The Bowflex HVT (High-Velocity Training) is an unusual home workout equipment that combines cables, a fly-wheel, handle-bars, and a platform to produce unique workouts targeting your cardio and stamina performance as well as your strength in one go.
It could be classified as a kind of HIIT tool, and it is in a way, but unlike regular HIIT whereas you alternate high-intensity sprints or moves followed by rest or slow pacing intervals, the Bowflex HVT also enable you to challenge your muscles and increase your strength thanks to a magnetic fly-wheel, which can be adjusted to deliver considerable resistance for all regular users except for the strongest guys or bodybuilders.
This unique home gym was designed this way with the intention to achieve the holy grail of fitness: losing fat while sculpting your muscles at the same time and in the shortest possible time. Workouts last about 18 minutes.
Tall, compact and narrow by home gym standards and weighing in at just 86kg, the Bowflex HVT looks like a well-manufactured alternative to the usual bench, barbell and plates gear for strength or to any cardio equipment like treadmills or step-climbers, as it combines multiple machines and fitness goals into one.
This review will details how this unusual machine is designed and made, what the pros and cons are, and whether it may be suitable for you, or not.
Who Is It For?
The Bowflex HVT is for those with little spare time to train but still want to target the greatest possible range of fitness goals or those without much space for a regular home gym or a bench and barbell gear.
With 3 pairs of cable handles at different heights, ergonomic bars, fly-wheel resistance, smart application and videos, this piece of equipment allows for a complete and draining workout in no time at all.
With up to 50 different workout videos to choose from, it can be used for different levels of fitness and strength.
People living in apartments or with restricted space would benefit from the Bowflex HVT, as it is just 46 inches wide (m1.16), thus more compact than a regular home gym.
This unique piece of equipment would be ideal for those who prefer to train at home and away from commercial gyms but are put off by the size and weight of traditional gear.
The Bowflex HVT is light and compact, though 6’6” tall, and can address different practical problems while being a multi-functional tool for your fitness.
It is also a welcome bonus that it is a stylish and well-manufactured machine that looks good, as is the case with all the Bowflex products.
No need to worry about unsightly weights, barbells, plates, jumping ropes, or other workout paraphernalia laying around your living room, as it looks almost like a piece of modern furniture.
It is a sleek apparatus that is as much technological as it is functional, as no detail is placed there just to look futuristic but serves a purpose.
Bowflex HVT Specs And Description
Dimensions -166.6 x 116.8 x 210.8 cm
Maximum User Weight -136 kg
Assembled Machine Weight -82.6 kg
Power Source -Included AC Adapter
The machine is well made with quality materials for durability, it even exudes luxury, and consists of a hexagonal, elongated training platform attached to a central tower that incorporates the magnetic fly-wheel at the bottom, a workout digital station at chest level, 3 pairs of cable cross-over at different levels, one a the bottom, one at chest level and one at an over-head level.
Two bars insert on the sides at chest level with an S shape to allow for different grips and there is also a cup/bottle holder, while two long braces connect the base to the tower for stability but also to add additional grip for any exercise if needed.
The base is large enough for most exercises and sizes, except maybe for lounges for the tallest guys. The grip is secure and the slats well made.
The turbo-like fly-wheel at the bottom which connects to the cables is the resistance system employed by the machine. Fly-wheels are just as effective as they are light in order to provide scalable resistance without the need for weights.
They work by multiplying exponentially the effort required for spinning as you move them faster. The faster you perform a movement, the more resistance the fly-wheel offers as the fan spins against more and more air.
To make it more challenging, the HVT also offers 16 resistance levels through a magnet close to the wheel. The closer the magnet, the higher the resistance, which can be changed instantly as you exercise with a knob on the control station.
This ability to switch resistance immediately also allows for extra hard-core training techniques like drop-sets, for instance. As your muscles tire, you quickly reduce resistance and keep going for some more without having to waste time or look for lighter weights, as you would with barbells.
Limitations Of The Bowflex HVT
Having said this, while the resistance offered by the fly-wheel is more than adequate in a contest of HIIT strength training with total conditioning in mind, it may not be enough for pure strength or hypertrophy, if that is what you are after.
This is not a power-lifter or bodybuilder tool, it does a bit of everything well, but it is not specific to power training or muscle building training. If you want that, a bench, barbell and plates (or a fully equipped and sturdy home gym) are the way to go.
Still, if you want to moderately sculpt and tone your muscles while reducing body fat and improving your cardiovascular capacity at the same time, this is the gear.
Strong Points Of The HVT
This Bowflex gear is called High-Velocity Training for a reason. It is designed to be time-efficient and to provide a platform that targets both strength and cardio with a seamless sequence of exercises.
This constant switch from one exercise to the next with higher and lower intensities effectively delivers a High-Intensity Interval Training workout optimized for cardiovascular conditioning but also with an eye on strength, as more muscles are worked in a short time frame.
Another important advantage of this machine is that it is low-impact on joints, useful for those with knee or joint problems as it enables users to perform an elevated workload with smooth transitions from a move to the next without the battering associated to running or jumping.
Thus, this kind of High-Velocity Training enables users to be in and out of the workout station in 18 minutes, having accomplished multiple goals at once: cardio, strength, and stamina.
The Bowflex HVT Workouts
The machine comes with 3 pre-set programs, Sprint (power, speed, and recovery), Circuit (strength, form, and range of motion), and Builder(strength and endurance).
The emphasis of the workouts shifts from cardio to strength depending on the workout, for example, the Sprint settings are more cardio oriented, while the Builder settings are more strength-oriented. There is also a manual mode with 50 extra exercises.
Aside from the settings, there are 50 video tutorials for all fitness levels which you can watch as you go along via a smart console working on Bluetooth smart technology and an application for iOS and Android which also tracks workout rate, intensity and progress.
Price And Guarantee
As of now, the Bowflex HVT is priced at $1799, shipping included, while the company offers a 2-year guarantee on the frame, parts, and electronics with a 90-day guarantee on labor.
The Bowflex HVT is a beautifully made, multi-functional tool that does well what it was designed for. Compact in size and light in weight, it can be displayed in a living environment more easily than a traditional home gym.
The ergonomics of the workout station coupled with the electronics and the fly-wheel technology for resistance, make this tool very effective for providing challenging workouts that improve your stamina, cardiovascular capacity and strength while burning fat at a fraction of the time required for the individual fitness goals.
The Bowflex HVT workouts offer maximum workload capacity in the shortest possible time with minimal joint impact, making this machine ideal for those with limited time available or those who do not want to train in a commercial gym but still want a solid workout that helps them burn fat, increase their strength and improve their cardio.
However, it is not a pure strength or muscle building tool and it is not meant to be. Bodybuilders or power-lifters are better off with different, more traditional equipment.
Jay always had a passion for fitness. A former skinny guy, he built himself 35 lb of lean muscle over the years using different training strategies, going through failures and eventually succeeding, and now wants to share his knowledge with those who value fitness as a way of life (See all posts by Jay Fielding).