Bowflex workouts have been gradually increasing in popularity for years, before exploding in 2020, due to the home workout boom that was caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is because they are incredibly versatile machines, capable of helping people to develop their entire physique.
Much like any fitness equipment though, the results they can offer will only stretch as far as your knowledge.
That means there are unfortunately plenty of people who own these incredible systems who are only using them to achieve a fraction of the improvements they are capable of producing.
With that in mind, today I am going to take you through a comprehensive Bowflex back workout.
As one of the largest, most important parts of your body, a strong back is essential to not only your physical performance but also to your health and posture as well.
This should help you to see the true potential of your Bowflex equipment and allow you to make some of the best gains you have ever achieved, on your way to the complete and well-rounded development of your back.
What Is A Bowflex Workout?
Bowflex are an American brand of fitness equipment which was originally based out of Vancouver, Washington.
They released their first product in 1986 and have since grown into a worldwide brand.
They are primarily known for their multigyms, which operate without the need for traditional weight plates.
A Bowflex workout relates to any exercise routine that can be completed solely by using their products or systems.
They have become incredibly popular due to the incredible number of exercises you are capable of performing on each of their machines.
This is because they allow you to train your entire body, as well as focus specifically on smaller groups of muscles.
Their lack of weight and size compared to regular multigyms also makes them a great choice for anyone looking to work out from home, who doesn’t have the space to install a full gym setup.
The Benefits Of Bowflex Workouts
There are multiple benefits associated with using Bowflex equipment.
The first and most obvious is that they can help the user to complete incredibly varied workouts in their own home, without the need for endless pieces of equipment.
The lack of traditional weight plates also makes then a much safer option than traditional free weights, which is an especially important consideration for anyone planning on training alone.
The range of Bowflex systems available allows each user to find the optimal solution, based on their own goals, abilities, and available space.
While the Bowflex Revolution is their most popular, each option will have many of its own unique benefits and selling points.
Bowflex equipment also takes a multipurpose approach to fitness. This allows the user to make improvements in muscle size, strength, tone, and mobility, while also being an incredible tool for those aiming to change their body composition.
The addition of a specially designed mobile app also allows users to track their performance while using Bowflex equipment.
This provides an incredibly clear picture on how you are progressing, as well as helping you to outline any weak areas.
Best Bowflex Back Workout
While Bowflex equipment can offer incredibly effective workouts, they won’t be able to do so unless you know what you are doing.
The following routine is a selection of exercises that work each and every part of your back, though all of the planes of motion.
We feel it is the best Bowflex back workout for those seeking complete and well-rounded development of all the muscles that make up the back.
Seated Pulldown With Handles
Sit on the flat bench with your body facing the vertical part of the bench.
Grasp both handles above your head and slightly in front of your face, with your palms facing each other.
Keeping your back straight, pull the handles down towards your body, until they are just below shoulder height, either side of your chest.
After squeezing for a second, slowly allow the handles to return to the starting position.
Seated Pulldown With Bar
Using the bar on the machine, sit down on the bench facing the vertical part of the machine.
Grip the bar with both hands, using an overhand grip, just outside of shoulder width.
Pull the bar down and towards the body, bringing your elbows into your sides. Perform a quick pause and squeeze, before returning it to the starting position.
The movement will be extremely similar to the previous exercise, only there is less potential for one side to work through a greater range of motion than the other.
This allows you to use more resistance, which leads to better strength gains, as well as avoid any imbalances from developing.
Standing Stiff-Arm Pulldown With Bar
Stand facing the vertical part of the machine and reach out and grip the bar with both hands, using an overhand grip.
The starting point should see the bar positioned just slightly above your head, while your arms are almost completely straight, with just a small bend in the elbows.
Without bending your arms and while keeping your back straight, bring the bar down to your thighs. After a quick pause, return the bar to the starting position.
Make sure to keep your lats engaged throughout. You can lean forward slightly at the waist if you need to in order to achieve this.
Take a seated position on the bench with the body facing the vertical part of the machine.
Put your hands through the handles and slide your arms through until the handles almost reach your elbows.
Pivot your hips to move your upper body backwards, bending at the waist while keeping your buttocks stationary throughout.
Once you have achieved an almost completely prone position, pause for a second before returning to the starting position.
Stand with your back facing the vertical part of the machine and flex your knees slightly, so that you can comfortably bend at the waist.
With your upper body almost parallel to the floor, grip the lower bar with both hands, using an overhand grip, just outside of shoulder width.
Keeping your entire body still, use only your arms to pull the bar up towards your chest, with your upper arms maintaining an angle of roughly 45 degrees from your sides.
Squeeze the arms and back briefly before slowly lowering the bar back to its original position.
Stand with your back against the vertical section of the machine, with your legs and back completely straight.
Bend at the waist by moving only the hips and grip the lower bar using straight arms and an overhand grip.
Using only the hips, stand back up until you are completely straight, and the bar is touching the front of your thighs.
Pause for a second before slowly bending back down to the starting position.
For added development, squeeze the traps back and up at the top of each repetition.
Seated rows are a great exercise for targeting some of the parts of the back that often get missed, such as the lower back, inner rhomboids, and traps.
They also include a certain amount of legs and glutes as well.
Sit facing the vertical part of the machine and grip the handles with both hands, using an overhand grip, with the palms either facing down or towards each other.
Slide back until the arms are completely extended and use your feet and legs to lock yourself into position.
Pull the handles in to the abdominal region, pausing as they reach your sides. After squeezing the muscles for a second or two, return the handles to the starting position.
To engage even more of the lower back and glutes, you can lean back at the waist slightly at the top of the rep, then lean forward at the bottom.
This creates a greater range of motion and flexes the muscles in a slightly different way.
Lying Down Pulldown With Handles
This exercise is best described as a reverse chest press.
Lay flat on the bench with your head near the vertical section of the machine and grip the individual handles above you.
You will then pull them down until they are at your sides and contract the muscles, before slowly returning them to the starting position.
There are three variations of this exercise which can be performed.
One sees you holding the handles normally, another has you place your arms though the handles to the elbows, and the last again uses the elbows, only this time with a notably narrower grip.
In order to achieve best results, it is recommended that you perform a combination of all three variations.
This can be done by either performing a few sets of each in every session or using a different variation in each workout.
How Many Reps & Sets In A Bowflex Back Workout?
The back is a large group of muscles, so can deal with a greater workload than many smaller groups.
However, it is still important to get the volume of your workouts correct, in order to achieve the best results.
Each exercise should be performed for between 6 and 12 reps, with the lower end of the scale prioritising strength, the middle size, and the upper tone.
Whatever you are training for, three to four sets should be sufficient to help produce results, without overtraining.
Risks And Disadvantages Of A Bowflex Workout
One of the main selling points of Bowflex systems is that the related workouts are generally considered safe for the majority of people, as they eliminate most of the risks associated with the use of free weights.
When used in the recommended manner, no serious risks have been associated with these devices.
That said, anyone with any concerns or pre-existing health conditions should consult a medical professional before they begin using this or any other type of fitness equipment.
Focusing On More Than Just The Back
While this workout is designed primarily to target the back, there are a number of other muscles used, either in a secondary capacity or as stabilisers.
These assist and protect the muscles in the back, as well as helping to prevent any injuries to the joints.
For anyone hoping to achieve maximum results from their Bowflex back workout, it is important to focus on working all of these other muscles as well.
This can be done as part of this routine or in a separate workout and is particularly true of the muscles in your core.
Not only will a stronger core provide significant benefits for the lower back during workouts, the exercises that focus on your core can also effectively improve the stability of the body and contribute to better posture.
All of these are elements that can further strengthen the back and reduce the chances of you developing any negative symptoms like stiffness and pain.
A Bowflex system is a great piece of equipment for anyone hoping to achieve a safe and effective workout from the comfort of their own home.
This article will hopefully have given you all the information you need to not only build the most complete back possible, but also to understand the importance of a strong back and core.
If you follow the plan we have outlined and make sure to execute the exercises correctly and in the suggested quantities, you should be able to achieve notable gains in a relatively small amount of time and take your back development to the next level.
Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine from Alexandria university and is a practicing plastic surgeon. He’s our expert on all things nutrition, medicine, rehabilitation, and flexibility. Dr.Ahmed has been a medical content writer for more than 11 years and his work reached top publications such as the HuffingtonPost