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The Bowflex Max Trainer is a cross between a stair-climber and an elliptical. It offers a low impact but high intensity workout that’s perfect for high intensity interval training (HIIT) and won’t slaughter your knees — which makes it the bee’s knees (all six of them) in our book.
Best of all, there are models at a variety of price points and with tons of different features. We’ve got all the deets for ya.
So let’s make like Tina Turner and get rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the
Bowflex is an uber-popular fitness brand that makes all things workout-related, like adjustable dumbbells that literally have a waiting list, tricked-out treadmills, killer kettlebells, and indoor cycling bikes that can hold their own against competitors like the Peloton bike.
And then there’s the Max Trainer.
The Max Trainer is best described as a bit of a cross between an elliptical and a stair-climber. It’s got the arm action and the rolling action but provides a more up-and-down climbing motion than a traditional elliptical.
The Max Trainer comes in three different models: the M6, the M9, and the Total. Here’s whatcha need to know about each.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is the most budget-friendly in the lineup, with a price tag of $1,699. The M9 is a bit more expensive at $1,999 and has some additional features. For all the bells and whistles, you’re gonna want the Bowflex Max Total, which will set you back a cool $2,799.
As of this writing, the Max Total is sold out. If you’re interested in it, make sure to sign up for an email alert.
Note: Some older models are available on Amazon, but as far as we can tell, all these machines have been discontinued by Bowflex.
All these machines are designed to be used with the JRNY app, and you can get 2 months free when you buy a Max Trainer. After the free trial, it costs $19.99 per month, or you can save a little cash by paying $149 for a full year up front.
Based on reviews, professional installation can take as little as 30 minutes to an hour, and two non-professionals can knock out installation (and save some cash) in 1 to 2 hours.
Features and model comparisons
And here’s the fun stuff:
|Max Trainer M6||Max Trainer M9||Max Trainer Total|
|Display||LCD screen||10-in. touch screen||10-in. touch screen|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, access to streaming apps via touch screen||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, access to streaming apps via touch screen|
|Max user weight||300 lbs.||300 lbs.||300 lbs.|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||46 in. (117 cm) x 26 in. (66 cm) x 64 in. (163 cm)||49 in. (125 cm) x 31 in. (78 cm) x 65 in. (166 cm)||49 in. (125 cm) x 31 in. (78 cm) x 65 in. (166 cm)|
|Other features||heart rate contact grips, 4-grip handlebars, USB charging port, bottle holder||heart rate contact grips, Bluetooth heart rate armband, 4-grip handlebars, Bluetooth speakers, USB charging port, bottle holder||heart rate contact grips, Bluetooth heart rate armband, dual rail design, 6-grip handlebars, Bluetooth speakers, USB charging port, bottle holder|
All three of the Max Trainers come equipped with charging ports (they really understand us!), bottle holders, and heart rate contact grips built into the handlebars.
And although the preset workouts on each machine are pretty limited, you can get tons more options with the JRNY app.
The M9 and the Total are equipped for streaming with built-in touch screens and Bluetooth-enabled speakers. They also have more resistance levels than the M6 and come with Bluetooth armbands to track your heart rate.
Not ready to drop the full cost for one of these machines all at once? Bowflex offers interest-free financing on the Bowflex credit card *if* you pay off the full purchase amount of the machine within 18 months.
Shipping is free, and you can add in-home assembly for an extra $169 if you don’t want to deal with putting it together. Can’t blame you there.
Here’s the warranty that’s included with each Max Trainer model:
- M6: 2-year frame, 2-year parts, 90-day labor
- M9: 3-year frame, 3-year parts, 90-day labor
- Total: 3-year frame, 3-year parts, 90-day labor
Depending on the model you purchase, you can add an extra 3 years to the parts and labor warranty for $149 to $199 or an extra 5 years for $179 to $259.
And if the Max Trainer isn’t everything you thought it would be, Bowflex accepts returns up to 6 weeks after purchase. You’ll be responsible for shipping and handling costs, and you’ll need to return everything in its original packaging (so be sure to hang on to it just in case).
What reviewers think
Features and warranties are nice, but what are reviewers saying about these machines? Mostly good things!
The reviews are generally positive, and people of all ages and fitness levels like the Max Trainer.
Many are pleased with the low impact workout, which makes the machine great for people with knee and joint problems. Others also enjoy the climbing action that allows for a really vigorous workout, making it ideal for fitness enthusiasts or athletes who like variety.
The Bowflex website even boasts that these babies are perf for HIIT workouts because you can really get your blood pumping with fast climbing and several resistance options.
There are, of course, some users who aren’t as fond of the Max Trainer. Some people report that using the machine makes their knees hurt, and many complaints focus on shipping or in-home assembly.
The M9 and Total models also seem to have occasional issues with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity or streaming, but these reports are fairly few and far between compared with the positive reviews.
The Bowflex Max Trainer might be a good fit for you if you’re looking for a low impact workout that’s still really intense. The Max Trainer’s climbing action means it provides a more vigorous workout than a regular elliptical while still being easy on your knees.
But even the cheapest model is still a pretty hefty investment at more than $1,600. If this would stretch your budget too much, some other brands offer similar types of equipment at a lower price point.
But if you’re sold on the Max Trainer, here’s how you can decide which model is right for you:
- Price point. The M6 is the most budget-friendly but also has the fewest features, while the M9 is a middle-of-the-road option and the Total is the bougie one.
- Streaming capabilities. If you’re all about streaming fitness, you’re gonna want the M9 or the Total. Both have Bluetooth speakers and built-in touch screens you can use to stream workouts (or baking shows, which is def the best thing to watch while you’re working out).
- Size. The three machines are pretty similar in size, but if you’re low on floor space (*raises hand*), the M6 has a slightly smaller footprint than the other two.
Want an intense workout that’s still easy on your knees and joints? The Bowflex Max Trainer might be just what you’re looking for.
Its up-and-down stepping action makes it a bit more challenging than a regular elliptical, and there are different models to suit several price points and needs. With this machine, you’ll be ready to (Bow)flex those muscles.