If you are after an entry-level home gym that provides both muscle and cardio training in one machine, your options are pretty limited. One popular machine that does combine muscle training and cardio is the Bowflex PR1000. In this article, we take a close look at the Bowflex PR1000 to help you decide if it belongs in your home gym.
Bowflex is one of the most established and respected names in the home fitness industry. They have been revolutionizing the exercise industry for more than thirty-five years, starting with the original Bowflex with its unique power rod resistance system. The Bowflex lineup of home gyms comprises the following six machines:
- Bowflex PR1000
- Bowflex PR3000
- Bowflex Blaze
- Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE
- Bowflex Revolution
- Bowflex Xceed
Introduced in 2008, the PR1000 has proven to be one of the most popular in the Bowflex home gym range.
The PR1000 makes use of the classic Bowflex power rod resistance system. Instead of using weight plates, they make use of long polymer rods that flex like a bow as you are doing your exercise. This makes for an extremely lightweight, safe way to exercise. They also deliver a smooth, fluid range of motion through every repetition. This makes power rods easier on your joints than traditional weight plate resistance.
The power rods are made from composite polycarbon material and are housed in a protective rubber coating.
The Bowflex PR1000 maximum power rod resistance is 210 pounds, broken down into the following rod resistances:
- 5 pounds
- 10 pounds
- 30 pounds
- 50 pounds
This means that the minimum weight increment is 5 pounds. You cannot buy more power rods with this system, unlike the other five gyms in the Bowflex stable.
You should be aware that the resistance level on the power rods is not a true reflection of what you would get on a weight plate. That is because the Bowflex system only allows for full resistance on the last third of the movement, where the rods are stretched to their full flex capacity. As a general guide, a 210-pound power rod resistance is equivalent to about 150 pounds of free weights.
The 210-pound resistance of the PR1000 is not enough for serious muscle building (taking the just mentioned equivalency into account). It is best suited to people who are looking to tone up and achieve general fitness goals.
You should also know that the power rod system feels quite different from free weights. It does not allow for any negative resistance, which is the lowering part of the movement. While the power rod system is different from traditional free weights most users adapt quickly and find the power rod system as a good alternative for their home gym.
The PR1000 delivers the construction quality that you would expect from a company like Bowflex. The frame is constructed of high-quality commercial-grade steel. High braided steel makes up the cabling and the power rods are made from polycarbon with a rubber sheathing to protect them. The bench set is covered with a Durafirm leather padding.
More than 30 Exercises
You can perform more than thirty exercises on the PR1000. You can do all of the moves that you see in commercial gyms, including the traditional bodybuilding exercises such as the horizontal bench press (flat, incline and decline), seated lat pulldowns, rear delt rows, scapular rotation, low back extensions, shoulder press, shoulder raise, bicep curls, wrist curls, ab crunches, leg extensions, leg press, calf raises and hip abductions.
A unique feature of the PR1000 is that it includes a rowing machine rail. As a result, you can get in a cardio workout along with your muscle training to provide you with a complete all-over body workout.
Hand and Ankle Attachments
Your purchase of the PR1000 comes along with several hand and ankle attachments to provide variety and comfort while performing the various exercises. Each of the grips features comfort padding. Another attachment is a leg press belt that you attach around your waist to provide enhanced safety while you perform moves like leg presses.
The PR1000 is a foldable home gym. This allows you to break the machine down for easy storage when it is not in use. It is pretty quick and easy to break down the machine for storage. The complete setup dimensions of the PR1000 are 84 x 38 x 81 inches. However, it is recommended that you have a floor space of 103 x 80 x 82 inches to allow for the power rod movement around the machine.
The PR1000 weighs 148 pounds.
The PR1000 is sold with the following warranty:
- 1 year on the body of the machine
- 5 years on the power rods
- 60 days on parts
Setting up the PR1000 is a relatively pain-free experience. Bowflex provides better set up instructions than most manufacturers. It should take about an hour and a half to completely set up the PR1000.
Your purchase comes with a comprehensive workout guide.
What Others Are Saying
The PR1000 has many reviews online from verified customers. Most of them are positive, with buyers making mention of the exercise range, price, and quality of construction of the machine. Many people also love the inclusion of the rowing machine to add a cardio aspect to their workout.
Negative comments are related to the lack of ability to add more power rods, the unnatural ‘feel’ of the power rods compared with free weights and the lack of negative resistance that they provide.
The Bowflex PR1000 is a very good entry-level home gym designed for the beginning exerciser. The inclusion of a cardio rower is a great innovation to provide all-over conditioning. More serious athletes will want to go for the PR3000 or even the Bowflex Xceed.