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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. The Blaze is made by Bowflex for sale through retailers, and is not available through the Bowflex website.ProsVersatile, Wide variety of exercise options, Easy to assemble, adjust, Partially folds to reduce footprintConsLimited range of motion for some, Requires extra-cost upgrades to increase resistance
Power Rod learning curve. The Bowflex Power Rod resistance system takes some getting used to, users say. Rather than the traditional weight system, resistance is 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, and we did see updates to a number of reviews with people who did not like the Power Rod system initially coming back to say it had grown on them. 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, however. 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 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 the bench seems to wobble 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 Home Gym, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2016
The Bowflex Blaze gets a 4.5-star rating in more than 190 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. Many say there is a learning curve to using the Blaze.
Bowflex Blaze Home Gym, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of March 2016
In about 40 reviews, the Bowflex Blaze earns an overall average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. It gets high praise for its build quality, and it's reported as easy to assemble and use. Ninety-five percent of owners say they would recommend the Blaze to a friend.
Bowflex Blaze Home Gym, Contributors to DicksSportingGoods.com, As of March 2016
There are only a handful of reviews here, fewer than 10, but satisfaction with the Bowflex Blaze is very high; with a 4.9-star rating. Owners say it's good for beginners to advanced weight work, is easy (albeit time-consuming) to set up, and is easy to use.
Bowflex Blaze Home Gym, Wes McDermott, Oct. 15, 2013
Fitness buff and blogger Wes McDermott reviews the Bowflex Blaze. His bottom line is that it's a great choice for the novice home gym user. Ultimately, McDermott gives it a near-perfect rating, but it's not clear if he personally tested this home gym.