Top 3 Best Rated Max Trainers
|Automatic 20 Levels||11 Workout Programs||Backlit Dual Mode LCD/LED||3 Years||$2,499||See Best Price|
|Automatic||8 Workout Programs||Backlit LCD/LED||2 Years||$1,599||See Best Price|
|Manual||2 Workout Programs||Standard LCD/LED||1 Year||$1,199||See Best Price|
Highest Rated: Bowflex Max Trainer M7
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Best Price: $2,199
Best Value: Bowflex Max Trainer M5
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Best Price: $1,599
Most Affordable: Bowflex Max Trainer M3
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Best Price: $999
Meet The Family: A Max For Every Budget
Bowflex Max Trainers are built by Nautilus, a company based in Vancouver, Washington. For 2017 the Max Trainer family has three sleek models named M3, M5 and M7. Each can supply light to heavy resistance, but their sale prices range from low-budget to elite. This guide helps explain why the mid-priced M5 is the best buy for most Max Trainer shoppers.
Sale Prices and Summaries
At first glance the three Max Trainers for 2017 appear almost identical. With a closer look we see big differences in workout programming, number of resistance choices, warranties and other features. Here are quick summaries including the best factory-direct sale prices seen this year. Click on any machine name for a detailed review.
M3 Max Trainer
The Bowflex M3 is low budget with a $999 sale price. It has the same maximum force as other Max Trainers, but only eight settings for customized resistance. (The others have 16 and 20.) The M3 also has less variety in terms of built-in workout programming; its lone guided routine is the classic Bowflex 14-Minute Max Interval Workout. Still, with a Daily Burn membership (trial included) you can access 24 videos designed especially for Max Training. This unit supports wireless heart rate monitoring. The standard whole-machine warranty is valid for one year.
M5 Max Trainer
The M5 is mid-priced at $1599. It’s the best-selling Max Trainer and the best Max Trainer value for most shoppers. This model is superior to the M3 in important ways, plus it remains impressive alongside the top-tier M7. A few advantages of the M5 over the M3 are cushioned pedals, more personalized resistance (16 choices instead of eight), two user profiles instead of one, six additional workout programs plus a fitness test, and Bluetooth connectivity for sending exercise data to mobile apps. It can monitor heart rate wirelessly and with contact sensors. The whole-machine warranty is for two years.
M7 Max Trainer
The M7 is an elite buy at $2199. Over thousands of customer reviews, it earns a nearly five-star average while other Max Trainers earn about 4.5. (Impressive scores for all!) The M7 is larger than the M3 and M5 but still qualifies as a compact fitness machine. Compared with the M5 it provides a bit more training guidance, supports four profiles instead of two, has even better pedals and handgrips, and allows more precisely tuned resistance (20 settings instead of 16). You can spot a few more differences by comparing the specs at Bowflex.com. The whole-machine warranty is for three years.
In sum, the best prices for each Max Trainer move in increments of $600 ($999, $1599 and $2199). We see a big jump in benefits from the M3 to the M5. The differences are less dramatic between the M5 and M7.
Calculating the likely per-day cost, the M5 is the best value. For most shoppers the M5 Max provides a sufficient mix of training programs, resistance settings and buyer protection. For shoppers with heavier bodies though, the larger M7 Max Trainer might provide better stability.
Max Trainer Video
See a Max Trainer in action with this Bowflex commercial. The 14-minute workout mentioned in the ad is included with all three Max Trainers for 2017 (M3, M5 and M7).
Why Are Max Trainers So Effective?
Zero Harsh Impact
While other forms of exercise are high impact or low impact on your joints, Max Trainers are virtually zero impact. For a strong contrast you can compare Max Trainer exercise with outdoor running: Instead of pounding pavement with each stride, your body stays in constant contact with pedals for ultra-smooth motion. The most obvious benefits are comfort and minimized risk of injury… but speedy calorie burn is another perk. When harsh impact is removed from exercise, your body isn’t compromised by stress. It works more efficiently so you burn more calories per minute. Besides that, without needing to deflect impact, your body doesn’t tire as quickly. You can train for longer time periods before resting.
Exercising uphill naturally is more energy-intensive than training at a zero-degree angle. With Max Trainers you get the speedy calorie burn associated with stair climbing or running, but without irritating your knees.
Unlike treadmills, Max Trainers recruit your upper body with moving handlebars. This of course adds to your total calorie burn. Handlebars on all three Max models are premium. That is, they support multiple gripping positions to help you diversify exercise. Simply change your grip to hone in on different muscle groups within a single workout.
The most efficient Max Trainer workouts use interval training. It might sound complicated, but “interval training” basically refers to alternating between moderate-intensity and high-intensity exercise. An example is training at high speed for 30 seconds, then at moderate speed for three minutes, and repeating the cycle. Including just a small fraction of high-intensity exercise can bring dramatic results. The most strenuous periods “trick” your body to work more effectively than usual during the more moderate periods. Overall, the results are as if you trained at above-average intensity all along. Afterburn is an important benefit too. Especially if you choose interval training (see below) your body will remain revved up long after exercise time. On your “off days” you can still have an edge in terms of energy and weight management. Each Max Trainer for 2017 includes at least one interval training program, which is the classic 14-minute Max Interval workout. It automates the machine’s speed and resistance to help you get benefits comparable to those from 30+ minutes of running. Additional interval training programs (7 minutes and 21 minutes) are included on the M5 and M7. Each machine makes it easy to extend your workout session after it’s begun, in case you surprise yourself and can train for longer than planned. Considering all of the above, it makes sense that Max Trainers reportedly burn up to 2.5 times more calories compared with treadmills, step machines and ellipticals. (In trials from a university study in 2013 the largest users burned more than 600 calories with 30 minutes of Max exercise.) To help you keep an eye on your calorie blasting, each Max console has a burn meter. In a quick glance you can see whether you’re training in Fat Burn, Endurance or Performance mode.
Miscellaneous Max Trainer Perks
Besides the benefits explored above, here are more perks of choosing a Bowflex Max Trainer:
Free DailyBurn Membership
All three Max Trainers for 2017 are sold with eight-week free trials of DailyBurn. DailyBurn is a fitness app with hundreds of video workouts, and choosing an appropriate video is easy. The company has partnered with the Max Trainer manufacturer (Nautilus) to produce 24 workout videos especially for use with the M3, M5 and M7. A ledge on each machine can support your smartphone or tablet computer for a clear view of the training.
The 24 DailyBurn videos for Max Trainers form a series and are to be used in order. The first videos focus on building your strength and cardiovascular capacity. These are actually done without the machine; they help get your body ready for Max workouts as you await the Bowflex delivery. Subsequent videos work up to 14-minute interval training workouts. You’ll also have access to the full library of DailyBurn videos, which has more than 600 choices. The categories are diverse; choose from high intensity interval training (HIIT), dancing, martial arts, yoga and more.
Following the trial DailyBurn membership costs $14.99/month.
Home-Friendly Machine Size
Very compact, a Max Trainer needs much less floor space compared with a home treadmill or elliptical trainer. The M3 and M5 are especially space-conscious at about two feet wide. The largest Max Trainer is the M7. The footprints for each:
Meanwhile a good treadmill would need 60” for the belt length alone. Most treadmills and center drive ellipticals are about three feet wide too… so Max Trainers do pack their power into relatively small spaces.
Adding to the home-friendly design is relatively quiet operation. Magnetic braking (unlike contact braking on older elliptical machines) is frictionless and virtually silent. Your own body will move more quietly on a Bowflex Max too. Unlike with treadmill training, the repetitive thump-thumping of your footfall isn’t an issue.
Possible Drawbacks Of Choosing Bowflex Max
Max Trainers tend to earn excellent customer reviews but they’re not ideal for everyone. Here are two possible drawbacks.
- Expense: Max Trainers have short warranties compared with alternatives in their respective price classes. In the long run they could be more expensive to own if you pay for parts and labor. Also consider other fees if you’re comparing Max Trainers with other machines. You might have a $100 delivery charge, for example, and professional assembly could cost $250. Finally, be wary of the option to finance a Max Trainer. You’ll have low monthly payments but the APR is high… making the Max a not-so-competitive deal.
- Cardio Challenge: Interval training deliberately stresses the heart by briefly depriving it of oxygen. It’s a tried-and-true training method among pro athletes but it could be risky. For people with heart disease and other health problems, studies show that interval training is safe and beneficial for some, but not recommended for others. Better safe than sorry! Get your heart checked and chat with your doctor before venturing into interval training.
Common Questions About Bowflex Max Trainers
Still deciding if a Max Trainer is best for you? Here we answer FAQ about Max Trainers for 2017.
Q: Are there Max Trainer coupon codes or sales?
A: Yes, online discounts are common. To see the best Max Trainer deals (sales and exclusive coupon codes) click here.
Q: Do Max Trainers truly burn lots of calories in just 14 minutes?
A: Yes. You should also allot time to stretch for warming up and cooling down, but Max Trainers are more than twice as efficient as treadmills, ellipticals and steppers. This is partly because they involve the whole body, take advantage of upward motion, and are zero impact. But for the maximum benefit, the 14 minutes are spent specifically with interval training — not simply training at a constant pace. Max Interval workout programs can automate your machine’s intensity for a well-designed training session. You’ll burn more calories per minute of exercise, plus your metabolic rate will be spiked for many hours after your workout.
Q: Are these machines difficult to assemble?
A: For most owners the Bowflex Max isn’t difficult to assemble. The printed manual and a two-minute YouTube video make it straightforward. For some steps two people should work together to keep the machine steady. You will need a 13 mm wrench, an Allen wrench and a Philips screwdriver. Including the time spent on unpacking and organizing the parts, assembly could take about an hour. In most of the US you have the option to pay $249 for pro assembly instead.
Q: How compact is a Max Trainer? How much clearance is needed?
A: Max Trainers are significantly smaller than treadmills, ellipticals and most other gym machines. The M3 and M5 are especially compact; they have footprints just 46” long and 25” wide. The M7 is just a bit larger at 49” long and 30.5” wide. To ensure that you’ll have enough overhead clearance as you exercise, use your Bowflex in a room with ceiling at least 15” above you.
Q: What if I’m not ready for intense cross training?
A: Max Trainers are built for intense interval training. They let you run at high speed without repetitive impact. With the eight weeks of DailyBurn training included with purchase, most people can work up to an intense 14-minute interval workout… But if you’d rather train at lower speeds, consider a Bowflex TreadClimber instead. TreadClimbers have steep inclines to naturally boost your metabolic rate; just walk at your usual pace but get the calorie burn of running.
Q: What’s included with the Max Trainer warranty?
A: Each factory-direct Max Trainer is packaged with a standard parts warranty for the whole machine. The M3 has one year of coverage, the M5 has two years, and the M7 has three. Each model has a standard 90-day labor warranty as well. Paying for extended warranties on parts and labor could be wise. For the M7, for example, you can extend the labor warranty from 90 days to three years for $139.
Q: What is the return policy?
A: Bowflex gym equipment is sold with a six-week money-back guarantee. The machine doesn’t need to be faulty; you can make a return for any reason. It’s rare to hear about customers returning Max Trainers though. In our experience the satisfaction rate is above 95%.
Q: How is the machine powered?
A: The Max Trainer plugs into a wall socket with an AC adaptor.
Q: How is Bluetooth used with Max Trainers?
A: Consoles for the M5 and M7 have Bluetooth connectivity. This lets you wirelessly send your workout data to the free Max Trainer 2 app for iOS or Android. The Max app can sync with Apple Health and other third-party fitness apps, making it almost effortless to track your workout activity and results. Apple Health and other fitness apps also have calorie counters, workout planning calendars and other features to help maximize your progress.
The Max Trainer lineup is a great choice for intense total-body training with minimal risk of injury. Benefits across the series are speedy calorie burn, cardiovascular endurance and muscle sculpting/strengthening. The M5 and M7 are especially appealing because of their consoles (which have diverse programming and Bluetooth) and more choices for pedal resistance. To get the best price, check out our coupons and deals page.