Bowflex Max Total M16 Review

Editor's Rating: 9.5 /10
Best Buy Award(s):Best Treadmill Alternatives

The Bowflex family of exercise equipment comes ready to work with the JRNY Fitness App.

As the year 2022 looms toward a close, the Bowflex Max Total 16 remains a strong contender amid cardio machines and treadmill alternatives. The top-flight unit comes fully loaded with performance features designed to burn calories. Easily one of the top trainers on the market today, the Max Total 16 serves as a great treadmill alternative or companion piece. Read here to see our review of it and other top treadmill alternatives.  Priced at $1,999, the unit comes with a complimentary one-year membership to the JRNY Fitness App.

The rest of the Bowflex offerings include the Max Trainer M9 and M6 we’ve reviewed here. Max trainers are designed to combine the movements of an elliptical and stair stepper, which makes for a high-intensity, low impact workout. As I’ve written before, when cutting weight for a bodybuilding competition or training clients for strength, I’ve found that High Intensity Interval Training is a top pick. The downside for bigger folks is that extra muscle adds a lot of stress to the joints, and trainers like the Max Total 16 give you the best of all worlds by negating the damage done by hard running. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research is just one of many that demonstrate how effectively ellipticals and trainers match up against treadmills in terms of workout performance. 

The machine sports a 16-inch interactive console and HD touchscreen with 20 levels of resistance. Measuring 49.3 x 30.8 x 65.7 inches, it weighs 155.4 pounds assembled and can handle up to 300 pounds in user weight. Add 15 inches to the user’s height to figure the minimum ceiling height needed here. Bluetooth-enabled for smart devices and heart rate monitors, the Max Total 16 comes with a heart rate armband included. Other top features include the dual-rail design and six-grip handlebars.

Purchase comes with one year of the Bowflex JRNY Fitness App included, typically $149 per year. Downloadable onto devices as well as smart television sets, JRNY offers both live and pre-programmed classes. Designed with an artificial intelligence platform, the program customizes new workout recommendations based on the user’s past performance and offers real-time coaching. Whether heart rate coaching or High Intensity Interval Training, JRNY is indeed a dynamic app. More than 50 virtual locations around the Earth come with, as well as the most unique element of JRNY, more entertainment options. Unlike other apps, this program syncs with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ to work on its screen.

Yes, the machine works without the JRNY app, so if you decide to discontinue after the free year the screen can operate in a basic manual mode. Granted, it loses a lot of the unique Bowflex programming which is designed to work with JRNY, but it will work. JRNY works with nearly all other Bowflex equipment as well and can be taken to the gym for strength training, yoga, jogging, or just about anything else.

The Max Total 16 brings a warranty of three years for the frame and parts, one year for electronics, and 90 days for labor. Bowflex offers in-home assembly for an additional $169, as well as extended warranty coverage.

Performance Pack Upgrade

You also have the option of spending a few more bucks and bundling the Max Total 16 with the Select 552 Dumbbells and a mat for $2,299, representing a savings of $100.

  • Terrific cardio workout with less stress on joints and tendons
  • Dynamic, interactive training with the Bowflex JRNY Fitness App
  • Trainers and ellipticals aren't as good for race training as treadmills
  • Without the app, the machine loses a lot of features

What We Like:

  • 20 resistance levels: This is wide enough a range of degrees that users won’t outgrow the Bowflex Max Total 16.
  • Bowflex JRNY App: A full year of the app brings with it one of the top workout partners on the market.
  • 16-inch screen: Easy to read stats and workout without distractions.
  • Bluetooth-enabled: For entertainment and heart rate monitoring.
  • Armband included: Guaranteed compatibility from the start.
  • Compact size: The footprint takes up little space, so it should fit in most spaces.
  • Solid Brand: Bowflex Max trainers are known for quality.

Bowflex Max Total M16 Treadmill - Key Specs:

Star Rating:4.75-stars
Running Area:n/a
Top Speed:n/a
Weight Capacity:300 LBS
Dimensions:49.3" L x 30.8" W x 65.7" H
Built-In Programs:JRNY
What We Don’t Like:

  • Short warranty: The three year warranty for the frame and parts is good but the labor is only 90 days. Should be extended to longer considering the cost for subscribing to app which will encourage more usage of the trainer.
  • Pricey: At $1,999, this unit comes in at the top of the market.

Our Verdict:

The Bowflex Max Total 16 is a great machine. It strikes me as a bit pricey relative to the M6 , and if budget is an issue, check out our review here. That said, the Max Total 16 has a larger screen and can afford a more dynamic workout experience. There’s no question 20 resistance levels will be sufficient for even the heartiest of users. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the Bowflex Max Total weigh?

The machine weighs 155.4 pounds. It's not so heavy as to be immovable within the house, but solid enough to handle up to 300 pounds in user weight.

Is this machine tough to assemble?

It can be. I've assembled enough of these to strongly recommend paying the $169 for in-home assembly. It's amazing how much faster a team who does this every day can work.

Is the Max Total 16 Bluetooth-enabled?

Yes, and purchase comes with an armband heart rate monitor.

Can I use the Max Total 16 without the JRNY App?

Yes, but the machine and it's screen lose a lot of value.

Will I get a good strength workout on the Max Total 16?

Actually, yes. The stepping motion works those quads directly, and because you can pedal backwards, the entire posterior chain gets worked too.