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The Bowflex Home Gym: Which Exercises Are Best?

Among the most effective upper-body exercises you can do on the Bowflex are the chest exercises, like the press and fly. When you do them, your chest muscles not only work against the resistance but also must "stabilize" against the pulley system. Do these two exercises back-to-back with no rest for an even better workout.

The upper back exercises - like the seated row and the lat pulldown with the lat bar attachment -- are effective for the same reason. The great thing about these exercises is that you can easily modify them by changing the position of your hands and elbows. For example, when doing the lat pulldown, you can do one set with your palms facing you and elbows close together, then another set with your palms facing away and elbows out.

Among the lower body exercises, the seated leg extension is most effective. But the squat and leg press on the Bowflex won't target the leg muscles as effectively as similar exercises done on gym machines. One way to make them harder is to do the seated leg extension, then immediately do either the leg press or squat. "Pre-exhausting" your muscles will improve the quality of the press or squat.

The Bowflex Home Gym: Pros

Bowflex Home Gyms can be useful for people who want achieve and maintain a general level of muscular fitness. They're easy to store and easy to use.

Changing resistances and exercises is fairly easy to do. And you won't need a spotter for most of the exercises. The Bowflex is safe for most people, and has even been used in rehabilitative settings.

Further, working out with the Bowflex may result in less muscle soreness than free weights, especially for beginners. Bowflex seems to require less negative work on the muscles - that is, stress when the muscle is lengthening to return to its starting position -- than free weights. Exercises that require lots of negative activity can lead to significant muscle soreness, especially in beginners.

For people trying to lose weight, a Bowflex Home Gym is as an excellent source of resistance training to supplement daily cardio exercise and a reduced-calorie diet.

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