The home gym market is booming with new manufacturers and new products emerging every year. One of the oldest and most respected names in the industry is Bowflex. Their power rod resistance system on which Bowflex home gyms are based provides a viable alternative to the more expensive weight plate system.
In this article, we take a close look at one of Bowflex’s most popular home gyms – the PR3000.
The unique power rod system is the mainstay of this home gym. The flexible polymer resistance rods are a lot lighter than weight plates. This makes them safer and easier to use. They also give you a very smooth, fluid movement that is easier on your joints and tendons.
Bowflex rods are composed of a composite material that is sheathed with a protective rubber coating. Every power rod has a weight rating, with the following increments;
- 5 pounds
- 10 pounds
- 30 pounds
- 50 pounds
The PR3000 gives you a maximum combined power rod resistance of 210 pounds. This can be upgraded to 310 pounds with the purchase of extra power rods.
The Bowflex PR3000 provides you with the ability to do more than 50 exercises. These include the horizontal bench press, 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.
There is no squat bar on this home gym.
Multi-use Grip/Ankle Attachments
This purchase comes with several attachments. In addition to an exercise placard that sits centrally on the frame, you get several multi-use handgrips and ankle cuffs that are designed to add flexibility to your workout. These cuffs also take the pressure off your wrists and forearms so that you can target your working muscles.
The Bowflex PR3000 is very well made. It is constructed from heavy-duty steel complemented with thick padding and stylish vinyl leather. The classic red and black looks great.
No Change Pulley System
The Bowflex PR3000 features a no change pulley system which allows for very quick transitioning from one exercise to the next. This a pretty cool feature that minimizes your downtime. That’s awesome if you are doing HIIT training which relies on virtually no rest between exercises. The only thing you will have to adjust is the positioning of your hand and ankle cuffs.
The leg curl/extension unit on the PR3000 features four-inch cushioning to provide a high level of comfort to your ankles and shins when performing these exercises.
Bowflex has a great reputation when it comes to customer service. They have provided some good support for the PR3000. The instructions and user guides that come with it are better than you would get on most machines. When it comes to shipping, Bowflex often offers free freight but you will have to check at the time of ordering your PR3000.
The Bowflex PR3000 provides you with a pretty decent warranty. Here’s what you get:
- 1 year on the body of the machine
- 7 years on the power rods
- 60 days on parts
What’s Not So Good
- Limited Resistance
Even though the Bowflex PR3000 is upgradeable to 310 pounds, it does not allow you to go up to 410, which quite a few of the other models in the Bowflex stable do (such as the Xtreme). Keep in mind that the power rod system does not equate completely with the equivalent weight resistance. It works similar to the drawing back of a bowstring, with the stated resistance only coming into play for the last third of the movement. There is also no negative resistance (lowering of the weight) on the power rods. The upshot of this is that 210 pounds on the power rods will feel like about 150 pounds of plate weight.
The power rod system feels quite different to using plate weighs but users noted that they quickly got used to the difference and enjoy their Bowflex workouts.
- Not Foldable
Unlike the PR1000, this is not a foldable Bowflex home gym. That means that when you set it up it will stay in place. This could be a problem if you have a very limited space to train in such as an apartment building. The dimensions of the machine are 64 inches long, 41 inches wide and 83 inches high.
- No Rowing Function
Unlike the Bowflex PR1000, the PR3000 does not feature a rowing rail to allow you to perform cardio by way of rowing. This is strictly a weight resistance machine.
What Others Are Saying
There are hundreds of online reviews from verified customers of the Bowflex PR3000 online. The vast majority of them are positive. The most commented-on aspect of the PR3000 is its quick-change cable system, which is usually only available on more expensive models. Customers also spoke highly of the aesthetic appeal of the machine, the wide variety of exercises available on it and the positive experience they had dealing with Bowflex.
On the not so good side, some reviewers made mention of the lack of true resistance and unnatural feel that those who are used to weight plates will experience when first using the power rod resistance system. The lack of foldability, no Rowing Machine and limited potential to add resistance (you can only go up to 310 pounds) were also mentioned.
The PR3000 from Bowflex is a very good mid-priced home gym, with more than fifty exercises and 210 pounds of power rod resistance. It’s a good choice for beginner and intermediate exercisers though more advanced trainers should opt for the Bowflex Xtreme or Xceed which allows you to upgrade to 410 pounds of resistance.