Bowflex Max vs Elliptical – Which is Best For You?

Trying to compare the Bowflex Max vs elliptical trainer?


bowflex max vs elliptical
Bowflex Max


Wondering how exactly they’re different – and which is best for you?

The Bowflex Max has really disrupted the elliptical market – as it’s a brand new style of elliptical – half stair stepper and half elliptical.

It also gives you some incredible benefits that the elliptical trainer does not. However on the flip side, the elliptical trainer also gives you some benefits that you don’t get with the Max Trainer.


bowflex max vs elliptical trainer
Bowflex BXE 116 Elliptical


So which one is best for you? This post will show you the main differences between the Bowflex Max vs elliptical. So you can choose the best fit for your home gym.

(Note that I’m going to compare the Max Trainer to the Bowflex Elliptical BXE116 just for ease of illustration. However the comparison points are pretty similar for most quality-built elliptical trainers)


Bowflex Max vs elliptical
Bowflex M3 Trainer



Bowflex Max Vs Elliptical –  Lower Body Motion


This is where the real difference lies – in the lower body exercise.

The original elliptical trainer was created by Precor back in the mid-nineties to specifically mimic the motion of running.

It was created to help runners who couldn’t train outside – and to reduce the strain and impact running had on their joints.


bowflex max vs elliptical


So basically, you have more of a running-on-a-flat-path type of motion with an elliptical trainer.

In contrast, the Bowflex Max has more of a stair-stepping or climbing motion to it. But it’s not a stair-climbing machine since it also incorporates elliptical-type arm bars.

The way I like to explain it to people is that the Max trainer is more of a climbing elliptical trainer.

So which is better? Well, as you’ll see the Max Trainer motion does recruit more lower body muscles and that means you burn calories faster.

However a lot of people (runners especially) prefer the running-type motion of an elliptical trainer.


max trainer vs elliptical



How Many Calories Can You Burn?


While elliptical trainers do burn calories, the Max Trainer can help you burn more calories. According to tests done by Bowflex, the Max Trainer can help you burn up to 2.5 times more calories than an elliptical – or a treadmill.

In fact, Bowflex trial users burned up to 600 calories in 30 minutes, which is incredible. So if you’re looking for the best machine to help you burn calories and see results faster, the Max Trainer is the best choice.


bowflex max vs elliptical
Bowflex Max Before and After


Plus because it’s more of a HIIT training workout (high intensity interval training) some experts claim that it helps to target fat stores better and you’ll burn calories for up to 48 hours post workout.


bowflex Max trainer calories


Bowflex Max vs Elliptical – Console Features


This can come down to the type of elliptical that you buy (or the Max Trainer Model that you choose).

However for the most part, the Max trainer consoles are not as fancy with as many features as you find on many elliptical trainers. They’re not as large either.

As an example here’s the Bowflex Max M6 Console:


bowflex max vs elliptical
Bowflex M6 Console


And here’s the Bowflex BXE116 Console:


bowflex max vs elliptical comparison
Bowflex BXE116 Console


The elliptical console display is a bit bigger with a few more options. For example, most elliptical consoles today have music ports with speakers where you can plug in your iPhone or other device and play your favorite music through the speakers. The Max trainer consoles don’t have this.

Most elliptical trainers also come with fans in the console to keep you cool. This is something else that Bowflex has not added to the Max trainer (yet).

On the other hand, Bowflex Max consoles do give you tablet holders so you can watch your tablet as you workout – which a lot of people really like to do.

And the Max Trainer M6 and M8 models now come with online tracking and customized workouts (called Bowflex Max Intelligence). So they give you some really good tracking and training options.


bowflex Max trainer vs elliptical


Variety of Exercise Motion


The elliptical trainer wins out over the Max Trainer here. It gives you a few more options when it comes to exercise variety and comfort.

For example, you can go forward or backwards on an elliptical trainer. The BXE116 and BXE216 elliptical trainers both also have incline – which changes the slope of your running path, helping you to crosstrain more effectively.

Bowflex elliptical trainers also have adjustable pedals – so you can change the toe-heel angle of your gait and make the workout more comfortable. These are things you don’t get on the Max Trainer.


bowflex elliptical vs max trainer



Bowflex Max vs Elliptical – Space Considerations


The Max trainer wins out when it comes to space. It’s much smaller than the size of a regular elliptical trainer.

Just to give you an idea the footprint of the Bowflex M6 is 50″ L x 30.5″ W. The footprint of the Bowflex BXE116 elliptical is 77″ L x 31″ W – much larger.

So if you have a smaller workout area or you’re in a condo or apartment for example, you may find the Max trainer is more convenient size-wise.


Bowflex max vs elliptical comparison

Bottom Line?

So which is best in the Bowflex Max vs elliptical debate? Well this really depends on you.

The Max trainer is definitely better if you’re trying to lose weight quickly and want to tone up faster. It gives you faster results in less time – which is great if you don’t have a lot of time to workout.

It’s also more compact and takes up less space in your home.

But an elliptical trainer like the Bowflex BXE116 gives you more options when it comes to crosstraining and the console features are also a bit more advanced.

So at the end of the day it comes down to what you’re looking for.

Want to learn more?


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max trainer vs elliptical
Bowflex Max



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bowflex max vs elliptical trainer
Bowflex BXE 116 Elliptical




bowflex max vs elliptical trainer