e. more effort required near the very end of the movement?

    Or is that effect maybe not as pronounced with the rods as it is with the bands?
    I personally don't think it's as pronounced as on the soloflex, but I've never done a side by side. I used a friends soloflex like 12 years back then used my bowflex 6 years later, so I'm offering this FWIW.
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    Registered User mesomorphcujo's Avatar
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    Yes you can build mass and as long as you keep adding resistance, good nutrition and rest you can keep adding mass just know that bands can really hurt when they break. Experience on the breaking thing. Most people reject things that are out of their norm. Machines were rejected by many when they first came out also, but look now and you'll see many pros using them. Just my 2 cents.
    Last edited by mesomorphcujo; 07-23-2006 at 11:11 PM.
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    Not too sure if this is the right place, but i was thinking of picking up this for a soloflex maching in my basement which has just been collecting dust.

    http://www.canright.com/estore/solof...eferralsource=

    Olympic Plate Attachment Rods (01577)
    Slide over Iron Plate Attachment Rods and secure. Allows addition of up to 500 lbs. of Olympic style weight plates, barbell arm only. **The New Compund Barbell now allows you to use these Olympic Attchment Rods, load limit of 540lbs.

    sold in pairs

    does anyone know if this is a similar work out to a bench press? Will muscle buildup be similar? Thx for your imput
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    Adding those to the Soloflex and using weight plates basically makes it the same as a leverage press machine from Powertec, Body Solid, etc.
    Last edited by C Man; 08-01-2006 at 09:07 AM.
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    Do you have a Bowflex body yet??? LOL!! I will say this, Bowflex has an awesome marketing team. They use guys who are bodybuilders who have been using free weights for the past 10 years up there, and they act like these guys work out 30 minutes 3 times a week and look like that LMAO!!! I've tried this machine and it's awkard to say that least. Save your money and buy a rack, good bench, dumbbells, barbell set and get to work.

    It seems to me everyone is looking for the easy way out. I've yet to see a bodybuilder or anyone in awesome shape for that fact say they got that way with a bowflex.
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    I received the soloflex as a hand me down from my father because he was running out of space, but i've always been a little hesitant of rubber band machines, especially since i've broken most of my bands at least two times. But a friend of mine pointed me to a website which sold free weight attachments, and since the soloflex is a solid piece of equipment, adding this negates the idea of me going to a gym.

    I have not tried a bowflex body or any bowflex equipment and do not plan on purchasing a bowflex anytime soon. I was actually leaning towards purchasing a bench, barbells, and adding to my home collection of dumbbells, but with this soloflex, there is no need to purchase a bench, and no need for a spotter. I'm sorta new to the bodybuilding scene, is a leverage press machine a good place to start and grow, especially growing muscle mass? And does anyone have any experience with the soloflex with free weight attachments. Thx in advance

    one last thing, they sell both a iron plate attachment and an olympic plate attachment. which should i be leaning towards?
    Last edited by ZorkYeh; 08-01-2006 at 02:11 PM.
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    Whichever plates you have the most of is the direction you should go as far as getting those plate attachments for the Soloflex. Do you have a standard barbell now? If so just slide it through the Soloflex arm and put 2 collars on it to keep it in place and you won't have to buy anything. You could use an olympic barbell too but you'd need a big hex wrench to take one sleeve off before you could slide it through the Soloflex arm.
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    thanks for the quick reply. No i don't have a barbell right now, it was going to be one of the things i picked up prior on discovering bout the soloflex and free weights, but thx for the tip, maybe i can pick one up for cheap somewhere. i'll give it a try this weekend maybe. thx C man for all your help.
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