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bow flex and real weight

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deadly devon
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2006/07/25 09:38:01 (permalink)
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bow flex and real weight

ya um does any 1 know the  pound diffrence between bowflex and free weights on benchpress

like for example: 260 on bowflex is only 225 with free weights

or 260 on bowflex equals 275 on free weights or somethin like that
 


DanR
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/07/26 05:27:36 (permalink)
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Well, about 4 months ago, I bought the bowflex ultamite 2, with leg upgrades, 410 lbs of rods, etc..
 
 
 I am dissapointed with the rods. I have no idea how much the conversion rate is, but with freeweights, i curl 45lbs 1 hand. On the bowflex ive gotten 70. 
 
 
 Now, at 15 y.o, I can squat 395 lbs on the bowflex. Now I know I couldnt do that on freeweights, and i've also found the rods lose a little bit of resistance if you dont keep them strapped up.
(i have no idea what i squat on freeweight.)
 
 Freeweights are way better man.
 
 
P.S : But i gotta add one thing, bowflex does give you a killer workout if you know how to use it.
cpl
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/07/26 16:24:50 (permalink)
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I doubt there's any real way to know the exact relationship between the claims of the bowflex and the actual weight- At different parts of the rod's movement, there will be different amounts of tension. For example, when starting a rep with the rod just starting to bend, the resistance would be far less than when the rod is fully bent at the extension of the movement. think of it like this- Every few inches of the rod is designed to supply x pounds of resistance. At the start of the movement, only a few inches are providing you with that resistance, and since the bend in the rod at that point isn't that severe, you're really not looking at much resistance at all per rod. (More or less, depending on the rod's claimed weight rating.) At the fully extended bend though, more of the rod is bent, providing more tension over a larger area. This point is probably what they based their numbers on- And the might have done some exaggeration there too.
With free weights, on the other hand- 260 pounds is 260 pounds throughout the entire movement. Your body may involve more or less muscles, be put at mechanical disadvantage in certain parts of a movement compared to others, but the weight remains 260 pounds.

Of course, this doesn't mean you can't get nice results with a bowflex. I do prefer freeweights myself, but as long as you're challenging your muscles with your bowflex, you're doing your job.
LINEBACKER56
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/07/27 19:18:25 (permalink)
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Resistance is resistance...once you convert the Bowflex over into a recognizable equivalent of what you have done as free weights The difference is the BF is constant tension...while free weights in most exercises have a strength curve where stress is removed by leverage. BF may in many ways act like the old strand and or cable expanders on muscle tone. Its probably good if you can stand not being able to see a free weight which allows a specific visual mental goaling due to object manipulations of tonnage. which is why most men and boys actually train. I train my son and he uses both, He sees a benefit from both. He says that you do not have to stabilize the BF. He says the equivalent is pretty close.  Hopefully this helps?  Good Luck!
 
garyl43
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/09/24 18:58:07 (permalink)
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The resistance on the Bowflex is progressive, much like a Nautilus machine. It starts at about 60% of what is indicated on the rods, and ramps up to 100% when the rods are fully bent. When you do bench press or curls with free weights, you'll notice that once you get past the first half of the rep it gets much easier. With the bowflex, the resistance goes up so finishing the rep is harder. Nautilus machines were originally developed to have the same type of progressive resistance to follow the natural strength curve.
Coop
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/09/28 14:23:28 (permalink)
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But less resistance at the begining and more resistnace at the end is similar to not doing full range of motion during lifts, less range=less development, full range=full development.

Eat...Lift....Sleep......Repeat

Enjoy the process.. but crave the goal.
garyl43
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/09/30 11:42:06 (permalink)
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ROM is being able to do a full rep, all the way up and all the way down, you have that with the BF and free weights. What I'm saying is with free weights there is more resistance at the start of the rep and less at the end because of natural biomechanics. I'm sure if you've used free weights you've done partial reps when doing bench press (halfway down and press up) because once you get past the half way point it gets much easier. Take chest flys for example, with free weights the hardest part is when you're arms are out to you're sides. As you get closer to vertical, the resistance lowers to the point that when you reach the top of the rep there is very little resistance. With the BF it gets progressively harder to complete the rep, following the natural strenght curve. Resistance is resistance, wether using gravity w/free weights or bending rods, it's just a different kind of resistance. I'm not saying that it's better than free weights, just different, and to me (having used both), it works just as well.
cpl
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/09/30 11:54:47 (permalink)
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ROM and your body's mechanics aren't really the question though- Although it can come into play like this-You still have the same ROM and body mechanics whether you're using free weights or the bowflex, the machine's mechanics affect your body more than your body mechanics affect the machine.
At the top of a free weight bench press, the body does have to do less total work to move the weight, but the amount of weight does stay the same. (Because of body mechanics, less muscle is involved and needed at the apex of the motion to move that weight.)
At the top of a bowflex bench press, the same mechanics come into play- Less muscle is needed and used- But there's also less total tension on the rods, meaning the body needs to apply even less work to complete the motion. (Because of the mechanics of the machine, less "weight" exists that needs to be moved at this point.)
post edited by cpl - 2006/09/30 11:55:51
cpl
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/09/30 14:21:39 (permalink)
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Resistance is resistance, despite all the depth we've gone into here- Provided you're eating and resting right, you can still pack on some muscle with a bowflex. The issue is that the weight claims for the rods are off, and it's really not the same as freeweights- But the bottom line is, you can still get a good muscle building workout from a bowflex.
garyl43
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/09/30 14:48:41 (permalink)
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Exactly cpl, I have gained mass and strength using nothing but the BF. As far as actual poundage compared to free weights, It's pretty close, but I really don't care as long as long as the numbers keep going up. Last year, after about 3 months on the BF (I didn't hit the gym for about 9 months before that due to a motorcycle accident) I was using 180lbs x 6 reps (failure) for dumbbell presses, now I am up to 240lbs x 6 reps, so I know am making good gains and that's all that matters to me.
garyl43
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/09/30 15:07:48 (permalink)
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cpl, there is more tension on the bowflex at the apex of the rep, not less, and more muscle is needed to complete the rep. The more the rods bend the more resistance you have. So if I bench with say 200lbs on the BF, the lift actually starts w/about 120lbs, by about mid stroke I'm hitting 160, at the apex I'm hitting 200.
post edited by garyl43 - 2006/09/30 15:19:38
cpl
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/09/30 16:17:28 (permalink)
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Actually, I'm thinking of the apex as the apex of your body's movement- Where your arms are almost fully extended. At the fullest apex of the rods themselves, which you're talking about, is where you get the most tension- The point where your hands are near your chest, at the bottom of your body's movement.
garyl43
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/09/30 18:10:19 (permalink)
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ORIGINAL: cpl

Actually, I'm thinking of the apex as the apex of your body's movement- Where your arms are almost fully extended. At the fullest apex of the rods themselves, which you're talking about, is where you get the most tension- The point where your hands are near your chest, at the bottom of your body's movement.

No, I am talking about the point where your arms are almost fully extended (farthest away from your chest) during the bench press as the apex (as you are). This is where the resistance is the highest on the BF and the rods are fully bent. At the point where your hands are nearest your chest (bottom of the rep) is where the resistance is the lowest and the rods are only slightly bent.
post edited by garyl43 - 2006/09/30 18:55:25
garyl43
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/09/30 19:12:55 (permalink)
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ORIGINAL: cpl



At the top of a bowflex bench press, the same mechanics come into play- Less muscle is needed and used- But there's also less total tension on the rods, meaning the body needs to apply even less work to complete the motion. (Because of the mechanics of the machine, less "weight" exists that needs to be moved at this point.)

You've got it backwards here, there is more tension on the rods at the top of the press and you need to do more work to complete the motion than you would w/ free weights. It is "progressive resistance" meaning the farther you push, the harder it gets. More "weight" needs to be moved at this point.
post edited by garyl43 - 2006/09/30 20:25:56
cpl
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/10/01 14:15:43 (permalink)
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You're absolutely right- Don't know where the hell my head is.
anyway- At the lower part of the movement, where the chest would be doing more work with free weights, the bowflex rods provide less resistance there- The rods aren't bent as much, not providing as much tension at a critical point of the movement.
garyl43
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/10/01 17:22:20 (permalink)
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Yeah, it's kind of the opposite of free weights, if you were to be benching say 200 lbs with free weights, you would use around 240 lbs on the bowflex so the press would start around 150 lbs at the bottom and end at 240 lbs at the top where you are stronger, so it still averages out to around 200 lbs for the rep. I feel this offsets the lighter weight at the beginning of the rep by allowing you to get a killer sqeeze on the muscles at the top of the rep, especially w/bench press, chest flys, shoulders press, curls, triceps...... come to think of it, just about everything. Like the guy in one of the earlier replies said "there's no way I could squat 380 lbs w/freeweights", it's just that the BF allowed him to get past the bottom of the rep by starting at around 220 lbs. And the range of motoin of a squat isn't enough to fully bend the rods so he was probably only hitting around 290 lbs at the top. I just feel there are a lot of misconceptoins out there about the BF  by people who haven't used one or just tried out a friends one time. I've had a gym membership (that I used) for eight years and had always had free weights and home gyms before that. I've been using the BF now for 16 months so I have a pretty good handle on how it compares to free weights. Both have pros and cons, but in the end I think they are both excellent ways to build strength and muscle.
post edited by garyl43 - 2006/10/01 17:44:12
cpl
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/10/02 03:49:42 (permalink)
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The thing is though, the difference in resistance at the top and bottom of the movements doesn't mean it evens things out- If you're not getting the work you need at the bottom of the movement, it's going to affect your lifts.
For example- If someone can bench three hundred pounds worth of free weight, would they be able to handle three hundred pounds on the bowflex? absolutely- With ease.
Now take someone who can lift three hundred with the bowflex- Put them under three hundred pounds of free weight, and you're asking for disaster. Their muscles will be used to more tension at the top of the movement, and will be risking serious injury towards the bottom of the movement. Obviously, their strength will not have evened itself out throughout the lift with the difference in tension at different parts of the movement.
Again, this doesn't mean you can't get a good workout/body from the bowflex- I'm just saying that with freeweights, three hundred pounds is three hundred pounds, no matter what portion of the exercise you're talking about.
garyl43
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/10/02 11:40:59 (permalink)
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Not true, in physics you will find that moving a mass of 150 lbs that progresses to 250 on a perfect curve is exactly equal in total workload to moving a mass of 200 lbs the same distance. 1 set of 6 reps w/250 on the BF is equal in total workload to 1 set of 6 reps w/200 on free weights. But, if someone can bench 300 lbs on free weights, they would have to use 350 on the BF to equal the BF user of equal "strength", and trust me they wouldn't complete the rep until they have worked out on it for a while and become used to this type of progressive resistance because they are not used to pressing that extra weight at the top like the bowflex user. But there would be no disaster because there isn't a 350 lb bar to drop on themselves. The first time I ever tried a bowflex was my brothers Extreme about 4 years ago, I put 200 lbs on it because that was what I was using for my heavy set at the gym, I couldn't complete one rep, mainly because I had a hard time stabilizing my arms and my body simply wasn't adapted to it. But 240? no way! That's when I knew there might be something to this Bowflex thing. Your body adapts to the resistance curve of the BF the same way that it adapts to the resistance curve of free weights. If you use free weights you will be stronger on the bottom half of the rep, if you use BF, you will be stronger in the top half of the rep. Take two guys of equal size, one using free weights, the other using the BF, put the BF guy on the free weights and he won't be able to bench as much as the FW guy. Now, put the FW guy on the BF, and he won't be able to bench as much as the BF guy. Your body adapts to the type of resistance you are using very well. Take a body builder for example, he may be bigger and more muscular than a powerlifter, but he's not going to out lift him even though they both train w/free weights. The sprinter will outrun the long distance runner in the 100 yard dash, but the LD runner will catch up and pass him in the long run, even with those skinny legs. It's apples and oranges really. How you train and what you train with is what you will be good at. The idea is to build muscle and get stronger, and either one will work. Personally, as soon as I can cough up the cash, I'm going to get a set of powerblocks so I can alternate and get the best of both worlds .
post edited by garyl43 - 2006/10/02 19:45:44
garyl43
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RE: bow flex and real weight 2006/10/03 11:14:04 (permalink)
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Most guys use the numbers on the barbell to determine ones strength, actual strength or "power" is defined by physics as the ability to move a "mass" or "resistance" a specific distance in a specific time. That is what determines the workload and the total workload is what makes the muscles respond by growing. The numbers (on FW or BF) are good for only two things, 1-bragging or being laughed at
2-keeping track of how much you're lifting and how you are progressing

Most guys that are older and more experienced don't even know their 1RM unless they are in a competition. It doesn't really matter to them because they are doing it for themselves,not anybody else. If you set the resistance to a point that you can only do the number of reps you need for the desired effect (strength, size), you will be able to get the total workload you need to achieve the results you are looking for, w/BF or FW.
post edited by garyl43 - 2006/10/03 14:40:34
Kisama
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Re: RE: bow flex and real weight 2009/06/09 08:04:32 (permalink)
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I realize this is an old discussion but I figure I'd chime in. 

I own a BF extreme and I found that I only started really seeing results after I learned how to get the most intensity out of my workouts.  Also I didn't see it mentioned at all in this thread but the instructions for the BF do emphasize the user do slow, controlled movements with a pause at the end of the extension.  Perhaps this is to maximize the gain from gradual resistance the rods provide.

I've also noticed that the BF tends to give the user a false sense of accomplishment.  Clearly being able to use the higher numbers on the BF does not equate to same performance using free weights.  I've embarrassed myself a few times learning that lesson.

I happen to be a runner so I do like the range of exercises I get out of my BF however if I ever decide I want to try to put on some serious mass, I'm probably going to have to use free weights to do it.
post edited by Kisama - 2009/06/09 08:05:33
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