The Bowflex Blaze home gym offers more than 60 exercises and can be upgraded to as much as 410 pounds of Power Rod resistance. It only takes two to three hours to assemble and is easy to switch between exercises. The Power Rods take some getting used to and not everybody likes them in the end.
Power Rod learning curve. The Bowflex Power Rod resistance system takes some getting used to, users say. The resistance provided via rods connected to pulleys which bend then return to their original position. Resistance is progressive -- the farther you take the range of motion, the harder it becomes. Not everyone is a fan, with some saying they much prefer the more traditional weight stack-type resistance. However, others prefer the Power Rods, saying it's easier on their joints. Some reviewers warn if you're taller than about 6 feet, 4 inches, the Bowflex Blaze's cables and seat rail might be a little too short for you. Overall, though, users say they get a good, full-body workout with the Blaze.
More than 60 exercise options. One of the most popular features of the Bowflex Blaze is its capability of converting to a rowing machine, which users say offers a great cardio workout in addition to the Blaze's strength training capabilities. The Blaze's strength training features are extensive, including nine back exercises, 16 arm exercises, five for the abdominals, 13 leg exercises, eight for the chest and 14 for the shoulders. The upper resistance level out of the box is 210 pounds, but it can be upgraded to 310 or 410 pounds. Each 100-pound upgrade costs about $100. The maximum user weight is 300 pounds.
Uncomplicated assembly. Although there are a few owners who struggled, most say that the Bowflex Blaze's assembly instructions are clear and easy to follow. The general consensus is that it will take about two to three hours for one person working alone to finish the job. It will go more quickly if you have help; they also recommend having both a wrench set and screwdriver on-hand for assembly. Users say it can be frustrating to disconnect the cables to switch between the pulleys, although it's not difficult to do. Many owners say they appreciate the pull-out workout placard that helps guide them in the correct form while exercising.
Quiet and smooth. Although some may not be fans of the Bowflex Blaze's Power Rod technology, others love having a strength training system that they describe as "quiet and smooth" without the clanking weights of a weight stack system. At almost 7 feet tall and more than 3 feet wide, the Bowflex Blaze isn't exactly a compact home gym, but it does partially fold when not in use, which reduces the footprint somewhat. We found several compliments about the build quality of the Blaze, although a few reviewers note that it feels like it wobbles a bit when laid flat for cardio rowing. We also saw a few complaints that Bowflex doesn't honor its lifetime guarantee on the Power Rods In addition to the Power Rod warranty, the rest of the Bowflex Blaze is covered by a limited five-year warranty.
Bowflex Blaze Reviews
The Bowflex Blaze gets a 4.5-star average rating in more than 120 reviews. Most users say this home gym is a great choice if you are just interested in general fitness and not in being a body builder; those who are more seriously into strength training are less happy.
Review: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2015
In nearly 30 reviews, the Bowflex Blaze earns an overall average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. It gets high praise for its build quality, and it's reported as easy to assemble and use. Ninety-three percent of owners say they would recommend the Blaze to a friend.
Review: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of January 2015
Fitness buff and blogger Wes McDermott gives the Bowflex Blaze a thorough reviews, and his bottom line is that it's a great choice for the novice home gym user. Ultimately, he gives it a near-perfect rating, but it's not clear if he personally tested this home gym.
Review: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym, Wes McDermott, Oct. 15, 2013