- Exercise & Fitness
Buy A Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
How To Use A Bowflex
A few years ago, I joined the little gym that was across the street from my apartment and got into great shape. Thanks to my daily workouts there, I lost about 75 pounds and even completed a 20-mile walk for charity. I loved having this gym nearby because it was small and not filled with buff "gym people," it was inexpensive and well, with it being right there, I went.
Unfortunately, my beloved gym was shut down about a year ago, due to rent issues (yes, it being a small, local gym did have its disadvantages). I joined another gym not too far away, but their equipment was terrible and it wasn't in walking distance. I also considered joining one of the big-name gyms, but they're expensive and still being overweight, I felt self-conscious.
Instead, my husband and I purchased a Bowflex.
I think that everyone has seen those commercials with the cute, buff guy who tells you how in shape he got using his Bowflex Home Gym. But beyond the eye candy, the workouts seemed to be simple and quick; I mean, who wouldn't love a 20 minute a day workout? We decided that the price was worth it, considering how much we'd save compared to joining a large gym. And I loved being able to exercise while I watched TV.
Of course, before beginning any workout or exercise program, you should consult your doctor first, especially if you're overweight or have existing health problems.
Ordering A Bowflex Blaze
How To Do Exercises On A Bowflex Blaze
While there are many varieties of Bowflex machines out there, we chose the Bowflex Blaze because it was one of the less expensive models and had a rowing machine function on it. We liked the idea of being able to weight train and do an aerobic exercise with one machine.
Once we ordered it online, our Blaze arrived in less than a week. Getting it home from my husband's office was well, interesting, but putting it together was easy. While it was time consuming to put together so many parts, the directions were simple and straight to the point. It took my husband about three hours, but he was never confused about the next step.
One thing that shocked us was how BIG the machine is. The commercials make it seem as if you can fold this thing up and stuff it under your bed, but it doesn't quite work that way. It's huge, even when you condense its size. And it's heavy, weighing over 200 pounds. Granted, we live in an apartment, but our place is still a nice size at 1300 square feet. The Bowflex still takes up a good portion of our living room. The first time we had guests over post-Bowflex, we folded it up and stuck it in a corner, but since then, we don't bother; we simply keep it out and use it as an extra seat!
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Best Exercises With The Bowflex Blaze
One of the things I love about the Bowflex Blaze Home Gym, aside from its convenience and proximity to our television set, is that you can do over 60 different workouts with it. Unlike a standard piece of weight training equipment, the Bowflex uses "power rods," which are flexible resistance pullies. Each rod provides a certain amount of resistance so that it feels as if you're lifting 30, 50, 100 pounds of weight. You can add or subtract rods and play with the amount of weight your pulling, just as you can with standard gym machines.
The Bowflex comes with a detailed booklet and DVD, which shows you exactly how to do each exercise. This is great for a klutz like me; I keep that reference guide with me whenever I do a workout so I can make sure that my form is correct!
But what's great is that you can do a series of exercises within one family of movements. For instance, if you keep the bench flat and face toward the back of the machine, you can position yourself to do bicep curls, seated lat rows and various back exercises. If you face forward with the seat at an angle, you can do ab exercises, flys and shoulder pulls. If you connect a weight bar to the top of the machine, you can do lat pulls. And if you add an additional platform to the end of the bench, you can do leg curls. You can even set up the machine to act as a rower. And the list goes on and on. I didn't think that they were being serious about the 60-plus exercises, but it really is possible to do that many. I like being able to mix things up; plus, the ability to flow easily from one routine to another allows you to do a circuit and turn your weight training into an aerobic experience.
If you're a serious weight trainer, all of the Bowflex machines allow you to add extra rods so that you can get more resistance/weight and have a more intense workout.
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Does The Bowflex Blaze Home Gym Work?
Yes, you really can get a good workout on it .. provided that you actually take the time to do it. I've learned first-hand that using it as a coat rack will not improve your fitness.
But if you do take those 20 minutes a few times a week, you will see results. My big thing is that I have back problems, but last year I used the Bowflex to help me build up my back and shoulder strength. After a few months, I was able to do a 10K walk for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. I felt a big difference in my core strength after doing workouts on the Bowflex Blaze, plus I lost weight and had more muscle tone.
Then I fell off the wagon and stopped working out ... which is a story for another day.
For the past few weeks, I've been using my Bowflex again and am already seeing results. 20 minutes doesn't sound like much, but if you follow the guide and do the exercises correctly, you will feel it. I'm sweating by the end of my workouts and still feel sore the next day. But it's a good kind of sore -- the kind that lets you know you did the moves right!
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Warnings About The Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
One thing we've found out in owning a Bowflex is that you really have to take care of those rods or else they lose their shape and resistance. After each workout, we tie up the bundle of rods with a wrap that comes with the machine just for this purpose. But it has to be done. Even if you forget to tie the rods after one workout, they'll become too loose. You can easily replace the rods, but why do so if you can easily save the ones you have?
Also, as a 5'3" woman, I've found that doing many of the leg exercises is difficult for someone at my height. With the Bowflex Blaze, you can't adjust the seat length or height. Therefore, when I try to add that extra bench to do leg curls, I'm too short to reach. I can do the exercises from the top of the machine, like the lat pulls, but my husband has to set them up for me because I'm not tall enough to adjust the machine.
I'm also disappointed with the rower function. The position in which you sit is uncomfortable and the seat doesn't slide smoothly. Therefore, when you try to row, you do so in kind of a jerky motion. You're better off using the Bowflex Blaze for toning exercises and then doing something else like walking or running for cardio.
How To Do Overhead Exercises With A Bowflex
Is Buying A Bowflex Worth It? Yes!
As I said, the Bowflex really does work, provided you work it. It's easy to use, even for an oaf like me and for the most part, provides a smooth and effective workout.
With so many exercises available in one machine, you're bound to find the ones that work best for you. It's just a matter of taking the time to try them all, finding the right combination and then sticking to an exercise plan.
I highly recommend it.