Bowflex XTL User Guide

The Bowflex XTL is the fully upgraded model of the Bowflex Power Pro and includes the additional leg developer, pectorals bar and lat pull-down bar. The Power Pro line of home gyms was one of the first commercially successful gyms from Bowflex because it was widely marketed via infomercials in the 1990s. The equipment can be used to accomplish nearly 50 different exercises, giving you the ability to work your entire body on a single piece of equipment.


The exercises on the Bowflex XTL target all of your major muscle groups and are broken down by chest, shoulder, back, arms, abdominals and legs. The ergonomics of the machine are designed to help you keep proper form throughout an exercise. When using free weights, it is easy to use incorrect form and strain your muscles. The Bowflex XTL limits this possibility with a fully adjustable workout bench and curl pad.

Assessing Your Goals

The Bowflex fitness manual highly recommends testing your physical capacity before you begin an exercise program. You should test your maximum heart rate so you can find your target heart rate. Monitoring your heart rate while exercising allows you to keep a steady pace, particularly if you want aerobic benefits in addition to muscle building. You should also find your body mass index so you will be able to accurately track the progress you make after weeks of working out.


The fitness manual included with the Bowflex XTL outlines eight different workouts, and also advises you on how to create your own custom program for the machine. The workouts in the manual range from brisk training routines like the 20-minute better body workout and circuit training to more intense routines like bodybuilding and strength training. Quicker routines that are more focused on losing weight and toning tend to feature more exercises per workout and lifting lighter amounts of weight. Muscle building routines focus on fewer exercises with heavier weights so your muscles are fully exhausted at the end of the routine.


A major concern with the Bowflex XTL is that the standard model was unsafe for regular use. In 2004, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission worked in collaboration with Nautilus to recall roughly 420,000 Bowflex Power Pro gyms. The lat pull-down bar on these machines is unstable and can break off during use. Additionally, the bench can become loose and fall when inclined. Bowflex released a free repair kit after the recall, and only Bowflex XTL machines that have the repair kit installed should be used.