Bowflex vs. Free Weights
At a Glance
It’s less expensive to get started with free weights than it is to buy a Bowflex, and free weights are the better option if you want to bulk up quickly. However, the Bowflex and home gyms like it limit your range of motion for a safer workout with less injury risk.
When it comes to developing muscle, two of the more popular options on the market are free weights and Bowflex. They are both certainly valid additions to a home gym, but the key is to select the one that feels right for you. They both do have their places in the fitness community. Here is a quick look at some of the pros and cons of free weights vs. Bowflex in the battle of bulking up.
Free Weights: The Advantages
Pictured at top: Bowflex Adjustable Free Weights
For the vast majority of human history, free weights have really been the only option when it comes to strength training. Just imagine the Neanderthal training with stone weights to build his frame. Free weights have come a long way since those days. Well, they’ve come ahead at least as far as the Iron Age anyway. Iron is what you will be pumping if you decide to work out with free weights.
Free weights have many benefits in the strength training arena. First and foremost, lifts performed with free weights force the body to engage all the little stabilizer muscles that machines like Bowflex do not target. This does mean that building up mass or bulk happens faster with free weights than it does with a Bowflex.
Free Weights: The Considerations
However, there are some serious considerations to be made before purchasing free weights. The first is that free weights are typically more expensive than a Bowflex. One Bowflex unit can cover a huge range of resistance, and it costs a lot of money to buy enough iron to offer the same amount of resistance. It costs a lot of money to harvest the iron ore that free weights are made from, and that is reflected in the price tag for free weights.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that free weights have a major disadvantage in the safety department vs. Bowflex. For someone who is new to strength training, it can be quite easy to sustain a serious injury through using improper form or taking inadequate safety precautions. This includes life-changing injuries like paralysis or even death. Bowflex users never, ever have to worry about sustaining those kinds of horrific injures because the Bowflex is one safe piece of fitness equipment.
Bowflex: The Advantages
If price is the foremost consideration, Bowflex is the way to go. The secondhand markets are full of used Bowflex equipment. In addition, the Bowflex is a great piece of strength training gear for people who live in small apartments. The ability to stow the Bowflex away when it’s not in use is a real advantage if space is a consideration in your home.
As previously stated, Bowflex is also the king when it comes to safety. The Bowflex was designed to allow users to build muscle quickly with tremendous amounts of resistance. It was also designed to be as safe a piece of strength training equipment as possible. For people who are new to strength training, there is a lot to be said for the safety that the Bowflex provides.
Bowflex: The Considerations
The simple fact is that Bowflex is not as effective as free weights when it comes to building strength and mass as efficiently as possible. However, that doesn’t mean that it is not effective at building strength. The Bowflex will build tremendous amounts of strength, and it is particularly effective at creating lean muscle mass.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Bowflex will never give the stabilizer muscles the workout that free weights will. These stabilizer muscles help the major muscles work more efficiently. They also aid balance and add to the bulking effect of lifting with free weights.