The Bowflex home gym is a flexible exercise system that accommodates many different types of workouts. Some models support as many as 100 exercises with multiple variations. Popular workout routines include strength training, the 20 minute better body workout, aerobic training, advanced general conditioning, and the body building 3-day split and circuit training. Bowflex expert Ellington Darden, Ph.D., recommends the following program for beginners.
Add Exercises Progressively
Begin with only six exercises. This eases the task of learning the exercises and allows the user to concentrate on good form. After the second week, add two additional exercises. After the fourth week, add two more; and after the sixth week add another two, for a total of 12. During the first six weeks, concentrate on form. Quality is more important than quantity of exercises during this period. Achieve one set of 8 to 12 repetitions, using sufficient intensity to achieve “momentary muscle failure” after the last repetition. Exercise three times per week on non-consecutive days. Refer to the Bowflex owner’s manual for detailed instruction on how to perform each exercise.
Weeks One and Two
Complete these exercises: leg curl, leg extension, bench press, seated row, lying shoulder pullover and seated abdominal crunch. If no Leg Extension/Leg Curl Attachment is available, substitute the seated leg curl for the leg curl and the leg press for the leg extension.
Weeks Three and Four
Add the seated calf raise and the shoulder shrug. These exercises improve workout thoroughness.
Weeks Five and Six
Add the lying triceps extension and the standing biceps curl. These exercises increase the burden on the upper arms, and their effect will be felt almost immediately.
Weeks Seven and Eight
Add the leg press and the standing lateral press. This twelve-exercise routine taxes muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. Complete the routine in 30 minutes or less.
Weeks Nine and Ten
Add the chest fly, reverse grip pull-down and seated oblique crunch. Eliminate the bench press, seated row and seated abdominal crunch. The new exercises are intended to spur motivation. If a Lat Tower is unavailable, substitute the lying lat pull-down and the reverse grip pull-down.
Weeks Eleven and Twelve
Add the seated shoulder press, lying biceps curl triceps push-down and reverse curl. Drop four exercises: the lying shoulder pullover, shoulder shrug, lying triceps extension and standing biceps curl. If a Lat Tower is not available, substitute the seated triceps extension for the triceps push-down. Reduce rest time between exercises and accomplish the routine in 20 minutes.
- “The Bowflex Body Plan,” Ellington Darden, Ph.D., 2003