Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Review – Power Rod Technology

This Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Review is for people who are looking for something to completely replace their gym membership.

This all-in-one home fitness machine allows you to train all muscles in your body and doesn’t take up too much space. I’m big on resistance band training programs and this reminds me of that but better.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Overview

With training at home becoming more and more popular, doing bodyweight exercises, pushups and situps are hardly enough to make muscle gains sometimes. I recommend many gym alternatives on this website such as resistance bands and dumbells, yet it can take quite some time and money to accumulate the correct weights and resistances that are suitable.

On the other hand, there’s a complete piece of home gym exercise equipment that allows you to train every muscle category. With the Bowflex Extreme 2 SE Home Gym, you need almost no other equipment.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Review - Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE front view

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Review

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym allows you to do over 70 different types of exercises, therefore, stressing all minor and major muscle groups. If you are wondering how it works, just think about how you would stretch a bow (and arrow).

The Bowflex is based on the same type of resistance. So if you don’t believe that you can get a full-body workout with resistance bands, you may want to reconsider using Bowflex.

Bowflex Power Rods are a proven method that uses their progressive resistance technology. They have a unique feel to them, different from lifting free weights. However, many users agree that the feel is more comfortable and much easier to manage than a barbell and weight plates or dumbbell sets.

Resistance training forms dense and strong muscles and does an excellent job of keeping you in the best shape as well. However, if you are aiming to bulk up muscle mass quickly, a Bowflex is not as effective as deadlifting and bench presses done with heavy weights such as dumbbells, and barbells. If this is your goal, I have some great weight bench and squat rack recommendations and reviews.

This home gym is actually made by Nautilus and comes with a full exercise manual that shows the user all 70+ exercises. To be honest, I haven’t done more than 20 on the machine, but my workout routine is quite limited in terms of number of exercises. But from what I tried, I can say they felt like natural movements.

The Bowflex offers two different resistance options. If you are an advanced lifter, looking to try resistance training, the stock 210 lbs of resistance that comes with the Bowflex might not be enough for you. If this is the case, I advise you to get the upgrades for a powerful 410 lbs of resistance. This should be enough weight for almost anyone.

bowflex xtreme se home gym reviews - Bowflex xtreme side rear view

Bowflex Home Gym Compared to Other Home Gyms

Most home gyms are based on weights and cables. Whereas Bowflex uses the resistance bows that arch backward and create tension. It allows the user to perform exercises working on all muscle groups as well as stability and endurance all at the same time.

Lifting with resistance vs. free weights have a similar feel and range of motion, so it all depends on what feels right to you. Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE workouts use consistent muscle tension which builds leaner muscles.

To give a better idea on how this exercise machine performs, here are some of the muscle groups and exercises that Bowflex Xtreme concentrates on:

  • Chest: chest flyes, cable crossover, incline bench press, decline bench press
  • Legs: leg extensions and kickbacks, calf raises
  • Delts: shoulder press, delt shrugs, and delt raises
  • Core: trunk rotation, oblique crunches, standard ab crunches
  • Arms: triceps pushdowns, bicep curls, tricep pulldowns
  • Back: lat pulldown, back extension, back rows, deadlift

And many others.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Review - Bowflex advanced general conditioning - monosnap
EXAMPLE OF ONE OF THE FREE BOWFLEX WORKOUT PROGRAMS

Dimensions

The first thing you need to know if you are purchasing a home gym is the dimensions. Would it fit your garage or your exercise room? This particular model is quite compact and could fit most average sized rooms and angles in your house.

  • Length: 53 inches
  • Width: 49 inches
  • Height: 83.25 inches
bowflex xtreme se home gym reviews - Bowflex xtreme side view

Unboxing Experience

Unfortunately for some, (I don’t mind) that don’t like assembling stuff, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 Home Gym does not come fully assembled, so you have to put the parts together yourself.

It takes an average of 2 hours to assemble if you know what you are doing. If you choose, Bowflex also offers an in-house setup, if you pay for it and want to avoid the labor.

The standard version includes 210 lbs of power resistance rods but can be upgraded all the way to 410 lbs if you are a heavy lifter. 210 lbs can certainly be enough for someone new to home gym workouts, but would hardly be okay for a more experienced user.

So my advice is if you’ve been lifting seriously for more than two years, and you like the Bowflex, purchase the upgrade and get a 410 lbs resistance instead.

The Xtreme 2 SE has a 7-year warranty included on the machine and a life-time warranty for the power rods.

Pros & Cons of the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE

Bowflex Xtreme Benefits:

  • 7 year warranty and Lifetime on rods, excellent for home gym equipment.
  • Extremely versatile product, with 70 + exercises to work out all muscle groups.
  • Switching from curls to triceps extensions or to lat pulldowns takes only a few seconds.
  • Resistance training makes the muscles stronger and denser than traditional weight lifting.
  • Compact Design. Doesn’t take up too much space compared to other home gym equipment.

Potential Negatives:

  • The rods can get weaker over time with less resistance, but they come with a lifetime warranty.
  • Some full range of motion exercises may require some cable adjustments, though quick and easy,
  • This type of workout doesn’t feel like lifting typical weight but more like resistance bands. For stronger athletes, the additional heavier resistance option is best.
  • Doesn’t include a workout DVD like other Bowflex products, so I recommend Bowflex on YouTube.
 Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Review - Bowflex xtreme 2 SE Home-

Features and Benefits

I find the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE very easy to use, regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced athlete.

The exercise manual that comes with the machine is very easy to follow and doesn’t need the user to have any prior knowledge of the given exercise.
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If you are an athlete that loves to perform circuit exercises, the Bowflex is a great fit for you, since it takes little to no time to configure the machine from one exercise to the next. If doing chest press exercises, in two seconds you can configure the machine for squats.

The Main Advantage

To put the Bowflex in perspective, I’ve seen many home gyms receiving negative reviews over the past because they take too much time to change from one exercise to another.

In my opinion, the biggest advantage of Bowflex’s mechanism is called a no-change cable pulley system. It allows you to switch between workouts and exercises without the common need to change the cables.

Standard and add-on Bowflex Power Rods

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Review - Bowflex Power Rods

As noted, instead of the traditional weight blocks, this machine uses resistance bow rods.

They are distributed in a well-thought manner so that you can easily lower the stress (amount of resistance) while exercising weaker muscle groups like biceps or triceps. Then, easily change to heavier lifting.

Here is the breakdown of the power rods:

  • Two 5 lbs rods
  • Four 10 lbs rods
  • Two 30 lbs rods
  • Two 50 lbs rods
  • (first optional add-on) Two 50 lbs rods
  • (second optional add-on) Two 50 lbs rods

The first four make a total of 210 lbs. The last two options of the 50lb rods are for the upgrade to 410lbs. Given you need the 200lbs additional, simply order the additional rods and they slip right in.

These combinations of rods with different resistances are lined up to easily choose any weight selection that you like.

The machine includes an angled lat bar, which allows both narrow and wide grip pulldowns. With this bar, triceps extensions and pushdowns can also be performed.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Review - Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE accessories

Other accessories

Adjustable hand grips

If you are not a lat bar fan, you can always purchase a pair of adjustable hand grips, which work wonders for chest crossover, lat pulldowns and back rows. 

Straight foam grips bar

In case you do not enjoy working out with the curled lat bar, you can replace it with a straight bar with foam grips. 

Seat replacements

Different seats, according to your preferences, are available as accessories.

Ab crunch strap assemblies

These might come in handy if you prefer having a firm grip while performing crunches. I personally don’t mind using the regular hand grips.

You can find replacements for all parts online

Both Nautilus Bowflex and other suppliers offer different variations of all the parts included in the Xtreme 2 SE packaging, in a wide range of accessories from hand grips to pulleys, cables, snap-hooks, foam roller pads, squat straps, end caps, floating pulleys, sport mats and many others.

Bowflex Xtreme SE Home Gym Reviews

I’m usually a bit biased with some weight training equipment for the home since I still love my clanging dumbbells and resistance bands. Because of this, I decided to browse some other customer reviews. Most of them seemed to coincide with mine, and people love how easy to use and versatile this compact home gym machine is.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Review - Bowflex Xtreme customer review

Bowflex Xtreme Home Gym Alternative

The Nautilus company makes an upgrade to the Xtreme, and this one also comes highly recommended. However, it also comes with an upgraded price as well.

What To Buy For The Home Gym - Bowflex revolution home gym

The Bowflex Revolution Home Gym

This is the newest concept and smart solution and it isn’t based on resistance training.

Here’s another Nautilus Bowflex product that is even more versatile than the Xtreme with over 100 exercises that you can do, for a full-body workout. It uses another technology, called SpiraFlex resistance, which means it uses elastic resistance bands instead of weight.

The Bowflex Revolution is very lightweight and compact, but still provides up to 440 lbs of resistance. No need for weighted upgrades on this one.

This home gym machine comes with 10 position settings and even gives the option to add up to 300lbs of weight if you are not a fan of resistance training only.

You can fit the Bowflex Revolution in a footprint area within 10 feet by 7 feet by 7 feet.  When assembled, the machine weighs only 157 lbs, which makes it a good fit even for smaller houses or even some condos.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Review - Bowflex Revolution home gym laying down
TURN HORIZONTAL FOR MORE EXERCISE VARIATIONS

Bowflex Revolution Benefits:

  • This one comes with a warranty of 10 years.
  • It is very quiet and will not disturb your neighbors.
  • Allows for a full range of motion with plenty of resistance, along with a large exercise range.
  • Very easy to assemble and solidly build. This is a durable, quality, long-lasting machine.

Potential Negatives:

  • A bit pricier than some home gyms, but if in your budget, it’s worth it.
  • I have not used this one personally, but some reviews indicate small issues in changing the weight discs.
  • The Lat pulldowns and biceps curls show good resistance but may feel a bit unnatural.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym – Final Words

All in all, this is a very high-quality product that’s easy to assemble, doesn’t take up much space, runs quietly, and provides plenty of resistance. For under $1500, it would be difficult to find a more comprehensive machine that offers so many weight training exercises.

The Bowflex Extreme SE Home Gym allows one to get an incredibly versatile workout for a single unit, all-in-one home gym machine. Bowflex Xtreme 2 workouts are smooth and more challenging because of their progressive resistance technology.

Because this Bowflex compact home gym performance is so well rounded, it’s recommended from beginner to amateur athletes.

Bowflex home gyms have been around a long time and have a proven track record for good customer service as well as their no-hassle warranty.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this Bowflex Xtreme Home Gym review, please leave a message below and I will respond.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym

$1499.00
8.8

Functionality

9.0/10

Design

8.5/10

Effectiveness

9.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Up to 410lbs of Resistance
  • Over 70+ Exercises
  • Progressive Resistance Technology
  • Lifetime Warranty on Power Rods
  • Compact Design

Cons

  • Some accessories are optional
  • Different feel than free weights

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