Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Review

The Bowflex brand has been around since 1986 and has consistently been a favorite amongBowflex Max Trainer M5 workout enthusiasts and athletes alike.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5, which the company slates as one of their top-selling models, offers up an intense, full-body workout that is managed with easy-to-use technology.

But just how does this trainer stack up against other trainers as well as ellipticals and treadmills?

To figure that out, we’re going to have to get deep into some of the technical details, specs, and effects provided by the nine different workout programs featured on this trainer.

Technical Details

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 has a sleek and compact design, meaning that it can fit with relative ease into your home gym and be stored when not in use.

While the average treadmill takes up almost double the floor space, the M5’s dimensions are impressively space-saving.

Features and Programs

  • Width: 25″
  • Length: 46.1″
  • Height: 62.9″
  • Minimum ceiling height: User’s height + 15″
  • Maximum user weight: 300 lbs
  • Weight when assembled: 143 lbs
  • Power source: AC adaptor (included in package)

Time to get more into the nitty-gritty aspects of the M5’s functions.

In order to get a good understanding of how well this machine might work for you, it is important to consider the treadmill’s features, computer features, and, of course, the interval levels and programs that are included.

Trainer Features

  • The physical components of the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 are indeed quite worthy of mention.
  • There is a heart rate monitor that is integrated into the hand grips as well as a chest strap that is available.
  • A water bottle holder is conveniently placed, as is a shelf that can hold your media items as large as a tablet.
  • This trainer functions as a stair stepper, so there are two steps (one for each foot) to step down on as you go.
  • The armbars on either side of the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 move, allowing you to tone the muscles in your arms while you exercise.

Computer Features

  • One of the most impressive aspects of the Bowflex Max is that its technology is user-friendly without coming off as cheap and overly simplified.
  • The backlit display makes the computer’s screen easy to read while you are getting your workout in.
  • Also, the M5 is Bluetooth compatible, meaning that you can sync your mobile phone with the M5’s computer for entertainment while you exercise.
  • The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is able to sync with the help of the Max Trainer app, which can easily be installed on your Android or Apple device.
  • In fact, the Max Trainer 2 app (which is free, by the way) can be synced with Apple Health if you have an iPhone.

The Workout

doing exercise on bowflex max trainer m5

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 helps to give you a full-body workout that burns up to 2.5 times the calories you will burn on a regular treadmill.

It also offers a zero-impact workout, meaning that the movements you make on this machine are smooth and won’t put a bunch of wear-and-tear on your joints.

You can take your choice from 16 different resistance levels and nine built-in workout programs.

The 9 built-in programs that you can select between are:

  • Max Interval
  • Smart Max Interval
  • Calorie Burn
  • Fat Burn
  • Calorie Goal
  • Stairs
  • Steady State
  • Fitness Test
  • Manual Mode

The Max Interval workout lasts for 14 minutes, making it an ideal program for those who feel like they simply do not have enough time in their day to get into a solid workout routine.

Aside from just burning fat and calories, the Max Interval workout targets multiple aspects of health and wellness, including improving your cardiovascular health, stamina, and endurance.

Bowflex takes a lot of pride in the results from studies that have been conducted on those using the Max Trainer M5, and you will see these results plastered all over the company’s website.

One of the most impressive statistics to have come out of a 2013 independent university study on the M5 is that it helped participants get up to 80% more body activation than the standard elliptical machine.

Also, the M5 helped participants activate lower body and core muscles better than an elliptical.

Warranty Coverage


Here is where we, unfortunately, hit a sour note with the Bowflex M5.

Considering how much the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 costs, you would expect this trainer to have at least an average warranty. However, Bowflex only gives you a two-year warranty.

While that warranty covers any repairs that the Bowflex Max Trainer might need, many of its competitors offer more generous warranty terms.

In fact, a standard home warranty for similar trainers is a 5-year for wear items and parts, 3 years for a computer console, and a year for labor.

Even the M7, which is the current line-topper for Bowflex’s Max machines, merely offers a standard 3-year total warranty. (Click here to view BowFlex M7 price at Amazon)

This certainly makes it hard to justify the cost for the M7, let alone the mid-line M5.

The only way to get a 5-year warranty on the M5 is if you pay an extra $179 for the 5-Year Bowflex Protection Plan Warranty, which covers parts and labor.

Shipping and Assembly


The good news is that you do not have to pay extra shipping and handling charges.

The only other charge that you will incur is if you select to have the unit installed by professionals from Bowflex in your home.

That fee will tack $169 onto your total bill.

As for assembling the Bowlex Max Trainer M5, it is not an easy piece of equipment to put together.

For most people, it takes at least an hour (if not longer) to assemble.

The machine is heavy and will require two able-bodied individuals to carry the boxed-up M5.

Since it is such a bulky item that can take a while to configure, it really is worth it to foot the $169 for an in-home installation.

If you do not have a significant amount of upper body strength or someone to assist you, please, do not try to lift the M5 alone while it’s still in its box.

The Verdict

There are quite a few things to love about the Bowflex Max Trainer M5. However, there are clearly a few setbacks to buying this trainer.

Let us break our verdict on the M5 down into the things we like versus the things that we do not particularly enjoy about this Bowflex.

What We Like


  • The Number of Choices: There is a lot of room for customizability with the 16 different resistance levels, which are great for those looking to enhance tone and definition. You also get a good amount of choices with the 9 pre-programmed workouts, which are the most ideal for those just going to start on their exercise journeys.
  • Zero Impact: Treadmills and some ellipticals wreak havoc on the joints, but the M5 is design helps to keep the joints cushioned from wear-and-tear.
  • Space-Saving: With such small dimensions, the M5 can fit even in a small apartment.

What We Dislike


  • The Warranty: With a $1,599 price-tag, the basic warranty should be a bit more generous. This does not keep Bowflex in line with the competition at all.
  • The Power: Unfortunately, the resistance levels seem too advanced for almost all beginners. The M5 caters more toward those who are already in shape.
  • Assembly: Plan on paying extra for in-home assembly. The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is one of the more difficult trainers to move in and piece together.

The Last Word: Is Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Worth Buying?


The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is a powerhouse in terms of resistance.

It has a dynamic array of settings, has some of the most user-friendly technology you will find without it looking or feeling cheap and dated, and won’t destroy your joints.

However, this machine likely isn’t for everyone, and some people might have a hard time justifying the high price combined with a minimal standard warranty.


Other Bowflex Products reviewed by us: 


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Bowflex Max Trainer M5
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