Bowflex has been one of the most popular, if not THE most popular, home gyms over the past decade. Because of that, used Bowflex for sale is easy to find in places such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace.
But before you go plopping down your hard-earned cash on what seems to be a great deal you found online, there are a few things you should be looking for to ensure you are buying a used Bowflex you’ll love and not a lemon.
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Why Do People Sell Their Used Bowflex Machines?
There are four main reasons why people might sell their used Bowflex machines. Let’s take a look at them here.
Good Intentions, Bad Follow-Through
Many are lured by getting ripped at home and purchasing home gym fitness equipment like the Bowflex with big dreams. But reality sets in when they realize that achieving rock-hard abs and losing weight requires hard work and dedication.
As a result, many people hit a wall soon after buying their home gym and end up barely using it or abandoning it altogether. They hold onto the equipment, hoping they’ll find motivation again, but most likely end up selling it.
Just Didn’t Like The Machine
Bowflex is a top-rated home gym machine, but it’s not for everyone. Some people don’t like it because of personal preferences or logistical issues. That’s why you can sometimes find used Bowflex machines for sale – the previous owners didn’t love the equipment.
It’s possible that the user underestimated how the resistance rods worked and would have preferred a more traditional free weights workout.
Outgrew The Machine and Need More
For those who put their time in with their machine, sometimes there comes the point where a person. Might want something more out of a machine. Typically this comes from a desire for more access to free weights and less in terms of resistance rods or cable exercises.
The Machine Is Worn Down and The User Wants Something New
A few out there have had their machines for quite some time, have put them through the wringer, and now want to unload their heavily used fitness equipment on someone else.
This isn’t necessarily bad, especially if they price it accordingly.
But regardless of WHY the used Bowflex is being sold, there are still a few things you need to be checking on them before you decide to say yes to the Bowflex.
What To Look At On A Used Bowflex Machine
Power Rod Resistance
The Bowflex power rods create resistance for upper body and leg workouts. The resistance rods are straight with no bend when you buy a new machine. But these power rods lose some resistance and elasticity over time and usage.
This means that some resistance bands you need to complete a workout might be gone during your workouts. It also means that the resistance during your movements will start later than normal since there is already a natural bend in the rods.
Looking at the photo above, you will notice a slight bend in the power rods. That amount of bend is what you want to consider when buying a used Bowflex. That’s enough to get you a solid workout with good resistance bands and probably at a pretty good price too.
If the bend is more than that, you should probably keep looking for different equipment.
The Pulleys and Cables
Proper usage of a Bowflex means that the health of the cables and pulleys is in good shape. What is a “good” shape?
So for the pulleys, you don’t want to hear any squeaking when they move. The best way to test this is to do a couple of reps on each action pulley and see if there are any weird noises coming from the equipment. Make sure to test ALL of the action pulleys.
You also want to check the pulleys for rust. Many Bowflex machines are kept in basements where moisture can accrue, so take a quick look at the pulleys to check their condition. If you see rust on the outside, there could be rust on the ball bearings inside the pulleys.
When you are doing your few test reps, listen for squeaking; also, pay notice if the cables feel like they have any snags when you pull. This could be as simple of an issue that the cables are crossed up and need adjusting or that the pulleys are starting to wear out, which is a big problem.
For the cables, check to ensure they have the rubber coating on them and are in good shape. That coating helps ensure that the cables easily glide over the pulleys and will not work well if the coating peels off.
Seat Roller Wheels/Trolley Wheels
It might have a rolling seat, depending on the model you are considering. For example, my Ultimate 2 has a seat that rolls back and forth for different workouts.
The issue you need to check for here is that the rollers (usually 4) under the seat wear out over time and will slowly crack and break down until the seat can no longer move back and forth.
The picture above shows relatively new rollers; that’s how they should look. Any signs of cracking mean they will have to be replaced, which isn’t a huge deal here since the parts are decently inexpensive. However, Bowflex doesn’t sell trolley wheels for older models anymore, but you can usually find them on eBay. Click HERE to see what’s available.
Get All the Attachments
Each Bowflex has a series of attachments that come with the unit, but sometimes when these are being resold, the attachments get lost or forgotten.
If you are considering a specifically used Bowflex model, research online to find out what attachments came with it originally. If the equipment you are looking at doesn’t have all of them, that’s not a deal breaker, especially if it’s an attachment you don’t plan on using, but you should still take into the pricing consideration.
Make sure the unit has a lat bar and a couple of hands with it, but don’t worry about their condition, as I always recommend upgrading from the basic Bowflex handles/bars anyways. You can see my article on the best Bowflec attachments HERE.
Final Thoughts On Buying a Used Bowflex Machine
Buying a used old Bowflex machine can be an excellent way to save money and have access to a high-quality home gym. But it’s crucial to consider a few things before making a purchase.
First, knowing why the machine is being sold is essential, as this can give you a good idea of its overall condition.
Next, you must check the power rod resistance, the pulleys and cables, and the seat roller wheels/trolley wheels, ensuring they are all in good condition. Remember, if you find machine equipment that you love, but the rods are too bent, you can always purchase replacement rods.
And finally, it’s important to do your research and compare prices before making a purchase, so you can be confident that you are getting the best deal possible. With these tips in mind, you’ll surely find a great used Bowflex machine that you’ll love and use for years.
Check Out My YouTube Video On Buying a Used Bowflex
Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For the past 10 years, Rob has been navigating the health and fitness landscape to better himself and those around him, focusing on tools such as calorie and macro counting, intermittent fasting, and HIIT training techniques.