Bowflex PR1000 Vs. Bowflex Blaze

Bowflex home gyms are designed to equip gym-goers with versatility. They provide accommodated resistance with their signature power rods, which are useful for keeping the weight of their machines lighter, and being less stressful on the joints. When seeking the perfect Bowflex model it can be intimidating due to all of their different specs.

Two of their more similar models include the Bowflex PR1000 and the Bowflex Blaze. These two models are somewhat similar in design, as they both have the fold down bench, but their date of release differs. In this article, we’re going to analyze all of the specs that make these models alike and different.

Bowflex PR1000 Vs. Bowflex Blaze

Image courtesy amazon.com.

[Looking for the best home gym for you? Read here and check out our full rundown of the top equipment for your needs!]

Key Specs and Features

Bowflex PR1000

The Bowflex PR1000 comes equipped to provide a gym-goer with over 30 exercises to perform. In addition, it has Bowflex’s signature resistance power rods, and this machine specifically comes with up to 210 lbs of resistance. Also, this machine has a fold down bench that some Bowflex models lack, which enables a gym-goer to perform supine movements.

Bowflex Blaze

The Bowflex Blaze is similar to the PR1000 in design, and is a sizeable step up when it comes to versatility. It also has a fold down bench, but it goes a step further by providing a gym-goer over 60 exercises to perform. This doubles what the PR1000 offers, and to top it off, it also comes with 210 lbs of resistance power rods, along with the ability to upgrade to additional resistance (something the PR1000 can’t do).

Another key feature that the Blaze comes with that the PR1000 lacks is the additional workout content. The Blaze comes with a workout DVD and an in-depth user manual to walk a gym-goer through various movements. For this reason, I think the Blaze has the edge over the PR1000.

Winner: Bowflex Blaze

Bowflex Blaze

Image courtesy amazon.com.

Versatility

Bowflex PR1000

We mentioned it earlier, but the Bowflex PR1000 does a fair job in terms of versatility. It provides a gym-goer with over 30 exercises, which isn’t terrible for a very beginner model. If you’re brand new to the gym and working out, then I feel as though this enough to equip you with dynamic workouts, and body part specific work.

Below are a few examples of exercises and major muscle groups you can work with the Bowflex PR1000.

  • Legs: Leg extension, curl, and kickback 
  • Chest: Flat, incline, and decline press
  • Back: Lat pulldown, row, lower back extension 
  • Arms: Bicep curls and tricep pushdown
  • Shoulders: Press, delt raise, shrugs 
  • Core: Ab crunch, trunk rotation, and oblique crunch 

Bowflex Blaze

Like we pointed out above, the Bowflex Blaze has a decent step up in versatility when compared to the Bowflex PR1000. This system allows a lifter to perform over 60 exercises, and can be equipped with heavier weight, which in turn can allow for more gym-goers to use it. Although, the equipment each system comes with are somewhat similar, the Blaze does have the additional workout content to assist gym-goers.

Below are some of the exercises and muscles you can target using the Bowflex Blaze. The list is virtually similar to the PR1000, but have more variations within each exercises.

  • Legs: Leg extension, curl, and kickback 
  • Chest: Flat, incline, and decline press
  • Back: Lat pulldown, row, lower back extension 
  • Arms: Bicep curls and tricep pushdown
  • Shoulders: Press, delt raise, shrugs 
  • Core: Ab crunch, trunk rotation, and oblique crunch 

Winner: Bowflex Blaze

Space Requirement

Bowflex systems are definitely not the smallest home gyms on the market, but they’re also not the largest. For this reason, they can often be used in a variety of settings, and rooms. So when buying a versatile home gym like this, one of the main concerns consumers have is their space requirement.

Below are how the Bowflex PR1000 and the Bowflex Blaze stack up in terms of their space needed. Keep in mind, both systems can be stored by folding up the bench, so one can save a little space there, but the Blaze does save some room on width.

Bowflex Model Space Requirements
Bowflex PR1000 Length: 103″, Width: 80″, Height: 82″
Bowflex Blaze Length: 90″, Width: 38″, Height: 83″

 

Winner: Bowflex Blaze

Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym

Image courtesy amazon.com.

Price

Bowflex PR1000

The one area where the Bowflex PR1000 has the edge on the Blaze is in its price. This system starts around $370.00, which is pretty tough to beat for the amount of versatility it offers. It’s one of Bowflex’s earlier models though, so you’re getting what you pay for, and if price is your main concern, then I think the PR1000 is a great option for you.

Bowflex Blaze

The Blaze is a newer model that offers a little more versatility, so it makes sense that the price is higher. This system starts around $720.00, which still isn’t terrible for a home gym. In terms of price alone, this machine almost double the PR1000, but it still isn’t a ridiculously priced home gym. Yet, if price is your only concern, then you’ll fair best with the Bowflex PR1000.

Winner: Bowflex PR1000

Warranty

All of Bowflex’s home gyms have somewhat similar warranties, but the newer models are equipped with better options. Every one of Bowflex’s models come with warranties covering their frame, power rods, and attachments. This is ideal because you don’t want to invest in a home gym, and have to fork out money a couple months later because it breaks prematurely. Below are how the Bowflex PR1000 and Bowflex Blaze’s warranties stack up.

Bowflex Model Warranty Specs 
Bowflex PR1000 Frame: 1-year, Power Rods: 5-years, Parts: 60-days
Bowflex Blaze Frame: 1-year, Power Rods: 5-years, Parts: 60-days

 

Winner: Tie

Overall Winner: Bowflex Blaze

Both machines are pretty evenly matched, but the Blaze takes the win for the extra workout content and versatility. Plus, it save on a little extra space if that’s someone’s main concern. But keep in mind, the PR1000 is a similar machine at a cheaper price, so if price is your main priority, then our overall winning pick can be ignored for you. Yet, for the price, versatility, and warranty, we feel the Blaze is a solid pick.

If you need a versatile home gym for a decent price, then both of these gyms will fair pretty well, but the Blaze does offer a little more.

Feautre image courtesy amazon.com. 

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PUMPSURGE Review — A No-Caffeine Pre-Workout?

PUMPSURGE is one of the many pre-workouts on offer from Jacked Factory, a company based in Newfoundland in Canada, and the tub claims that it will provide “laser focus, muscle growth, powerful pumps, (and) endless endurance.”

What’s interesting is that despite those promises there’s no caffeine or stimulants anywhere to be found in the product. So what does it offer?

PUMPSURGE Nutrition & Ingredients

There’s no calorie information, but one tub provides citrulline (4g), betaine anhydrous (2.5g), glycerol powder (1.25g), rhodiola rosea (200mg), alpha GPC (100mg), black pepper fruit extract (5mg) and Huperzine A, made from toothed clubmoss aerial parts extract (50mcg). I’ll discuss all their effects in the next section.

The other ingredients are just an array of natural and artificial flavors, sweeteners, and anti-caking agents. Note that it contains the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium, which some people try to avoid. On the plus side, it’s naturally colored with fruit and vegetable juice.

PUMPSURGE Benefits & Effectiveness

There are quite a few ingredients that are linked to power output here, specifically the betaine anhydrous, alpha GPC, and to a lesser extent the citrulline — the latter is usually used for improving blood flow, but there’s some evidence that it can also affect power.

I really liked the rhodiola rosea. It’s a Scandinavian plant that has a pretty strong link with improved focus and reduced fatigue. (It’s also a main ingredient in Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Pre-Workout.)

There’s not so much evidence behind the toothed clubmoss, a plant that’s often used for its purported effect on focus. There haven’t been a lot of human studies.

The glycerol has a link with endurance and it might improve hydration, and finally, the black pepper extract helps everything else to absorb better.

The main issue I had with this product is that a couple of the dosages aren’t very well supported by evidence. There’s 100mg of Alpha GPC (the few studies that have shown an effect on power used over 500mg) and the citrulline is pretty low as well, with studies suggesting you need about 50 percent more per dose to have an acute effect on a workout.

The other ingredients seem to be dosed pretty effectively, except for the toothed clubmoss, of which there’s little consensus on what would constitute an effective dose.

PUMPSURGE Price

You can pick up 20 servings for $25, or $1.25 per serving. That’s somewhat pricy; most pre-workouts cost between 80 cents and $1 per serving.

PUMPSURGE Taste

I picked up the Cherry Limeade flavor, which was tasty, though a lot heavier on the cherry than the lime. The aftertaste had a slightly bubblegum-like flavor, but overall I’d say it was like cherry-flavored candy.

The Takeaway

As far as caffeine-free pre-workouts go, there are more potent options on the market but there aren’t many that are this cheap, so I’d feel comfortable recommending it as a way to boost your workout without taking stimulants. Given the solid doses of betaine, rhodiola, glycerol, and black pepper, it’s a decent choice for athletes who want to reduce their caffeine intake.

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Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Review

Six Star Pro Nutrition is a supplement company owned by Iovate Health Sciences, the same company behind MuscleTech and StrongGirl, and the brand is targeted a little less toward bodybuilders and more toward pro athletes like baseball, basketball, and football players.

They sell a remarkable four different pre-workouts, and we decided to try out the Fruit Punch flavor of Pre-Workout Explosion, a remarkably cheap, zero-calorie blend with a huge variety of ingredients.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Nutrition & Ingredients

These are the main ingredients:

Beta alanine (1.5g)
Creatine (1.5g)
L-arginine AKG (1.1g)
Pre-Workout Explosion Blend (535mg) that contains Vitamin C, 135mg of caffeine (about the amount found in a large cup of coffee), choline bitartrate, niacin, and tyrosine.
Advanced Pump Complex (500mg) taurine, citrulline, citrulline malate, and arginine HCI.

In addition to these there are some natural and artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and anti-caking agents. Note that it has sucralose and acesulfame potassium, artificial sweeteners that some folks like to avoid.

So what do all these ingredients do?

Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Benefits & Effectiveness

The beta alanine has a solid link with endurance and the creatine with power output.  The arginine helps the liver break down byproducts of exercise, like ammonia, so it might help you exercise for longer. Both are dosed pretty effectively.

Pre-Workout Explosion contains two proprietary blends, the Pre-Workout Explosion Blend and Advanced Pump Complex. This means we don’t really know how much of each ingredient it contains. The Vitamin C is in antioxidant, so it may reduce the cellular damage associated with exercise. The choline bitartrate could help with anaerobic power output while the tyrosine may improve focus.

It seems likely that this product may be a little low in one or more of these ingredients, since studies suggest you probably want a good 500 milligrams of tyrosine to have a pronounced effect. There’s 535 milligrams in the whole Pre-Workout Explosion Blend, and 135mg is caffeine.

As for the Advanced Pump Complex, the taurine helps with focus and the citrulline may help with blood flow. The whole blend is 500mg, but studies suggest an ideal dose is a good 1 gram of taurine and 6 grams of citrulline.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Price

Prices change quite a bit, but right now you can pick up 33 servings for $15, which makes 45 cents a serving. That’s very cheap; most pre-workouts are between 80 cents and a dollar per serving. That said, if you look on the front of the tub, it advertises the amount of beta alanine, creatine, and arginine found in two scoops, so it seems to be suggesting that some users should double up.

Even if they do, it’s still pretty reasonably priced.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Pre-Workout Explosion Taste

The Fruit Punch flavor was pretty consistent with other Fruit Punch flavors on the market: cherry candy with a hint of bubblegum. If you like cherry, you’ll like this, just don’t expect a burst of tropical flavor: it’s cherry.

The Takeaway

Six Star’s Pre-Workout Explosion has effective doses of beta alanine, caffeine, and creatine, so it works as an inexpensive supplement for endurance, energy, and power — which is all most people are after.

I’m not so sold on its usefulness as a supplement for focus since it may be low in taurine and tyrosine, even if you take two scoops. I don’t think it’s great for blood flow either, since it’s very low in citrulline.

But it’s one of the cheapest energy, endurance, and power supplements you’ll find.

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Reebok Is Coming Out With a Wood Heel Legacy Lifter

A wooden heel in a lifting shoe is something that’s sought after by athletes who typically want two things: A more connected feeling to the platform, and a love for the “old school” look. The only issue with wanting a wooden heel is that few companies still regularly make them, and the bigger companies typically reach for the lightweight durable TPU heel.

Although, that might be coming to an end in the somewhat near future. Joel Te from As Many Reviews As Possible shared an Instagram post that features the Reebok Legacy Lifter rocking a wooden heel. Could Reebok be the first big brand to bring back the highly sought after wooden heel? They might be.

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This Legacy Lifter features similar upper construction as their previous models, but with the newly added wooden heel. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many other details released about the shoe, which includes the background on the wood they plan to use, or their rationale behind doing so.

[Is the Reebok Legacy Lifter starting to sound like a good investment? Read out full review on the shoe before buying!]

From the picture, it appears that the wood looks slightly slick, so we’re curious if it’s a full wooden heel, or if they’re some form of wood/TPU hybrid. In the Instagram description, Te provides limited details on the shoe itself. He writes that the release date is tentatively set for June 18th, and that they’re going to cost around $300.00, which is $100.00 more than the regular Legacy Lifter.

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[Research before you invest. Here’s our full breakdown of the best current lifting shoes models on the market. Find your perfect pair!]

Since the initial release of the Legacy Lifter, Reebok has dropped a handful of new color schemes, so it begs the question if this wooden heeled lifter is the only thing Reebok has up their sleeve.

We’re also curious if there will be more color schemes dropped in addition to the full black. And again, Te stated on his Instagram page that their release date is set for June, but we’re hopeful that we’ll see more sneak peaks before then, or even a sped up release date.

Feature image from @asmanyreviewsaspossible Instagram page. 

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Half Squat vs Full Squat – Which Should You Be Doing?

In this article we compare and contrast the half squat vs the full squat, discussing why on earth anyone would squat above parallel in the first place, some guidelines to stick to when performing either (or both), and the importance of squatting in the first place.

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The Half Squat

In a recent article we discussed the half squat and the expected outcomes from training your squat to parallel. Contrary to what some may believe (or deeply hold true), the half squat can (and often should) be a consistent supplemental squatting option for many strength and power athletes who may have issues with attaining leg mass, bursting through sticking points, and/or looking to overload the central nervous system during certain parts of the year. 

The Full Squat

Many of you reading this already know all too well the benefits of performing squats to the fullest depth you can achieve. Strength, power, and fitness athletes look to get depth in squats for competitive advances, increased muscular mass and strength, and heightened performance. With that said, there are times when full depth squats may or may not be your best option if you are looking to address certain aspects in your training. Below is a video demonstration of how to perform the barbell full squat, also known as… the back squat.

Half vs Full Squat

In the below section we will discuss five aspects of your training and performance that can be impacted (positively or negatively) by the depth at which you squat. Note, that in all cases (excluding injury limitations) a sound foundation of full squatting should be achieved and maintained regardless of whether or not half squats are included into a program.

Quadriceps Emphasis

By limiting the range of motion at the knees (knee flexion), the half squat has the ability to keep constant tension and emphasis on the quadriceps, often at a joint angle that allows a lifter to lift heavier loads than in the full squat. By doing so, a lifter can solely focus on quadriceps involvement in the lift, increasing muscle damage within a session and muscular hypertrophy/tensile strength over time. While full squats do offer the same benefit, some lifters may have weaker quadriceps that limit their ability to finish a lift and therefore this partial repetition approach could be a good supplemental (supplemental to the full squat) exercise to add into a program.

Addressing Sticking Points

Full squats are key to developing a strong base of movement and strength, however do have limited application at times when a lifter has exhausted a specific range of joint flexion where they are not able to overcome the load (also know as a sticking point). Half squats can be used to increase a lifter’s angular specific strength capacities to best overcome that sticking point and continue to break through training ruts and plateaus. Additionally, the lifter is able to overload the neurological and mental systems while still patterning a squatting movement, which could be helpful in overcoming previous one-rep maxes or loads that you are unsure about.

Sprint and Jump Mechanics

Squatting as a whole will help increase athletic performance, specifically leg strength and power. Half squats can have a greater significance when looking at jumping and sprinting performance a the angles found at the knee and hip are closer matched the the half squat than the full, boosting angular specific strength and force production capacities. This can be done in most training programs, however inclusion of full squats should still be occurring to maintain proper movement, muscular balance, and joint integrity in the lower body.

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Application to Sport

Full squatting is a necessary movement and strength exercise for Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, functional fitness, and most strongman sports. Olympic weightlifters and functional fitness athletes need strength at the bottom most point in their squat to allow for lower receiving positions, whereas powerlifters must break parallel in competition. Half squats can however be a valuable training tool to increase angular strength and address sticking points, enhance quadriceps development, and overload the CNS similar to squat walkouts and overloading training (all of which are good training stimulus for more advanced lifters).

Functional Fitness and Movement Integrity

While both squat variations do offer some amazing benefits for most athletes, it is essential to the longevity of a strength, power, and fitness athletes (and non-athlete) to have the ability to perform squats though the full range of motion. By doing so, you train the ankles, knees, hips, and body to develop smoother movement patterns, gain strength at the end range of motion, and increase total body fitness. Overuse of restricted movements will often lead to restricted mobility and function, which is exactly why full squats should be a key movement in any athlete’s routine.

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Build a Better Squat, NOW!

Whether you squat A$% to grass or just graze parallel, these two articles are must reads to help you not only squat more weight to full depth, but also keep you safe and protected when you start to train heavy (…heavier).

Featured Image: @mikejdewar on Instagram

 

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25 Days of Gifting: SBD Strength Package!

To continue our 25 Days of Gifting extravaganza, BarBend and SBD USA are teaming up to give one lucky winner an SBD Strength Package!

[Read our review of SBD’s famous knee sleeves here! And check out why we think they’re among the best on the market in our full knee sleeves roundup and rankings!]

SBD is a worldwide leader in supportive strength equipment, and now, one lucky winner will receive and SBD starter kit with wrist wraps, elbow sleeves, and their legendary IPF-approved knee sleeves. Protect your joints and go heavy with confidence!

Don’t miss out of any of our awesome December giveaways! Check the 25 Days of Gifting homepage for the latest.

SBD Strength Package
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MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Pre-Workout Review — What’s Nitrosigine®?

Operated by Iovate Health Sciences in Delaware, MuscleTech is a pretty big name in the supplement business and they sell a ton of different products that are arranged under different product lines. They have the Performance Series, Lab Series, Essential Series, and Pro Series, all with their own products and focus. (They also have the female-focused FitMiss series.)

We’ve tried their whey protein power and one of their branched chain amino acid products, but today we’re looking at one of their pre-workouts in the Performance Series: Vapor X5 Next Gen. It’s part of the Performance Series, which MuscleTech says is for people who are “serious about performance and results.”

What makes it special?

 MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Nutrition & Ingredients

There are a lot of ingredients here and they’re mostly divided into five categories. I’ll discuss their benefits and effects in the next section.

Explosive Energy Matrix has the caffeine — 190mg, about as much as you’ll find in two small cups of coffee — and 100mg of choline bitartrate.

Musclebuilding Matrix has creatine (1.5g) and betaine anhydrous (1.25g).

Performance & Endurance Compound has beta alanine (1.6g) and taurine (500mg).

Pump Matrix contains hawthorn berry extract (200mg) and 750mg of arginine inositol silicate, also called Nitrosigine®.

Finally, there’s the Neurosensory Blend of theanine (62.5mg), galangal extract (25mg) and yohimbe extract (20mg). The yohimbe extract is 6 percent yohimbine, so you’re getting 1.2 milligrams per scoop.

The other ingredients are mostly a little niacin (15mg, 75 percent of the daily intake) and some natural and artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. Note that it contains sucralose and acesulfame potassium, artificial sweeteners that some folks like to avoid, and several kinds of gum: carrageenan, xanthan, and cellulose.

MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Benefits & Effectiveness

There are a lot of ingredients here, so let’s start with the good.

There’s a solid amount of caffeine, and what’s nice is that this product also includes taurine and theanine, two ingredients that are known to help reduce the jitteriness and lack of focus that can accompany a big caffeine hit.

The Musclebuilding Matrix is also solid: it has research-backed doses of creatine and betaine anhydrous, both supplements that could add a significant boost to your power output. The beta alanine, meanwhile, has a strong link with endurance.

The hawthorn berry is known for its antioxidants, so it may reduce oxidative damage and improve blood flow. But there have been no human studies on this effect, so we don’t know what constitutes an effective dose — if indeed there is an effective dose.

I’m also not quite sure why galangal was included. It’s usually used to flavor dishes from Southeast Asia and when used medicinally, it’s typically for stomach pain or combating inflammation. It also has a lot of antioxidants, but MuscleTech says they included it for its “unique sensory effects” and didn’t provide more information than that.

Choline bitartrate may improve time to fatigue, but the 100mg dose here seems on the low side, since many studies use doses of 600 milligrams or more.

The arginine inositol (or Nitrosigine) has a pretty strong link with energy and stamina, but research suggests a better dose would be the 1.5 grams you get in two scoops of Vapor X5, not the amount found in one scoop. The same goes for the stimulant yohimbine: for a buzz that may improve focus, you probably want 2.5 milligrams of the stuff. That’s the amount found in two scoops.

MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Price

You can pick up 30 servings for $21, so it’s 70 cents per serving. That’s pretty inexpensive; the average pre-workout costs somewhere between 80 cents and a dollar per scoop.

MuscleTech Vapor X5 Next Gen Taste

I tried the Blue Raspberry flavor, which tasted like raspberry candy. While the intense blue color suggested an intense blue flavor, I found that one scoop of Vapor X5 in 1.5 cups of water made for a pretty mild drink. This is good news for anyone who is interested in doubling up the serving size and using two scoops per drink, something the tub suggests as a viable option for those who want a stronger effect.

The Takeaway

There are enough ingredients in one scoop to say that this is a pretty effective and cheap supplement for energy, power, endurance, and focus. That’s because it has a good hit of caffeine, beta alanine, betaine, creatine, and theanine.

If you double the serving size, you’ll have a good amount of yohimbine and Nitrosigine, which will further boost focus and stamina. I found a couple of the ingredients unnecessary but for the price you’re paying, it’s an impressive product with a lot of effects.

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