Most of you are probably going to beat me for even asking, but which would/do you use and are these better for replacing individual weight sets? Let me know your opinions guys and gals. I appreciate it.
Apologies if this is already a thread and I'm beating a dead horse as well.
10-03-2011, 07:11 PM #1
Powerblocks vs. Bowflex 1090s vs. Individual weights?
Last edited by Tric; 10-03-2011 at 07:19 PM.
10-03-2011, 07:45 PM #2
I had spinlocks (still do but dont use them) and needed more weight.
I bought the 1090's and returned them in 2 days as they are junk and dangerous. My dials could be turned out of the cradle from day one.
I then purchased the powerblock U-90 stage 2 and couldnt be happier. They are solid, quiet and very quick when doing drop sets. 90 lbs for me is enough but soon I will upgrade to stage 3 125 lbs per hand.
10-03-2011, 07:49 PM #3
10-03-2011, 08:51 PM #4
Check out powerblock's official website. If you look at their different series, you can pick between four different choices:
- Elite Set 5-90 (and Elite Set 5-130)
- Sport 9.0 Stage II 5-90 (and Stage II 5-130)
- Heavy Weight 125lb Set Urethane (10-127)
- U90 Stage 2 kit (2.5 - 90) and U90 Stage 3 kit (2.5 - 127)
All four are a little different. The Heavy Weight 125 and the U90 are both Urethane models, and so they get a lifetime warranty from basically anything but abnormal neglect, or heavy drops.
The reason you might want to look at all of them is because each has a slightly different feel and different handle type. I'd recommend the Urethane right off the bat, but I figured you might want to read up on all of that.
10-03-2011, 09:36 PM #5
And the only issue with finding a store that carries them in the area is that I'm so rural.. no one around me carries them. It's sad, really. Hell, the nearest Wal-Mart is 45 minutes away.
10-03-2011, 09:51 PM #6
If you want me to post up some pictures with a measuring tape against the pictures for reference, I can do that for you. Just let me know.
10-03-2011, 09:52 PM #7
10-03-2011, 10:49 PM #8
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10-03-2011, 11:01 PM #9
Though I'd love to have both, since they do serve slightly different purposes. But then that'd be the same cost as having rubber hex dumbbells from 5 to 130, and the purpose would be defeated! Hahaha.
10-03-2011, 11:15 PM #10
I like the fat grip adapters that Ironmaster sells for their handles. When I got them, I also purchased a spare set of handles at the same time thinking that there'd be some exercises for which I wouldn't want 2" diameter handles. (It's neither quick nor easy to put them on and take them off; once you have them on, you should leave them on - unless you really don't like them.) It's turned out though that I use the fat grip equipped handles for almost everything. It distributes the weight in the palm better for pressing movements and really works the grip for pulling movements. I've been using them for farmer's carries too. My wife still uses the normal handles though.
Last edited by KBKB; 10-03-2011 at 11:40 PM. Reason: Add links.
10-04-2011, 12:00 AM #11
Not to be too big of a helpless newb, but what's the difference between the Ironmasters and the PowerBlocks?
Thank you all for the input, guys.
10-04-2011, 12:18 AM #12
I'll just note off the main differences:
- Shouldn't be dropped (can be, but warranty doesn't cover dropping it over I think 1 foot or something like that)
- Very easy and fast to switch weight (10lb increments take 1 second per dumbbell pretty much literally)
- Hand is encased in dumbbell (positive and negative depending on how you look at it; I quite like it but others might not)
- Lots of hard plastic / urethane
- With the u90 you can buy a kettlebell handle for $70 which can use the weight up to 90 pounds (so if you use kettlebells, not a bad deal)
- Can be dropped (like a regular pro-style dumbbell)
- Slow to switch weight (only slower dumbbell is a spindle-lock or possibly olympic dumbbell)
- Dumbbell feels like a regular dumbbell and is balanced like a regular dumbbell (so you get a natural dumbbell feel)
- Basically all-metal
- There are various addons & stuff that you can do handle-wise and whatnot (check out ironmaster's website and see for yourself, you might like what you see)
Overall the main difference is that the ironmaster is more of a natural dumbbell, while the powerblock is a quicker-switching dumbbell.
If I had to have one dumbbell, I'd go with the powerblock (but that's because I want to feel like I can switch weight as if I had a rack full of dumbbells right infront of me). If I already had a bit of a set of dumbbells but not quite full, I'd go with the ironmaster. A lot of people prefer the ironmaster as their only dumbbell anyhow though.
Even if you had a 10 to 110 pound dumbbell set, the Ironmaster 170lb version would be worth it because it would replace 120, 130, 140, 150, 160, and 170 pounds (if you actually were to lift that much). So it's definitely a dumbbell to look at that will still be useful even if you were to have a dumbbell collection.
Check out some youtube videos demonstrating both things and see how you would like either of them.
10-04-2011, 12:36 AM #13
10-04-2011, 06:41 AM #14
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10-04-2011, 08:39 AM #15
The maximum weight for the Ironmaster dumbbells is 165 lbs, not 170 lbs. Also, for those weights in between 122.5 through 165, you have to use some longer fully threaded screws. This means that changing weight takes a bit longer for those weights due to the fact that you have to turn the screw all the way from insertion until it locks up. For lesser weights (up to and including 120 lbs), you use a lock screw that can be inserted up to very near the locking point. You only need to turn the screw about half a turn (plus or minus 1/4 turn) to tighten it.
Ironmaster also sells a kettlebell handle. It can be used with the plates from the dumbbell sets to change the weight in 2.5lb increments from 22.5lbs (handle alone) to 80lbs (handle plus lockscrew + six 5lb plates + 2.5lb plate + 22.5lb plate). You could, presumably, go over 100lbs if you used the long lock-screw from the 165lb add-on kit. I posted photos comparing the Ironmaster kettlebell to some fixed-weight kettlebells made by Lifeline USA in this thread. The Ironmaster kettlebell is about the same height as the lighter fixed-weight kettlebells, but ends up being taller (and skinnier) the heavier you go. Once you put weights on the Ironmaster kettlebell handle and tighten the screw, it feels solid with no rattling of plates. It's great for doing kettlebell swings - the large handle provides plenty of room for both hands. The handle design is different than the Lifeline bells meaning that the technique is a little bit different for kettlebell cleans. I find the Ironmaster kettlebell to be more comfortable in rack position though.
As Paul said, the PowerBlock warranty does cover drops up to a certain height, but that height varies depending upon which model you get. As I recall, that height is one foot for the Urethane models and six inches for the other models.
10-04-2011, 10:45 AM #16
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10-04-2011, 10:56 AM #17
I had a new pair of the 1090's and as much hate as they get on here I liked them a lot. Only problem is that they were too bulky but by far the fastest dumbbells as far as adjustability. They are plastic, but as long as you don't drop them they shouldn't give you any problems given that they're in new/great condition.
I also owned the classic powerblocks. I love the compactness of the powerblocks, adjusting the weights took a little longer than bowflex but you can't drop them either or use power hooks with them.
I now own the Ironmaters and although they take a little longer to adjust, they feel like a real dumbbell, you can drop them, and use the power hooks. But I'm getting a little tired of changing the weights.
As boded above, IMO nothing beats real dumbbells, I'm currently looking for a set to replace my ironmasters.** KNEE DRAGGERS UNITE **
10-07-2011, 08:36 AM #18
Thank you to everyone who chimed in and gave me their advice and opinions. I'm at the point of either buying the Ironmasters, or saving longer to acquire a good set of hex dumbbells.
A bit unrelated, but is there a general rule of thumb for advancing through the dumbbell weights if you're hitting them hard? I'm just wondering when I'll eventually have to add the heavier weights to the dumbbell set.
Another newbie question- I can replace the need for a machine with these dumbbells, correct? I'd like to gain size and mass and then cut, but I'm not going to be Mr. Olympia. I can still achieve a good, full body physique if I know the right exercises?
Thanks again, guys.
10-07-2011, 09:38 AM #19
The IM's are nice, I have two sets and I prefer to use them over my full set of pro's (that's admittedly odd behavior). I got both sets used and scored them for cheap, so the extra set makes the time factor less of an issue. I also don't use db's for a bunch of stuff, but I do like to throw them in....so I don't even need to change the weight much.
As far as the db's replacing a machine, I'm not an exercise guru, but from what I understand, there isn't much you can do with a machine you can't replicate with a db. Some things will be different, technique will be more on you, and it won't be as "cool" when you're tired... but it can all be done. You can also work your legs with db's, but it requires more innovation, determination, and often requires the use of one leg at a time exercises. There are books on Amazon detailing db only wo routines.
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10-07-2011, 10:30 AM #20
If you were to max out your dumbbell set you might consider getting a weight vest. I've seen some that go up to 100lbs. This would be a compact way to add an additional load for working the core & lower body.
And, of course, you could go the more conventional route of getting a power rack, barbell, and plates. Don't know if this is an option for your or not as space is sometimes a consideration.
10-07-2011, 03:35 PM #21
10-07-2011, 04:26 PM #22
I own the 5-90 elites and IM 5-120. In my situation and experience (ymmv):
-Ability to drop weights and solid, durable feel outweigh speed of change
-Not that big of a deal but my powerblocks do rattle. newer versions may be improved
-Ironmasters feel far superior for excellent exercises such as swings, cleans, snatches
-IM's weighed more reliably on the scale.
-Both are great and you probably wouldn't be unhappy with either
-IM FTW. Platemates are awesome. I'd like to try the u90 powerblocks.
-I prefer either set to the full hex db set I've had no matter the convenience.. Don't like thin handles on the hexes..
10-07-2011, 04:43 PM #23
That said, I was weighing some stuff one day and weighed my IM dumbbells configured at 30lbs. One of them weighed in at 30.0 exactly. (Don't remember if I weighed the other one or not.)
Thanks for posting your impressions of the various dumbbells you've tried. I'm on recharge right now, but I'll rep you when I can.
10-07-2011, 06:14 PM #24
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I had a set of the Bowflex...Didn't like them and was afraid if i dropped them they would break.
Tried getting individual and was starting to spend a lot of money. I had 20, 30, 50, 60, 80 & 110. No money at the time to buy the others i needed and could see how expensive it was going to be.
I now have the Powerblock 5-130 and love them. I just waited and waited until i found them at a decent price. I traded all the singles in and paid the difference at Play it again.
10-07-2011, 06:58 PM #25
This is just my experience with the set I have
Last edited by jshpark; 10-07-2011 at 07:15 PM.
10-08-2011, 02:15 AM #26
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10-08-2011, 12:35 PM #27
Ironmasters in my opinion are the way to go. For me, it's the less moving parts that can fail, the better. You load the plates twist the caps on each end nice and tight and you are good to go. I couldn't stand the clanging of the plates with the powerblocks I used. I couldn't help but have the thought of the pin falling out and the plates falling as I used them. I know they design them to prevent this, but I like the feel of a solid dumbbell and for that you can't beat the Ironmasters.^^^^ Wild-land Search And Rescue Crew ^^^^
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10-08-2011, 01:00 PM #28
10-10-2011, 05:17 PM #29
Again, thank you all. To those that pointed me towards IMs and those that reinforced them, thank you. I've just ordered my first set. I'll let you all know what I think of them when I get them. These weights will do everything I need them to do. The only thing I'm still working out is the lower body workout, but I'll find something!
10-10-2011, 05:38 PM #30
If you don't have room for a rack, consider a hex bar for doing hex bar deadlifts using smaller diameter plates. (You can use large(r) diameter plates too, but in order to get a good ROM, you have to stand on a 3 inch platform.) I've been using a Hampton Hex Bar with 25lb plates. The smaller diameter on these plates give me a good range of motion for hex bar deadlifts/squats. I have eight such plates, so that plus the bar allow me to go up to 260 lbs. I can go a bit higher than this if I use my 10s too. To go higher still, I have to use 45s and stand on a platform. (That hasn't been a problem so far - 300 lbs still feels pretty hard to me.)
You can, once you get them, also do this exercise with your Ironmaster dumbbells. Just load them up to whatever weight you want, hold one in each hand, and squat with them. You'll find that you'll need to take a narrower stance with your toes facing more forward than what is usually recommended for a back squat with a barbell. You can try using a wider stance, but I find that the dumbbells (or trap bar frame) gets in the way of the knees. I did the dumbbell version of this exercise for a while to get a feel for whether I liked the exercise enough to invest in a trap bar.
Edit: It should be noted that the trap bar deadlift, or a similar version using dumbbells, is more like a squat than it is a deadlift using a barbell. It is worthwhile to do barbell deadlifts too...
Last edited by KBKB; 10-10-2011 at 05:46 PM.