Best Adjustable Dumbbells of 2016: Comparison & Reviews
After about six weeks of the panel and personal testing, as well as three months of thorough research, we made a conclusion that the Bowflex SelectTech 552s serves the leading adjustable dumbbells most people would prefer. From six sets that were tested, some surpassed in strength-training exercises (like “pumping iron” building muscles) while others excelled at fast-paced workouts (that were more aerobic, like P90X, calisthenics or CrossFit), but the Bowflex unit proved the total overall during the test for both uses. Besides, this is the exclusive unit that has actually handy instructions to assist you in getting started safely. It included a DVD with all the necessary introduction to resistance exercising and even numerous tips for professional lifters.
Bowflex SelectTech 552
The items rapidly adjust across a broad range of weights with a simple twist of a dial. People testing them enjoyed the user-friendliness they showed and agreed that they provide the top value from all the other dumbbells we viewed.
Our testing group that included four men (aged 37-58) as well as four women (aged 36-43) considered the Bowflex looked the best out of six models discovered. All the members of our testing panel agreed the Bowflex 552s to have a modern design, with a nicely ergonomic, sleek twist on a usual adjustable dumbbell. Taking into account the simplicity of use, they took less than 5 seconds to figure it out. The unit comes packaged seated in its weight tray and has twist-dials accurately showing weight increments on each end of every single dumbbell. Just twist to the necessary weight, lift from the tray and start the workout. Moreover, the fact of an independent adjustment of each side provides you with the freedom to change the amount of weight within each hand once you wish to.
Generally, the reason why the Bowflex dumbbells are so special is hidden in their ability to cope with fast-paced conditioning workouts and standalone strengthening exercises. That delivers you more flexibility for the way you use them. Nevertheless, if you are ready to sacrifice strength-training performance and do conditioning or vice versa, you can look at other items we have chosen.
Adjustable Dumbbells StairMaster TwistLock: Top Item for Conditioning
There is no need to deal with dials in order to adjust the weight on the units, since you can simply twist the handles, and it will be ready. However, spending a few extra hundreds of dollars is much to shave only a couple of seconds off the adjustment times.
Once you are just after the super quick weight that changes for rapidly paced conditioning exercising (think CrossFit or P90X), you will not find anything quicker than the Adjustable Dumbbells StairMaster TwistLock. Instead of twin dials, which must be separately adjusted, like the ones on the Bowflex unit with the StairMasters, everything is much simpler – just turn the barbell handle in any direction to decrease or increase weight. In less than five seconds your weight will be adjusted from 5 up to 50 pounds. Unfortunately, the advantages you gain in speed will be lost in diversity, since the mechanism of handle-adjustment means you have no opportunity to adjust the sides separately the way you do it with the Bowflex unit. However, most of the testers found it to be a worthy offer considering the usability. Another peculiarity is an ability to diversify length, while you increase or decrease weight that was produced by the StairMasters. None of other dial-adjusting dumbbells performed such a function, making the StairMasters exclusive and rather convenient. Such a feature means the dumbbells are quite consistent in length with an ultimate single-weight dumbbell, which appeals to experienced lifters. Overall, the tested dumbbells were a favorite pick of users and the fastest adjusting items, while nobody could think they were over $200 better than their counterpart – the Bowflex set.
Adjustable Dumbbells Ironmaster 45-pound Quick-Lock: Top Choice for Strength Training
The dumbbells feel and look like a pair of an old-school iron-on-steel item since they are. Besides, they feature a faster adjustment mechanism. The items come with a limited lifetime warranty that can accept loads of 120 pounds per handle.
Contrary to that, once you’re focused mainly on strength training, look at the upgrade pick we have selected, the Adjustable Dumbbells Ironmaster 45-Pound Quick-Lock, or in case you need more weight, opt for its 75-pound version that also includes a stand. Each set can be expanded to 120 pounds for every handle suiting even heavy lifters. The unit became my individual favorite since I enjoyed its traditional feel, all-metal construction and smart design. Nevertheless, it’s comparatively slow to adjust, and it takes about 15-20 seconds to fiddle with the screw-in pin lock. The function makes them unsuitable for conditioning workouts, which rely on fast weight changes, though if you initially look for dumbbells aimed at stand-alone exercises or bodybuilding, they will serve the best options, because they deliver higher durability and can be purchased in heavier configurations. Besides, they are offered with a limited lifetime warranty.
Our Best Adjustable Dumbbells 2016 Choice
Other dumbbells may adjust slightly faster or offer a better build quality, though we have picked the Bowflex SelectTech 552s, as they provide the most complete overall set that will appeal both to beginners and experienced bodybuilders. Apart from the impressive adjustability and performance they offer, the dumbbells also feature zero intimidation factor due to a fabulous set of instructional materials, while other manufacturers are constantly trying to emulate. However, even without such handy introductory materials, the SelectTechs are proved to be simple and fast to adjust, provide a broad range of weight levels and perfect in testing during all the diverse workout regimens for both conditioning workouts and strength trainings. All these factors add to an ultimate set that is more approachable than any other item we looked at, which means you are more likely to start and stick with them.
The majority of users who attend my gym select us for numerous reasons. Firstly, they require someone to make them exercise. Secondly, they are afraid they may hurt themselves in case they do something wrong. Surely, it is impossible to overstate the intimidation thing in the beginning of the at-home exercise program. And it is the primary reason why I got so impressed by out-of-the-box performance produced by the Bowflex. The SelectTech 552s do not only ship completely assembled and ready for use items, but they became the exceptional dumbbells that included a full-color manual as well as a follow-along exercising DVD and safety tutorials.
During strength training everything seemed to be smooth for a better part, though I noticed the dumbbells length on the shoulder raises and bench. At the final motion on the bench and front shoulder raises, the twist dials bumped into each other, which isn’t a problem with fixed-weight dumbbells. Nevertheless, when you get used to their length, it becomes an undeniable advantage, which provides you with a more effective workout.
Since the Bowflex dumbbells weight is distributed away from the gripper arm, stabilization plays a more important role than with the usual isolation of dumbbell trainings. Consequently, I perceived that my stabilizer muscles, particularly the small muscles on the shoulder back side and in the upper back, worked harder while I used the Bowflexes, if compared to shorter weights. Indeed, due to the length difference, 50-pound lifts made with the Bowflex unit felt heavier than similar 50-pound lifts performed with the PowerBlocks. The weights of the Bowflex are longer, which means you will have to do more stabilization, as they are more distant from the center.
My clients also tested the following sensation. When they were doing bench sets, I would rotate units with the Bowflex and similar products, and they always reported the Bowflexes to be more challenging with the same weight since they worked with more muscles – that is a beneficial thing as you can get more out of your workout. The test wasn’t limited with lifts and presses. The front squat position with longer weights made my abdominal muscles deliver maximum stabilization. As a result, the Bowflexes provided extra advantage of obtaining a comparatively better core workout without a necessity to do isolated movements, such as sit-ups or crunches at the end. Nevertheless, due to this effect, we strongly recommend that both experienced and beginner users start with weight range on the Bowflexes.