The Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is a hybrid home fitness solution that combines a cross-trainer with a stair climber. It’s designed for zero-impact, high-intensity aerobic and anaerobic workouts, suitable for everybody including beginners.
Nautilus is the company behind the world’s best elliptical machines (opens in new tab) and it’s also the parent company to Bowflex, so the Max Trainer M6's pedigree is strong from the start. In fact, of its siblings the Bowflex BXE216 Elliptical Trainer (opens in new tab) is highly rated for user comfort and a range of exercise modes.
The benefit of cross-trainers is that they offer nearly a full body workout from just one machine, however while some can be bulky, the M6 is relatively more compact. In our Bowflex Max Trainer M6 review, we look at the machine's spec, features and design, and analyze user reviews to see what existing customers say about it.
If you're looking to focus more on pure weight training, take a look at our guide to the best home gyms (opens in new tab).
Bowflex Max Trainer M6 review: Overview
Each product in the Bowflex Max Trainer range combines the motion of a cross-trainer with the intensity of a stair climber, resulting in a workout that burns a high amount of calories in a relatively short space of time. More importantly, it gives you close to a full body workout from just one machine, saving you space at home.
Dimensions: 46L x 26W x 64.2H inches
Max user weight: 300lbs
Resistance levels: 16
Like its stablemates, the mid-range Bowflex Max Trainer M6 comprises pedals and handlebars that move back and forth with the motion of the user. It can also be set at various resistance levels to work both your upper and lower body.
Since there's little impact during this type of motion, these machines are seen as being kinder on your joints than something like a home treadmill (opens in new tab). However, if you haven’t used high-intensity fitness equipment before, it’s always a good idea to slowly work your way up to avoid straining yourself.
Bowflex Max Trainer M6 review: Design
The first thing you’ll notice about the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is its compact size. At just 46" long and 26" wide, it shouldn't encroach on your space too much. And if it does get in the way, use the integrated rollers to push it into a corner once your workout is finished.
Just be aware that the ceiling in the room where you use the Max Trainer M6 will need to be taller than your height plus 15 inches (otherwise you might end up with a sore head).
Built for comfort as well as convenience, the M6 features wide and grippy pedals for a solid footing as you work out, plus multi-grip handlebars so you can place your hands in a variety of positions.
Just inside these handlebars are a pair of static handlebars with dual heart-rate receivers, a central console (more on that in a moment), a magnetic media rack for your smart device, plus a bottle holder.
Though it's a solid well-built machine, the Max Trainer M6 will only carry individuals of up to 300lbs. That's not terrible, but there are cross-trainers designed to support a higher max weight. For a higher weight capacity, read our NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride Cross-Trainer review (opens in new tab).
Another thing: you'll need to assemble Bowflex's machine before you can start working out. Don't let that be a dealbreaker, though, as it's not a particularly complicated process and should take no more than about 30 minutes.
Bowflex Max Trainer M6 review: Features
As with any piece of home gym equipment, the Bowflex Max Trainer 6 gives you the opportunity to climb on and get some exercise whenever you please. And as well as this convenience, it's packed with plenty of great features to keep you motivated.
The machine offers 16 levels of resistance – almost as many as the top-of-the-range Bowflex Max Total (20) – as well as five pre-programmed workouts, enabling you to tailor your session to your own capabilities and requirements.
As you train, your speed and distance will be displayed on the centre console, and there's also a Burn Level display that shows how many calories you're burning per minute and sets you targets throughout your session.
However, there are considerably more options available through Bowflex's subscription-based JRNY and Explore the World apps. Note that you'll need your phone or tablet for these, as, unlike the Max Total, the Max Trainer M6 does not come with a screen.
Bowflex's JRNY offers features such as training videos, real-time feedback and streamable music playlists, while Explore The World enables you to train virtually in some of the world's most spectacular locations.
While both of these apps cost money, you get an optional two-month trial of JRNY when you purchase the machine. Handily, you can also sync your workout data with other fitness apps, including MyFitnessPal, Google Fit and Apple Health.
If you get to the end of your workout but want to keep going, you’ll welcome the Add Time feature – simply hit the button and your session will continue for a little longer.
Bowflex Max Trainer M6 review: How could it benefit you?
If you lead a busy life but still want to exercise regularly, then the Max Trainer M6 could be for you. Offering a variety of short, high-intensity workouts, it'll enable you to burn a good few calories, even if you've only got a few minutes to spare each day.
Being a low-impact machine, it's kinder on your joints, reducing the risk of injury. And the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is also ideal for couples or friends who live together, as it memorizes up to two user profiles at a time. Here are some other benefits:
- Enables you to work out more of your body from just one machine
- Guided workouts are available so that you don't injure yourself
- Various exercise modes tailored to your current fitness levels
- Upper body focus mode for when you want to give your legs a rest
- Fast yet energizing workouts ranging from 4 to 30 minutes
- Get the cardio health benefits of a stepper and elliptical in one
Bowflex Max Trainer M6 review: User reviews
At the time of writing, there are no reviews of the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 on Amazon. However, 619 people have rated it on the Bowflex site, generating an overall score of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Of those 619 ratings, 77% award the cross-trainer the maximum five stars.
One reviewer confirmed that the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is great for a high-intensity workout, writing: “I use the 14 min interval max training and it definitely gets your heart rate up.”
Another user hailed the convenience of the machine: “As a parent that also has to work from home, time is limited, so to be able to jump into a workout and be done in 20 minutes while getting a tough workout is awesome.”
Not everyone sang the Max Trainer M6's praises, though. Some customers said they were "disappointed because it is too flimsy", while others said that "some parts did not align well", and how, "there are better-designed machines for a lot less.”
Should you buy the Bowflex Max Trainer M6?
While the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 might not be the cheapest home cardio machine on the market – especially if you subscribe to at least one of the Bowflex apps – we still think it's worth the price. For a cheaper alternative though, read our Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3912 Elliptical Trainer review (opens in new tab).
Boasting a solid build, smooth and virtually silent functionality, and a range of motivational features, this Bowflex cross-trainer could prove invaluable in your various health and fitness goals.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is also smaller than your average elliptical, making it a great option for people who don't have much room to spare at home, yet want to get in regular full body (or near enough) workouts.