Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Review

Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Rating

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Detailed Overview

Online reviews of Bowflex often focus on the brand’s strength training equipment, but that’s not all the brand has to offer. The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is an entry-level, full-body trainer that blurs the lines between an elliptical and a stairmaster. At just $999, it’s a budget-friendly machine that provides an intense, satisfying workout.

There are many reasons why this trainer is so widely well reviewed by both owners and professionals in the fitness space. This machine is a beast when it comes to burning calories, because your upper body is equally engaged. It beats cycling, walking, running, or even a traditional elliptical trainer. Want to lose fat? The Max Trainer M3 is a fat killer. That said, it’s also great for building and toning lean muscle along the way.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 comes loaded with a number of fantastic features that will please both beginners and intermediate level fitness enthusiasts equally. The M3 and its higher spec siblings are known for their intense workout sessions that are also surprisingly low impact. Specifically you’ll notice lower impact levels on key areas of the body, like the back, knees, and shins (all of which are prone to injuries with other machines). This means you can devote more of your energy towards completing your workout session rather than burning out early as aches and pains set in.

The Max Trainer M3 has 8 different resistance levels which can be changed easily using a twist-grip on one of the right handlebars. Because the unit only has an interval training and a manual mode, you’ll be using this resistance control a reasonable amount to get the most out of your workouts. Think of the M3 as providing a pretty basic, no-fuss workout overall.

The machine has a maximum user weight capacity of 300 pounds, which is more or less industry standard these days give or take 25-50 pounds. As we know, the higher the max weight capacity of any piece of fitness equipment, the more intensity it will be able to withstand. This is a sturdy machine and you’ll notice its overall stability during workouts. Cheaply made machines often wobble as you crank up the resistance, but you won’t find this with the Bowflex Max Trainer M3.

The Max Trainer M3 doesn’t have a HD touchscreen display or any other flashy entertainment features. Instead, it has a combination of a dial-style calorie burn rate indicator, a backlit LCD display, and a series of simple controls for burn rate, interval, user selection, and other features. This no-fuss setup is just what you need to focus on the workout at hand rather than being distracted by video or other information that doesn’t really matter when you’re looking to get your hustle on.

Another great perk of the Bowflex M3? It comes with a wireless chest strap for monitoring heart rate. Historically speaking, contact grip monitors for heart rate just aren’t as accurate as we’d like them to be. These wireless chest straps yield much better data, and are perfect for fitness enthusiasts who like to keep on top of their stats and progress.

If you’ve got the commitment to maintain a consistent routine, the Max Trainer M3 is one of the most effective pieces of equipment out there when it comes to changing your overall health and physique (paired with a healthy diet, of course). We’re pretty sure many of you have seen the Bowflex commercials by now. You know those ‘models’ in them? Well they’re actually real Bowflex customers who have seen real results.

If you’re looking for a higher-end Bowflex Max Trainer, check out our Max Trainer M6 review.

Our Favorite Features

  • Combines the functionality of an elliptical and stair stepper into one great machine
  • Dramatically reduces impact on trouble spots like the knees, back, etc.
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Simple and intuitive control panel
  • Increased calorie burn per 30 minutes
  • Compact design
  • Upper body workout more impactful than most ellipticals
  • Tablet holder
  • Wireless heart rate monitoring via chest strap (included)
  • Affordable price 

Bowflex Max Trainer M3 - Notable Specs:

Overall Rating:4-stars
Compact / Folding:Yes
Stride Length:N/A
Programs:2 workout programs
Weight Capacity:300 LB
Dimensions:49" L x 26" W x 64.7" H

Our Least Favorite Features

  • Short warranty – full coverage for only one year
  • No built-in sound system or speakers
  • 8 resistance levels (as opposed to 16 on the M6)
  • Only two workout programs to choose from

The Bottom Line

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is a compact machine, able to fit into most home gyms settings. Although it’s known to encourage maximum calorie burn, making your workouts more effective and providing a strong sense of accomplishment, it’s still kind to your joints.  This is great for staying motivated to keep exercising, unlike traditional machines that leave the user feeling exhausted and discouraged. 

Although the M3 only comes with two workout programs which some may argue is pretty sparse, these workouts are strong enough to show results. The M3’s eight different resistance levels are enough to keep you challenged as you progress, helping you to avoid the common plateau that tends to come after a few months of rapid weight loss. 

There is really nothing on the market to compare to the Bowflex Max Trainer Series. When it comes to optimal personal fitness, the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is tough to beat. The only better option may be the Max Trainer M6, which comes at a higher price point. So for those seeking a simple machine without a high learning curve or budget, the Max Trainer M3 is just the ticket. Beginners will love its portability, convenient features, and most of all how good it makes you look and feel.

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  • Rudolph Awotwi February 19, 2019 at 9:48 pm from Kanata
    I will not purchase any Bowflex products again. The crank shaft on the Max Trainer M3 breaks after ~8months. I get that replaced and new one breaks in ~5months. I don't think you want to throw away $1299.00 before taxes.
    • Elliptical Reviews Pros April 30, 2019 at 7:48 pm
      Hi Rudolph, we are sorry to hear that you had issues with your M3. Were you able to get a working machine from Bowflex? These machines are normally quite fantastic. Were you able to speak to a representative from Bowflex to inquire about a warranty?
  • Stephanie February 11, 2019 at 1:24 am
    I've lost 6 lbs in 7 days!! I do the morning...and night before bed..along w my calorie counter phone app...:) It's fun to use also while I listen to music. Wander how much I will loose in 30 days!
    • Elliptical Reviews Team February 12, 2019 at 2:14 pm
      Hi Stephanie, That's great to hear!! You should try the 30 minute intervals, where you can give it your all! Try to change your workout up after a certain period of time since your body can acclimatize to a specific workout set. Also, you're very tough if you can actually workout before bed, I've tried it before and I end up staying up all night!

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