Gorilla Bow Review
The concept behind the Gorilla Bow is fairly simple. It takes a classic bow and arrow style design (without the arrow) and turns it in to a complete home workout tool. Well, that’s the plan anyway.
But does it actually work and is the hype surrounding this top selling portable home fitness system really well founded?
We took delivery of a set and tested it for a month – and the results are now in and we bring them to you here in our Gorilla Bow review.
Gorilla Bow – An Introduction
Over the last year or so there has been a growing trend of working out from home. Whilst this isn’t a new concept it does have its benefits. You can workout whenever you want for as short a time as you like without having to plan a trip to the gym, and you are of course guaranteed to access your equipment – as it’s all yours.
The downside to home workouts is that they often feel limited compared to accessing a wide range of equipment at a commercial gym which can lead to less than impressive gains.
Investing in a full home gym with a power tower, weights bench and a whole load of dumbbells or barbell and bumper plates may not be viable in terms of budget or space – enter the trusty resistance bands. Resistance bands are readily available and are pretty inexpensive – but they do have their limitations and not least because of the grip positions available and the discomfort that holding on to a band can sometimes elicit.
The Gorilla Bow looks to provide a middle ground between a dedicated piece of strength training equipment and a resistance band. Essentially, it is designed in the shape of a bow, with attachable bands of varying levels of resistance applied to the two ends. There are various grip positions available and the ergonomically designed shape of the bow adds comfort as well as versatility to the workout options available to you.
Predominantly designed to focus on strength training, the Gorilla Bow can also be used for cardio workouts too and these can become quite intense when combined with the lower levels of resistance – allowing you to push plenty of reps but at lighter weight – therefore increasing the demands in terms of cardiovascular load.
The Gorilla Bow has become so popular that it now has a range of models available, including a heavy bow (with heavier resistance) and a travel bow that can be dismantled to make it highly portable.
We were pretty excited to test it out – read on to find out how we got on with it in our review below.
Gorilla Bow Specs
There are 4 different versions of the Gorilla Bow. We tested the original bow which all of the others are based on.
The four options available are:
Gorilla Bow Original – with 4 bands
Gorilla Bow Heavy – with 8 bands
Gorilla Bow Lite – with 3 bands
Gorilla Bow Travel – with 4 bands
Each of the bows are made from aircraft standard aluminum and weigh approximately 6lb with the exception of the lite bow that weighs just 3lb. The bars measure 56 inches in length, again the lite bar is the only one that differs from this with a length of 47 inches. The diameter of each is 1.5 inches and the lite model is 1 inch and is best suited to female users – but all models are unisex.
Each model comes with a set of included resistance bands that are attached to either end of the bow. Most models include 4 bands whereas the heavy bow includes 8. There are also additional bands that you can buy should you wish to go heavier. The included bands with the standard models are up to 110lbs of total weight, with the heavy model coming in at three times that and the lite model just under half at 60lbs. We loved the fact that there is such versatility in the options available and that you can add more weight with new bands should you need them – as this allows real progression for progressive overload (which is crucial for building muscle) as well as making this training system more accessible for all types of lifters.
In addition to the bow and bands you also get a handy travel bag and a band wrap which can be used for various exercises for added comfort. You also get access to the Fitbanx mobile app that gives you access to hundreds of exercises.
So far so good… but what’s it actually like to use the Gorilla Bow?
Using the Gorilla Bow
We spent a full 4 weeks with the Gorilla Bow before writing this review and for the most part our experience was incredibly positive. For anyone who has used resistance bands in the past, the contractions you experience in your muscles as you workout will come of no surprise – for those who are used to using free weights or machines, there is a period of adjustment in getting used to the Gorilla Bow – but the same would be true of any resistance band based workout.
It is also fair to say that the use of resistance bands brings with it one significant advantage over free weights and that is that your time under tension for most muscle groups will be significantly greater and the opportunity for using momentum to cheat is diminished and therefore it could be argued that the same exercises performed using the Gorilla Bow as when using standard weights are going to be more efficient and potentially bring about greater muscle growth.
The Gorilla Bow can be used to target pretty much every muscle group in the body and is designed as a full body muscle training system. You can perform isolation exercises as well as compound movements and you can perform push and pull exercises by simply using the bow in slightly different ways.
We performed upper and lower body workouts and mainly focused on heavier lifting sessions rather than cardio. We did perform one cardio session and this really did get the heart rate increasing, but for us, we would say the Gorilla Bow excels when being used for strength and hypertrophy training.
For upper body exercises the Gorilla Bow really comes in to its own and the various grip positions allow you to perform exercises with a pronated or supinated grip. Unlike standard resistance bands, the Gorilla Bow offers a much better handle to grip and the diameter of the bow feels similar to the various handles, bars and ropes that you might find in a gym. We were able to perform all manner of pressing exercises and the resistance provided by the standard bow was more than enough for our tester who is a regular gym goer. Shoulder press and chest press (either performed on the floor or on a bench) were both challenging and comfortable when using the bow and it was also ideal for preforming bent over rows and one armed rows to really hit the back and shoulders.
For core exercises the Gorilla Bow can provide additional resistance and it is also an ideal companion for bicep and tricep extensions – again, there are lots of variations of performing these exercises with this bow.
The bow can of course be used for lower body exercises too and for those used to lifting lower weights it is fine. We found that for squats it was harder to achieve the heavier weights we were used to in the gym but the heavy bow should suffice for this if you feel you need extra weight. It works well with other exercises such as deadlifts and calf raises and all in all there is an excellent range of exercises that can be performed.
There are of course alternatives to the Gorilla Bow but we have to say, of those that we have seen, there are none that match it in terms of quality and feel. In the 4 weeks that we tested the bow there was no noticeable loss of resistance in the bands and the bow itself is so well made it is hard to imagine it would ever have a serious issue – no matter how much weight you put behind it. Some alternatives do not have the same level of quality workmanship and we would be less confident of there being no issues in the long term. Gorilla give you a two year warranty with their bow which speaks volumes as to how confident they are in their product.
One issue we find that rankles with users taking part in home workouts is the time it takes to set up each exercise. The Gorilla Bow is really quick and easy to change the weight thanks to their quick attach system. You can add multiple bands at once for even greater weight combinations and as you don’t need to use door anchors or anything else to anchor the bands it takes no longer than a standard rest period to switch from one exercise to another – it couldn’t be simpler really.
There is a bit of a learning curve at first to know which exercises to perform and how to perform them with the bow – and you will find ways of using the bow that you would never have thought of when using the companion app so it is definitely worth checking it out.
The Gorilla Bow is a versatile piece of home fitness equipment that is ideal for a full body workout. It is incredibly well made, offers good value for money and essentially provides you with a full gym experience at a tenth of the cost of buying a wide range of equipment.
If you have the budget and space to go all in and set up a full home gym then we’d suggest that being the ultimate solution – but for those who need to work out in an efficient and budget friendly manner then the Gorilla Bow is an ideal choice.
If you are looking for a resistance band based workout and want the best there is – then this is probably it!