The Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Bench Series 3.1 is, without a doubt, one of the most trusted and bestselling benches in the market. On Amazon, the workout bench is highly rated by customers, which is proof of the features that put it ahead of the competition.
If you want a bench that is stable and reliable, you should check out the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1. The bench is part of the popular SelectTech range and is built to make your workouts safe, enjoyable and effective.
Below, I will provide an overview of the features, pros and cons, and exercises you can do with the bench. Let’s dive in.
Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Bench Series 3.1 Overview
Comfort and Stability
Comfort and stability are two important factors you should consider when looking to buy a new weight bench for your garage or home gym.
Whether you plan to be engaging in decline crunches, incline bench press, or seated dumbbell presses, you will need to be in a comfortable position to complete the required sets and reps and get the most out of the workouts. The design of the bench you buy will determine its stability and the comfort of your workouts.
The Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Bench Series 3.1 comes with a thick-padded tapering backrest and seat. The padding is high quality and makes workouts comfortable without restricting your movement of the pressing exercises.
The size of the backrest widens towards the seat, providing additional support to the lower back. However, the backrest tapers toward the top to provide space for a wide range of motion in your traps and shoulders. Motion is crucial especially if you will be performing dumbbell flys. It makes the exercise as effective as possible.
The Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 has curved stabilizing bars at the base that keep it in contact with the floor. The bars spread the weight of the bench to allow for more lifting during your exercises without having to worry about stability.
Strength and Versatility
When looking for a new workout bench, you definitely want to get value for your money. This means you need to be sure of the features and quality of the bench.
Most weight benches offer a limited range of positions. However, the Bowflex 3.1 is different. The adjustable workout bench can switch between vertical, 45°, flat and decline positions. With this versatility, you can work on your muscles in different ways that won’t be possible with a fixed bench.
The bench also has a set of padded rollers to keep your legs fixed in position. The rollers will ensure you don’t slide off the bench when doing decline exercises such as decline dumbbell press or sit-ups.
Like is expected of any lightweight bench, you cannot perform a lot of exercises on the Bowflex 3.1 on its own. However, when you combine it with a good quality dumbbell set, you can engage in over 30 different exercises.
Most exercises that can be performed on the Bowflex 3.1 are good for training the upper body. However, there are also a number of exercises you can perform that can help to build the lower body. Below is an overview of the exercises you can accomplish with the weight bench:
- Decline sit-ups
- Lying triceps extensions
- Dumbbell pullovers
- Flat dumbbell press
- Bench dips
- Incline dumbbell curls
- Incline dumbbell flys
- Seated side lateral raises
- Seater shoulder press
Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Bench Series 3.1 Features
Below is a summary of the main features of the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 you should know about.
1. Bench Angles
The Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 allows you to choose four different angles; a decline of -10°, flat, 45° and 90°. According to Bowflex, the four angles allow you to perform up to 30 different exercises.
There are other benches in the market that have more angles but with these precise four, you can target all parts of your upper body and core workouts. There’s also plenty more options for most lifters. You can easily change angles on the bench when moving to the next exercise.
The Bowflex SelectTech bench has a weight rating of 300lbs. Therefore, it is best for beginners or those who are not into intense workouts. If you are serious about weight lifting, you should check out other workout benches with higher weight capacities.
The adjustable workout bench measures 56″ x 26″ x 20″ and hence is somewhat larger. You will need to use it in a room with a lot of space, preferably the garage.
If you are tall (over 6 feet), you may not able to rest your head on the Bowflex bench when lying down. Your best option will be to get a longer bench.
The weight of the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 is a reasonable 55lbs.
The Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Bench Series 3.1 is made from heavy-duty steel usually used for commercial purposes. The frames are built to last and are covered with durable vinyl upholstery. Cleaning the upholstery is easy as you will only need to wipe it after use.
When working out in the decline position, you can support yourself with the removable leg on the bench. If the leg makes you uncomfortable during workouts, you can remove it without affecting the stability of the bench.
At the back of the bench are wheels that make transportation easy. You can move the bench by lifting it up and then using the wheels to take it to a different position.
Fitness and Health Benefits
Like is expected when buying any fitness equipment, you can check the claims made Bowflex by reading what other customers are saying about it.
At the time, there are more than 200 customer reviews of the bench on Amazon. This makes it one of the top home weight benches. Over 95% of the reviewers have given the bench 4 or 5 stars rating.
Pros of the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1
- Full satisfaction guarantee. You can return the bench within 6 months if you are not satisfied with it.
- Can be adjusted into an incline position and used as a single arm curl
- Can be used for decline. Not all benches have this function
- Has two wheels at the rear for easy moving
- Has a removable leg for support for various workouts
- Strong and stable even when lifting heavy weights
- Can be used for various types of exercise, including abdominals
- Comes with a 15-year warranty for the frame and 1-year warranty for the upholstery
- Has full 90° adjustment position
- The bench is very affordable
- Made from sturdy and high quality steel
Cons of the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1
- Warranty for the upholstery is only one year
- Uses washes, nuts and bolts. Thus, you will have to check the bench regularly for tightness
- Takes a long time to assemble (About 45 to 60 minutes)
- Limited to using dumbbells for chest exercises
Assembly and Installation
The Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 bench comes disassembled with a clear instruction manual on how to fix it. It will take you about 45 minutes to complete assembling the bench. The parts of the bench fit into their respective areas with relative ease.
To make assembling work easier, you should turn the board upside down and place the frame onto the board instead of the other way round. Trying to get the boards to sit correctly on the frame is difficult unless another person is helping you to fix the parts together.
The Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 is made of sturdy and solid materials and comes with a 15-year warranty for the frames. The upholstery is offered with a one-year warranty.
Disadvantages of the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1
One of the main problems with the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 adjustable bench is that the bottom seat does not adjust at all. Sometimes when working out, you can feel like you are sliding down the set when working with the incline and a flat seat. The seat pad should have been made to adjust up at an angle slightly to allow for the incline position.
Most adjustable weight benches do not have a decline position but the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 has it at -10 degrees. However, the decline is not steep enough to offer a higher intensity core workouts like decline bench press and sit ups. Still, it is better than nothing.
The four positions of the bench will allow you to carry out plenty of exercises. However, there is only one incline position, -45°, other than military. This can be limiting if your main aim of buying the bench is to work the incline exercises.
The final concern is that the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 has no foldaway storage option. You cannot fold the bench down flat to store it under the bed. Therefore, you will need to have space where you can store it. If you don’t have enough space at your home, it is better to look for a foldable bench. However, the inability to fold is not a big problem as most people tend to want their gym at the same spot.
Should You Buy the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1?
The Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 Adjustable Bench is very affordable (check current price) compared to other benches in its class. The bench is solid and versatile with its four key positions; decline, flat and two incline.
One thing that makes the bench stand out is that it offers full upright position at 90° instead of the 85° offered by most benches in its class. Moreover, with the full military angle, you are sure of carrying out diverse exercise to build your shoulders and upper body. This can be easily accomplished without having to rely on your core as would have been necessary at a slightly lower incline.
The bench provides good value for money, is backed by the brand trust of Bowflex and a 15-year warranty on the frame. When you buy the bench, you are sure it will handle regular heavy workouts for many years.
Difference Between the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 and Bowflex SelectTech 5.1
You may already have read the review of the Bowflex SelectTech 5.1 and are wondering how different it is from the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1. Below is a rundown of the difference between the two benches.
- Weight. The Bowflex 5.1 weighs 61.7lbs while the 3.1 weighs 55.1lbs.
- Angles. The 5.1 bench comes with an extra 60° incline position and -17° decline position. The 3.1 does not have these extra positions.
- Positions. The Bowflex 5.1 has 6 adjustable positions while the 3.1 has 5. The 5.1 has an extra incline and decline position.
- Price. The Bowflex SelectTech 5.1 is more expensive than the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1
- Material. The 5.1 comes in two pieces while the 3.1 comes in one piece.
Apart from the above differences, everything else is the same for the two benches. Given that the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 is cheaper, I recommend it over the 5.1 model.
The Bowflex 3.1 is an excellent workout bench. The bench is versatile with its four different positions that enable you to perform over 30 exercises. With the bench, you can ensure proper posture of your body and maximize your workout results.
While the 3.1 fares lower when compared to the 5.1, it offers excellent value for money if you are willing to sacrifice a couple of back support positions. The bench has the same build quality and comfort that Bowflex is known for.
The Bowflex 3.1 is built with heavy duty quality steel and hence will last for years. The upholstery is durable and there is a removable leg hold-down that provides additional support for added decline position. When you want to store the bench between workouts, you can easily move it around thanks to the transport wheels on the rear.