Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Review

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In this review, we’ll walk through the Max Trainer M3 from Bowflex, sharing the features as well as what makes this a special elliptical trainer.  This innovative machine is an efficient and effective way to burn calories in as little as 14-minutes per day.

The Bowflex product line includes home gyms, cardio machines and just about anything you can think of in between. Bowflex has been designing innovative workout equipment for many years and the popular Max Trainer series is no exception. The Bowflex M3 is the entry-level model in the Max Trainer series.

Bowflex Max Trainer M3 USA Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Canada

About the Max Trainer M3

Bowflex Max Trainer M3 ReviewBowflex’s M3 is different from other commercial cardio equipment you’ll find at your local gym because it allows you to do more on a single machine. Think of the Max Trainer M3 as a stair climber and an elliptical machine fused into one. The unique design lets you burn more calories in less time than traditional cardio machines. How much less time? How does a 14-minute workout sound?

With the entry-level model in the Max Trainer series from Bowflex, you are getting the same great quality, functionality and warranty as the other models in the series, just with fewer bells and whistles. And, as you’d expect, the M3 comes with a smaller price tag than the higher-end M6 and M8 models.

Bowflex M3 in-depth review

Total body workout

One of the great aspects of Max Trainers is that they target not only the legs and core but your entire body as well.  A strong core is very helpful for everyday life. With the upright design, the M3 works your glutes, quadriceps and upper body, and does so in a very efficient manner.  Because of this elliptical/stair climber design, you can burn more calories quicker than with other machines.

That efficiency makes this series popular with people who are looking to tone up and/or lose weight.  Quicker results with a kick-butt workout set the M3 apart from other cardio machines at the gym.

A lot of people don’t want to spend a ton of time at the gym, but by the time you do cardio and weights, (and wait for people to get off the machine you want to use) you can easily spend an hour working out.  Basically, to get a full-body workout, you have to spend a lot of time at the gym.

Figuring out what muscle groups to workout each and every day is also a pain.  If you are someone who runs or rides a bike a lot, you are probably set on your legs, but you may be lacking upper body strength. So you also have to find time to get to the gym to get an upper body workout in.

The beauty of the M3 is that you can work your entire body all at once. The Max Trainer M3 can literally give you an all in one workout, so you can spend less time working out, and get more done.

Plus, if you are a runner for instance, what a great way to challenge yourself and change up your workout. Doing so can help with other workout goals, like breaking through a plateau. By engaging your total body, you are doing your body good!

Max Trainer M3 design and usability

Bowflex M3 ConsoleFrom a design perspective, Bowflex does not disappoint. Not only is the M3 attractive to look at, but is also easy to use.  You can adjust the resistance levels easily from the handgrips.  It is kind of like a grip shifter on a bike; you crank the handle forward or backward to adjust the resistance level to fit you.

The upright orientation of the machine is like a stair climber and an elliptical put together. Because of this design, the M3 takes up a lot less space than a traditional elliptical.  If space is a concern, then this model is perfect for a home office or other areas where space for an entire home gym might be lacking.

Efficiency is the key

The overall design of the machine is to help you get more work done is a shorter amount of time. I think the efficiency of the workouts on the M3 is the greatest feature. When you are able to work out your whole body with one machine, your workout is going to be more efficient and that is the beauty of the Max Trainer M3.

When all of your muscle groups are working together at the same time, you can increase the number of calories you burn in a shorter period of time.  Working out on the M3 for 15 minutes will burn more calories than lifting weights for 15 minutes. Plus, you’d be hard pressed to find another way of working all of your muscle groups.

Some people will spend hours at the gym working out. For those that don’t, a Max Trainer is great home-gym candidate.

Max Trainer M3 is low impact

Working out can be tough on your body if you don’t do it correctly. And, if you don’t have proper form, you can injure yourself. High-impact activities such as running can put undue stress on your joints and ligaments.  Over time, this stress can lead to injuries and pain.

This reality is what has made low impact workout equipment like the M3 popular.

Smooth and quiet operation

The Max Trainer M3 operates smoothly and quietly. It’s quiet enough that you won’t wake those still sleeping in your house if you workout before they’re awake.

Workout at home

Did I mention that you don’t have to go to the gym? That really is one of the greatest features of owning a Bowflex Max Trainer M3. Being able to work out in the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule and without fighting traffic or lines. Gyms get so busy, especially after work and during other peak times.

Bowflex M3Specifications

The following functions can be set with the M3’s keypad:

  • Max Interval
  • Burn rate increase/decrease
  • User profile selection (2 users profiles are available)

Notable features

  • The M3’s LCD display will show your metrics and how you are progressing, including time, speed, calories, distance and more
  • Two workout programs, Max Interval, and Manual
  • Eight resistance levels, using the resistance level shifter dial on the stationary handgrip
  • Heart-rate monitor
  • Water bottle holder
  • Media/tablet holder

The Max Trainer M3 is portable

The machine does come with rollers on the front, base of the frame.  So you can tilt the machine forward and move it. Bowflex recommends that if you are going to move the unit, do so with two people. It does weigh in at over 140 pounds, so moving it on your own is probably not a great idea.

I would say you probably don’t want to have to move the machine all the time because I don’t know how practical that would be, but the fact that it is mobile is a great added feature.


The pedals are large enough to fit a variety of different users and are designed to be aerodynamic.


Bowflex offers a one year warranty on the frame, mechanical parts, electronics, and 90 days on labor on the Max Trainer M3.  This is another area that is different than the M6 and the M8, which gives a two and three-year warranty respectively. All models have the same 90-day warranty on labor.

What is missing from the M3?

One feature that the Max Trainer M3 does not have that the other two models do have is a heart rate monitor built into the static handles.  You can still use a chest strap, but you just will not have the ability to grab ahold of the handles and see your heart rate that way.  Kind of a bummer, but not the end of the world.

The Max Trainer M3 also does not have Bluetooth connectivity, so you will not be able to synchronize your statistics to a workout app.

Conclusion: Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Review


  • Efficient low-impact, full-body workout
  • Innovative upright
  • Smaller footprint than many other home gym exercise machines
  • Entry-level model with the functionality of the higher-priced models
  • Portable
  • Positive customer reviews
  • Financing options
  • Budget-friendly Max Trainer model
  • Water bottle holder
  • Space for a tablet


  • Lacks Bluetooth connectivity
  • Does not have a heart rate monitor built into the handgrip

Who is the Bowflex M3 good for?

  • People who want an efficient full-body workout in the comfort of your own home
  • If weight loss and getting tone are part of your goals, this machine would be great for you
  • Anyone wanting a full-body, low-impact workout in a compact home gym exercise machine
  • You are okay with basic functionality and are just interested in getting an efficient workout

Who should avoid this Bowflex model?

  • The technophile who demands the latest gadgets and connectivity
  • Those wary of the 1 year warranty the MaxTrainer M3 has (1/3 the length of more upscale Max Trainers)

Well, there you have it; this covers a lot of ground on the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 review. This is a great entry-level, full-body workout exercise machine.  While there are a few features that the M3 lacks when compared with the M6 and M8, it’s reflected in the M3’s entry-level price.

Functionally, the M3 will work great for most people, and if you are looking to save some money, this is definitely worth a look.  You will have to decide which options you are really wanting and decide which model is best. Still thinking the Max Trainer model line through? Check out our complete Max Trainer M6 review or Max Trainer M8 review.

Bowflex offers a 6-week return policy, so if you are not happy, you do have the option of returning the unit.

Bowflex Max Trainer M3 USA Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Canada

Additional considerations

Customer Service

In my dealings with the folks on chat, it has been positive, they are very helpful and seem to be knowledgeable as well.

Assembly is required

You will need to invite a friend to help you assemble the Max Trainer M3.  Per the owner’s manual, assembly requires two people.  The machine comes in two separate boxes and does come with an Allen wrench as well as a standard closed-end wrench.

In-home assembly is available as well for those folks who are not mechanically inclined or do not want to build it themselves. You will have to pay extra for in-home assembly. I think building it is part of the fun, but I realize not everyone thinks the way I do.

I would recommend purchasing a Machine Mat, which will protect your floors.  The machine sits on top of this non-slip rubber mat.  The mat would be especially useful if you plan on setting up your machine on hardwood floors.  There are feet that you unscrew, so the machine is nice and stable on the floor.

Before you decide where you want to house the machine, Bowflex recommends a space of 73 inches by 94.1 inches.  Be sure you have enough headroom as well.  You want to add 15 inches to the height of the user for maximum clearance.

Bowflex Max Trainer M3
  • Available Features - 90%
  • Functionality - 90%
  • Design - 95%

10 thoughts on “Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Review”

  1. It is a good product. I like the pros and cons you provided. But I need to ask, can the product be shipped to other countries? I am in the market for a new machine but would like to know if it’s possible to ship to Canada. Thanks for the in-depth review, I appreciate it.

    • Yes, Bowflex does ship to Canada, and I am glad you asked that question. Please let me know if you have any more questions, I am glad to help. Thanks for your comment as well.

  2. I wish I saw this before my wife bought her over-priced NordicTrac! It is a monstrocity that takes up so much space, and is way too heavy if we decide to rearrange the room, or move it to a different one. Looks like a great product here. I may have to work a deal with her somehow…

    • Oh, that’s too bad, yet kind of funny. I love the fact that the M3 is so compact, and provides a great workout. Can you return your NordicTrac? LOL
      One very nice thing about the M3 is the portability with transport wheels built in. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it.

  3. Excellent info on the Bowflex M3. Amazingly thorough and detailed. I really feel informed now to make a decision on these products should I decide to pursue buying one. My in home work out equipment is older, and somewhat lacking compared to today’s machines. May be time for me to up my game. Thanks for sharing this.

    • No problem Tom, I am glad to help. Let me know if you need any more information. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate it.

  4. Thanks for the review. I like ellipticals, but only have been using it in the gym so far. The machine looks great and a 14-minutes workout would fit perfectly into my tight schedule. Maybe I should give it a shot.

    • Hi Felix, thank you for stopping. The 14-minute workout is appealing for sure. If you have any more questions or need any help, I am glad to offer my assistance. Thanks again, I appreciate your comment.

  5. Hi Steve. Thank you so much for this review. I’ve been looking for an elliptical trainer. I have a permanent foot injury, and my Dr says I shouldn’t use the treadmill anymore. He says the elliptical has low impact of the feet and knees. My problem has been that all the ones I have looked into are so large. I only have a small area to work with. This Bowflex M3 will be perfect. You review was exceptional. The video shows the size. I think it’s perfect for what I need. When I’m ready to purchase, I will be back. Thanks again.

    • Thank you for stopping by Wendi. Sorry to hear about your foot injury, that has to be tough. Yes, the Bowflex M3 is a low impact way to get a great workout. The upright design makes the unit much smaller than a traditional elliptical. Let me know if you have any questions, I am glad to help.


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