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Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Review


Quick Summary

The Bowflex M5 is the premium model in the new Max Trainer line, yet its price is low compared to highly-rated ellipticals, the space it aims to disrupt.

With the highest rating between the two Max Trainers to choose from, the M5 is our Editor’s Choice in this small but powerful new product category.

It has more features than the M3, a better overall rating, a longer warranty, and more resistance levels, all in the same compact size, at a reasonable price.

Is it right for you? Read our in-depth Bowflex Max Trainer M5 review below…


ModelBowflex M5

Our custom rating considers the Max Trainer's features, specs, warranties, and 100's of user & expert reviews, to save you time!

List Price

Suggested retail price, including shipping. Typically higher than the price you'll pay with promotions.

Best Price

This link goes to the best price we've found online, including shipping (with coupons & sales).


Resistance is what determines calories burned per stride. The more levels, the more precisely you can control the difficulty.


Resistance levels determine the difficulty of the workout.

16 Resistance Levels

Max Trainer Programs help guide you automatically during your routine so you don't have to change any settings manually.

8 Workout Programs

For each program the Max Trainer allows, you can create a custom user account with saved programs and goal settings.

2 User Profiles
Heart Rate

Heart Rate programs allow you to track how many times your heart is beating per minute (bpm), and some control the workout for you.

Contact Grips
& Chest Strap
Max Weight

Max User Weight is the amount of weight, in pounds (lbs), that a Max Trainer can safely support, which can represent durability.

300 lbs

Dimensions are included to help you figure out if this Max Trainer will fit properly (Length x Width x Height and Height x Depth).

46" L x 25" W x 63" H
Ceiling: User Height + 15"

The Display refers to the screen you'll look at to monitor workouts. If it is backlit, then will be easier to read in low light.

Backlit LCD/LED
Cup Holder

Integrated water bottle holder included in console for easy access.

Media Shelf

Designed to hold iPads/tablets, Kindles, books, magazines, etc. (Note: certain tablets might cover up some of the display.)

Syncs with App

Bowflex created an iPhone app for monitoring your progress on the Max Trainer.

Premium Grips

Softer integrated contact grips to monitor heart rate.

Upgraded Ergonomic Grips

Is the Max Trainer easy to move? Does it have wheels? These can be crucial factors when buying a Max Trainer.


The warranty is an important part of your investment. The longer the warranty, the longer you can get free/discounted repairs.

2 Years
Best Deal

We do not sell Max Trainers; we are a free Max Trainer reviews service. This link goes to our top-rated retailer for the Bowflex Max Trainer M5

Visit Site Max Trainer Editor's Choice: The M5 is the premium model in the Max Trainer line. Its unique compact design provides a workout that burns 2.5x the calories of a traditional elliptical. With lots of programs and resistance levels, the M5 will continue to get results for a long time.

Rating: 95.4%

Our Rating

Rating: 94.5/100. Editor’s Choice based on rating and value for price. The M5 has the best feature set, the longest warranty, the highest rating, and an affordable price compared to ellipticals that don’t burn as many calories.

Coupon Code: Save $325

Get $175 off + Free Shipping by entering the coupon code FALL18 at checkout on this discount page.


  • Burns a ton of calories in about 15 minutes
  • 16 resistance levels to keep it challenging
  • Gauge readout is motivating and easy to read
  • Solid set of 8 workout programs built-in
  • Includes 8 week subscription to Daily Burn, which means you’ll have access to 600+ workouts
  • Very small footprint, doesn’t take up much room
  • Zero impact on your joints (knees, back, etc)
  • Media shelf and cup holder are convenient
  • Great design, made to work for beginners and pros


  • Full coverage warranty lasts 2 years
  • No iPod connection or speakers included
  • More expensive than the lower-rated M3 (but less expensive than the M7)

Max Trainer Overview

So what makes the Max Trainer different? Is it like an elliptical? Is it better?

The idea behind this new type of fitness equipment is simple: Combine the motion of a stair stepper with an elliptical for a low-impact exercise that burns more calories in less time.

According to an independent university study, the Max Trainer burned up to 2.5x the calories of an elliptical per minute, and 1.56x the calories of a treadmill.

Some users logged about 600 calories burned from a 30-minute workout, compared to only 240 calories on an elliptical, which is why users are able to do an intense 14-minute workout and burn more calories.

Example: You could burn about 280 calories with an elliptical in ~30 minutes, but it would only take 14 minutes with the Max Trainer. Sounds great in theory, but why does it burn more calories?

It’s all in the combination of the resistance, the upward step-style motion, and the upper body workout from the handles.

Together with the Max Interval workout, which uses the same interval training strategy that athletes and trainers have loved for decades, you’ll burn a lot more calories per minute.

Max Trainer Features

Resistance: One of the best ways to increase the workout intensity and avoid the dreaded plateau after getting results for the first few months on a new routine is to increase the resistance level. Because the Max Trainer is made to work well for beginners and pros alike, the first few levels might be too easy for you. If so, having 16 levels means you’ll keep getting better results by gradually increasing the resistance.

Upper Body: Very few highly-rated pieces of cardio fitness equipment will truly give you a good upper body workout too. The Max Trainer is in that small group of machines that actually build your arm strength while you focus on cardio.

Heart Rate: The M5’s grips include contact heart rate monitors so you can see your heart rate without a chest strap or another gadget to buy.

Display: I’ve reviewed 100’s of fitness equipment products, and to be honest not one has impressed with me its display…until now. It has a unique gauge readout showing your intensity and calories burned, which is great for staying motivated. Plus, it syncs your exercise data to a mobile app with Bluetooth 4.0.

It also has some excellent workout programs…

Workout Programs

Every piece of equipment includes a Manual mode to choose how you want to work out, so of course that’s included.

But beyond that and the Fitness Test mode, it also includes modes like Steady State, Stairs, Calorie Goal, Fat Burn and Calories Burn for mixing things up without having to control the workout manually.

The best modes for maximizing calories burned are those based on interval training: Max Interval and Smart Max Interval.

These are the modes that get those 2.5x the calories burned by an elliptical results. 🙂

All in all, some models have more programs to choose from, but what matters is results. Personally, I stick with the 2-3 modes that get the best results for me, and the Max Trainer wasn’t programmed to include programs you won’t need just to increase the number.

Warranty & Guarantee

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 comes with a two year warranty package that covers the entire machine.

Return Policy: 6 weeks, 100% money-back. If you want your money back for any reason, ship back for a refund of the purchase price.

Bowflex M5 Conclusion

Every year, there’s some new machine or gadget coming out that promises better results than the last. Most the time, it’s a bunch of hype, because the time-tested motions we make on treadmills, ellipticals and steppers get results.

Some of Bowflex’s products have been in this category, but the Max Trainer is definitely not. This is a fantastic piece of equipment that gets the job done, quicker than anything else we’ve seen.

It’s not an easy workout, but luckily beginners can start with an easier resistance level and the Manual workout program to stay motivated as they build up their stamina and boost their metabolism.

Beyond that, there’s lots of room for improvement by mixing up the workouts, taking advantage of the interval training workout modes, and gradually increasing the resistance level to keep getting better and better results.

To top it all off, there’s zero joint impact, so it’s much better on your knees and back than any treadmill out there.

The M5 is our Editor’s Choice Max Trainer, and is highly recommended.

Where to Buy

To get the best deal, click here for $175 off + Free Shipping ($325 savings).