Ok, I am into looking at getting a bowflex. I heard they are good, but are they as good as free weights? I have been told it does the same thing. However, it's hard for me to believe it works just as well because when you are using free weights, such as doing bench or curls, that weight is pushing you down, and then you must push the weight back up. Hwoever, on a bowflex, there is not weight pushing you down, you just have to push out. To me, it seems like it is not working as many muscles, and as efficiently. NE1 here try a bowflex and disagree with me? Ne comments would be great..thanks all.
Thread: Bowflex Vs. Free weights
09-10-2006, 09:44 PM #1
Bowflex Vs. Free weights~Tyson~
09-10-2006, 09:49 PM #2
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How old are you, what is your experience and what are your goals?
In almost every scenario, free-weights are a better choice. Perhaps in certain rehab situations, a bowflex may be a good choice... and, maybe some others, but, I can't think of any.JeremyStevens.Live
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09-10-2006, 10:41 PM #3
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09-10-2006, 10:49 PM #4
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OK, let's look at the force requirements for something simple, like flat bench press.
Bowflex - Any resistance band/bow type machine will have less resistance at the beginning of a motion, with the resistance increasing as you proceed through the motion. At the lower point of the bench press you will face LESS resistance than at the top, or fully contracted position of the exercise.
Barbell - Because gravity is constant, the weight and force required to move the barbell will be equall throughout the entire motion. The only exception to this rule would be when sufficient speed is gained in the movement so as to allow inertia to partially carry the weight for a limited durration.
Now, with most compound exercises, the amount of work done by each muscle will vary depending on what phase of the motion you are in. With the Bench Press, the pecs hold the primary responsibility at the lowest point of the exercise, but as the bar moves upward the tri's and delts increase their percentage of the load. Unfortunately, it is at the lower point of the exercise that the Bowflex offers the LEAST resistance.
So if your goal in performing the bench press was for the development of your chest, free weights are a better choice. If you really want to know how much better a good power rack / bench / barbell setup is over a Bowflex, check Craigslist.org Search for "power rack", then search for "Bowflex"
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09-11-2006, 05:14 AM #5
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i wouldn't recomend the bowflex for 2 reasons. 1 there are limited amounts of exercises that you can do and over time your body will get uesed to them.
2 the resistence comes from a flexing rod so while at the top of the motion it will be fairly easy by the time you get to the bottom of the motion its next to impossible to perform. in other words the resistence is not consitent, spend the money on a gym membership.
09-11-2006, 08:47 AM #6
Ok I am 20 years old..I am 160 lbs...so my main goal is to gain weight and put on muscle. I know i can get that by eating and lifting weights. I thought a bowflex would be nice cuz it isn't AS expensive as the machines u can guy. Plus with machines your body is doing the same range of motion EVERYTIME you lift. Also, I can do squats and bench press without a spotter. Another reason, I could lift at home. Thanks for the replies~Tyson~
09-11-2006, 09:16 AM #7
09-11-2006, 10:55 AM #8
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From wut i heard, bowflax is geared more towards tonning. The reason why free weights r so great for building is that they stimulate ur stabilizer muscles, which is crucial in gaining mass.
Plus! It's boring to work out by urself at home alone! get out there, join a gym, make friends, and most importantly stay motivated .
09-11-2006, 11:00 AM #9Originally Posted by TysonH
09-11-2006, 11:25 AM #10
not sure what the number of used bowflex's for sale have to do with anything - maybe it's more a result of bowflex's advertising?
And your example of the bench press also points out the limitations of free weights - they always resist against gravity. Therefore, the finishing motion of a bicep curl is wasted on freeweights - but not on the bowflex (in fact the bow is at it's strongest resistance). In addition, you can push a lot harder working out alone because working to failure doesn't leave you in a bad situation.
I have both the bowflex extreme and the selecttech dumbbells - they compliment each other well. Free weights do help w/stablizer muscles and do feel different from the bowflex in the resistance range. However, you gain muscle from anything that offers resistance.
I've found on this site most people dislike bowflex after trying them a handful of times, those that acutally purchased one and stuck with it seem to be very happy.
09-11-2006, 12:16 PM #11
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A lot of it has to do with goals. If you just want to get toned and fit, with a little more strength than your average joe, then a bowflex would work fine.
The reason the high number of them being for sale second hand is significant is because it points to the fact that not many people keep them. It's a very fad like thing to do, buy a bowflex on credit, use it for three months, and quit.
If you're serious, and you want to do this with more than just a casual interest, then free weights are the ONLY way to go. Geez, I can't believe this is even a question.
Ask yourself this, how many huge and ripped guys do you know who use a bowflex? Same question for free weights.
It's a no brainer.
Also, the argument of being able to work harder because you can intentionally train to failure is rediculous. Training to failure is like redlining the engine in your car. Bad idea to do it intentionally. Done once in a while, and unintentionally, it's probably not going to kill you right now, but do it often enough, and your CNS takes a beating. Forcing you into a position of not being able to lift at your full capacity.How does one destroy darkness? The answer dawned upon my mind, blinding in it's brilliance. To destroy darkness, one must simply expose it to the light.
09-11-2006, 02:04 PM #12
a bowflex is better than nothing as resistance exercise in general is very beneficial no matter how it is applied. however, in comparison to free weights it is like a ankle pistol against a tank. any measure of protection is better than none but if I'm going into battle and have my choice of equipment, I want the tank.
09-11-2006, 03:03 PM #13
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Free weights over bowflex anytime. Reasons;
1) You will eventually get stronger then the bowflex
2) Its a machine so expect minor gains
3) free weights strengthens stabilizer muscles
4) You can buy more weight to add to the bar or dumbbell if you have the olympic version.****************************
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09-11-2006, 03:10 PM #14
Originally Posted by fozed
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...wait a sec...Are you trying to argue that a bowflex is BETTER than freeweights? I hope you're getting paid for this.
Like stated earlier, Bowflex works as a decent toner/maintener and you might be able to gain some mass if you're skinny and out of shape but if you want to put on serious muscle mass there's NO WAY a bowflex is going to do that.
09-11-2006, 03:53 PM #15Originally Posted by canyonracerx
From the site's knowledgebase:
The major limitation to barbells and dumbbells is that their line of resistance is always a straight vertical line - the pull of gravity. Whether you're curling, pressing overhead, rowing, or doing flyes, that iron is always being pulled straight down into the ground. In certain exercises, this presents no problem. Say you're squatting, for instance. The bar is on your back as you descend and rise, (theoretically) straight up and down. It's nearly a perfect movement. But what about those flyes? The motion of flyes involves lying on your back, bringing two dumbbells from a stretch position up into a contraction. If you were to draw the range of motion, you would see an arc for each arm. We know that gravity doesn't arc, it pulls in a perfectly straight line. So what? What this means is that only part of the flye - the part that crosses through that straight vertical line - receives proper resistance.
It's easier to observe with a barbell curl. Again you have an arc. When you start to curl the bar up from your waist, the resistance feels like nothing, even with a weight you can only manage 6-8 reps with. Quickly you encounter gravity's pull as the arc of motion hits the vertical plane. This "mid-point" of the curl is where most people struggle and get stuck. As you come near the top, you pass the vertical plane, and once again the resistance seems comically light. In essence, the first and last few inches range of motion were useless. In an arm training article I wrote for the December 1997 Ironman, I suggested eliminating these portions of the rep for better results. It should be apparent by now that certain free weight movements have their limitations. How are machines better?
The answer lies in the cam, or wheel. Arthur Jones was the first to develop the cam, that kidney bean-shaped apparatus that a chain or a belt could track over, effectively creating an evenly distributed resistance over the entire range of motion. This meant not only would you be able to have the weight remain constant, but you would also eliminate the sticking point. Applied to certain exercises, the effect was a vast improvement over their freeweight counterparts. The Nautilus Pullover was and still is many times more effective than the same motion performed with a barbell or dumbbell. But as revolutionary as Nautilus was, machines have gotten even better since the 70's.
One notable equipment line is Hammer Strength, designed by Arthur's son Gary Jones. Hammer Strength machines are plate loaded, which takes away some of the "machine" stigma, and are among the most effective pieces I have ever used. College and pro football strength coaches across America swear by them. A company called Strive has actually invented machines that allow you to selectively overload specific portions of the range of motion.
Two more factors in which machines are an improvement on free weights are safety and proper technique. Machines are usually self-spotting, meaning it would be fairly difficult to drop anything on yourself. How many times have you been stuck under a bar with no spotter? Once is enough, believe me. As far as technique, properly executed free-weight movements like the squat or row are excellent for building size and strength. Unfortunately, without proper instruction, which most people don't have, most people never "properly execute" very many free weight exercises.
09-17-2006, 12:11 AM #16
Bow Flex does fine for me
i work out on the bowflex e on a regular schedual and i ahve gained weight in muscle and lost fat.... im 5'10 205, im repin 280 on bowflex and i went to the gym the other day and did just that on free weights , a lilttle harder but only b/c i wasnt used to the motion. overall i like it... and im not a skinny kid who was out of shape
09-17-2006, 12:30 AM #17
if you want to get big the bowflex is crap. Free Weights only. Don't settle on that total gym **** either. If you want to get into that kind of training save 1000's $$ and buy resistance bands and wrap em around posts and do those exercises (tie 2 or 3 to get bowlex resistance)Offering online personal training.. please PM for rates and complete info
12-17-2010, 08:57 PM #18
My legs have gotten to the point that the outsides press so hard against my pant legs if I do any type of squatting motion that I am surprised they haven't ripped the seam yet. They are noticeably bigger and feel like slabs of stone. My lats are almost out past my shoulders again and are noticeably bigger to the point that I have had customers comment on how wide my back looks numerous times over the past month or so. My traps, delts, triceps, pecs, biceps and abs are also noticeably larger.
I have never been more sore with any workout ever than when i did an FST-7 with my triceps on the bowflex. I was so sore for 3 days that I had trouble sleeping because no matter where I put my arms, they ached and were so sore it was hard to sleep.
I have no dog in this fight. I have used both extensively. I have seen results with both. I have gotten injured with free weights much more frequently than I have with bowflex. Some exercises seem more effective with free weights, while others have seemed more effective with the bowflex.
For someone to suggest that one cannot get results with a bowflex, it is just simply not true. To me it seems to be similar to the people who eat 5 times the amount of protein they need and recommend everyone do the same, even though modern science has proven that even 1 gram past your body's required amount will be discarded as waste, turned into energy or stored as fat. Your body only needs the exact amount of protein it needs, no more and no less. For those who use free weights that think you cannot get a good workout on a bowflex, say try it first before you knock it. I am quite sure that many of the people on here talking about it negatively have never tried it before.
12-17-2010, 09:09 PM #19
12-17-2010, 09:11 PM #20
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That's great that you've made such tremendous progress with a bowflex, a device that the vast majority of posters on this site would say is a POS. In fact, there will probably be several of them posting in this thread to say that same thing soon.
Why not go ahead and post a few pics of yourself showing your development, and kind of "head 'em off at the pass?"No brain, no gain.
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12-17-2010, 09:36 PM #21I am the parasite, you are host. Deal with it.
12-17-2010, 09:45 PM #22
i rock a soloflex with weight plates adapted to it, not as good as free weights, but i get tons of work outs out of it, bench, military press, leg press, curls, then leg extensions, butterflies, and using the bench for other various work outs *crunches, dumbbell butterfly extensions*.
Since my house is small, i have olympic sized bench outside but due to bad weather I been using the soloflex.
12-17-2010, 09:53 PM #23
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@matter203 sorry dude, no one is going to take you seriously and/or believe a word that you say until you post a picture of yourselfIf you have a question or comment about my post... pm me, i will be happy to explain.
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12-17-2010, 10:06 PM #24
If Bowflex were all the info-mercials say they're cracked up to be...how comes none of the pros train with them? Free weights give you constant resistance...Bowflex only at the end range. It's like stretching a rubberband. There's no tension until it's stretched out. Use free weights.If it A'int Steel, it A'int Real.
12-18-2010, 01:07 AM #25
Resistance is resistance. There are no such things as "toning" or "shaping" exercises as people in this thread are claiming. The muscle that you build from the bowflex is exactly the same as the muscle you would build from free weights. The only thing that the body recognizes is overload. As long as you are able to overload the muscle you can build muscle mass. Neither modality is adherently better than the other in regards to producing overload.
There are many reasons why pros don't train with them. First, most people don't start off training with them. They started out going to the gym, they like going to the gym and they live at the gym. Why would they switch over to a piece of home exercise equipment? It doesn't offer any adherent advantages, but that also doesn't mean that there are any disadvantages. Second, a lot of pros could simply be too strong for the bow flex. If it can't produce the required overload its not going to be very useful. Also, some people may simply not like it. To each their own, however, I am certain that there are many exercises that you don't include in your own programs simply because you don't like them. That doesn't mean that they are useless exercises and others will certainly find success with them.
The guy suggesting that someone built themselves with free weights is retarded. The guy said he took 9 years off in between! After nearly a decade there isn't much of a base left to work with.
If your goals are to enter powerlifting competitions, then use free weights as you need to learn the lifts. If you just want to build muscle mass, then it doesn't matter as much as everyone on here is complaining about. Who cares?!?!?!
12-18-2010, 01:58 AM #26
12-18-2010, 02:18 AM #27
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i agree with this, i dont think sticking points & lockouts are the 'flaws' that guys like jones made them out to be. having a machine that avoids them is great for a different type of stimulus, not clearly as superior one as jones wanted ppl to believe, for if it was clearly superior then why hasnt it clearly shown to be so in the several last decades these machines been around ??? if they were 4 times better as jones claimed then all serious athletes would only use this for their resistance training needs."Though the concept is not scientifically validated in detail (it should be considered as a hypothesis rather than a scientific theory), it is useful from a practical standpoint. When training athletes, it is impossible to wait until scientific research provides all of the necessary knowledge." Vladmir M. Zatsiorsky, Ph.D.
12-18-2010, 08:34 AM #28
Free weights will be less expensive than a Bowflex. In fact you will most likely get more resistance and still pay less for free weights. A power rack will take up the about same amount of space as the larger Bowflexes so that's not really an issue. I also don't like home gyms because they tend to have a lot of wasted weight. With free weights you buy the weight you need and that's all. You aren't paying to have a brand name plastered over your weights either.
You're right, someone could gain muscle doing any sort of resistance. But it doesn't mean there's no difference between different types of resistance. This is why we advise free weights. In my opinion the free weights are clearly superior, and for more reasons than just a better work out.
Last edited by Engineer_Guy; 12-18-2010 at 12:16 PM.
12-18-2010, 09:17 AM #29
Commercial gyms simply buy the equipment that people like to use. If they didn't have this equipment then they would be out of business. As a gym owner you are not going to stock your gym full of home-exercise equipment because if you do your clients will all just go out and buy the home-exercise equipment.
12-18-2010, 10:19 AM #30