Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Review – Features, Pros & Cons

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Thank you for stopping by to read my Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE review.  If you are tired of paying gym memberships or fighting with other gym rats for equipment, then a home gym might be just right for you.  I will take a good hard look at this home gym from Bowflex and tell you what I like, and if anything, what I don’t like.

Product: Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Company: Bowflex
Recommended: Yes
Summary: The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is a fantastic home gym option and offers a lot of value for the price. If you are looking to achieve your fitness goals from the comfort of your own home, the Xtreme 2 is worth your consideration.
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Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE review

About Bowflex

Bowflex is part of the Nautilus family and has been designing innovative home gym systems for about 30 years now.  They never cease to impress.  Power Rod technology is, in my opinion, what has made Bowflex famous.

Having a lightweight and compact machine with a ton of functionality in your home is fantastic. Gone are the gym memberships and the stress of getting to the gym.

I know that one of the things many people struggle with is just getting to the gym.  After a long day of work, a lot of people don’t want to hop back in the car and make the trek to their local (or not so local) gym.  Getting to the gym is more than half the battle for a lot of us.

Then, after you get to the gym, so many other people are using the same equipment you want to use.  Unless you have a schedule that allows you to go during the off-peak hours, gyms can be a real downer.

Enter the home gym

A home gym has many advantages.  First off, you make the initial investment and then you don’t pay a monthly membership anymore.  Second, you can work out on your schedule, no more fighting to use the equipment. You can work out in the comfort of your own home.

The first thing to consider is the dimensions of the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE and how much space you will need to operate.


  • Dimensions: 53” L x 49” W x 83.25” HBowflex Xtreme 2 SE Review
  • Workout Area: 8’ L x 6’5” W
  • Weight of unit: 185 pounds
  • Max user weight: 300 pounds
  • Warranty – Machine: 7 years, Power Rods: Lifetime


The resistance and Power Rod technology needs some explaining. Working out on a Bowflex home gym is not the same as lifting free weights. The Power Rod’s are built using progressive resistance technology. Power Rods have a unique feel to them that is quite different from lifting free weights.

It’s kind of like pulling back a bow when loading an arrow.  It’s pretty easy at first and gets progressively harder the farther you pull back.

So, that said, the resistance technology may take some getting used to if you are accustomed to lifting with free weights.  With the Bowflex machine, you will get a great workout, and you can achieve your fitness goals.

Lifting with resistance vs. free weights has similarities, they both provide you with resistance, a full range of motion, and allow you to lift at different speeds.

Okay, let’s move on. The Xtreme 2 SE comes with 210 pounds of resistance, which is upgradeable to 310 pounds or 410 pounds.  That is one of the great features of this machine is that you can upgrade the amount of resistance, allowing you to grow with the machine and not outgrow it.

The 210 pounds of resistance is set up this way:

  • (2) 50-pound rods
  • (2) 30-pound rods
  • (4) 10-pound rods
  • (2) 5-pound rods

When you add additional weight, this comes in the form of extra 50-pound rods. If you decide you want 310 pounds of resistance, you will get two extra 50-pound rods, etc.

Cable pulley system

Bowflex has incorporated a no-change cable pulley system.  This system allows you to freely move from one workout to another without having to change the cable system.  This is a very efficient and effective way to workout.  Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Review

Works for all muscle groups

The machine gives you the capability to perform over 70 exercises to hit all the major muscle groups:

  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Abdominals

The Xtreme 2SE comes with an angled lat bar, allowing you to do narrow and wide grip lat pulldowns, tricep pushdown, and more.

You cannot lay down and perform bench press, but you can do an upright bench, as well as incline, decline, and chest flies.



Attachments and versatility

The leg attachment comes with the machine and is used for…wait for it…leg extensions.  Unfortunately, there is no way to do leg curls with the unit.  Leg curls are a big part of my leg day, so that is a bummer.  However, there are a lot of other ways to work out legs, including squats, deadlift, kickbacks, adduction, adduction, calf raises.

Another really cool piece of equipment that comes with the Xtreme 2 SE is the Abdominal Crunch Shoulder Harness.  You can strap the harness around your shoulders and do cable crunches.  This is a great addition to this home gym.

The seat height is adjustable, and you can remove the leg extension, giving you space to do some lifts like deadlift, squats, etc.

Bowflex is known for designing compact home gyms, and this unit is no exception.  It will fit in your living room, or office and even looks pretty cool.  One thing that is kind of a bummer, this machine is not foldable, like some of the other models, so you will want to keep that in mind.  If you are looking for a machine that is foldable, check out the Bowflex Revolution.

Workout programs

I really like the fact that the owner’s manual comes with all kinds of great information:

  • It has a variety of workout options laid out for you and guides you in how to perform these exercises
  • Eating plan
  • Tracking log

If you are a beginner, you have nothing to fear, Bowflex has you covered.  The manual will show you sample workout routines, and it has images showing how to perform the exercises.  The meal plans and tracking logs will help you get, and stay, on the right track to a better you.



Now for the fun part, the unit does not come assembled.  Honestly, I enjoy this kind of stuff, so for me, it is not an issue, but for some people it is.  Bowflex does offer in-home setup, for a price of course.  If that is more your speed, no problem, they have you covered.

If you do assemble it yourself, I contacted Bowflex, and they suggest it will take about two hours to assemble.


• Warranty – Machine: 7 years, Power Rods: Lifetime

Another optional piece you may want to consider is the Machine Mat, a non-slip mat that the unit will sit on.  This is especially nice if you have hardwood floors, or another surface you want to protect.

Customer Service

I have had a lot of conversations with the customer service representative at Bowflex, and they have been friendly and helpful.  They seem to be pretty knowledgeable about the products they sell.

Conclusion: Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE

Well, I think that about covers it.  The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE has a lot to offer a home gym user. You can perform a lot of different exercises and get a full-body workout in less time.  The resistance may take a little getting used to, but after a bit, you should be ready to go.


  • Compact home gym
  • You can perform over 70 exercises
  • Compact and versatile machine
  • Great warranty
  • Workout in less time than going to the gym


  • The machine is not set up for leg curls
  • Users complain that weight on the Power Rods is not equivalent to free weights
  • Assembly is required
  • 210 pounds that it comes with may not be enough for some users or some exercises
  • Can upgrade resistance but that costs extra

I like this gym because it offers a lot of great and functional exercises. With a home gym, you can work out on your schedule and build and maintain your body.  If you are a beginner, this unit will allow you to grow into it, and you can use it for years to come.  If you are a more advanced workout fiend, you can definitely see results as well.

If are ready to purchase your very own machine, you can click on the links below, and you will be directed to  There you can make your purchase safe and secure.  Bowflex also offers financing, so you are free to explore that option as well.


For other home gym options, be sure to check out my complete review for the best home gym.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE
  • Effectiveness
  • Functionality
  • Design

26 thoughts on “Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Review – Features, Pros & Cons”

  1. Very in depth review of an amazing product. Thank you for explaining features and technology of the equipment.
    I personally believe that when purchasing equipment like this, it should target all muscle groups of the body.
    As you’ve mentioned it does in fact work the muscles in all areas of the body which is definitely a bang for your buck.
    Which types of muscles do you consider the most important and how frequent do you work out to develop them?

    • Thank you for stopping by.  I agree with you, a piece of equipment that works the whole body is a fantastic way to go. There are other options out there, some I have reviewed, that target specific areas like core and those are great also.  For me, core is primary, and I consider that to me from the armpits to the knees.  I know that is a pretty wide definition, but that is the most important area for me, with my back problems. I workout 5 days per week, plus I do some stuff each morning to get my back ready for the day.  Thanks again for your comment, I appreciate it.

  2. Hi Steve,
    I have never thought about getting a home gym. But it does make a big sense.
    Am I tired of paying for the gym membership, of course! it takes a bunch of money out of our family budget as both my husband and I are attending.
    Now the Bowflex looks like an awesome equipment to have is someone is looking to have a personal gym. I wish we could have more space for the equipment in our house, but even though this machine looks relatively compact you would still want to have a chunk of space for it.
    The idea of bow pulling is quite awesome for resistance! I am used to having free weights but I am pretty sure this can add quite a bit of resistance too especially by adding more bowstrings.
    Will definitely look at something like this when we will develop our basement!

    • Thank you for your comment. I can definitely understand your concern for space. A basement would be a great location for a Bowflex.  This model has an upright orientation, so compared to other options, it is a space-saver, but still you have to have some room for it.  

      I also understand how expensive gym memberships can be for two people, so this could be a great option.  Please let me know if you have any questions, or need any help.  Thanks again for stopping by.

  3. I really enjoyed your article on Bowflex. It’s been years since I’ve had a home gym because I love the variety of equipment at the gym. However, with my work schedule it’s really been hard to keep a regular workout schedule. I realize that this is something I need to consider so that I can stay consistent with my workouts. Thanks for this really great information.

    • Thank you for your comment Ruby.  I understand the variety of equipment you are talking about.  I do think this Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE offers a lot for a home gym. You are right on as far as staying on schedule with workouts. If you have a gym at home and can get a great workout in, there are no excuses right? LOL.  Thanks again for stopping by, I appreciate it.

  4. Very strong review packed with information and I loved reading about the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE. I loved how you have given people an alternative to signing up the gym and being able to work from home! Keep up the good reviews! I must say that the use of images and language is very enticing and I would love to read more of them from you

    • Thank you very much, I appreciate it.  I really enjoy writing, so I am glad you enjoyed reading. Please let me know if you have any questions, I am here to help.  Oh, and please take a look around, I have a lot more reviews to take a look at.

  5. Ah, I remember these commercials, these guys they show are always ripped!  I have thought about getting a home gym, since it’s more convenient than going to the gym.  Plus they gym is always so crowded.  I do have a question, can you add more weight to this machine or does it just come with 210 pounds?  I really like the video you added as well.  Thanks for reviewing this Bowflex, you have a lot of great information here.

    • Yes, they definitely show the killer bodies, to sell their equipment.  Swimsuit models sell swimsuits, and fitness models sell fitness equipment, that’s the way it goes.  Anyway, to answer your question, yes you can upgrade the resistance to 310 or 410 pounds.  If you choose to upgrade, you will receive additional 50-pound resistance rods.  I appreciate your comment and if you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, I am here to help.

  6. I have been thinking of setting up my own home gym for a little while now but I am looking to start off with the smaller things then take it up from there.  The Bowflex extreme looks like a piece of perfect equipment that I should get as it can really be a good addition to getting some dumbbells etc. Maybe it’ll be the first big one I go for. The technology is really good and it has a good warranty too. I’m lucky to have read this review. Thank you, Steve.

    • Thanks for your comment. Bowflex does offer a good warranty and Xtreme 2 SE would be a great addition to your home gym setup. Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks for stopping by.

  7. This machine looks awesome for an entire body workout. It is a great alternative to the gym and more hygenic too, but one must make sure it doesn’t become a white elephant, as I see so many well-intentioned exercise machine purchases doing. I see many of my friends who have gym equipment standing in the garage, never to be used again.

    The assembly part makes me nervous though, as this machine looks a bit complicated.

    I like that the machine doesn’t have free weights and the fact that it goes up to 201 lb’s is perfect for me. I don’t think I will ever need anything stronger than that. I also like that there are over 70 different exercises that one can do, so this alleviates the boredom somewhat, especially when it comes to exercising on your own.

    • Hi Michel, thanks for your comment.  I love the concern about being hygienic, that is something people don’t often mention about gyms.  With everyone using the same equipment, you never know who has had their grubby hands on it LOL.

      As for assembly, the instructions are very straightforward, but it will take some time.  You do have the option to pay for in-home assembly if that is something you need.

      Sounds like this machine would be a good fit for you.  Let me know if you have any questions, I am happy to help.

  8. This is quite a reminder for me. It’s been years since I worked out in the real sense of the word, because of work and family. However, I now realize that this is home gym is something I should consider so that I can restart my exercises and haply my kids will start to learn keeping fit as well, so much better if it happens in their early life. Thanks for this reminder.

    • Getting your kids started on working out would be great for the whole family.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Your review about the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is spot on. I have been having issues going to the gym for quite sometimes because if the distance from my apartment, thoughts of having a home gym has never crossed my mind but your post has provided great insights about that. Who can I contact to assemble the Bowflex Xtreme and other gym materials for me at low cost?

    • Hi Charles, thanks for your comment.  Yeah, I totally get it, sometimes getting to the gym is not so easy, especially after a long day at work, etc.  A home gym is a great option for a lot of people.  As for assembly, Bowflex offers in-home assembly and it runs about $299.  If you are handy, you can save yourself some $$.  The instructions are pretty easy to follow, but the option is certainly there to have the unit assembled for you.  Thanks again for stopping by, I appreciate it.

  10. Hi Steve.

    Thank you for your honest review of Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE. In your post you have nicely described about Bowflex, the advantages of home gym, specs and resistance of Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE, warranty, pros and cons and so many information about Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE. Now, I have a clear knowledge Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE by reading this post and I think it will work good.

    I will share your post to others so that they might be helped. Thanks again.

  11. Thanks for the review as i had been considering a home machine for some time. A friend of mine had a similar machine that i tried some time ago and I liked the idea of working with resistance and body weight. I will have another look at this machine !

  12. Well, Steve, I am currently paying £68 per month for my Gym membership and not proud to say that currently I hardly ever go the Gym simply due to a busy lifestyle (which is a very weak excuse, I know ). But you are perfectly right, getting to the Gym is the main thing but with a versatile exercise machine like the Bowflex Xtreme you can certainly save quite a bit of money on Gym membership fees. This will obviously not be a solution for the serious bodybuilder, but for your average kind of Joe that needs to workout from time to time, this is certainly the perfect solution due to its versatility.

    • Hi Schalk, thanks for your comment. I agree with you, going to the gym after a long day of work takes a lot of effort and motivation. Having a home gym is exactly what some people need. The Xtreme 2 SE is a great machine for building lean muscle mass and as you said, is not for someone who wants to be a serious bodybuilder. This is a versatile machine for home use and that is exactly what it is designed for. Thanks again for stopping by, I appreciate it.

  13. Hi Steve, thanks for the VERY informative review of the bowflex extreme 2.

    From what you have said it seems a very good piece of kit. I’ve only ever used free weights or like gym machines with the big steel weights. How do these power rod resistance things stack up against good old free weights? Are they more or less efficient at ripping muscle fibres and helping build muscle mass?

    And as you said no leg curls is a bit of a bummer but not the end of the world if the rest of the machine is as good as you say it is.

    Thanks for the honest review.

    • Hi Anthony, thanks for your comment. Power Rods are developed to be as close to a 1:1 ratio with actual pounds as possible. Certain exercises are easier with Power Rods because of the way they work with progressive resistance. At the starting position of any workout, muscles are at the weakest. For example, using a bench press position moving your hands away from your shoulders make muscles work hard and are strongest at their fullest extension.

      The same principle applies to Power Rods. At the beginning of the range of movement, they are not fully flexed and are easier to bend. As the Power Rods flex, their resistance increases. At full extension, the rods are at 100 percent resistance versus at the beginning, where they are at about 30 percent resistance. This makes exercises on Bowflex home gyms safer and easier on your joints than traditional free weight workouts.

      The Xtreme 2 SE is great for folks looking to build lean mass rather than bulk, the Xtreme 2 SE is very easy and low impact on the body.

      Glad you enjoyed the review, thanks again for stopping by.


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