2 Best Power Rod Gyms for Your Home

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Patent No. 4,620,704 expired several years ago, but Bowflex remains the king/queen of the mountain when it comes to these unique “Universal Exercising Machines”.

Are Bowflex machines the best option for your all in one home gym? Outside their marketing of “20 minutes a day, three days a week” and you can look like the models in their ads, power rod gyms offer a form of resistance training that keeps safety in mind.

Regarding safety, there are no weights that can drop on you. But since you are bending a power rod, Newton’s Third Law states that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction… in other words, if you’re not prepared, that power rod will spring back with incredible force.

Much like Cable Machines & Smith Machines, a spotter is not necessary. Also, their footprint is smaller, to allow a home gym in almost any space. Not to mention that power rod gyms are beginner-friendly, as far as exercises. You just need to get used to how the machine works.

We found the following 2 Power Rod Gyms to meet the needs of many home gym builders. Are either right for you?

So, why aren’t power rod gyms found in commercial gyms?

What we do see is the use of resistance bands. The more you stretch the band, the more tension you feel. Resistance bands are great for shoulder raises, as well as adding to a Smith Machine bar – again, to add more resistance at the top of the exercise.

Because of the use of resistance bands in combination with other equipment, as well as the lack of storage needed for resistance bands, they are much more convenient than a dedicated power rod gym machine.

That does not mean that a power rod gym is not right for you.

Perhaps you do not like working with free weights. Maybe you’ve seen one too many videos of a resistance band slapping someone’s back at full tension. How can a combination dumbbell system cost so much?!?

In the end, only certain aspects of a home gym may matter to you:

  • Safety – Which home gym option do you feel safest working with?
  • Resistance available – Will you be performing heavy squats or will leg extensions be as adventurous as you want to be?
  • Space – How much room do you have to work with?
  • Lifestyle – Please don’t buy an expensive clothes hanger. Take the time to find the right machine for you!

What we like about power rod gyms: Time Under Tension (TUT)

  • Time Under Tension is the amount of time you hold a resistance under tension.
  • Even as you get tired and you begin to move your movement back to the starting position:
    • You can hold that resistance.
    • Since you are getting fatigued, and the power rods begin to reduce in tension, you can continue to hold resistance for a longer period of time.
  • Time Under Tension can build mass.
  • Apartment friendly – Not too heavy and no weights to drop on the floor.

Since we are only finding Bowflex options, at the moment, we compared their models and found the following to be the most well-rounded, compared to the other home gym options on our Best Functional Trainers page.


Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym ($1,199)

210 lb. of resistance. Comes with a bench and Ab Crunch Shoulder Harness. You can upgrade the power rods with two sets of 100 lb power rods for 210 lb. and 310 lb., respectively.

Legs: Having the options of squats, deadlifts, as well as seated leg extensions is a nice touch. Leg curls will require being in the standing position. The challenge with the bottom of the movements is the lack of tension. But that tension quickly builds as you push/pull.


  • Upgrade the power rods by 100 lb. ($129)
  • You can add a second set of 100 lb. power rods ($129)
  • Preacher curl attachment ($139.99)
  • Triceps rope ($39)
  • Seat Lumbar pad ($24.99)

Overall, the Xtreme 2 SE Power Rod Gym ticks many of the boxes for a well-rounded home gym. Bowflex claims that this unit can provide 70+ exercises. Since we are seeing several available for legs, as well as many push & pull exercises, we are pleased with the variety. Versatile and capable!

Warranty – 3 year frame. 3 year parts. 90 day labor. 3 & 5 year extended warranties are available.

At this time, the Bowflex 2 SE Home Gym is the only available Power Rod Gym. We’ll keep any eye on others. But perhaps this category is becoming a dying breed.

Bowflex does offer another Home Gym, and does work upon the mechanics of power rods, but more in a flexing plate rather than rods. In doing so, the spider web of power rods are removed and the machine looks more like the Cable Home Gyms we cover elsewhere on our site.

Revolution Home Gym ($2,599)

210 lb. of resistance. Comes with a bench and Ab Crunch Shoulder Harness. You can upgrade the power rods with two sets of 100 lb power rods for 210 lb. and 310 lb., respectively.

The Bowflex Revolution Gym offers over 100 exercises with up to 400 variations. That’s versatile! The independently moving arms have 10 positions, similar to Stack & Plate Cable Machines.

Legs: Now we’re talking… up to 600 lb. of resistance (with the upgrade) with an awesome range to meet most, if not all, your leg exercise needs.

Bench is included, as well as a dedicated position for your rowing exercises.


  • Upgrade the SpiraFlex Resistance Plates with two 40 lb. weight plates – increases resistance to 300 lb. (600 lb. for legs) ($149)
  • Triceps rope ($39)

The Bowflex Home Gym is still a power rod gym, in a sense. The format, with not having those “bows” like a spider are a nice upgrade. If you’re looking for a gym that does not have free weights or a weight stack, then the Bowflex Revolution may be the ticket! With the option of 300 lb. (600 lb. for the legs), this machine is capable for most people (we know, powerlifters… you shun the thought!).

Warranty – 3 year frame. 3 year parts. 90 day labor. 3 & 5 year extended warranties are available.