Saturday, 20 April 2024

Equipment, Multi Gym

Bowflex Ultimate vs. Bowflex Ultimate 2 Home Gym Review

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Bowflex Ultimate vs. Bowflex Ultimate 2 Home Gym Review

UPDATE: The Bowflex Ultimate series is no longer available. But, check out the Bowflex Revolution for their top-of-the-line model.

The Bowflex Ultimate 2 home gym provides up to 410 lbs of Power Rod resistance, with 95+ exercise options.

Released in 2005, the Ultimate 2 has been officially discontinued by Bowflex, but used and refurbished models are still available.

Bowflex Power Rod technology is the same resistance system you’ll find on their PR1000 and PR3000 home gyms. For the Bowflex Ultimate 2, this delivers 310 pounds of resistance, upgradable to 410 pounds.

So how does it compare to the original Bowflex Ultimate, and is it the best gym for your home workouts?

Design Features

Bowflex Ultimate 2 Home Gym Leg Extensions

The Bowflex Ultimate 2 is larger than the PR1000 and PR3000 home gyms, but also provides more exercise options. This is thanks to the detachable preacher curl, but also the adaptable workout bench, which even supports hack squats.

With such an impressive selection of exercises, you should have no problem creating a total body workout. The various pulley positions allow you to effectively train your upper body, lower body, and abdominal muscles.

In addition to the fixed-position low cable pulley, you also have the adjustable mid-range and high pulleys. Releasing the locking pin lets you slide the pulleys to a new position, targeting your muscles from a different direction.

The Ultimate 2 also features a lat tower, complete with angled lat pulldown bar. This is a common feature of Bowflex Home Gyms, and can be found on the Xtreme 2SE and Blaze machines.

Padded shoulder pads for the hack squat exercise make the Ultimate 2 a bit more unique. The large foot plate with added traction control provides a stable base on which to squat heavier weights.

Switching between exercises is also incredibly easy. The workout bench and cable pulleys both work on a pull-pin system, with multiple positions to choose from. You can even adjust the resistance in seconds by adding or removing another Power Rod.

Bowflex Ultimate 2 Home Gym – Features Summary
Bowflex Ultimate vs. Bowflex Ultimate 2 Home Gym Review (top)
  • Spacious workout area, with a lightweight resistance system for easier transport
  • Comfortable, adjustable workout bench
  • Heavy duty steel frame
  • Ab crunch attachment, accessory rack, and protective floor mat included
  • 310 lbs Power Rod resistance, upgradeable to 410 lbs
  • 95+ exercise options
  • Includes a Bowflex Body Plan
  • 300 lb weight capacity

Bowflex Ultimate 2 Workout Routine

With over 95 exercises to choose from, workout variation shouldn’t be a problem.

To increase muscle mass, strength, or tone in your upper body muscle groups, you could start with the bench press. Follow this up with the pec fly, incline cable presses, and pullovers for a complete chest workout.

The Bowflex Ultimate 2 also has some great leg exercise options. With the bench down, you can perform leg extensions to target your quads, or lying curls to train your hamstrings. Fold the bench up, and you can perform hack squats, calf raises, and cable hip adductions.

For your back, you can choose from lower back extensions, seated rows, and a variety of lat pulldowns. By varying your grip, you can strengthen all your major back muscles, including lats and traps.

Core workouts to strengthen and tone your abdominals and intercostals are also a possibility. Weighted crunches and kneeling cable crunches are two of the best exercises.

Triceps can be trained with a variety of cable pushdowns, while your bicep workout can include cable and preacher curls.

Ease of Assembly

Bowflex home gyms are usually quick and easy to assemble, compared to machines that use a weight stack. That’s because the parts are much lighter than the bulky steel frame of most designs.

But they’re also one of the best fitness equipment companies on the market for user manuals and assembly instructions.

The Bowflex Ultimate 2 user manual is an 83-page guide to how you can get the most from this machine.

Click here to view the Bowflex Ultimate 2 home gym user manual.

Inside you’ll find a complete guide to the attachment options, warranty, and how to set fitness goals. That’s in addition to 38 pages of exercises, detailing the muscles worked, start and finish positions, and tips for success.

Each exercise is accompanied by a set of clear photos, showing how to perform the range of motion.

Bowflex Body Leanness Program

The user manual also includes a free copy of the Bowflex Body Leanness Program, created by Dr. Ellington Darden.

This is a 6-week program that’s scientifically designed to maximize fat loss using the Bowflex Ultimate 2.

The program offers tips for using body fat calipers, taking progress pictures, and determining your body fat level. You’re then given a complete workout program, detailing the exercises, sets, and repetitions.

You’re also given a comprehensive eating plan, providing a step-by-step guide to each meal and snack for the full 6 weeks.

How Easy is It to Assemble?

Separate to the user manual, you have the Bowflex Ultimate 2 Assembly Instructions. It’s a 46-page guide with everything you need to know about the parts, tools needed, and assembly steps.

A clear parts list, as well as written and graphical instructions (photos and drawings) make this a much easier process.

Click here to view the Bowflex Ultimate 2 home gym assembly instructions.


New models of the Bowflex Ultimate 2 offer the warranty below. Factory refurbished models are usually limited to a 6-month manufacturer’s warranty.

  • Machine: 12 years
  • Power Rods: Lifetime

Bowflex Ultimate 2 Reviews


  • Useful variety of attachment options
  • DVD provided is useful for understanding the exercises
  • High quality, durable construction
  • Cables and power rods are safer to use than free weights
  • Folding frame design and transport handle makes it easier to move around
  • Excellent warranty coverage on new models
  • Easy to put together
  • Upgradeable Power Rod resistance


  • Original production was stopped in 2007 after reports of injuries, including bruised arms and a sore back. Nautilus sent a free repair kit, which was designed to fix the issue of rod box separation.
  • Larger footprint than other Bowflex home gyms
Bowflex Home Gym Buyer's Guide

Bowflex Ultimate 2 Review Summary


After Bowflex discontinued the Ultimate 2 home gym, it became more difficult to find used or refurbished models.

Although it's still an excellent machine, 6 months warranty, for factory refurbished really isn't very long.

Used models of the Bowflex Ultimate 2 can often be found on Amazon. But if you're looking for a similar home gym from Bowflex that offers many of the same exercise options, check out the Bowflex Xtreme 2SE.

The Xtreme 2SE is a more affordable home gym than the Bowflex Revolution, but features a high and low cable system that's similar to the Ultimate 2. Average review rating is also excellent.

Dimensions: 82 x 92 x 46 inches (HxLxW)

Minimum ceiling height to assemble the Bowflex Ultimate 2: 7' 4".

Folded footprint: 44 x 46 inches.

Workout area: 9' 4" x 6' 6".

User weight limit: 300 lbs

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