Bowflex MAX Trainer is a cardio machine which combines elements of a stepper and elliptical into one unit.
What is Bowflex MAX Trainer?
While the Max Trainer looks like a stepper or elliptical, the product website states that it is “a better choice than treadmills, ellipticals, and steppers.” The motion has been described as a cross between an elliptical and a stepper.
The motion of the Max Trainer combines that of treadmills, ellipticals, and steppers into a single unit. There are handles with three positions, and it is claimed that you can work “up to 80% more of your upper body” than ellipticals. The three hand positions determine how much of the upper body (or abdomen) is engaged in the workout. It can also be used hands-free for a completely lower-body workout as well.
There are two models, the M3 and the M5. Both have the same range of resistance, although the M5 has more levels. The M5 also has more workout programs, a longer warranty, backlit display, and better hand grips.
The official product website is bowflexmaxtrainer.com, which was registered in March 2013. Two other domains have been used in advertising: trybowflexmax.com and buybowflexmax.com. Based on advertising and Google trends (see below), it appears that product has been available since around the beginning of 2014.
How much does Bowflex MAX Trainer Cost?
The M3 costs $999 plus $100 shipping, while the M5 is $1599 plus $100 shipping. Financing is available with approved credit, although the APR is a steep 29.99%.
Below is a recent television commercial for the Bowflex MAX Trainer.
Due to its unique design, the Bowflex Max cardio machine is said to burn more calories and provide a full body workout, allowing the consumer to spend less time exercising. Results are said to be attained in as little as 14 minutes, while the workout is said to be a low-impact interval-type session.
Both the M3 and M5 models have been met with overwhelming praise from customers who have used it. It appears that the M5 has more slightly more reviews, and more enthusiastic praise, than the M3.
The best online reviews are by customers who have used the product for a significant amount of time, and these can be readily found on YouTube. The video below, for example, is a short demonstration of high intensity interval training with the M5 unit.
Positive reviews for the Max Trainer indicate that it provides a significant workout, beyond the typical elliptical or stepper, particularly for the upper body. Another positive feature is that the unit is compact and can fit in tighter spaces than most treadmills or ellipticals.
The display has been compared to a “personal trainer” in that it helps motivate the user to meet or exceed certain targets.
Perhaps an overlooked “pro” for the Max Trainer is that of Bowflex Customer Service, which has been mostly hands-on, even in cases of dissatisfied customers. Reps are highly visible on social media websites, answering questions and helping customers with problems.
Although reviews for the Max Trainer have been mostly positive, it is worth mentioning a small minority of complaints about the product. One complaint is that of noise, which for some is a two-fold problem. First, the fans which are built into the Max Trainer do generate a “whirring” sound than which is greater than one might expect. This may not be problematic for everyone, but it may behoove prospective buyers to view some consumer videos to get a feel for the noise level generated by the unit. Bowflex has stated that this is simply a byproduct of the product’s design. The other noise-related complaint is that of squeaking. Some users have said that the unit began squeaking, and lubrication is needed to remedy the problem.
The video below demonstrates an M5 unit which began to squeak for one user. He did state that customer service was able to help him eliminate the squeak, although it “comes back about every week.” He was advised to coat the rails with silicone spray to eliminate the noise.
Another minor point of contention for some has been that of assembly. It appears that some users who assembled the product themselves have complained that the unit wobbled. Having it professionally assembled is an option, although this will incur an extra cost.
The person who posted the “squeaking” unit in the video above stated that it was professionally assembled.
The Google Trends chart below shows the search history on this product. As you can see, there was an initial surge in early 2014, and an even more significant surge at the end of 2014. Interest in the product continues to increase as of late 2015.
The Bowflex MAX Trainer cardio machine has been met with high marks from the majority of those who have used it. A minority of complaints focus on the noise or squeaking, and assembly of the unit. Bowflex Customer Service has been proactive and receives high marks for quickly handling any problems.
Have you used Bowflex MAX Trainer? Give us your opinion in the comments below.