Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym Review (Updated For 2022)

Bowflex has made a name for themselves as home gym specialists, and the Bowflex PR1000 is one of the most popular models on the market, even though it's a bit older.

Home gym systems like the PR1000 aren't cheap, so you want to ensure they will help you reach your goals.

In this Bowflex PR1000 home gym review, I'll explore all the features, pros and cons, to help you understand whether this is the best home gym for you.

I've been using the PR1000 for over a year now, so I can give you some first-hand insight into the best and worst aspects of this home gym.

Here's my Bowflex PR1000 review of everything from ordering to using the machine:

Our Rating

Workout Versatility

7.0

Value For Money

6.5

Ease Of Use

8.0

Ease Of Assembly

8.0

Materials & Durability

6.5


Overall Rating

7.2

Product Specifications

No. Of Exercises

25+

Resistance

Power Rod Resistance

Dimensions

103"L x 80"W x 82"H

Product Weight

144 LBS.

Max User Weight

210 LBS.

Warranty

Frame 1 year, Parts 60 days, Rods 5 years

Our Experience Using This Home Gym

Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym

The Bowflex PR1000 is designed to give you a full-body workout with just one piece of equipment.

Like most home gyms, it has a set of handles and accessories so you can switch between exercises and train different parts of your body.

The PR1000 uses the Bowflex power rod system, which is a bit like resistance bands connected to pulleys.

These are a little awkward to use at first and feel like a cross between a selectorized machine and a cable pulley, so it takes a bit of getting used to.

The cables and pulleys move really smoothly and give good, consistent tension throughout the exercises.

There are many workout options, and even without buying any extra accessories, I hit all the major muscle groups.

The fact that it has a leg attachment and squat bar is significant because some other home gym options are really limited in the leg department.

Plus, I appreciate that it has a foldable bench so you can perform proper horizontal bench press movements.

What I did find a bit disappointing was the aerobic row feature. The movement isn't very similar to a proper rowing machine, and I found I couldn't really engage my legs for effective cardio training.

In fact, the whole machine is probably too small for anyone above 6 ft 4 inches.

There's a lot I liked about using the PR1000 home gym, and it can give you a full-body workout.

However, while I like the concept of the power rods, it felt more like training with resistance bands than free weights.

The power rod resistance also wasn't high enough for some strength training exercises, and if you've got some experience with strength training, then this won't challenge you.

Size & Dimensions In The Home

Bowflex has two different designs for their home gym systems. Some just have a seat, while others include a normal Bowflex weight bench.

The Bowflex PR1000 includes the bench, which is good for doing horizontal bench press and aerobic rowing but means that it takes up more space than the Bowflex PR3000 or Xceed when it's in use.

It's over 100 inches long (30 inches more than other models) when in use, but the bench folds up so you can move it out of the way when not in use.

Plus, because the Bowflex PR1000 uses power rods, it's slimmer than machines that use stacks.

While the bench does fold, the whole machine still takes up a lot of space while you're using it, and to actually do all the exercises, you need at least 2 feet of clearance space around it too.

It's also 82 inches tall, which may be an issue if you have a low-ceilinged garage gym.

That said, it is a full home gym system, so it can replace the need for some free weights and other gym equipment.

Just make sure you've measured the space first, and if space is at a real premium, then you may be better with the more compact Body Solid BSG10X

Design & Build Quality

The Bowflex PR1000 home gym is only 144 pounds, which is quite light considering most home gym systems are over 300 pounds, but it felt sturdy enough while I used it.

It uses a high-tech composite material that seems ok but isn't as durable as iron or steel. The max capacity is 300lbs, and it won't take much more, so it may not be suitable for larger users.

This is one of the basic home gym models, but the design is good, and it looks stylish. The seats and handles seem durable enough, and I haven't had any issues with them or the frame.

One thing I do have some reservations about is the power rod resistance system. Over time I’ve noticed the power rods start to bend.

This hasn’t impacted the resistance levels, but they will need to be replaced every couple of years if you’re using the Bowflex PR1000 home gym regularly.

All in all, this is a reasonably well-made and durable machine but lacks the premium quality of some home gyms. Just make sure you keep an eye on the power rods.

Workout Stations & Versatility

Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym as Workbench

The Bowflex PR1000 home gym lacks some of the features and functionality of newer Bowflex models but still allows you to do over 30 different exercises, and it's pretty easy to switch between them.

I'm not as big a fan of a incline bench press exercise, so I appreciated having the folding workout bench.

The built-in leg attachment is good, too, because you can do leg extensions and hamstring curls, and it offers more than some home gym systems.

It's also got an ab attachment for core exercises.

Unlike the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE, The PR1000 doesn't come with a squat bar or lat bar as standard.

I paid extra for them because squats and lat pull-downs are a key part of my workouts, and if you want this to be a complete home gym solution, it's worth getting them.

Generally, the Bowflex PR1000 home gym uses the pulley system effectively, and you can hit every major muscle group.

Still, it's a lot more limited than other Bowflex products, some of which offer over 100 different exercises.

However, if you want to start a simple, consistent training routine and are happy to pay for extra accessories, then it should be enough.

Just don't expect it to cover all your cardio needs because the rowing station is a bit limited.

Weight Range

The Bowflex PR1000 uses power rod technology to provide resistance instead of the more traditional weight stack.

The power rod units provide 210lbs of resistance, which I found ok for some isolation exercises but not enough for larger compound lifts.

Most other Bowflex gyms allow you to add resistance rods to the home gym, but the Bowflex PR1000 doesn't.

This limits the usage for more experienced lifters or even casual fitness enthusiasts looking to lift heavy.

If you're a beginner, and your goal is to tone rather than build muscle, this gym equipment may work for you.

However, for serious strength training, you're better off with the Bowflex Xtreme 2SE (410lbs), Bowflex Xceed (410lbs), or a set or a combination of single pieces of essential gym equipment and free weights.

Assembling This Product

Bowflex specializes in home gym equipment, and I was pleased with how simple it was to put together.

All the parts were clearly labeled, and the instruction manual was easy to follow. The adjustable bench attachment was a little tricky, and I needed a friend to help hold it in position.

If you're a complete beginner, it's worth asking a friend or family member for help. 

I'd recommend using a ratchet or socket wrench to speed up the process and ensure everything is secure. It shouldn't take you more than an hour or two to put it together.

Price Guide

All Bowflex gyms are affordable, but the Bowflex PR1000 home gym is one of the most affordable.

It’s priced at under $1000 and is thousands of dollars cheaper than some of the other popular models on the market.

However, that doesn't mean it's offering the best value. Both the Bowflex Blaze and Bowflex PR3000 are in the same price range and offer greater versatility (though a slightly different design).

Plus, if you're willing to spend a bit more, you can get the Bold Solid BSG10X which is probably better at helping you achieve your fitness goals.

The PR1000 isn't priced badly, and it does offer some value as a home gym system that won't break the bank.

However, if cost is a key consideration, then you should look at other Bowflex models to see if there's a more versatile machine for the same price.

Also See - Bowflex Xceed Review

Shipping & Warranty

You can order this Bowflex machine from Amazon or 3rd party sellers, but not from Bowflex directly.

I went with Amazon, and it arrived in 3 days, but next-day delivery is available in some regions.

The Bowflex 1000 is protected by a warranty that covers the power rods for 5 years, frame for 1 year, and other parts for 60 days.

This isn't bad, but it's less than the industry standard as some brands, like Body Solid, offer a limited lifetime warranty.

Make sure you've registered your Bowflex machine to get full coverage.[1]


Pros and Cons Of The Bowflex PR1000

What We Like

  • Affordable home gym model
  • Bench folds vertically to make it one compact unit
  • Provides full body workout with comfortable leg extensions attachment
  • Easy to assemble and use

What We Don't Like

  • Resistance system can’t be upgraded above 210lbs
  • Not get for aerobic rowing cardio
  • Not suitable for building bulk

Who Is Bowflex PR1000 Best Suited For?

The Bowflex PR1000 home gym is fairly versatile and best suited for beginners looking to lose weight and tone up rather than build bulk and muscle.

It's only for casual lifters and definitely not a good choice for bodybuilders.

It offers a range of exercises that hit your upper body and lower body fairly well. It allows you to take a versatile workout approach, and the bench is great for chest presses and other exercises.

The adjustable incline bench also folds, so it's a good option for those who aren't working out as regularly and don't want to take up as much floor space.

For complete beginners, this is a good alternative to bodyweight movements and will help take you to the next level.

It's good for those who want to casually train when it's convenient and works well for flexibility exercises and rehabilitation movements.

The big limitation of the PR1000 is the weight range. Only having 210lbs of resistance means that any advanced strength athlete looking to build major muscle will be disappointed.

If you have some experience, you're better off with free weights or something like the Bowflex Blaze, where you can upgrade resistance.

If you're a beginner on a budget, then the PR1000 may work for you, but it's worth exploring the other Bowflex home gyms first because they're all affordable, and some have greater functionality.

Also See - List Of The Best Home Gyms

Unique Features of the Bowflex PR1000

25 Plus Exercises

Man doing bicep exercise with Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym

The setup of the PR1000 lets you train your entire body with over 25 different exercises.

It's worth saying that while this is good enough for most full-body workouts, it's significantly less than the Bowflex Blaze or Xtreme 2SE, which both offer over 60 different exercises.

Built-In Rowing Station

The PR1000 comes with a built-in rowing machine which includes a sliding seat rail with a range and lower pulleys.

This can be useful but may be too short for larger users, and there have been more than a couple of customer complaints about this feature.

If you're under 6 feet, it will probably work, but don't expect a complete cardio workout from it.

Vertical Folding Bench

For me, having the folding bench to perform chest presses is much better than the rolling seat on other models. You can get a more complete workout, and because it folds, it means the dimensions of the PR1000 are still small when it's not in use.

Integrated Device Holder & Media Rack

Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym Integrated front view

The PR1000 was re-released with a media rack and device holder.

This is useful for following along with workouts and a good feature for beginners.

Seven Trainer-Built Workouts & Two Training Videos

The trainer-designed workouts help to guide you through the machine, and the accompanying exercise chart will help you target each muscle group.

The videos are more interactive than the written workouts and are more useful for beginners.


Comparing The Bowflex PR1000 With Alternative Home Gym

Bowflex PR1000 Vs PR3000

The Bowflex PR3000 is the next evolution of the PR1000. It's more compact and has more configurations, with over 50 different exercises you can perform.

It comes with a leg extension attachment as standard but doesn't include a rowing station.

The key difference with the PR3000 is that you can upgrade the power rod weight stacks. You can increase the resistance up to 410 pounds, making it a much better machine for experienced lifters.

The downside of the PR3000 is that it’s a bit more expensive at around $1200-$1400, though that’s still cheaper than most home gyms. 

If you have more experience, then the PR3000 is a better option because it has greater versatility and more resistance.

It's been discontinued by Bowflex, and you'll have to buy a refurbished model. This can make the whole process a bit more complicated, but it does mean you might be able to find a bargain.

Bowflex PR1000 Vs Xtreme SE

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is another discontinued model you can only buy as a refurbished unit.

It's more versatile than the PR1000, with over 75 different exercises, and comes with a leg station and squat bar as standard for a better lower body workout.

The main advantage of the Xtreme is that you can upgrade the power rods up to 410lbs.

This removes one of the main limitations of the Bowflex PR1000 home gym and makes it a better machine for strength training.

The Xtreme uses a vertical setup with no folding bench. This means it's more compact while in use but limits the exercises you can do.

It's also more expensive at $1200-$1400, but still very affordable compared to other brands.

The Xtreme is better for those with experience. It works well in a small home gym, gives you a wide range of exercises to choose from and a higher level of resistance.

If you want to get more from your home gym, it's worth spending more on the Xtreme 2 SE.

Also See - Our Review of the Bowflex Revolution


Bowflex PR1000 Exercise Options

Here are some of the exercises I found most effective while using the PR1000, but you can find more in the Bowflex owner’s manual.[2]

Chest

  • Bench press
  • Decline bench press
  • Incline bench press

Back

  • Lat pull down
  • Seated lat row
  • Aerobic rowing
  • Seated lower back extension

Shoulders

  • Seated shoulder press
  • Front shoulder raise

Arms

  • Bicep curl
  • Standing wrist curl
  • Tricep pushdown
  • Tricep extension

Legs and Abs

  • Leg extension
  • Leg presses
  • Calf raise
  • Seated hip abduction and adduction
  • Standing leg kickback
  • Resisted abdominal crunch
  • Trunk rotation

Common Questions About The Bowflex PR1000

Can you upgrade the Bowflex PR1000?

Unlike other Bowflex home gyms, the PR1000 can’t be upgraded with additional power rods.

How much room do you need for the Bowflex PR1000?

It's 103 x 82 x 80 inches, and you need to ensure you have about 36 inches on either side to use it fully.

Can you build muscle with the Bowflex PR1000?

If you're a beginner, then the 210lbs of resistance might help you to build some muscle, but if building muscle is your goal, then you're better off with free weights.

Is the PR1000 discontinued?

Yes, it has been discontinued though it’s still available in a range of outlets or as a refurbished model.

Our Rating

Workout Versatility

7.0

Value For Money

6.5

Ease Of Use

8.0

Ease Of Assembly

8.0

Materials & Durability

6.5


Overall Rating

7.2

Conclusion - Should You Buy It?

The Bowflex PR1000 has a lot of good points. When folded up, it takes up minimal space, allows you to do over 25 different exercises, and you can get a full body workout.

It's not got as much functionality as some of the newer Bowflex machines, so it may be worth looking at the Blaze or Xceed.

The real limitation of the machine is that it doesn't have enough resistance.

For those with experience, the PR1000 is more like a supplementary machine rather than a complete home gym, and it's certainly no replacement for a good set of weight plates.

Hopefully this Bowflex PR1000 home gym review has given you everything you need to determine if it will help you reach your goals.

References: 

1. https://www.bowflex.com/customer-service/product-registration.html
2. https://download.nautilus.com/supportdocs/OM/Bowflex/BFX_PR1000_OM_web.pdf 

Last Updated on November 12, 2022