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Created by PaulConnor on 12/03/2011
Last updated: 12/03/11 at 15:58
Iâve been training at home for almost 4 years now and Iâm only just starting to realise just how versatile my trusty dumbbell set is. The one big downside is the lost time in adjusting the weight used â I have to unscrew four collars, remove\add plates and then screw the four collars back on.
I find this such a pain that quite often I end up using a slightly inappropriate weight simply because I cannot be bothered with the hassle of changing the plates.
I know this isnât right and I know Iâm curtailing progress a little by not using the most effective weight, but I find it such a kafuffle to be mucking about changing weights between sets.
I have looked at the possibility of buying several fixed weights dumbbells but this is impractical in terms of cost and storage.
However, a possible alternative becoming very popular lately is adjustable dumbbells.
I first heard of the idea of adjustable dumbbells several years ago but I never really took much interest. The little I did read suggested they were clumsy and nowhere near as sturdy as standard dumbbells. I had also read that the various weight locking methods where far from perfect.
Plus the price was a big put off â you could easily pay well in excess of $500 for a pair of adjustable dumbbells. True, you would pay the same price for several sets of standard dumbbells that covered the same weight range, but it still felt an awful lot of money to be paying for one set of dumbbells â selectable weights or not.
But lately, Iâve been hearing how well manufactured these adjustable dumbbells are these days, with more sturdy, reliable and quicker weight selection and locking mechanism.
I still wasnât convinced about the high price tag but I decided they at least deserved some investigation.
I spent a few weeks traversing through various sites and doing my best to avoid the manufacturerâs hype. I visited a friend who bought a set of adjustable dumbbells last year to hear his opinion and experience. Plus this was a good opportunity to have a go of them myself (and to prove to my mate that I can still lift more than him ).
The result of all my research led to one set of dumbbells coming out on top, Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells.
What To Look For When Buying a Set of Adjustable Dumbbells
Below are the main factors to consider when choosing your dumbbells. Most of these seemed obvious to me but my research uncovered a few more I hadnât thought of:
Number of separate weight settings
The ease and speed of adjusting the weight settings
The sturdiness of the weight locking system
The overall size of the dumbbells (usage and storage)
I could list many more but these were the factors that users commented on most often. Letâs go through factors these in relation to the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells.
The More The Merrier
The biggest selling point for adjustable dumbbells is the number of standard dumbbells they replace, i.e. the number of different weight settings.
The Bowflex dumbbells have 15 different weight settings which is pretty impressive. These settings break down as (in lbs) : 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 52.5 pounds. Bear in mind that this is per dumbbell so if using them as a pair, the overall increment is actually double.
Note that the up to 25lbs, the weight can be incremented in steps of 2.5lbs. From 25lbs up to 50lbs, the increments are 5lbs. The final of increase of 2.5lb takes you to the dumbbells maximum weight of 52.5lb.
So the Bowflex dumbbells can actually replace 15 separate dumbbells, ranging from 5lbs to 52.5lbs â I do like that. Having seen just how much room 15 sets of dumbbells take up, thatâs a big plus for these dumbbells. Personally, I would like to see increments of 2.5lbs for the full weight range but I think Iâm being pedantic now.
Quick & Easy
Many adjustable dumbbells suffer from poor quality weight selection mechanisms. The weight selector (usually some sort of pin or magnet), can often be fiddly and tricky to change.
This is kind of defeating one of the main objects of adjustable dumbbells â you need to be able to change the weight quickly and simply. You donât want be faffing around with pins in between sets when youâre out of breath and exhausted.
The weight selection for the Bowflex dumbbells is a simple easy to use âdialâ on the ends of each dumbbell. To select the required weight, you simply twist the dial to the desire weight. This locks the required plates in place then you simply lift the weight and the unused plates are left sitting neatly in the base plate â nice.
This easy weight selection is possibly one of the Bowflexâs dumbbells best features. It makes changing weights quick and painless, exactly how it should be. After seeing this in action, I was by now pretty much sold on the Bowflex dumbbells, but there was more good news to come â read on.
The weight locking system needs be secure. Although my research didnât turn up anyone reporting the locking mechanism failing on their dumbbells, it was a common fear amongst users. Even if you just think the locking isnât the securest, thatâs enough to put you off using the dumbbells.
Some users did report that the Bowflex dumbbells had a disappointingly plastic lock but this was later updated with a metals lock in the 2009 model.
The new metal locking system is a big improvement and keeps the selected plates firmly in place. This results in very little shaking and movement of the separate plates, very much like using standard dumbbells.
Size Does Matter
Another important factor to consider when buying adjustable dumbbells and also their weak spot compared to standard dumbbells, is the overall size of the dumbbell.
Larger dumbbells are difficult to use. Positioning and manoeuvring them can be tricky and cumbersome for certain exercises (try doing standing bicep curls with over sized dumbbells).
The length of the dumbbell is of particular importantance. Too long and the dumbbell is difficult to user, too short and you can find the inner plates rubbing against your forearms\wrists â not good.
Plate diameter is also important. Whilst you want a decent amount of poundage, large diameter plates again make the dumbbell difficult to manage and store.
Each Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells measures 15.75âł L x 8âł W x 9âł H (40 L x 20 W x 23 H cm) which is pretty compact given the max weight of almost 24kg (53lbs). The handle is slightly shy of 16â long, which is just within the limits of a good sized handle. Anymore would have seen this dumbbell classified as too long.
The max plate diameter of 9â compares well to other adjustable dumbbells and makes storing these babies a synch.
Built To Last
By their very nature, adjustable dumbbells are always going to be less sturdy than standard dumbbells â thatâs just the way it is. Standard dumbbells have no moving parts, adjustable dumbbells do.
But even adjustable dumbbells need to be able to take a bit of a hammering. Theyâre gonna get dropped and bashed and need to be able to withstand this sort of usage for several years.
Second to the easy weight selection mechanism, the most commented feature of the Bowflex Dumbbells was the impressive build quality.
The plates themselves are actually metal inside a very durable plastic moulding. This surprised (pleasantly) many buyers with several comments on how quiet the dumbbells are to use. If youâve ever used metal dumbbells youâll really appreciate just how quiet the Bowflex dumbbells are.
How Much Should You Expect to Pay?
The rrp for Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells is $549 but you really shouldnât be paying any more than $400. The cheapest we have seen is on Amazon who consistently sell these dumbbells for slightly under $400.
2 * adjustable dumbbell
Hard plastic storage tray
Does It include a Warranty?
Yes, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells come with a 5 year warranty on the plates and a 2 year warranty on parts.
What Others Are Saying
These dumbbells have received rave reviews from most buyers on the net with an average of 4 out of 5 from reviewers on Amazon (almost 200 reviews to date). The Bowflex website itself has over 100 reviews and scores the dumbbells 4.6 out of 5.
Here are some of the comments to date:
âBest Dumbbells ever!!!âŚâ
âWe are 100% happier we bought theseâ
âThese weights are amazing, they are very convenientâ
âThe dials on these dumbbells are effortless to useâ
âThe construction of these dumbbells is flawlessâ
âThey take up very little space and are quickly and easily adjustedâ
âThis is a solid product that works exactly as advertisedâ
I could only find two small issues worth noting:
1) As mentioned earlier, the 2008 model came with a plastic locking mechanism that some users reported had broken. The 2009 model replaced this with a much sturdier metal lock. Youâll be hard pushed to find the 2008 model but if you think youâve found yourself an unbelievable bargain somewhere; chances are itâs the 2008 model (note, there is no 2010 model and no 2011 either, as yet, Iâll update if/when there is).
2) At almost 16â, some users reported that they felt the dumbbells were slightly on the long side. I have to agree with this but found this a relatively minor issue and pretty much the norm for adjustable dumbbells.
Where Can You Buy the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells?
Best place I found to buy these dumbbells was from Amazon. At the moment they include free shipping which is making the best deal around right now
Click here to view on Amazon.
Where Can You Read More Reviews For The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells?
Youâre always best off reading reviews form people whoâve actually bought the product. The best source for reviews I found for these dumbbells is Amazon with over almost 200 individual reviews. Click here to read more.
Strength training is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Coupled with a balanced diet and cardiovascular exercise, strength training can promote healthy weight, increased metabolism, flexibility, stronger bones, and much more.
For a long time, strength training could only be done at a professional gym or with an expensive weight system. Gyms can cost thousands of dollars a year. Weight systems are nice to use because they are at home and ready to use when you want to.
However, they often cost just as much as a gym and take up a lot of space.
Dumbbells are a great way to strength train at home. Typical dumbbell sets consist of a dozen or more inpidual dumbbells. Not only does this type of set take up a lot of room, but it costs a lot and you can easily misplace a dumbbell and no longer have a pair. Also, after you have trained for a while, the lighter dumbbells may no longer be of any use to you and will just collect dust.
I discovered the PowerBlock Classic Adjustable Dumbbell Set and am able to strength train at home and on my own time. This set is far different from traditional sets. The weights in this set come in a block, similar to the weights on the machines at the gym. Each weight fits into the next, so you adjust the dumbbells by moving the pin. The weights are in 5 pound increments, from 5 pounds all the way to 45 pounds for each hand.
This dumbbell set takes up hardly any space and I can get the workout I need with whatever weights I want. Normally, you would need anywhere from 9 to 18 dumbbells to get these different weights. The PowerBlock Classic makes it easy to have a full dumbbell set ready to use at home.
There are many other adjustable dumbbell sets on the market that are very expensive. The PowerBlock Classic Dumbbell Set is reasonably priced compared to almost any professional machinery that you can buy. They are built solid and even have a 10 year warranty. I went to the sports store and tried many other brands of adjustable dumbbells that were around the same price and these were easily the most sturdy and easy to use.
These dumbbells are square in shape, but they function just like normal dumbbells. The handle is still in the middle and the outsides are cushioned â I really cannot tell the difference. I am able to do every exercise with these dumbbells including bench press, military press, seated curls, tricep extensions, deadlifts, and squats. If 45 pounds for each arm becomes too light for you, you can buy upgrades for the PowerBlock Classic to further increase the weight. The set even has upgrades that will let you increase the weight in 2.5 pound increments.
I would say that the one possible flaw that I find with this dumbbell set has to do with the pin. If you are not careful, you may place the pin upside down or at an angle. An incorrectly placed pin can cause one of the disks to slide and could cause damage or injury. This issue is pretty easy to resolve by thoroughly reading the instruction manual and taking your time when placing the pins. Be sure that the weight set is flat and that the pin is placed right-side up and straight into the weight set.
There is also an elastic cord and magnet system that is used to keep the pin in place. Again, a lot of what can go wrong with the pin has to do with not paying attention and not reading the instructions, so make sure that you know what you are doing and are willing to take the time so that nothing bad happens.
The PowerBlock Classic is an economical and space-saving way to get a workout at home. This is a great set for people who may not have a lot of room to work out. This dumbbell set is also great to use with many of the popular exercise plans that are out today.
This adjustable dumbbell set makes it easy to change weights â you no longer have to search the room looking for the weights that you need. Many of the exercise plans today use several kind of exercises completed one after another. This set makes it easy to quickly change out the weights so that you can go from one exercise to the next.
I highly recommend the PowerBlock Classic Adjustable Dumbbell Set for anyone who wants to strength train at home. This set is reasonably priced and takes up hardly any space. There is no excuse not to strength train with such a great product on the market.
Stay safe with dumbbell squats
Before we get on to the dumbbell squat, I wanna first talk about squats and why you should be doing them.
As Iâm sure you already know, squatting is often referred to as âthe king of exercisesâ for building mass. Many assume that this title is earned in reference to the squatâs ability to build huge leg muscles.
However, as well as being the #1 exercise for building the quads & glutes, squats also help stimulate growth in all the major muscle groups.
I could go on about the numerous reasons why every bodybuilder should include squats in their routine but hopefully you donât need convincing.
If you wanna get big â squat- itâs as simple as that.
The Dangers Of Barbell Squatting
Too many times in the gym Iâve witnessed some poor guy struggling to get the bar back onto the rack after completing one rep too many.
However, for some, loading a heavy bar onto the shoulders and squatting till you feel dizzy can present a bit of a safety issue. For those that train at home or indeed without a training partner then squatting can be viewed as somewhat dangerous.
Thereâs significant Â risk of running out of steam and struggling to rerack the bar.
For the lone trainer, heavy barbell squats are something that should only be attempted with a good quality power rack with safety bars. Too many times in the gym Iâve witnessed some poor guy struggling to get the bar back onto the rack after completing one rep too many.
Even with suitable equipment, if you fail to make the squat and drop the bar, thereâs still a risk it could go wrong and you end up inuring yourself. At the very least, youâre gonna have to unload, lift the bar back onto the rack and reload. If thatâs ever happened to you then youâll know how much this can knock Â the steam out of the preceding squats sets.
The Dumbbell Squat â The Safer Alternative
A fantastic and much underrated alternative to the barbell squat is the dumbbell squat. Itâs often seen as the poor cousin to the barbell âkingâÂ but for some, it can actually be the superior exercise.
For the newbie, home trainer or the experienced trainer without access to a spotter or suitable power rack, the dumbbell squat makes a superb alternative to the barbell squat.
With the dumbbell squat, you have pretty much all of the mass building aspects of the barbell squat minus the safety issues. The exercise begins and ends with the weights on the floor, a far safer alternative to theâ top loadedâ barbell squat.
With the dumbbell squat, if you find yourself struggling to make the final rep then itâs far easier and safer to simply end the rep and return the weights to the floor.
Performing The Dumbbell Squat
Take a pair of medium weight dumbbells and align them in parallel, either side of you
Position your legs a little over shoulder width apart
Point feet directly forward or slightly out
Kneel down and take a grip of each dumbbell
Once youâre happy with your grip, push up with your legs, keeping you back straight
Once completely upright, pause momentarilyÂ before lowering back to the start position
Iâve scoured the net to find you a video that best demonstrates the dumbbell squat and found the short demo below. Iâm a little camera shy myself but perhaps one day Iâll do my own video demonstration.
My Top Tips For Performing The Dumbbell Squat
Make sure your feet point either directly ahead or slightly outwards but never inwards. An inward turn can place disproportional stress on your knees.
Whatever foot angle you find most comfortable itâs imperative that you maintain the same angle for both feet. Different angles can place uneven load on one knee â not good.
When lowering, your knees shouldnât extend ahead any further than the end of your toes.
Ensure your back remains at a constant angle to your body during the squat. You want the power to come from your quads (and hip flexors) not your back. Plus altering the angle places extra load on the lower back.
Rather than trying to lift the bar, focus instead on pushing your legs down into the ground. Youâll find this actually makes the lift âseemâ easier. Plus, this approach also help you maintain proper form with a straight back by thinking about your legs pushing rather than your body lifting
Given the similarity with the deadlift, you may feel a tendency to lean back slightly at the top of the movement as many people deadlifitng do. Please donât do this. Arching backwards places unnecessary stress on the lower back. Arching back is performed by power lifters in competition to satisfy the judges that a full standing position was reached. Unless youâre a competitive power lifter, please donât lean back.
I hope this article has revealed to you the many safety advantages of the dumbbell squat over the traditional barbell squat, especially for lone trainers. Remember, when it comes to weight lifting, your ability to avoid injury is one of the biggest factors in determining your progress.
Dumbbell Exercises - The Superior Home Workout
Dumbbell exercises are commonly regarded as the superior way to build muscle and strength and are especially suited to the home trainer.
A quality dumbbell set is a simple and inexpensive solution for the person who wants to get in shape quickly and wants to do it at home.
Gym memberships can be expensive. Then thereâs the gas for the drive back and forth several times a week, overcrowded workout space, waiting in line for the machines, and possibly daycare.
An hour workout period can easily stretch to two or three by the time you get to the fitness center, put your time in and make your way back home. With a little equipment, including versatile adjustable dumbbells, you can easily squeeze a workout into your day without disrupting the rest of your schedule.
Dumbbell exercises are great accompaniments for some of the popular new home fitness routines. These popular programs use minimal space and minimal equipment and still produce maximum results. While you may need a little dumbbell training, it doesnât take long to learn how to work your muscles safely and correctly.
Unlike machines that only target one group at a time, you have the choice to isolate specific groups or incorporate more of your core muscles into each workout. Because you are not letting an exercise machine stabilize your body, you call all those extra muscles into action even while you are targeting a specific muscle set with the dumbbell exercises.
For the most efficient way to build whole body strength, these dumbbell exercises can get the job done, giving you the most work-out in the fastest time.
A dumbbell set allows for versatility that you canât always get with exercise machines. Because they are designed to stabilize your body, they work in a fixed path. Not only do your other muscles get âtime off,â but the equipment is designed to usually work both arms or both legs together and doesnât allow you the freedom to work on one weaker muscle set independently.
A free weight such as a dumbbell can really help you focus on muscles that need extra attention.
Dumbells also allow you to incorporate a variety of exercises into your workout that are not available on typical exercise machines. With some dumbbell training you can find the best exercises for your unique body needs.
The basic concept behind the new adjustable dumbbells which come in a variety of styles is a comfortable handle that can manage a system of additional weight pieces instead of buying pairs of individual dumbbells of different weights. Although they are a little on the expensive side, adjustable dumbbells can work well for men or women.
Dumbbell sets range in weight from 3 lbs.â24 lbs., 5 lbs.â52.5 lbs. and 10 lbs.â90 lbs. Added extra weights is usually done in 3 or 5 pound increments. Dials or pins are moved to make adding extra weights quick and easy without disrupting your workout. Because of the compactness of these free weights, they fit especially well into a small home workout space, and they wonât be lying all over the place cluttering up your bedroom or living room.
Most of the better quality dumbbells come with warranties that are good for 2â10 years, depending upon the brand. Some even have additional safety band features and cushioned handles that eliminate the need for wearing exercise gloves.
If time, money and convenience are important to your lifestyle, a dumbbell set might be the perfect solution. At home workouts can be highly productive and fit more easily into busy schedules. Using free weights will allow you to build overall core strength while targeting specific areas. Adjustable dumbbells offer even more options and make getting in shape easier than it has ever been.
Dumbbell exercises really do give the superior home workout.
Dumbbell Weights - The Safer Choice For The Lone Trainer
For the home trainer, swapping a barbell for a set of dumbbell weights for certain exercises can help you avoid some of the potential injuries that can occur when lifting heavy weights.
Such a swap should result in no detrimental affect on the effectiveness of your training.
Ever found yourself stuck at the bottom point of a barbell bench press or squat, (and you havenât got someone spotting you? Come on admit it, we all have at some point.
Hopefully, this situation results in nothing more than a complete embarrassment but it could easily be a potentially dangerous position to find yourself in.
This is perhaps truest when it comes to the bench press especially if youâre using collars (as hopefully you are!) and so canât dip the bar to one side, letting the plates slide off.
If this does happen to you then hopefully another gym user will quickly rush to your rescue and save your brief embarrassment and pain. But even a wait of several seconds could be time enough to cause a strain, laying you off the gym for several weeks.
Most decent gyms do have rack squats with safety bars and/or power racks and I highly recommend you use these when squatting at all times.
The Dangers Of Home Training
If you train at home then heavy bench pressing and squatting is something you should only attempt with a power rack and please, please ensure youâve set the safety bars to the correct height â test with an unloaded bar before loading plates.
Even with a power rack, if you get stuck at the bottom point of a squat/press and have to drop the bar, youâre gonna have to unload the plates before you can re-rack and then reload.
So If you are a home trainer without a squat/power rack or train in a gym with limited equipment/potential spotters and want to minimize risks whilst squatting/pressing, then a viable solution is to swap the barbell for dumbbell weights.
Swap Your Barbell For a Set Of Dumbbells
Substituting the barbell with dumbbells for certain exercises means that should you find yourself stuck at any point whilst squatting/pressing then itâs simply a case of dropping the weights.
Yes thereâll be an all mighty bang and heads will turn (or your house will shake if you train at home) but the chances of injury are far smaller.
The dumbbell squat makes a fantastic alternative to the barbell squat whilst maintaining most of the main benefits. The main drawback is that it can become awkward to use dumbbells when doing heavy squats press (< 5 reps).
Also, with the squat, depth is limited as the dumbbells can touch the floor (unless you have exceptionally short arms!). It is possible to overcome this problem if you can lay you hands on a thick piece (2+ inches) of wood to use as a platform to stand on.
Despite these minor disadvantages, dumbbell squats are a much safer alternative to barbell squats, depending on your training environment.
Likewise, the Dumbbell Bench Press offers you a more âmanageableâ way out should you find yourself stuck at the low point of the press, without a spotter/rack. You will need to be mindful of how you actually drop the dumbbells, but itâs still something you can mange unassisted.
Another plus for using dumbbell weights is the psychological boost having a âsafety netâ can have on your training.
When squatting/benching without a spotter/safety bars, you know that you must leave enough in the tank to allow you to safely re-rack the bar.
This isnât the case with dumbbells.
Knowing that you have the option of simply dropping the dumbbells allows you, if desired, to squeeze out that extra rep (or two).
Now Iâm not saying that you should never use a barbell for squats/bench press, as I always say, you should regularly rotate the exercise and equipment you use. However, for those days that you train at home or donât have access to a spotter, then swapping a barbell for a set of dumbbells is a good safety choice with no detriment to your training efforts.
The Trapezius Muscle
Well developed traps are an instant sign of strength & power for any bodybuilder or power-lifter. The good news is that you donât need an array ofÂ specialised equipment to develop your traps, your dumbbell set is all you need.
The âtrapsâ are large muscles in the middle of the upper back that areÂ used to support the arms as well as lift and rotate the scapula.
The most visible part of the trapezius muscle is the superior region which extends out from the neck and creates a âhumpâ on top of the shoulders.Â The muscle is named so as the pair form a shape similar to a trapezioid.
Why Build Massive Traps?
Although not one of the largest muscles (visibly) on the body, well developed traps go a long way to enhancing the appearance of size & power.
Lesnar's huge traps enhance his already massive frame
For this reason, many WWE wrestlers put extra work into developing huge trap muscles. A prize example is Brock Lesnar (pictured to the left). Â His huge traps enhance his already massive frame, making him look exceptionally powerful.
Now when it comes to training, traps usually respond very well for most people. There are many different ways to train the traps, you can use a barbell, traps bar, or even cables.
By far my favourite exercise for training traps is the dumbbell shrug which uses nothing more than a pair ofÂ dumbbell weights.
Dumbbell Shrugs â The Downside
First, let me point out the one downside of dumbbell shrugs, perhaps a minor issue, but nevertheless it can cause a degree of problems for some.
When using dumbbell weights, you have to lift the dumbbells off the floor to get started. This may not initially be an issue but youâll be surprised how quickly youâll increase the dumbbell weight used.
Lifting a pair of 60kg (132lbs) dumbbells off the floor is no mean feat.
This can be especially so if youâre one of those gym trainees that has shyed away from the squat (I do hope youâre not)
However, this one downside is more than made up for by the advantages the dumbbell shrug gives you.
The Advantage Of Using Dumbbells
The biggest advantage of dumbbell shrugs over most other shrug exercises is the arm positioning. Dumbbells allow your arms to hang from your body in their more natural position, by your side.
The barbell shrugs requires you to hold a bar thatâs positioned in front of the body. This forces the shoulders slightly forward in a âroundedâ position. This is non optimal position for the traps in terms of applicable strength so youâre unable to train them to their fullest.
The dumbbell shrug allows your arms to hang by your side in a more natural position, thus allowing you to push your traps to their maximum.
True the trap bar does allow for the same natural arm position but itâs not a common piece of gym equipment. If you train at home, itâs quite an expense for a one-exercise piece of equipment.
Performing The Dumbbell Shrug
Take a pair of heavy dumbbells and place them on the floor them in parallel, either side of you
Position your legs a little under shoulder width apart
Kneel down and take a good grip of each dumbbell
Once youâre happy with your grip, push up with your legs, keeping your back straight
Hold the dumbbells by your sides, level with your thighs, palms facing inwards.
Keeping your arms straight, raise your shoulders upwards using your trap muscles only.
Pause momentarily at top of movement and return to start position
Hereâs an excellent video demonstration for you.
My Top Tips For Performing The Dumbbell Shrug
Keep your arms straight throughout the entire movement. Because of the large weights youâll be able to handle, even the slightest of bend in the arm switches some of Â the load Â from the traps to the biceps.
Lift and lower the dumbbells slowly and deliberately â donât jerk them.
Please do not rotate your shoulders backwards at the top of the movement or forwards at the bottom â this increases the risk of injury to the shoulders and places no further work on the trapezius. For years I rolled dumbbell shrugs and Iâm convinced this was the major contributing factor to my rotator cuff problems. Also, I have seen one or two people nip their âmanhoodâ between the dumbbells when rolling Â forward at the bottom point â ouch! Itâs a rare occurrence but it can happen.
Contrary to popular belief, you donât need to âsqueezeâ your traps at the top of the movement. This wonât work the muscle any harder and may even lead to minor strains.
Use straps to improve your grip â donât fail a set because you couldnât hang onto the weight.
As always vary the reps and sets, keeping in the range of 4-15 reps.
When it comes to building huge traps, the dumbbell set really is the #1 piece of equipment. Follow my tips above, training your traps once a week and youâll be surprised just how quickly they grow.
Dumbbells are also relatively cheap and exceptionally versatile â they make a sound investment for any home gym.
A good dumbbell set are one of the most useful and versatile pieces of exercise equipment you can own. They can be used to effectively train any body part and are ideal for anyone, regardless of skill level, age, training capacity or fitness goals.
A decent qualityÂ dumbbell set is just about all you need to achieve your fitness goals in the privacy and comfort of your own home.
They offer significant cost savings over a gym membership-plus you donât have to waste time and gas getting there. And with dumbbells thereâs no need to spend thousands of dollars on fancy, hi-tech fitness machines advertised on television or magazines.
In shopping for dumbbells youâve got to do it right. Itâs easy to wind up spending a lot more money on dumbbells than necessary so your homework and donât get ripped off.
In the past, dumbbells were basically little more than metal bars with a couple of iron weights attached to the sides. Functional yes, but the old-style dumbbells were not particularly well-suited for the average home gym. Not only were they unsightly, but storage was often a problem and they were also prone to rolling around and just generally getting in the way. Today though, there are a wide variety of styles, shapes and weights.
Types Of Dumbbell Sets Available
First off, dumbbells today are available with both fixed and variable weights. The variable varieties have a clamp or screw-type fixture on the ends of the bar to hold the weights in place. Variable-style dumbbells typically support up to about 50 pounds, making them ideal for the person with somewhat aggressive fitness goals. For the beginner or persons who are primarily looking to tone their bodies or maybe just lose a few pounds, fixed-weight dumbbells may be the best route to go.
Fixed-weight dumbbells are available in a broad range of styles-and colors too. The weights are usually hex- or octagon shaped to reduce the chances that theyâll roll around. Also, in many of the varieties developed specifically for the home, the weights are covered in rubber or vinyl, which considerably lowers the risk of damaging your floor or furniture when you set them down.
For the person frequently on the go who wants to be able to workout in the hotel room, aqua dumbbells may be the right piece of equipment for you. When empty, these innovative dumbbells weigh just a few ounces, take up minimal space and fit easily into a briefcase or duffel bag. To use them, you just fill them up with water and youâre all set to work out. They range in weight up to a maximum of about 16 pounds.
Before rushing out and buying a set of dumbbells, take time to think about your goals, where youâll be working out and where youâll be storing them-especially if you live in a condominium or apartment with limited space.
If general fitness or toning up is your goal then you wonât want a lot of weight-up to about 12 pounds for women and maybe up to 20 pounds for men. Youâll want a few different increments of weight though so you can vary your workouts. For women and older folks two-pound increments are ideal-for men, five-pound increments should work well.
How Much Should Your Dumbbell Set Cost?
So once youâve made those decisions you can embark on a quest for the right dumbbells for you. My first rule of thumb is this: Keep it simple. Start small, establish a foundation and upgrade from there if necessary.
You might consider buying your first set of dumbbells used. There are plenty of people out there who bought nice dumbbells only to have them being used as doorstops six months later. Take advantage of their lack of commitment and enjoy the savings.
Depending on the style, quantity and where you buy them, a new set of dumbbells can cost anywhere from $1 per pound up to about $2.50 per pound. Sometimes you can find bargains online, but keep in mind weights can be costly to ship.
On the other hand, a used set of dumbbells might run from as little as 25 cents a pound up to maybe 50 cents a pound. You can find really good deals on used dumbbells by scanning classified ads. If there are any stores in your area that sell used fitness equipment you should check them out as well-donât forget thrift shops and garage sales too.
Now youâre equipped with the basic information you need to go about setting up your own home gym with a good dumbbell set that is right for your needs and goals-and without getting ripped off.
The humble dumbbell is probably the single-most versatile piece of weightlifting equipment ever devised by man. Dumbbells are great for training any body part and can be used by anyone, regardless of skill level, age, training capacity or fitness goals.
They can be used just about anywhere-in gyms, homes, garages, hotel rooms and more-and are a vital part of the training regimens of competitive bodybuilders, âweekend warriorsâ and even housewives the world over.
The history of dumbbells stretches back more than 2,000 years, making them the oldest continuously-used piece of exercise equipment that we know about. One of the earliest references to the ancient Greeksâ use of dumbbells-or a dumbbell-like apparatus-dates back to the 5th Century BC, 2,500 years ago. Back then, they were known as halteres or alteres.
There were three basic exercises done with the alteres: lunges, bicep curls and a sort of abdominal side bend. Iâm sure there were others but these are the only ones that have been documented.
Other cultures such as the ancient Chinese, the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Indians all practiced various forms of resistance exercise but itâs the ancient Greeks who are credited with developing the first form of the dumbbell.
The early versions of the dumbbell came in a variety of shapes and sizes and were made of a lot of different materials including lead and even wax. Things pretty much stayed the same up until about 200 AD when the Greek physician Galen wrote a text about the therapeutic benefits of exercise entitled De Sanitate Tuenda. In it, he discussed a variety of different exercises incorporating the use of the early forms of dumbbells.
This text actually remained influential all the way up until well into the nineteenth century-almost 1,700 years. After the writing of this text, the ancient Romans also adopted the use of the dumbbell from the Greeks. A Roman mosaic dating back to the second century AD depicts a bikini-clad woman working out with a set of very modern-looking dumbbells.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, systemic exercise declined considerably up until the dawn of the Renaissance period around the 1400s, when interest in fitness grew again. It was also during this time-the 1400s through the 1600s-that a greater range of exercises was developed and in addition, more styles and varieties of dumbbells became available.
In addition to Galenâs text other influential exercise-related titles included Dialogues des Gymnastica (1544) and De Arte Gymnastica Aput Ancientes (1569).
De Arte Gymnastica introduced modern, contemporary approaches to physical fitness to the Western world. Largely thanks to this text, physical training with dumbbells became popular across Europe and later on, in North America.
Interestingly, there is no clear explanation as to the specific origin of the term âdumbbell,â but by the eighteenth century, thatâs what they were called. Benjamin Franklin was a huge advocate of dumbbells-referring to them specifically by that name-and used them to exercise almost daily.
In the 1800s the popularity of dumbbells surged again. By 1861 what were referred to as âGerman-styleâ gymnasiums with racks of dumbbells ranging in weight from four to one hundred pounds began to sprout up. That same year, Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote that with a pair of dumbbells, âa man could exercise nearly every muscle in his body in half an hour.â The first plate-loaded dumbbell-which could be loaded from 8 to 101 pounds-was patented on February 14, 1865.
From that point on, the popularity of dumbbells remained constant and hardly a gym has been opened since that does not have a rack of dumbbells.
Today, dumbbells are available in a wider variety of styles, shapes and colors than ever before. There are even portable dumbbells that you can take with you when traveling-you fill them with water to use them and drain them to pack in your suitcase.
And unlike the 1800s, there is an incredible variety of dumbbell exercise routines from which to choose-not just 17 or so. And today-unlike most of the past 2,500 years or so-dumbbells are used by everybody, not just mostly by athletes and soldiers.
These days, you are just as likely to find dumbbells not just in health clubs and gymnasiums but in home gyms too. Thatâs because like I said before, they can be used by anybody, regardless of their fitness goals, skill level or athletic ability. Itâs interesting that fitness âfads and trendsâ come and go but the things that are truly effective and built on a solid proven foundation-like the dumbbell-remain constant, even 2,500 years later.
Enjoy the versatility of gym equipment from the comfort of your own home with the Cap Barbell 40 Pound Dumbbell Set.
Equipped with four 2.5-pound plates, four 5-pound plates, and two handles and collars, the set allows you to work with a variety of interchangeable weights in one easy-to-use and store set.
The sturdy plastic carry case keeps the weights organized and accessible when not in use and also makes it possible to carry your weights with you so you never have to leave your training regimen behind.
Designed for high-performance comfort, the Cap Barbells feature ergonomic grips, comfort handles, and rubber trim collars. The durable cast iron plates have a semi-gloss finish for long-term rust- and maintenance-free use, and the collars are threaded for a safe and secure fit to the handles.
The carry case is not bulky, measuring just 20 inches long by 9 inches wide, and weighs 41.15 pounds in total.
Durable cast iron plates
Two 5-pound handles
Four 2.5-pound plates
Four 5-pound plates
Rack storage system
Dimensions: 20 x 9 x 8 inches (LxWxH)
Overall weight: 41.15 pounds
Cap Barbell User Reviews
40 lbs isnât a huge amount of weight but more than enough for the beginner.
The bar itself weighs 5 lbs so you get 15 lbs of assorted weight for each of the two bars, totaling 40 lbs. This allows you to increment from 5 to 20 lbs dumbbells or a single up to 35 lbs.
Plan on adding a few more 5 lbs or 10 lbs plates to it, is all â they are available separately
so no big deal. Iâve set these bars up with 65 lbs of weights with no problem using 10 lbs.
The bars are good quality and have rubber washers to lock the weights in place. For some exercises the 14 inch bars get in the way compared to simple hex dumbbells, and it does take a while to change weights between moves, but itâs tolerable, especially compared to blowing $500+ on adjustable weights with plastic adjustment tabs, no less.
At this price you could also buy two sets â giving you much more versatility in weight, and you get the ability to set up 2 sets for yourself at a time â allowing quicker workouts at the weight of your choosing without investing in a zillion separate dumbbells.
The Cap Barbell dumbbells are a good starter set for the beginner and/or a handy set to have for those exercises that donât require much weightÂ (side raises, tricep kickbacks etc).Â Given the relatively low price tag, purchasing two Cap Barbell sets is probably the best option.
Any fitness trainer will tell you that choosing the right dumbbells for home-training is essential for creating a successful and regular workout routine.
Many newcomers to the world of strength-training cringe at the thought of having to purchase a wall-sized rack of weights to accompany the changes in their strength abilities over time.
Powerblock dumbbells are one of the most popular, adjustable weight training sets on the market. They are a great product to help you jump-start your own home fitness routine, without having to sacrifice a room of your house.
These balanced, adjustable dumbbells provide good stability for strength-straining movements, while taking up very little space in your home. The following article will walk you through some of the finer points of these great, space-saving dumbbells.
Donât let their cage-like square shape fool you. The square shape actually weighs more than traditional round or hexagonal weights. These weights are impeccably composed of rectangular steel plates, side-rods and stacked vertical square plates, taking up about the same space as two of your average large dumbbells.
In the realm of quick change dumbbells, Powerblocks are also extremely compact, allowing you to seamlessly integrate them into your space, without the bulkiness of a more traditional weight-lifting set. Powerblocks are adjustable dumbbells that can provide the entire weight-choice spectrum of a more traditional set of dumbbells.
A small set can fit into an 18 X 22 inch space, and can replace a whopping 37 pairs of traditional dumbbells. This means that you can store your entire free-weight workout facility in the space the size of a shoe box, instead of needing a massive wall or floor mount for your rack of weights.
This ingenious âall-in-oneâ setup is achieved through a pin mechanism that allows you to select the desired weight you want to lift. The pins mark off the needed weight to be lifted, and store the rest of the weight in the waist-high stand.
Another great advantage to using this type of dumbbell is that they not only are they the heaviest of the non-traditional set-ups, but they are also super-versatile, in that they allow you to start with a 50-pound set, and expand upward in increments of 3 pounds towards a maximum of 130 pounds per dummbell. This means that you can easily shift weight from as little as 5 lbs. to 50 lbs. in around 5-10 seconds.
Powerblocks also provide the ideal setup for micro-loading, as the Powerblock set allows for small increases on the weight increments. To do this, you simply select your desired weight, and then easily add on the 2 pound micro-weights, which slip seamlessly into the hand-weight itself. In this way, the dumbbells are equally suited for all you beginner lifters, as well as the more seasoned lifting pro.
Another advantage is that you can work slowly to move toward your desired strength goals, instead of having to jump from one weight to the next, as with other types of home-gym equipment.
Fitness wise, this is intelligent design. Powerblocks allow you to slowly and safely increase your strength and endurance without the risk of injury that comes from jumping and struggling with a heavier 5 pound increase. Safety and reduction of risk are of extreme importance, especially when working from a home-based gym without the supervision of a coach or trainer.
The structural design of each Powerblock handle creates a very comfortable lifting experience for both the novice and advanced lifters. More importantly, for a beginner weight-trainer who may have weak wrists, the Powerblock has a wrist-protector handle padding to ensure wrist support, reducing the chance of injury.
Cost-wise, the average dumbbell will run you anywhere from 80-99 cents per pound and up. The average cost of Powerblocks run around 11 cents per pound, making them one of the most affordable products on the market. The set-up also comes with an easy-to-move workbench and a triceps bar that attaches to the the back of the workbench.
Powerblocks offer a several versions of their selectorized dumbbell sets. The first is the Elite Personal Set, which equals 500 pounds of free-weights, or 10 pairs of dumbbells. This set allows you to train within a range of 5-50 pounds per dumbbell. The second version of this product is the Elite Powerblock, which equals 28 pairs of dumbbells, or a whopping 2,570 pounds of free weights. This allows you to work anywhere from 5 to 130 pounds per dumbbell.
All in all, with a good weight bench and a set of these dumbbells, anyone can have a quality weight-training set-up in a small space in their home. Powerblocks are the best bet for an efficient, safe workout, for both beginner and advanced lifters alike.