Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Review (Renamed M6 in 2019)
UPDATE: The M5 has recently been replaced by the new Bowflex Max Trainer M6, which adds Max Intelligence capability.
This is a newly introduced app that gives access to unique customized workouts, tracking and sharing capability, Run Social maps and other motivational tools.
Other than the new app, the M5 and M6 are essentially the same, so the following review is still applicable.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is one of three hybrid cardio machines offered by the company, an alternative to their TreadClimbers and traditional treadmills. The M5 is more like an elliptical combined with a stepper, but it can provide a solid calorie-burning workout.
With its compact design and patented Max Interval program, it has become very popular for home use, especially for those who want to achieve maximum results in the shortest amount of time possible.
Click Specifications to see detailed model info
Resistance Levels : up to 16
Workout Programs : 9 (Intervals, Calorie, Stairs, Fitness, Manual)
Display : Blue Backlit With Burn Rate Meter
Heart Rate Reading : Contact and Wireless
Dimensions : 46.1" L x 25" W x 62.9" H
Tracking Ability : Bluetooth 4.0 Compatibility
Maximum User Weight : 300 lbs.
Warranty : 2 years
Bowflex Max Trainer M5 - Best Features
Quick Result Workouts
One of the most appealing features of the Bowflex Max Trainer M5, and the rest of the series, is the fact that you can get a solid, calorie-burning workout in a relatively short amount of time.
You have the patented 14 minute Max Interval program, which is purported to burn 2.5x as many calories per minute as other cardio machines including the treadmill, step climber and elliptical.
There are also a number of other workout programs to choose from, as well as a free 8 week Daily Burn trial program with over 600 workouts to choose from.
You can use your smart phone or tablet to view and follow along with these special personal trainer designed workouts.
Burn Rate Display
A unique Bowflex feature, the Burn Rate Display shows you exactly how many calories you are burning each minute while you are on the machine, and also sets goals for you to reach based on your fitness level and inputs to help motivate you and maximize your results.
The display also shows if you are in one of three target zones: the fat burn range, the endurance range or the performance range, so you can see exactly how you are performing.
Although the burn rate display is basic, users have really found it motivating to watch the dial move from one zone to the next.
At only about 46″ long, it’s almost half the length of a traditional treadmill or elliptical, so for those with limited space the M5 is very appealing.
All three Max Trainers are compact, although the M7 is slightly larger.
It is also only 143 lbs., and with the included transport wheels it is very portable.
Space constraints are always an issue in home gyms, so this one will fit in quite nicely, and you can fit other cardio equipment along with it.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 gives you Bluetooth tracking capability, which means you can record all of your workout results via the Max Trainer 2 app and sync it with popular fitness apps.
This is great for those who want to monitor their progress over time, set targets for themselves or share results with family and friends.
Note that the base Max Trainer M3 does not currently have Bluetooth tracking capability, so if tracking is key for you, consider the M5 or the M7.
Heart Rate Monitoring
As expected on a cardio-centric machine, you have the ability to measure your heart rate either with the contact grips or more precisely with the wireless chest strap, which is included for free with all Max Trainers.
This allows you to know exactly what your heart rate is to ensure you are in the ideal zone for maximum results.
Note that most companies do not include the wireless chest strap for free, so it’s a nice touch that it comes with the M5.
Other Great Features
The Max Trainer M5 comes with 16 different resistance levels to choose from, water bottle holder, media/tablet shelf, interactive backlit display, up to 2 user profiles, upgraded grips from the base M3 model, and an AC adapter.
Bowflex Max Trainer M5 - Drawbacks
Warranty Could Be Better
The included warranty on the Bowflex M5 is only 2 years parts and 90 days labor, which isn’t great, so you should definitely consider either the 3 year or 5 year protection plan just to cover yourself in case something goes wrong.
The up-level Bowflex Max Trainer M7 model comes with 3 years parts, which is a little better, but you’ll still benefit from additional coverage.
Hopefully they will improve the warranty over time.
Not the Cheapest Machine
At around $1,599 it’s not the cheapest cardio machine on the market. There are certainly better treadmills and ellipticals in this price range, but the Max Trainers are a different kind of machine so it’s not an apples to apples comparison.
Still, if you want to save a little money consider the base M3 at around $999. You’ll still get similar workouts and results, you’ll just be sacrificing Bluetooth tracking capability.
Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Review - Conclusion
For those looking for an alternative to the traditional treadmill or elliptical experience, the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is not a bad choice.
Of the three Max Trainers, the M3, M5 and M7, it is definitely the most popular, and offers an effective way to burn calories and tone up in a relatively short amount of time.
It’s not the most high-grade machine you will ever use, and doesn’t have many of the bells and whistles of a treadmill or elliptical, but with its compact design and low impact, it’s a good choice for the home gym.