That Next Step’s a Doozy: How the Bowflex M9 Stacks Up against the M6 and M8.
“Go big or go home,” the old saying goes.
As the legendary line of Bowflex Max Trainer elliptical/step machines has evolved, earlier models have fallen by the wayside. The exception to that rule remains to keep existing models in stock when they still have plenty to offer.
For instance, now – as the bigger, better, and naturally pricier Bowflex Max Trainer M9 enters the market. But its predecessors, the M6 and M8, aren’t going anywhere. The shiny new model’s arrival hasn’t diminished their value to consumers. It just made them up their game, even if what they had was already exciting enough.
You Can't Argue with Results.
Some features are just natural assets. The following M6 and M8 characteristics were so popular and valuable that the Max Trainer design team wasted no time incorporating them into the M9:
•Short Workouts: From their inception, these stepper/ellipticals were designed to meet the needs of users with limited time to work out between work, home life and hobbies. Bowflex designed its machines to optimize high-intensity interval training (HIIT) benefits so users could get a good day’s workout done in as little as 14 minutes.
•Full-body workout: The handles on your Max Trainer are more than something to hang on to while your legs do all the work. They’re made to move – and to make your upper body do the same.
•Magnetic resistance: The purpose of resistance is to make your workout more challenging, not uncomfortable. Magnetic resistance offers a quiet, dust-free exercise session that friction resistance can’t match. You pick up easy-to-switch resistance levels and dump frequent maintenance and pad replacement.
•Bluetooth® connectivity: This opens the door to coaching, progress tracking, external apps, entertainment, and JRNY – the platform that brings it all together.
•Smart device compatibility: Whether tablets or smartphones are a necessary part of your workout or just help you keep up with the rest of your life, a USB charging port makes sure they won’t play out before you do.
•Bottle holder: the downside of dehydration is that it dramatically reduces your performance. If there’s an upside, it’s that it also dulls your perception of how poorly you’re doing. It's best to just stay hydrated throughout your workout.
•Transport wheels: Once the hard work is done, storage shouldn’t present a second workout.
These standard features may appear or function differently from model to model. But ultimately, they all perform – and make you perform – with remarkable efficiency.
Making You Sweat
Every Max Trainer comes with a number of standard workout programs. The M6 offers four. The M8 provides seven, and the M9 presents 13. You test yourself against 16 levels of resistance on the M6 or tackle a full 20 on either the M8 or M9. Whichever machine you choose, you’ll be motivated to work past the plateaus that stop other forms of exercise cold – and if you reach that last level, you’ll likely never find it to be a cakewalk.
Making You Comfortable
Bowflex didn’t stop at designing a machine that delivered great cardio, fat-burning and muscle-toning results. It also made sure your joints and other body parts didn’t pay the price for those benefits. Comfort features include Multi-grip, dynamic handles. The M6 offers two grip positions – a high grip primarily strengthening your chest and shoulders and a lower grip that helps you tighten those abs. The M8 and M9 offer more padding on grip handles that are longer and curvier to afford you four grip options.
That’s not to say the M6’s handles aren’t already quite comfortable. Its “Sport” pedals are also built for comfort – wide and with a highly slip-resistant tread pattern. Those same qualities are found on the “Performance” pedals of the M8 and M9. You just get them in a bigger size. These handles and pedals offer comfort in the way they work as well. All three Max Trainers boast a zero-impact design, which facilitates a natural motion that supports your joints and allows you to accomplish more without feeling beaten up. Max Trainers also keep those around you comfortable – having been designed to be quiet as well as ergonomic.
Keeping You Connected
The Bluetooth® connectivity available on all three Max Trainers serves several vital purposes. First, it monitors your heart rate, which is the key to measuring your progress and keeping you working within your proper cardio and fat-burning zones. Both the M6 and M8 are compatible with the optional Bluetooth-enabled Bowflex Heart Rate armband, while the M9 comes with an armband included. If you aren’t into armbands, all three Max Trainers feature grip heart rate monitors.
Connectivity to your smart devices is integral – especially if you choose the M6 or M8. Neither model is equipped with the M9’s 10” touch screen, so your tablet or phone serves as your window to entertainment services, tracking software and third-party apps. If you subscribe to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, you can binge-watch your favourite shows. Alternatively, you can star in your own adventure - transporting your workout to an exotic virtual destination. Both escapes can be made while your device tracks your progress. The possibilities open wide when you subscribe to one revolutionary app.
Bowflex Max Trainers and JRNY have played vital roles in each other’s evolution. Not long ago, the M6 and M8 functioned under a JRNY-like app called Max Intelligence, which tracked the user’s progress and offered the virtual via virtual coach “Max” to motivate you toward that next goal. JRNY came on as a bridge to exciting third-party apps like Explore the World – a high-definition virtual tour of exotic global trails that you move through at the pace of your workout.
Today, Max and Explore the World are still on the job, but they both work under the JRNY app, which took over for Max Intelligence. JRNY expanded the workout possibilities with advanced progress tracking and feedback, adaptive workouts, trainer-led exercise videos, energizing Bowflex Radio, milestone celebrations, coaching during your streaming entertainment, rewards and more.
Keeping You Informed
It all looks even better than it sounds. M6 and M8 users get all their vital info via the M6’s backlit single console. It features a funky, speedometer-like calorie burn meter that updates you by the minute above a bright interval tracker. The M8 offers the same display layout in an upgraded LCD two-window console that’s more colourful and easier to read. Both Max Trainers offer a magnetic media tray to keep your devices (plus items like keys) in plain sight. The M9 can do the same for you with its ingeniously compartmentalized touch screen. M9 users may also want to use smart devices to keep in touch with the outside world while exercising. Bowflex considered that and designed an optional media rack specifically for their machine.
Perhaps the most remarkable benefit of the JRNY app is its individualized approach to tailoring your workout regimen. However, that doesn’t make any of these Max Trainers a one-customer machine. The M6 can maintain profiles for up to two users – great for those rivalries with a competitive roommate, spouse or smart-Alec kid. If you like more competition, the M8 can support up to four user profiles. And if you feel like you could take on the world (or just have a large family), the M9 offers unlimited user profiles.
Fitting Into Your Life
One of the most attractive features of the Max Trainer is the compact footprint its sturdy vertical design creates. Still, the difference between fitting and not fitting in your available space can occasionally come down to inches. If you like to do that measuring before you shop, these machine dimensions should help with your pre-decision:
M6: 46” L x 26” W x 64.2” H (117 cm L x 66 cm W x 163 cm H)
M8: 47.9" L x 30.8" W x 65.2" H (122 cm L x 78 cm W x 166 cm H)
M9: 50"L x 31" W 67" H (127 cm L x 79 cm W x 170 cm H)
Don’t forget a minimum ceiling height of 15” plus the height of your tallest user. And if you like to see the warranty before you see the product, here you go:
M6: Frame & Parts: 2 years / Labor: 90 days
M8: Frame & Parts: 3 years / Labor: 90 days
M9: Frame & Parts: 3 years / Labor: 90 days
If you really want to be comfortable with your Max Trainer buying decision, start by paying a call on Canada’s leading Bowflex distributor.
Get to Know the M6, M8 and M9 at Flaman Fitness!
Flaman Fitness features Canada’s largest Bowflex showroom, so you can get a great view of all three machines - along with expert advice on what each one has to offer. Our sales professionals can assess your fitness requirements and experience to help you find the Max Trainer for you. Call or visit your nearest Flaman Fitness location – and start your stepper/elliptical training adventure on the right foot!
Category: Equipment Guides
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