The Bowflex Blaze currently retails at under $1000 (£642.31) and as well know all to well by now, as far as home gyms go that’s pretty cheap. So is it worth that money, after all it doesn’t look as big as some of the other home gyms.
Well first lets look at what you get when you buy the Bowflex Blaze. The biggest thing really is the “Bow” system, which is really unlike anything else around. Basically the whole thing is still set up cables, but the bows replace the use of a weight stack. Instead they provide resistance through tension much like an elastic band would.It would be easy to see where the name Bowflex came from here.
No Weight Stack!
The bows that come with the Bowflex Blaze represent 210 pounds of weight and are upgradeable to 310 pounds and 410 pounds respectively. It is worth noting here that “pounds” here refers to “bowflex pounds”, because no physical weight is being lifted (for example iron plates on a weight stack) is it merely and approximation of the force applied to the bows to flex them that would be required to lift the same amount of weight. In simple terms what represents 210lbs on the bowflex blaze system may or may not be the same as lifting 210lbs of iron. It can only ever be an estimation.
So how does the Bowflex Blaze System compare to a Traditional Weight Stack
This is an interesting question and it deserves an interesting answer!When you lift say 200lbs of iron plates, whether it be via a cable, off the floor, from the chest, whatever there is a process that takes place. Firstly you need to break initial inertia, which means basically getting the thing moving from a dead stop. Next you lift it through the full range of motion, when you reach peak contraction you will notice the weight still feels exactly as heavy as it did once your broke inertia. Finally you reverse the positive motion of the movement and return the weight to a dead stop.
Throughout the whole movement you had 200lbs of force being applied to your muscles and they phased in and out of being primary movers during the movement subconsciously to enable you to continue to lift the weight through the who motion.
Features of the Bowflex Blaze
- ‘Bowflex’ Technology
- Upgradeable Weight Stack
- User Friendly and Easily Adjustable
- Multiple Features offering over 60 Excercies
- High Pulley Tower for Lat Pulldowns
- Low Pulley System
- Leg Extension/Curl attachment
- The fold flat bench saves space!
This is exactly what you want and is going to cause you enough muscle micro tears to reap a benefit from the exercise.
How the Bowflex Blaze differs is that actually there is no “breaking initial inertia” because when the bow is in a state with no tension applied to it, it essentially has no “weight” to it. Unlike a weight stack which would maintain the same force required throughout the whole movement, the bow will actually get move difficult to move as you get further through the movement. This is because the tension will continue to increase. You could this of this like how a powerlifter uses chains to help increase his/her deadlift, squat or bench press.
When the chain is coiled up on the floor, it is the floor that is taking the weight of the chain. But as the weight is lifted and the chain begins to uncoil and raise up off the floor, the weight is transferred to the bar instead of the floor. This results in the top of the movement being considerably heavier that the bottom.
This is a fantastic way to train for strength in the top portion of the movement, however it is exactly that. The top half. You almost totally skip out the bottom portion, whereas a weight stack forces you to lift the weight through the entire movement.
This isn’t to say that the bow system of the Bowflex blaze doesn’t work, essentially as long as you can get stronger and lift more “weight”, volume or reps then in theory you are going to be making progress, but that being said it won’t carry over to as many other uses and working with a traditional weight stack will.
It is highly unlikely that you could take a person who could like 200 bowflex pounds on the bowflex blaze and repeat the same exercise with a traditional weight stack and lift the same weight. Whereas you would almost certainly be able to take another person who lifts 200lbs on the weight stacks and get them to lift 200 bowflex pounds on the bowflex blaze.
But strength is relative anyway, and maybe it doesn’t matter that much to you anyway, maybe you are just looking to get back into shape, recover from an injury or don’t have much space at all to put your home gym in.
The fold flat bench saves space!
In that case, the Bowflex Blaze might just be what you are looking for!
An ideal demographic for the blaze in our opinion would be somebody who wants a home gym but perhaps live in an apartments above other people and can’t have a load iron banging around on the floor all the time. For this purpose it would be ideal!
The whole system itself weighs a fraction of what a traditional home gym does because it doesn’t have the weight stack, so it won’t go through the ceiling.
There won’t be any clanging and you lower the weights back down, and the whole thing will fit into a fairly small room without too much trouble.
Redeeming features of the Bowflex Blaze
Over 60 Excercises Available!Variety
Although we have just slated the core of the Bowflex Blaze, we wouldn’t like you to think that we are condemning it to the junk yard, it does in fact have many redeeming features!
For example there are supposedly over 60 exercises you can perform on it, which is quite high by and home gyms standards.
An explanation along with an animated demonstration of all the exercises you can do is available from bowflex-excercises.com. As you will see basically everything you would or could do on your traditional home gym is there.
If nothing else the Bowflex Blaze is built well, Bowflex are a respected brand within the fitness industry and they don’t seem to make unreliable things. Although we are not aware of any sort of guarantee you get when you buy it, it’s fairly safe to say that it’s going to last the duration of its usefulness to you.
Front ViewFreedom from fixed paths
Where the Bowflex Blaze falls short of the traditional weight stack in its ability to work the muscle, it actually gains back some ground in that it isn’t fixed on a set path. Rather than having a cable running in a straight line through a pulley to the weights, the fact that the bow can be pulled in any direction gives the user the ability to pull through a comfortable motion.
Often especially with older trainees who have nagging joint pains or old injuries, you find that they can’t or don’t want to perform certain excercises because it cause considerable pain for the in the particular plane of that exercise. A fine example of this is the bench press. As we get older the connective tissues that protect he joint deteriorates somewhat. This can restrict movement and make bench pressing very uncomfortable, because the shoulders are locked into a fixed path which isn’t that natural. The restricting element of this is the bar itself which is causing external rotation of the shoulder joint due to the elbows needing to be pointed directly outwards nd hands perpendicular to that. As the bow is lowered is forces the shoulders out into hyperextended state which puts a great deal of stress on the rotator cuff.
Having a free range of motion, eg not being bound by bar allows the user to work within a path which does not place the same tension on the joints for them. This is going to be different for everyone based on limb length, leverages and loads of other determining factors. Basically it’s clear that a one size fits all approach can’t and doesn’t work for people with particular needs. Younger trainees can get away with a lot more, but as time goes by it becomes far more important to consider health rather than gains.
Other Customer Reviews
Well, unfortuantley it’s going to be a no…However this is an answer purely based on personal opinion, as mentioned in the review, the way in which the bows work means that for somebody looking to gain size and strength it’s sub-optimal. They simply cannot train the full range of motion because the tension is not being applied until the end of the movement.
However for somebody who is not concerned with size or strength and simply wants to get fitter, back in shape or recover from an injury better it’s not a bad choice at all.The other two groups of people who would find it useful are people who lives in apartments or have others living under them/around them and don’t want to distrub them with heavy weight banging around. As well as older people who perhaps don’t have great joint health. The freedom the Bowflex Blaze offer here is difficult to match.It’s a bit like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.
- Over 60 strength-building exercises
- 210 pounds of Bowflex power rod resistance
- Upgrades available to 320 or even 410 pounds
- Measurements: 59L x 23W x 14H inches
- Manufacturer's warranty included (see product guarantee)
Last update on 2017-03-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API