Home gyms have become very popular in recent years. As a result, many people have scoured the internet looking for gym equipment with superb usability. Home gym gear will ensure that they don’t miss out on intensive physical exercise.
If that sounds familiar, you may be wondering what’s the best multi-functional tool that will require fewer hours of working out but still give you excellent results?
We recommend the Bowflex Max Trainer series. Thanks to their elliptical/stepper functionality, these tools are compact and provide a high-intensity, low-impact full-body workout.
In this Bowflex M6 review, we’ll analyze the pros, cons, and features of the machine. We’ll also be comparing this device with its predecessor, the Bowflex Max Trainer M5, and its more expensive counterpart, the Bowflex Max Trainer M9.
- High-intensity, low-impact workouts
- 5 pre-set exercise programs
- JRNY app benefits
- Small footprint
- Heart rate monitoring system
When it comes to most standard fitness equipment, they typically have numerous fixed or detachable pieces. Each piece is meant to work on a specific part of the body.
Bowflex’s Max series, however, has designed a machine unlike most ellipticals on the market. Max Trainers combine the functions of both a stair stepper and elliptical machine. Thus, working on your upper and lower body muscles.
The Bowflex Trainers’ high-intensity intervals follow the HIIT methods. This entails short bursts of intense working out followed by active recovery for the same period or longer.
Some of the top HIIT exercise benefits include:
- Burning calories quickly with shorter exercise time
- Reduction in heart rate and blood pressure
- Higher metabolic rate
- Burning fat
- Gaining and toning muscles
- Higher oxygen consumption
The Bowflex M6 is a piece of gym equipment designed for a full-body workout. As an upgrade to the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 and the M5, this cardio machine comes with additional features. These include the Bowflex exercise app (JRNY), a larger console, magnetic media rack, and a heart rate monitor system with Bluetooth compatibility.
This version of the Max Trainer series also has a compact frame, taking up minimal space in your home gym. The machine is ergonomically designed to give you the most comfort with larger foot pedals, and a media shelf for all your mobile devices. Plus, we liked that it had a built-in water bottle holder.
Here’s a more in-depth breakdown of each of these features:
The Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is a relatively lightweight piece of equipment. It has a 46″L x 26″W x 64.2″H footprint and weighs 148 lbs. The machine can be set up on any solid platform and has a weight capacity of 300 lbs.
After purchasing the machine, you will be required to assemble it. We found that an extra pair of hands was needed to assemble this elliptical machine despite its compact size.
Assembling the machine should only take a few hours – less if you’re familiar with DIY. Upon opening the box, you’ll find a small wrench, three Allen wrenches, and a handbook or manual.
Some noteworthy things we came across while putting the machine together included:
- The body pieces of the M6 come bolted to a piece of wood. This ensures that none of the parts break or get compromised during shipping.
- The instructions are visually presented with pictures, not written in words.
- You will need an extra pair of hands. In addition to moving around the parts, you’ll need help attaching the arms, console wiring, and the main body to the footer.
- Be ready for a challenge. At first, the assembly may feel cumbersome, and you may struggle to see how each piece fits together from the small pictures in the manual.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M6 has 16 different levels of resistance. Each level will become more intense as you build your arm and leg strength. If you want a bit of a challenge, change the resistance level with the buttons underneath the console.
Unlike other cardio machines, the M6’s foot pedals are positioned more upright, giving you a step climbing motion instead of a gliding maneuver, thus engaging your cardio muscles. At the same time, you’ll be working on your legs, quads, hamstring, and calves.
The moving handlebars have two grip positions. By placing your arms on these bars, the upper grip works on your spine and biceps due to your horizontal position. Meanwhile, the lower grip engages your triceps as you’ll be in a vertical position.
Tracking & monitoring
Tracking and monitoring are crucial for setting your workout objectives and measuring your performance against those targets. The Bowflex Trainer series offers multiple trackers for critical factors, such as heart rate and calorie burn rate.
The heart rate monitors are located on the handlebars through the integrated contact grips. This reading provides you with real-time measurements of your heartbeat, although we found it inaccurate at times.
Consider using a Fitbit or any android or IOS fitness app as a backup monitor for better measurement results. You can also wear a chest-strap thanks to the machine’s Bluetooth connectivity.
Another important figure is the number of calories burned in each workout. The machine displays how many calories you’ve burnt on the console as a speedometer-type reading which lights up as your speed increases.
The Bluetooth functionality allows you to connect your device to the app. We liked that we could access several workout routines and track our progress.
If you’d like, you can share these results with your gym buddies, set personal goals, and get awarded for each goal reached. A little (fitness) competition between friends can’t hurt anyone, right?
The most exciting addition to the M6 is the JRNY app. This app pairs with the device to suggest specific exercises according to your goals.
In addition to tracking your progress, JRNY also has trainer-led fitness videos and real-time coaching. You can implement these in your routine without having to get a personal trainer.
To connect the app to your machine, you’ll first need to download it on your mobile device, register an account, and fill in your credit card details. After which, you’ll receive a confirmation email stating that Bowflex will confirm your account in about an hour or so. The waiting period varies and thus can be a bit unpredictable. So ensure you correctly set up your app before starting a workout.
Lastly, the JRNY app requires a paid subscription which means you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to access these workouts after your trial period expires.
As mentioned above, the Bowflex M6 is an upgrade to the preceding M3 and M5. The M6’s new additions feature a list of comfort and convenience changes to improve your overall workout experience.
Some essential alterations include bigger foot pedals with cushioned padded grips on the handles. We also appreciated the adjustable media rack that slides up and down, the USB charging port, and a large water bottle holder.
This setup allows you to keep all your essentials within arms reach, ensuring a more intentional and focused workout void of distractions.
Bowflex Max Trainer M6 Customer support
All Bowflex Max Trainers come with a warranty valid for a set period. This allows you to get repairs or adjustments on your device should it be faulty. You will also have access to Bowflex customer support if you have any queries regarding subscriptions, warranty inclusions, or the machine’s structure.
Bowflex Max Trainer M6 – Features Summary
● Heart monitor system
● Burn rate display
● Bluetooth tracking and compatibility with mobile devices
● Compact size
● JRNY app
● Connectivity for 2 user profiles
● USB charging port
● Magnetic media rack
● Water bottle holder
Bowflex Max Trainer M6 – Exercise Options
Something we didn’t like is that the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 only comes with 5 standard workout programs. This can be seen as a downgrade from the 8 pre-programmed workouts available on the M5.
With fewer workout programs, you are likely to complete many of them in a relatively short time. Thus, you’ll be compelled to get the JRNY subscription for more tailor-made and daily suggested workouts. You’ll still have to access the Max Trainer’s pre-set exercise programs.
5 pre-set workout programs:
- Max 14-minute interval
- Calorie burn
- Fat burn
As we briefly mentioned, the Bowflex M6 Max Trainer comes with a 2-year warranty for repairs and replacement on the frame and parts, and 90 days for labor. This is disappointing as the industry standard is a warranty between 5 to 10 years.
Bowflex Max Trainer M6 Customer Reviews
It’s challenging to experience the Max Trainer M6 before purchasing it. The next best thing is to search for Bowflex Max Trainer M6 reviews left by previous users.
We’ve made that process easier for you.
Below, you’ll find a list of common pros and cons that Max Trainer M6 users have left on platforms such as Amazon, Reddit, and Facebook groups based on their firsthand experience.
These, along with our own testing and feedback, should help you to make your final purchase decision.
The most common pros that users raised include a range of new and old features to the Max Trainer series. These are:
As many buyers are looking for exercise equipment for their home gyms, the Max Trainer M6’s small footprint is advantageous. The device can be assembled in compact spaces and moved around if need be. We didn’t find it difficult to move it around our gym space.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M6 has 16 levels of intensity, rising as your muscles get stronger and your stamina increases. This wider range (the M3 only has 8 levels) of intensity makes the device usable by both beginners and experts.
The device has integrated grips that measure your heart rate. You can also monitor this measurement independently via a Fitbit, Android, or iOS fitness device. As you’ll be doing high-intensity workouts, watching your heart rate to reach your set goals is helpful.
The M6 also displays a burn rate speedometer which counts the number of calories burned in each session. The display view on the console has a colorful design and increases as you go faster, thus motivating you to push a bit harder.
The machine has Bluetooth functionality to connect your Max Trainer app with other fitness apps. The device also tracks your heart rate and shares it across all connections.
A new feature in the M6 (not available for M5 and M3) is the JRNY app. Using this paid app can help improve your fitness levels.
The app has many features like tailor-made exercises, access to a fitness coach, suggested daily workouts, and rewards you for achievements.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M6 has many technological features. New additions include a wider console for a better user experience and a magnetic media rack to keep all your mobile devices within reach. The device also has a USB charging port.
The machine allows you to store fitness data and progress measurements for up to 2 users. This is great for a couple or roommates who can share their fitness goals and achievements to motivate one another and keep each other accountable.
Every product has its shortcomings. These could be practical flaws like the frame or its parts, aesthetics like the color of the machine, or the unavailability of speakers.
These are the most common cons that we found in our Bowflex Max Trainer M6 review.
As mentioned above, most fitness equipment manufacturers offer 5 to 10-year warranties on the frame and parts. The Max Trainer M6 only provides 2 years and 90 days of labor. This is too short as many flaws will only show after a few months.
The M6 is relatively the most affordable Max Trainer in the series. However, it does incur additional costs that you will have to carry. These include a monthly subscription to the JRNY app and any labor repairs you may need after 90 days.
Unlike the M9 and M16, the M6 does not have an integrated touch screen. Although the console is more extensive in this device, it mainly works as an LED display showing your heart and burn rate. This limits your ability to stream Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime offers through the JRNY app.
Pros & cons summary for Bowflex Max Trainer M6
Overall, the Bowflex Max Trainer M6’s pros outweigh the cons. You can find the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 for sale on the official Bowflex page.
However, ensure you make a purchase based on your personal fitness goals and know your deal-breakers.
The device offers all things necessary for a high-intensity, low-impact workout. This Bowflex elliptical machine’s compact frame makes it easy to use. The heart rate and burn rate measurements allow you to track your progress and achieve your milestones constantly.
On the flip side, the cons may cause you to consider another machine. If you want an integrated touch screen console, the M9 is the next best option. You may also consider the M16, but that device has a larger footprint and may require more manpower to set up.
Here’s a quick re-look at all the common pros and cons we found among M6 users:
- High-intensity, low-impact workouts
- 5 pre-set exercise programs
- JRNY app benefits
- Small footprint
- Heart rate monitoring system
- Burn rate display
- Bluetooth enabled connections and heart rate monitoring functionality
- Magnetic media rack
- USB charging port
- Water bottle holder
- Short warranty period
- Monthly subscription to the JRNY app
- No fan and speakers