This ideal piece of home exercise equipment provides users with a variety of gym-quality exercises in an efficient, affordable package. Free space in a personal residence is at a premium. Users prefer compact gym options with the capacity to fold items away for storage. A gym that is non-cumbersome is also desirable as it allows the user to maneuver the machine after assembly. Gyms such as the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE offer a great value and a variety of gym-quality exercises while taking up minimal space.
For this review, we will compare the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE to three other gyms in its class. The gyms we picked for comparison allowed us to examine the solutions other manufacturers used to address the problem of achieving professional gym quality workouts in an economy of space. Our conclusion is that for fitness goals ranging from lightweight rehab, to intense full body workouts, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE offers a superior solution to all your home workout needs.
What Is the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE?
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is a highly functional home gym that features over 70 different exercises. The unit has a vertical bench press rather than horizontal alternative, which allows for a more compact construction. The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE provides its work load through Bowflex’s Power Rod resistance. The unit comes with 210 pounds of resistance out of the box, but it is upgradeable to 410 pounds. The unit is overall very attractive and is a well-engineered piece of equipment. Power Rods are an advantage over a traditional weight stack as they make the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE easier to maneuver than comparable gyms.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE measures 8′ X 6.5′ and requires an operational height of 83.25″. The unit features Bowflex’s quick change power rod system which makes switching from exercises quick and efficient. The assembled product weight is 185 pounds and arrives in four boxes, none of which weigh more than approximately 50 pounds. The maximum user weight is 300 pounds. Included with the gym are seven trainer-built workout regimens. It also includes an ab training strap, squat bar and lat bar.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is available for around $1,200 to $1,600. It is available on Amazon.com, at your local sporting goods store, or directly from the Bowflex web page.
How it Compares
For the sake of comparison, we put the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE up against a couple other gyms. These home workout systems offered variations of price, size and overall workload. In addition to the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE, we also took a look at these other models:
Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE
Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE
4.2 out of 5 stars
Ease of Use
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE offers a highly intuitive system for maximizing weight and switching up exercises. We found the quick change Power Rod system to be easy to master, and the power rods were a lot easier to manage than a traditional weight stack. The lat bar and squat bar provide for a large range of full body exercises. All the exercises listed in the included trainer built workout program were very effective in working the muscle groups they targeted. When Bowflex claims their product features 70 exercises, they mean it.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE comes with an easy to follow instruction manual. The unit is also easy to disassemble, but we would recommend that you keep the instruction manual in case of the need for reassembly. The shipping boxes were small enough that one person can assemble this unit with little difficulty.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE boasts a heavy duty steel construction, which is both attractive to look at and designed for long-term durability. The unit is efficient and compact, and the Power Rod resistance system is much easier to maneuver than a traditional weight stack.
Bowflex offers one of the best warranties in the business. The warranty on the machine is for seven years, and the Power Rods have a lifetime warranty.
Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage
Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage
3.9 out of 5 stars
The Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage is like the traditional weightlifting cages you might find at a professional gym. It has a heavy duty steel frame and uses aircraft cable with a tensile strength of 2,000 pounds. The unit features multifunctional press arms, a dual function leg developer, an Olympic free weight rack, and a fully adjustable horizontal bench.
The unit measures 95″ X 79″ and requires 86″ of height. The weight of the assembled unit is 430 pounds. It is important to note that this unit is the cage only. You must purchase your weights for this gym separately.
At first glance, the $1,000 price seems highly competitive for a gym of this quality. However, the gym does not include weights, which entails a considerable further cost.
Ease of Use
Anyone who has ever visited a professional gym will find this piece of equipment to be familiar. However, it is a large unit and not ideal if you have limitations on space to dedicate to your home gym. The exercises you can perform on this machine are good. However, this machine does not feature the full body options available on the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE.
This is a heavy duty unit and not designed for easy assembly or disassembly. The cage comes in three boxes that are too large for one person to lift, and some pieces are awkward to maneuver and put into place. We found the manual to be a little frustrating to follow.
Once assembled, the Marcy Diamond Elite Cage is a very nice piece of heavy duty gym equipment. However, this machine seems better designed for a professional gym rather that at home because it’s difficult to maneuver and disassemble. It is also large.
The machine comes with a standard two-year limited warranty.
4.4 out of 5 stars
The Body-Solid G1S is another vertical bench home gym featuring a 160 pound weight stack. The unit measures 73″ X 47″ and requires 84″ of height for operation. The gym is compact and attractive, but we did not find it to have the equivalent solid construction of the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE. The gym allows over 40 different exercises. The unit includes a lat bar, straight bar, ankle strap and Ab/triceps strap. Also included is a total body workout DVD.
This $1000 option is a reasonably priced, entry-level gym that represents a good value.
Ease of Use
We found the weight stack included with this device to be not as easy to use as the Bowflex Power Rod system. The weight stack provided less total resistance out of the box than the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE. The workouts were effective, but there was a limited variety.
The unit went together fairly easily, but this was more due to the simplicity of the unit than the design or manual.
This is a very lightweight gym compared to the other units we have tested. It is good for rehab and light lifting, but it will not hold up to rigorous programs.
The unit has a tremendous warranty that guarantees all parts forever.
Gold’s Gym XR 55
Gold’s Gym XR 55
3.8 out of 5 stars
The Gold’s Gym XR 55 is an all-inclusive, compact, home exercise machine. The unit features a 125 pound vinyl weight stack that offers 330 pounds of resistance. The unit features high and low pulley systems for upper and lower body training. The unit includes a four-roll leg developer, a lat bar, and an exercise chart. The unit is fairly lightweight and will not take extreme use. We found the unit to be fairly unattractive. We did not find the exercises detailed on the exercise chart to be highly effective in activating targeted muscle groups. Range of motion on this machine felt limited.
This is a very inexpensive home gym at $300, and also offers free shipping.
Ease of Use
The unit is easy to use, but this is due, in part, to the machine not being very adjustable.
It is a lightweight unit, and it was easy to assemble. Compared to the other gyms in this test, this was the least durable unit.
The aesthetic and the construction of this unit did not impress us. We found it to be flimsy, ugly and somewhat unstable.
There is a standard, limited warranty, but remember to go to the manufacturer’s web page to activate it.
When searching for a home gym, users seek the closest approximation to the workout available at professional gyms, but in a compact package. An attractive, well-engineered and durable design is critical, particularly for exercise routines requiring heavy workloads. Ease of switching between exercises is also a major consideration, as is the overall price. Of the gyms we tested, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE was the clear winner in terms of design, workload, durability, attractiveness, and is available at a highly competitive price.
The Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage was a very impressive piece of equipment, but it was not an ideal design for a home unit. The machine takes up more space than most people have available and is too heavy to maneuver or assemble by yourself. The Marcy Diamond has a good price point until you consider that the out of the box unit does not provide weights. It is a beautifully constructed, heavy duty piece of weight lifting equipment, but as a home gym, the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage lacks aesthetic, compactness and ease of use.
The Body-Solid G1S has a good price point, but the variety of workouts available was limited compared to the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE. Also, the Body-Solid did not match the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE in terms of durability of construction or overall aesthetic. The weight stack resulted in a less efficient and maneuverable overall design, and we feel that the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE offers greater workout potential for a competitive price.
The Gold’s Gym XR 55 was our least favorite gym tested. Although this unit was one-third of the price of the other gyms in our study, we found its construction to be highly suspect and unreliable. The vinyl weight stack was not to our liking, and the overall aesthetic of the unit was not at all attractive. Due to the forces involved with even rehab-based weight lifting, it is not our recommendation to purchase an unstable home gym system. This was not a gym we felt comfortable using for serious weight training.
When compared to its competitors, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE offers a superior variety of effective workouts. Unlike other machines, the exercises detailed in the Bowflex training program were highly effective at activating the intended muscle groups. The quick change Power Rod system made it easy to switch exercises and weight loads, and the expansion weight packages gave this unit the greatest potential resistance in our study.
The unit has superior engineering both for durability and for ease of assembly out of the box. The competitive price and the above average warranty make the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE our top choice for all home exercise programs.