• You're all caught up!

How to Use a Bowflex for Bodybuilding

author image Kay Miranda
In 2001, Kay Miranda had her second screenplay purchased, then started writing a weekly column in "The Messenger," with work appearing in "Xquisite" and "Valley Scene Magazine." Miranda earned a Bachelor of Arts in bio-psychology from the University of Colorado. Fortunate to play collegiate tennis, Miranda has extensive travel and coaching experience.
How to Use a Bowflex for Bodybuilding
Regular use of the Bowflex machine can help define muscles. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

The Bowflex is a series of home gym machines that use resistance rods to help consumers build muscle mass. When used in conjunction with an active lifestyle and healthy diet, Bowflex machines help you strength train using a variety of 90 or more exercises. While the Bowflex can be an effective piece of home equipment, experienced bodybuilders utilize more than 90 exercises to work large and small muscle groups. Using the Bowflex for bodybuilding is generally not recommended by lifters seeking a professional workout. Talk to your doctor before starting a strength-training program.

Step 1

Set a workout schedule that allows you to exercise at least two to three times per week on the Bowflex. You want to work different muscle groups on separate days, giving each at least one day of rest between workouts. For example, set chest and back muscles on Day 1, legs on Day 2 and arms on Day 3. For leg workouts, perform squats and hamstring curls with the machine. Squats are done straddling the bench with the grips in your hands sitting on your shoulders. Sit back to the bench and back up.

Step 2

Find the resistance levels that cause your muscle to nearly fail within one set, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fail means you are barely able to complete the last repetition, if you are able to. The goal is to find the resistance level for each of your major muscle groups so you can perform 12 to 15 repetitions in the set. For example, a seated bicep curl is performed facing the resistance rods. The Bowflex provides resistance when curling up and keeps tension on the way down. If you are unable to do 12 reps, go to a lighter resistance rod.

Step 3

Start slowly and give yourself time to work up to heavier resistance levels. Increase resistance when you can easily finish the set.

Step 4

Focus on your form when using the Bowflex. While it is a machine, it allows more freedom of movement and range of motion than many other home gym machines. Building the right muscles requires proper form. A lat pull-down looks different on a Bowflex than it does with a lat-pull machine. Lie on your back with your head near the resistance band post. With the grips attached to the ends of the resistance bars, pull the grips from above your head across your body to your waist. Vary the exercise by pulling from above your head over your body to your hips.

Step 5

Eat a healthy diet with 1 to 1.5 g of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. Protein helps muscles rebuild themselves after workouts. Reduce fat intake, helping your body develop a leaner look.

Step 6

Perform cardiovascular activities that help you burn calories, such as running, kickboxing or swimming.

Step 7

Drink water throughout your workouts and include two glasses with each meal.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.



Demand Media