Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Review – Is It The Ultimate Home Gym?

by: Michael Perry

July 6, 2024

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is a home gym that does things a little bit different.

You won't see a weight stack in the back, and it doesn't use your body weight as a resistance like the Total Gym FIT does. 

No ladies and gentleman, the Xtreme 2 SE is "too good" to use this "old" methods to provide resistance to its user. 

Instead it uses a resistance system developed by Bowflex called "Power Rod®" 

Is it good? Is it bad? Should you even care?

Read our review and decide for yourself.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE quick overview

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Overall Rating:




Easy To Use


  • Offers Over 70 Exercises
  • Provides A Full Body Workout
  • Unique rod resistance System Called "Power Rods"
  • Three Independent Pulley Stations
  • No Need To Change Cables During Workout
  • Provides A Workout That Is Easy On The Joints
  • Very Versatile Thanks To Adjustable Pulleys
  • Can Be Used To Achieve Several Different Fitness Goals


  • Pricey
  • Requires Maintenance - like replacing the rods because they will lose tension over time
  • You Can't Really Tell How Much You're Lifting
  • you'll pay extra for higher resistance limit
  • Could Be Hard For Some To Assemble Alone
  • No Video Instructions To Get You Started, Only Text And Images


The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is a versatile home gym that you'll benefit from no matter if you're a beginner or experienced gym-goer.

You can complete full body-workouts on this thing, and you can use it to achieve several different goals like bodybuilding and strength training, to name a few.

That's thanks to the over 70 exercises that you can perform on this machine, allowing you to target pretty much every muscle group in your body.

Its unique power rod resistance can provide a smooth workout, and it's independent pulleys stations make sure you don't pause too much between exercises.

However, if you used to be a gym rat, you'll might feel that the standard 210 lbs limit is too easy for you, which means you'll have to upgrade your unit.

And, if you like to know exactly how much you're lifting, this home gym might not be the right choice for you.

But above all, I can't ignore its price, which can be translated into a 2-year gym subscription. 

Then again, who am I to judge. If you can justify it, go for it.

If you do decide for it, it could be a suitable replacement for a gym subscription in the long run, you just need to take good care of it.

our The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE review

The Xtreme 2SE from Bowflex is probably the most popular model from this brand in last years. 

Riding on the success and popularity of the older models like the Blaze and the PR3000, the 2 SE lives up to it's name by providing even more exercises than the old models.

Over 70 exercises, but who's counting, and all while taking even less space than the old models did. 

You can complete a full-body workout while you seamlessly move from one exercise to another, as long as it involves the same muscle group.

You can't smoothly transit from squats to curls. Duh!

This home gym targets all the major muscle groups, and as standard it comes with 210 lbs resistances rods. 

If that's not enough for you can upgrade it up to 310 or 410 lbs.

The downside is, the resistance weight is just an estimation!

But more on that later.

The body of this home gym, or it's frame if you like, is made from heavy duty steel, and you can see right from the get go that this is one solid machine. 

It's steady and you don't feel like it's shaking while you're working out.

So finally, with all it's features and abilities, how can the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE help you in your fitness journey towards a better you? 

let's find out.

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The Power Of The "Power Rods®"?

These are what's going to provide you with the resistance your muscles need in order to grow. 

Each rod has a mark on it's cap stating it's "resistance weight".

But keep in mind that these are just estimations and may vary depending on your usage.

Which also means that after a while of use you'll need to replace the rods on your machine to new ones.

Especially if you're really giving it to this machine on a daily basis for years.

The rods are divided into 5 sets of:

  • 5 lb
  • 10 lb
  • 10 lb
  • 30 lb
  • 50 lb

There are two rods for each set, which together brings the resistance weight to 210 lbs.

You can use just one set of rods, or as many as you like.

The math behind the resistance weight of the rods is simple, and it will allow beginners to slowly build their muscles. 

The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE rod system can be upgraded up to 410 lbs, and I would tell you to consider upgrading if you can bench press at least 180 lbs.

if you're just starting out you should be fine with the 210 lbs limit, and in any way you can always upgrade your machine later.

What Else You Should Know About The Power Rods

  • When hooking the rods, the last thing you want to do is to stand in front of the rod. Do not do this! If you'll lose grip of the rod, well that's a one way ticket to your face.
    Instead, stand on the side when hooking and unhooking the rods.
  • If you want to connect all the rods to a single cable, you need to first bend and hook the closest rod through the rod cap. 
    You will need to continue this way and keep connecting the closets rod to the one you already connected to the same cable hook. 
    This will prevent the rods from crossing over the top of one another. 

  • In addition, when not in use, make sure you disconnect the hooks from the rods and that you tie all the rods up together when they face up.
    You can do so with the rob binding strap, which basically is a Velcro strap you tie around the rods. 
    This is to delay their natural wear and tear. And If you will not do so, the rods will start to get a bent shape and the resistance they apply will decrease faster.
  • If you're really fit I would suggest upgrading your unit to 410 lbs, because you might find that having a 210 lbs limit just isn't enough for you. 


  • First of all, increasing or decreasing weight is fast and easy. All you need to do is to hook the cable to the rod cap. 
    This is way is faster than putting on more weights.
  • The risk of you stumbling on weight plates or dumbbells is gone. Therefore less risk of injury.
  • No need to buy additional plates or weights. 
  • The rod system makes the Xtreme 2SE to a very quiet home gym, in contrast to a home gym that use weight plates.


  • You can't really tell how much you're lifting. 
    The numbers on the rods are merely reference and not the actual weight you're lifting.
  • An upgrade is a must for fit users who can lift at least 200 lbs of weights when doing bench presses, squats or leg extensions for example. 
    Simply because the 210 lbs limit will not provide the sufficient resistance they need.
  • It takes time to get used to the rod system, and some might not even like it.

Would you Benefit From The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE?

Lets just leave the obvious benefits that working out on a regular basis gives you and focus on the Xtreme 2SE.

So first of all, It can provide a resistance workout, cardio training, and it will be great to develop strength.

In addition, the rods system makes the "lifting" easier on the joints compared to weight lifting.

Therefore, if you suffer from joint pain and your tossed your weight lifting sessions in the hamper, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 can help you rebuild muscle and strength.

And now you will have to excuse me for stating the obvious, but a home gym, any home gym, will serve best users who want to workout in their own home.

There are a lot of benefits to working out in your own home. 

To name a few:

  1. No monthly payment on gym subscription.
  2. No need to drive to and from the gym.
  3. You can workout whenever you want.
  4. There's a big chance you'll actually workout if you'll a home fitness equipment.

However since this model is quite costly, I would think twice and really hard on whether I would really use it to get the max out of it.

Otherwise it's like painting your bucks in blue and throwing them in the sea.

Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Workouts

You can perform over 70 exercises on the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE. 

As I mentioned before, with this home gym you will be able to target all major muscle groups in your body. 

Switching between exercises is easy thanks to what Bowflex calls the "No-change cable pulley system". 

This is thanks to independent pulleys stations. 

Three to be exact: 

  1. High station for your back
  2. Mid station for your chest, shoulders, arms
  3. Low station for your arms, shoulders, legs and abs (with extension)

In addition to transitioning from one exercise to another, it will also help you smooth your workout while keeping your heart rate pumping.

The three pulley stations will help you complete your workouts faster and to get the max out of each one.

Another cool thing about them is that they're adjustable, so you can fit them to your height.

You can adjust the width of the lat tower pulley, the center cross bars and the squat pulley station.

This is great because when you adjust the pulleys to a wider or narrower position you will be able to target different parts in the same muscle group. 

This makes the Bowflext Xtreme 2 SE workouts even more versatile.

Plan Your Workout

If you don't have a workout plan I wouldn't worry about, because you'll get a full highly detailed plans including the exercises you're able to do on the Xtreme 2SE.

There are 7 different plans for you to chose from. 

  1. 20 Minutes workout for a better body. 
  2. Advanced general conditioning,
  3. 20 Minutes upper / lower body.
  4. Bodybuilding.
  5. Anaerobic / Cardiovascular.
  6. True aerobic circuit training.
  7. Strength Training.

After you've chosen the workout that suits you most, all you have to do is follow the instruction. 

The workout's varies in their split days, every day targets different muscle groups, and they even wrote down the number of sets and reps you need to do. 

In addition you will see the workout manual that basically explains how to actually do the exercise. 

The exercise manual is highly detailed, thus ensuring that even if you're a complete beginner you won't have trouble starting out.

I gotta say that I have checked the workout plans and they look pretty solid. 

And the exercise manual makes things even easier since you don't approach this machine without knowing how you should the exercises you're about to do. 

However, I feel that it would have been even better to have the exercise manual on video when a pro instructor actually shows you step by step how to do the exercises.

Wrapping Up The Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE Review

Let's face it, this is one heck of a pricey home fitness equipment.

This machine plays the "Own your own home gym and workout at home card" and all the benefits that come with it.

Like saving you the trouble of driving to the gym after work.

And as a home gym, the Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is a newbie-friendly, all in one solid, versatile machine.

It might be right for you if you're after building mass and muscle, want to improve your cardio and fitness levels, or want a strength boost.

You can even micro-target different areas in the same muscle group by adjusting the width of the pulleys.

And though It's not the only home gym that offers you over 70 exercises, the unique power rod resistance system is what makes it stand out.

Their benefits can be summed up with the fact that they help keep your workout flowing and your heart rate up.

Also, it means less pressure on your joints, so if you suffer from joint pain or are recovering from an injury, you can use it to get back on track.

And they reduce the risk of injury caused by strain or by stumbling over dumbbells, and as silly as it may sound, it happens all the time.

And yes, it even turns your workout to a soundless session, since no weight plates are hitting each other.

Thinking about it, the main thing that bums me is its price.

About the author

Growing up as the fat kid is what motivated him to take matters to his hands at fifteen, and he has never looked back again since!

When he's not pumping iron at the gym, you'll probably find him hooked to his record player listening to rock classics.

If only he could carry it with him to the gym. Sigh.

On this site, he'll do his best to help you accomplish the same results for yourself.

(We're talking about getting in shape, not trying to carry a record player to your local gym)

Michael Perry