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Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Review

The Max Trainer series is Bowflex’s cardio machine designed to give fitness fanatics a high intensity and full-body workout in as short a time as possible.

While it is relatively expensive it has proven to yield great results for people who want to take their fitness seriously.

If you want a machine that will challenge you and push you to your limits then the Bowflex Max Trainer is definitely a machine you should consider.

The Bowflex Max Trainer?

The Bowflex Max Trainer is different from most other ellipticals in that it isn’t designed to be done casually whilst watching TV.

If you are on this machine, you are meant to be working out, and I mean sweating, fast-beating heart and out of breath type of working out.

What’s more, the machine is designed to give you this type of workout in as little time as possible.

Key Features

  • 16 levels of resistance to keep you challenged
  • 8 Different workout programs
  • Backlit Display
  • Heart rate monitoring via contact grips and straps
  • Bluetooth syncing with an app

Bowflex Max Trainer Review

Now, we will review the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 and rate it according to certain criteria that make for a great home cardio machine.

Assembly: 4/5

For such a big machine putting it together is fairly simple.

It does look intimidating, but most of the max trainer is one large ‘body’ piece which is already assembled.

However, given its size, you may need another person to help you hold the main core upright whilst it is screwed into the base.

Above is an unboxing video of what you can expect once the M5 lands at your door.

If there are no foreseeable mishaps, then you should have the Max Trainer assembled in under 2 hours.

Watch the video above to see a quick overview of what to expect.

Price: 2.5/5

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 isn’t cheap by any means.

It is one of the higher-priced cardio machines on the market and for this kind of price you could get a top of the range treadmill or fitness bike.

With this in mind, you must enjoy the type of workout the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 provides, in the case of a treadmill or bike you know in advance whether you enjoy these types of workouts, but with the M5 it’s a little less unpredictable.

You may want to consider trying this in-store before buying online.

The machine is a little overpriced in our opinion although there are people who have gotten fantastic results and seen a lot of fitness improvements and you can’t put a price on that.

Features: 2/5

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 has built-in Bluetooth capabilities which allow the user to sync data from the machine into Bowflex’s ‘Max Trainer App’ to allow for tracking.

While the idea is great the app itself isn’t overly that useful and is limited in its features.

It would perhaps been of more use to be able to sync up to a more universal app such as MyFitnessPal.

You can also measure your heart rate using the hand contact grips or by using a chest strap which is included with the machine.

However, the heart rate monitoring on the Bowflex M5 leaves a lot to be desired as it’s been reported by users to wildly fluctuate and be inaccurate most of the time.

Up to two users can have data stored in the machine which is far better than only allowing one, however, most fitness machines, especially ones at such a high price should allow at least four users. Note that the Bowflex Max Total model allows four profiles.

Bowflex Max Trainer M5 console and heart rate grips

Overall the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 does have the basic features you need such as heart rate monitoring and calorie tracking but it seems the execution in both areas are too simplistic.

The more serious athletes will want to use their own third-party devices to track such things.

Stability and Quality: 3/5

The machine itself is well built and of good quality.

It can get a little shaky depending on how big you are especially at the higher levels.

While it’s unlikely the machine will topple if you’re on it, it’s possible that if you really tried to topple it over (which would be a bit silly) then you might be able to.

But generally, it is a stable machine.

Intensity of Workout: 4/5

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 provides a very intense workout even at the lower levels.

Therefore this machine is not recommended for the elderly or users with long-term health or fitness issues.

That’s not to say that anyone who has a sedentary lifestyle should not use this machine as it is possible to work your way up to a level of fitness where you can get used to it over time.

The warning is to be wary that it could take time particularly given that the lowest level on this machine has left many people who consider themselves fit, out of breath after a few minutes on the machine.

Conversely, if you already have a high level of fitness or have high fitness goal aspirations then the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 will challenge you all the way.

Bearing in mind that there are 16 levels of resistance and most consider level 1 to be challenging, even the fittest people should get a decent workout.

Furthermore, it does provide a full-body workout which includes the arms and legs.

Noise: 3.5/5

The machine can be deemed relatively quiet but it all depends on which resistance level you are using.

On the lower levels, it is quiet, however, on the Max level it does make some noise that could be heard in other rooms close by.

If you plan to watch TV or listen to music at the Max level then you may have to turn the volume up although I doubt you will be able to focus on such things given the intensity at the Max level.

Size: 4.5/5

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 small footprint

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is surprisingly much smaller than you’d expect with dimensions of 117 L x 63.5 W x 160 H cm.

It has a small footprint and isn’t that particularly tall either.

It takes up much less space than a treadmill and most recumbent bikes.

If you’re concerned about space then the M5 shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Reliability & Warranty: 3/5

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 seems to get mixed reviews on Amazon regarding its reliability.

There seems to be a small minority who report that after some time the machine begins to make some noises and have had to get in touch with the Bowflex support team.

If there’s any consolation, the customer service team at Bowflex is highly regarded as being professional, helpful and friendly.

In addition, while preparing to write this review, I’ve noticed that the Bowflex support team reach out to customers on Amazon who have posted negative reviews in an effort to put right any problems the user has had.

Should there be any problems with your Bowflex Max Trainer M5 it’s covered by a 2-year warranty.

Compared to warranties you get on treadmills and other fitness machines around the $2000 mark the warranty length isn’t the best.

I would also highly recommend that you call Bowflex in advance of any purchase and ask the specifics of the 2-year warranty.

On their site, it’s stated that the M5 comes with a 2-year warranty however it’s not clear if this includes labour.

I did come across one user on Amazon who is unhappy because labour was only covered for 90 days and not the full 2 years.

Although I don’t know the specifics its well worth knowing the specifics of the warranty before parting with such a high sum of cash.


Should You Buy The Bowflex Max Trainer M5?

The Bowflex Max Trainer isn’t for everyone especially given that it is aimed at people who naturally have a higher level of fitness or have set the bar high on their fitness goals.

If you’re someone who just wants a light workout whilst either watching TV or reading a book then there are much better alternatives for you out there at a much cheaper price.

However, if you want a total body workout and are prepared to be challenged then the Bowflex Max Trainer can certainly do that.

People have seen great results using the Bowflex Max Trainer M5  and have lost a lot of weight and gotten into great shape.

It’s a machine that should only be bought by someone who is prepared to sweat and to be pushed all the way.

It is expensive but if you use it to its potential then it’s well worth the money in the long run.

Overall Machine Rating: 4/5

Pros: Provides a high-intensity workout, works the whole body, plenty of workout programs, doesn’t take up a lot of space, easy to assemble

Cons: High price, may not be suitable for people with a low level of fitness or health, heart rate monitoring reported as unreliable, bluetooth app integration isn’t of much value, can get noisy

See Price on Bowflex

Related: Best ellipticals for home