Is The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym A Smart Buy?
For anyone looking to achieve and maintain full-body fitness without the hassles and cost of a gym membership, having a home gym is a must.
But some home gym brands are just hypes.
Bowflex is one of the leading home gym brands out there.
They’ve managed to distinguish themselves over the years with their exceptional home gyms.
I’ve analyzed an array of Bowflex home gyms in a previous article, even recommending three for specific categories.
But today, I’ll be taking a deep look into the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym.
As a high-end model, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym is pricey. But does it deliver value for that money? What does it have to offer?
You’ll get the answers to these questions after reading this article and also determine whether the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym is the right fit for you.
If you’re too busy to read to the end, the quick summary box below contains all the important points.
There’s no doubt that one of the leading home gym brands in the fitness industry today is Bowflex.
They are very popular, and that can be attributed to the solidity and efficiency of their home gyms and their infomercials on TV.
Bowflex Home Gyms are very unique in appearance. Once you spot any Bowflex, you’d definitely recognize it, thanks to their stretchy power rods located at the rear of the machine.
The power rods are stationed and provide resistance when you connect different cables to them.
With the pulleys, Bowflex are able to provide a great number of exercises. In fact, the only brand that matches and beats Bowflex in terms of the number of exercises they provide is Total Gym.
Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Overview
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym is very popular among fitness enthusiasts who are looking to work out and get fit without having to visit the gym.
It combines the solidity of models in the lower category with the features of the high-end models.
In fact, Bowflex says it is one of their bestselling home gyms. And the reasons are not farfetched.
Like other home gyms before it, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym uses the power rod system, which is totally different from the free weight or bodyweight many home gyms use.
The benefit of the power rod system is that it offers users resistance without the risk associated with weight stacks. I’ll go deeper into that in the full review.
As with other Bowflex Home Gyms, this model also offers 210 lbs of resistance, which is just right for users at beginners and intermediate level.
Advanced users might find this inadequate though. However, the resistance can be upgraded to 410 lb, making this machine suitable for both beginners and advanced users alike.
Additionally, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym doesn’t require users to change cable before moving to another exercise, way different from what you get with the Bowflex PR 1000, Bowflex Blaze, and Bowflex Xceed.
Another interesting feature is that it offers users over 70+ exercises, which is only exceeded by the Bowflex Revolution.
Users expect that the workout area of this home gym should be greater than some other models.
Interestingly, its workout space of L 96" x W 78" x H 83" is similar to midrange models of Bowflex.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym offers more, and I’ll explore all of the features in detail in the full review below.
Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym Full Review
Max User Weight
53″L x 49″W x 83″H
96L" x 78W" x 83H"
210 lb (Upgradable to 410 lb)
- Accommodates users that weigh up to 300 lb.
- Features power rod technology.
- Resistance capacity upgradable to 410 lb.
- No change cable pulley system enables a quick transition to other exercises
- Comes with a lat tower and angled lat bar for building back muscles.
- Impressive warranty.
- Has a leg extension.
- Exercise manual included.
- 7 free trainer-built workouts including upper body, lower body, aerobic, anaerobic, strength training, and total body routines.
Construction & Design
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym is made of heavy-duty steel, which is typical of all Bowflex gyms.
The steel is coated with anti-scratch and anti-corrosion paint finishing. This gym is painted with a combination of colors – grey for the frame, black for the pulleys and the base. The seat and backrest are also in black with a touch of red.
The quality construction gives this machine excellent solidity even during exercises as it doesn’t wobble.
It also weighs about 185 lb, adding to the stability of the machine. The quality construction also enables it to supports users that weigh 300 lb.
Though some users have stated the machine can comfortably support users that weigh 325 lb.
The weight of the machine is quite light compared to some other home gyms. That’s because it uses power rods instead of weight plates as resistance.
While the machine is not large, having a dimension of 53″L x 49″W, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym requires a workout area of L 96" x W 78", so you’ll need ample space to exercise in.
The gap between the size of the machine and the workout area needed is due to the power rods that bend to the sides during workouts.
The assembled height of the machine is 83’’. So you’ll need a space that’s at least 7’ high. And that’s quite tight.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym comes with an adjustable bench that can adjust between 6 different positions to accommodate users of different height levels.
With the adjustment, users between 5’ and 6’4’’ can conveniently use this machine.
The backrest cannot be adjusted as it is bolted to the frame of the machine. Made from faux leather upholstery, the seat and bench are designed with the comfort of the users in mind.
The multiple cables of the machine that make up the no-change cable system are steel ropes.
These cables are also covered by a thin PVC material for easy gliding over the pulleys.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym uses the innovative power rod system, not weight stacks or body weights like in Total Gym Fit.
These power rods are positioned at the rear of the machine. And like I said above, you’ll have to connect power rods to the cable appropriate for the exercise to get the resistance you want.
And as you flex the rods, the resistance increases until the end when the rod is bent to its maximum.
The package comes with a 210 lb resistance capacity, which is the standard for all Bowflex Home Gyms.
However, the resistance amount is an estimate. It’s difficult to know the exact resistance, unlike weights.
The 210 lb of resistance come in sets of two with each containing:
- 50 lb rods
- 30 lb rods
- 10 lb rods
- 10 lb rods
- 5 lb rods
If you’re more advanced, you can buy extra resistance to a maximum of 310 lb or 410 lb.
A huge positive of the power rod system is its noiseless operation. You won’t have to deal with weight plates clanking together as you work out.
One drawback is that, unlike with dumbbells and barbells, the resistance isn’t consistent.
But Bowflex fixed this by introducing a new SpiraFlex resistance system in their latest product - the Bowflex Revolution.
One certain thing though is that the power rods offer safe and smooth resistance that easy on the joints.
It is also a good idea to maintain the power rods for maximum durability. After use, unhook the rods from the cables, so the rods are in an upright position.
Alongside Total Gyms, Bowflex's versatility when it comes to exercise options is well known.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym offers the possibility to practice more than 70 exercises.
No Bowflex Home Gym except the Revolution offers this much. With the option of 70 exercises, users can work out all parts of the body including the back, leg, shoulder, chest, abs, etc.
Bowflex just didn’t tell us the Xtreme 2 SE can offer 70+ exercises, they pictured how to practice them in the owner’s manual.
They also gave a detailed explanation of how to perform the exercises. Isn’t that impressive?
The high number of exercises is possible due to the three workout stations of the machine. The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym has:
- High Pulley Station
- Mid Pulley Station
- Low Pulley Station
The high pulley station has a total of 4 pulleys, which enables users practice lat pulldown exercises.
For the mid pulley station, you can attach the mid pulleys to the bars attached to the frame just above the backrest and the two bars below the ab crunch bar to perform several exercises.
The low pulley workout station includes a foot plate for practicing squats, a leg developer for leg exercises, and several pulleys for bicep curls and other lower body exercises.
Here are some of the exercises you can perform with this home gym:
Upper Body: Rear deltoid row, low back extension, seated shoulder press, reverse fly, front shoulder raise, wrist curl resisted dip, triceps pushdown, seated lat pulldown, reverse grip pulldowns, bent over row, bench press, triceps kickback, chest fly, biceps curl, hammer curl.
For working out your lower body, it doesn’t have as many options. But you’d be able to work out your glutes, quadriceps, hamstring and calves.
Lower Body: Hip adduction, Squats, standing hip extensions leg kickbacks hip flexion, calf raises, leg extensions, deadlifts.
Core: Seated weighted abdominal crunch, trunk rotation, seated weighted oblique crunch.
Also included in the manual are workout routines that target specific parts of your body and accelerate your journey to fitness:
20-minutes upper body, 20-minutes lower body, 20-minutes better body, circuit training anaerobic, true aerobic, and strength training routines.
The maximum weight capacity is also one of the most important features of a home gym.
You want to make sure that it’s the right one for you. Thankfully, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym has a max user weight capacity of 300 lb, which is high enough for a wide range of users.
The capacity also indicates that the machine is quite sturdy to be able to accommodate users that weigh that much.
You get a lat tower with an angled lat bar, squat bar, shoulder harness for ab crunches, and a 4-position lower pulley station.
It also comes with a multi-use handgrip/ ankle cuffs and leg developer.
The 5-way handgrips can be used for low pulley exercises while the leg developer, fitted with 4’’ foam rollers to offer comfort during workouts, is suitable for leg extensions.
If you want more attachment, you could buy a gym-style ab crunch and a preacher curl.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym is a complex machine that looks difficult to assemble.
But Bowflex makes putting the various pieces together by adding a very detailed instruction manual to the package.
Frankly, the instruction manual is one of the best in the fitness world.
In the manual are steps you’ll follow to set up the machine entirely. Each step has a large illustration that shows you exactly what to do.
Also in each step, the exact material and tools are included. This makes assembling the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym a breeze.
While Bowflex has done most of the work, one thing they didn’t do is add all the tools you need.
The package comes with Allen wrenches, but you’ll need your own socket wrenches, cutting tools, and screwdriver.
Thanks to the detailed instruction, you can set it up in about 2 - 4 hours, depending on your DIY abilities and if you get help from a friend.
Ease of Use
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym is quite easy to use, thanks to some of its features like the quick change system that doesn’t require users changing cables, allowing for quick transition between exercises.
This means you can work out at the same intensity throughout workout sessions.
Hooking up rods to increase resistance will take a bit of learning at first. However, you’ll have no issues doing it as time goes on.
Quick Change System
With some Bowflex Gyms, users have to rearrange the position of the cables each time they want to practice another exercise.
This is quite time-wasting and users might lose momentum during workout sessions.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym is different though. It has a quick change system that enables you to transition to another exercise without having to bother about cable change.
The quick change system utilizes multiple cables, with each for a different workstation, to render swapping cables unnecessary.
You’ll only find this system in two other Bowflex Gyms – the Revolution and the PR3000 Home Gym.
With this feature, you’ll be able to reduce the time spent on changing cable positions and that means more workout time and more out of every workout session.
The quick change system will also enable you to rest between exercises.
The Xtreme 2 SE’s warranty is one of the best of any Bowflex Home Gyms. The machine is backed by a 7-year warranty, which is 2 years more than previous models.
The power rods have an impressive lifetime warranty, the most you can get for any product.
I can boldly say that Bowflex must have confidence in the quality of the Xtreme 2 SE to give a warranty this great.
After taking a look at all the features of the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym, I understand why it’s one of the bestselling Bowflex home gyms.
Even though it’s the most expensive Bowflex gym that uses the power rod resistance system, a lot of people still prefer buying the Xtreme 2 SE over some others. And they’ve got excellent reasons.
For a start, the Xtreme 2 SE offers a combination of the features of its closest rivals – the PR3000 and the Xceed.
It has a quick change system, unavailable in Xceed. It comes with a squat bar, lat bar, and ab training strap, attachments you won’t find in the PR3000.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym also offers you the possibility to offer 70+ exercises, unmatched by both the Xceed and the PR3000. You also get workout routines for different parts of the body.
Its resistance capacity is also upgradable to a maximum of 410 lb.
So as you can see, this home gym is the high-end Bowflex model with the power rod system. It beats others hands down.
Now, if you are on a limited budget, you could opt for other Bowflex Home Gyms.
But if you have the budget and want to get all Bowflex has to offer, then going for the 2 SE is a wise choice.