Pros / It comes with an ab crunch shoulder harness and squat bar, and you can upgrade its resistance by up to 200 pounds.
Cons / It doesn’t come with instructional videos, and you must change handholds between exercises.
Verdict / The Bowflex Xtreme 2SE is a popular, highly-rated home gym that is versatile, compact and upgradeable. It provides you with 70-plus exercise options, and its resistance is created with power rods.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2SE features Bowflex’s exclusive power rod technology to create resistance. Power rods work much like a bow, providing increased tension as each rod’s curve becomes tauter and easing as the rod straightens. The Xtreme 2SE comes standard with 210 pounds of resistance, but you can upgrade to either 310 or 410 pounds. Being able to upgrade is important because it makes your workouts more challenging as your muscles get stronger.
The Xtreme 2SE gives you more than 70 exercises, for a versatile full body workout. It has high, mid and low-pulley stations, and you can purchase an optional leg press. Priced at nearly $1,600, this machine costs more than double the Body-Solid Powerline BSG10X, which we named our best value, but it wasn’t the most expensive machine we reviewed. The Total Gym FIT has an MSRP over $2,000, and the Bodycraft Galena Pro comes in at just under two grand. However, Nautilus Fitness Adviser Tom Holland says the higher price tag isn’t necessarily a red flag.
“Invest in a quality home gym,” he said. “Sure, they can be expensive, but you get what you pay for. Cheap is usually just that: cheap. Buy a home gym that is safe, sturdy, reliable and that will last for years to come.”
The Bowflex Xtreme 2SE can accommodate one user at a time, with a maximum user weight of 300 pounds. The Yukon Wolverine can have up to four users, but its user weight limit is 25 pounds less. If you’re looking for a machine that works for heavier users, the Total Gym FIT has a weight limit of 450 pounds.
The footprint of the Xtreme 2SE is a modest 53 x 49 x 82 feet (length, width and height). At 185 pounds, the machine is lighter than most home gyms because power rods weigh less than weight stacks. If you’re looking for the lightest home gym we reviewed, the Total Gym FIT weighs just 66 pounds and uses your own body weight to create its resistance.
The Bowflex comes with an ab crunch shoulder harness and a squat bar. Its user guide provides seven trainer-designed workouts that include body shaping routines, strength and bodybuilding routines and workouts for both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. To increase the machine’s versatility, you can purchase a leg press, stirrup handle and ankle strap. You can also buy a rubber floor mat.
Although you don’t have to change cables in between exercises, users of the Xtreme 2SE say you do have to change handholds. Also, the machine doesn’t come with instructional videos, so using it may require some trial and error. If you need help beyond the machine’s printed user guide, Bowflex customer service is available by phone, email, live chat and Facebook. When we reached out with questions, the company was responsive.
If you’re looking for a home gym with a lifetime warranty on its frame, the Xtreme 2SE’s seven years may not impress you. However, Bowflex does guarantee its power rods for a lifetime.