Editor’s Note: The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 was discontinued early 2019 and replaced with the Max Trainer M6. Check out our M6 review here.
Introduced in 2016, the M7 is the sleek new leader of the Bowflex Max Trainer lineup. In two major ways it serves as a top alternative to treadmills and ellipticals: It torches lots more calories and is much gentler to your frame. Keep fit in half the usual time! The Max Trainer M7 can save four user profiles and is a good fit for family workout rooms.
The Max Trainer M7 has 20 resistance levels to challenge a wide range of trainees. Depending on the resistance setting, your lower body will get an ultra-smooth version of stair-stepping or elliptical training. Your upper body will get toned with moving arm bars that are twice as effective as those on elliptical trainers. Even so, the especially low impact design will help you feel invigorated, not exhausted.
The Max Trainer M7 is the top model in its series. The following list helps explain how it’s different from the others. It also compares Bowflex Max Trainers with ellipticals and treadmills.
What We Like:
All Max Trainers are recommended buys, but the Max Trainer M7 stands out with extra training programs and other upgrades. Here are details about its best features.
- Zero Impact: Exercising with a Max Trainer can be zero impact. The machine is designed so that your body stays in constant contact with the pedals; you aren’t hitting the machine with each step as you would with a treadmill. This lets you avoid joint pain often associated with treadmill exercise or outdoor running.
- Fast Calorie Burn: Partly because of the zero impact design and moving arm bars, the M7 lets you burn calories more quickly than other cardio trainers do. You can burn about 2.5 times the calories of elliptical training! The Max Trainer is also more efficient at calorie burn than treadmills and stairclimbers are.
- Upper Body Workout: The moving handles on Bowflex Max Trainers are about twice as effective than those on elliptical trainers. On the M7 is particular, the arm bars have commercial quality ergonomic grips.
- Resistance: The Bowflex M7 has 20 resistance levels to keep you challenged. Other Max Trainers offer 8 and 16 levels.
- Preset Programs: The M7 has manual mode plus the most preset workouts of all the Bowflex Max Trainers. In one menu section the options are Max 7 Minute Interval, Max 14 Minute Interval, Max 21 Minute Interval, Power Interval, Calorie Goal and Steady Pace. In another section, which is called Performance Mode, the program goals can automatically adjust to your training progress. That list includes Fat Burn, Calorie Burn, Stairs, Manual and Fitness Test. For comparison, of all the above programs the Max Trainer M3 only has the 14-minute workout and manual mode. The Max Trainer M6 has eight programs and manual mode.
- Motion Traxx Workouts: All Bowflex Max Trainer customers get access to four treadmill workouts with the Motion Traxx mobile app.
- App Integration: Automatically send your workout data to a Bowflex app and easily track your stats. The M3 doesn’t have this feature.
- Heart Rate Monitoring: A chest strap for wireless heart rate monitoring is included with purchase. You can also monitor your heart with a contact grip system built into the handlebars. For comparison with the M3 and M6, only the M7 has the wireless monitoring.
- Premium Grips & Pedals: From your toes to your fingertips, you’ll appreciate Bowflex’s expert attention to comfort. The M7 has high quality stainless steel pedals and commercial quality grips on the handlebars. These features are the best-in-series.
- Four User Profiles: Four trainees can save their user profiles and get customized training goals. The other Max Trainers allow two profiles each.
- Extras: The Max Trainer M7 has a water bottle holder and a media rack. Its media area is more spacious than those of the other models.
- Compact: Bowflex Max Trainers take up little space compared with treadmills. The M7’s footprint is 46″ L x 29.5″ W. The machine weighs 148 pounds and has transport wheels.
Bowflex Max Trainer M7 Treadmill - Key Specs:
|Weight Capacity:||300 LBS|
|Dimensions:||46" L x 29.5" W x 65" H|
|Built-In Programs:||11 programs and 20 levels of computer controlled resistance|
The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 earns five stars as an alternative to treadmills and ellipticals. Even so, here are a few potential drawbacks:
- Assembly: Assembly takes an hour or more. Paying for assembly adds about $250 to your bill. Maybe the best choice is making assembly easier by following one of Bowflex’s how-to videos.
- Warranty/Price Combo: Compared with comparably priced treadmills, Bowflex Max Trainers have short warranties. The M7 has the longest warranty of the three models: three years on the whole machine.
Bowflex Max Trainers are excellent alternatives to traditional cardio trainers. With a virtually zero impact design, they’re an exception to the rule of “No pain, no gain.” Among shoppers with bigger budgets, the Max Trainer M7 suits experienced runners, people looking to avoid joint pain, parents shopping for family workout equipment, and almost anyone interested in burning lots of calories in a short amount of time.
If the M7 is outside of your price range, maybe the M6 is a good alternative.