Last updated: August 9th, 2016
The Bowflex Ultimate 2 Home Gym is a versatile home gym option for users who wish to work every major muscle group and receive a good aerobic workout without having to trek to a health club or make space for a bunch of cumbersome barbells, benches, weights, racks, and cardio equipment. It’s one of our top picks of the best home gym of this year.
This home gym has been on the market for a decade but has been updated several times since its inception. It offers 310 pounds of resistance with the option to upgrade to 410 pounds; an integrated tower to build back and shoulder muscles; a built-in rowing machine for an effective warm-up, cool-down, or cardio workout; and it folds to a compact size of 44 by 46 inches. Refurbished units are currently available on Amazon from $1,067.
Online reviews from current owners of the Bowflex Ultimate 2 Home Gym are overwhelmingly positive. More than half of the reviews currently posted online give the Bowflex Ultimate 2 a rating of five out of five stars, and numerous reasons are listed for owners’ high level of satisfaction. The most common areas of satisfaction cited by users are as follows:
- The gym offers a wide variety of exercises enabling users to train every major muscle group.
- Bowflex’s patented technology makes it easy to move from one muscle group to the next without an elaborate, time-consuming changing of cables and or weight stacks.
- The machine permits a natural range of motion making it safe and comfortable even for users with joint issues to perform compound movements such as squats, lunges, shoulder presses, and leg presses.
- Visible results from using the Bowflex Ultimate 2 often are seen within only a few weeks.
- It comes with a very informative DVD which not only demonstrates the various capabilities of the gym, but explains how each available exercise benefits the body and helps users program specific workouts to achieve their goals.
- A detailed instruction manual allows for easy assembly, even though the home gym consists of many parts.
- Construction is durable and high-quality, providing safety and stability even for heavier users.
- The absence of weight stacks makes it safe to work out at home without a partner or a spotter. For example, heavy squats and bench presses can be done without the user having to worry about getting the bar back into the cradle while fatigued at the end of a set.
- The entire contraption can be folded up and rolled from one room to another.
- The manufacturer provides a solid warranty. 12 years on the entire gym and lifetime on the rods.
There is a dearth of totally negative reviews online for the Bowflex Ultimate 2 Home Gym, which is always a good sign. However, there were a few minor issues with the product that were pointed out by more than one user.
- Even when folded up, the Bowflex Ultimate 2 is very large and moving it through cramped spaces and doorways can be difficult.
- While it is advertised as a space-efficient and portable home gym, many users found it to be larger than they expected when fully assembled. One user who stated he was in the construction industry recommended that anyone considering this home gym have a 10-foot long by 7-foot wide by 7-foot tall area to place it.
- Those expecting the same amenities that can be found in a state-of-the-art health club with millions of dollars of workout equipment should be realistic in understanding the limitations inherent in a home gym.
For users who want the convenience of working out at home without having to deal with the hassles and safety issues of free weights, the Bowflex Ultimate 2 Home Gym appears to be a great solution. While a few users have pointed out its limitations and its challenges, the Bowflex Ultimate 2 is the better buy when compared alongside its competition, such as the Soloflex, which offers a similar price point but less exercises, less ease of use, and a more restrictive range of motion, as reported by online reviewers.
The Bowflex Ultimate 2 fares well even compared to newer and more expensive Bowflex models, such as the Xtreme 2SE, which is offered on Amazon at $1,599 but includes no more exercises than the Ultimate 2 and comes standard with only 210 pounds of resistance, compared to the Ultimate 2’s 310 pounds.
The Bowflex Ultimate 2 should be on the short list, and probably at the top, for anyone wanting a safe and economical way to work out without having to join a health club.