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  1. #1
    Registered User orielonline's Avatar
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    Thinking about a home dumbbells to replace a gym; your thoughts?

    Hi,

    I'm thinking about getting the Bowflex Select Tech 552 dumbbells alongside a Bowflex exercise bench but wanted to know what your thoughts are compared to an actual gym. I'm not expecting it to be a complete replacement but thought it might be a good way to still exercise if I don't have time to go to the gym (which usually amounts to 45-minutes to an hour's drive, with changing and going back home) and may help me focus on and develop specific muscles such as shoulders and biceps. A lot of people say that they need a gym membership because they're not motivated enough at home, and to be honest, I don't know whether that will be a concern for me. On one hand, I'd love to be able to do concentration curls or Russian Twists at any time but on the other, I don't know if I would lose motivation like everyone else.

    What are your thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Registered User radrd's Avatar
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    Bowflex isn't recommended. Check out the stickied thread. I own and recommend PowerBlocks. Others swear by Ironmaster. Can't go wrong with either.

    I also recommend rack, bar, plates, and adjustable bench for a true home gym. As far as benches go, I would look at Rep Fitness and Ironmaster over bowflex.
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    Originally Posted by orielonline View Post
    Hi,

    I'm thinking about getting the Bowflex Select Tech 552 dumbbells alongside a Bowflex exercise bench (You lost me at this point.)

    What are your thoughts?
    No. Just no. There are other, better options and radrd listed them. Bowflex is cheap, poorly made crap (IMO) and worth wasting money on. Also, there's more to shoulders and biceps than "concentration curls or Russian Twists."
    You need a good rack, a bench, and a 300-lb Olympic weight set. Now, what was your question?

    My home gym: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=652376&p=1465291461&viewfull=1#post1465291461.

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    Going for rubber bands.

    They don't make so much noise when I accidentally drop them.
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    Registered User orielonline's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AttyGuy View Post
    No. Just no. There are other, better options and radrd listed them. Bowflex is cheap, poorly made crap (IMO) and worth wasting money on. Also, there's more to shoulders and biceps than "concentration curls or Russian Twists."
    I'm not hell bent on Bowflex but I thought they may be good because their online reviews and aesthetics. I did read some people complaining about the quality but it seems few and far between and their customer service seems really friendly.

    The bigger question I have is if a bench + dumbbells combo by itself is worth it. I don't want to go overboard and convert our living room to a gym but always thought that having it that would make my living room corner look better for one. If there are other, smaller types of weights I would consider it but not sure what else I'll need. I really don't want an entire large set like a bench with full cables behind it and a pull up bar on top. But would not mind adding a kettle bell or something small.

    Your thoughts? In the meanwhile, I'll look at alternatives.
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    Originally Posted by orielonline View Post
    Hi,

    I'm thinking about getting the Bowflex Select Tech 552 dumbbells alongside a Bowflex exercise bench but wanted to know what your thoughts are compared to an actual gym. I'm not expecting it to be a complete replacement but thought it might be a good way to still exercise if I don't have time to go to the gym (which usually amounts to 45-minutes to an hour's drive, with changing and going back home) and may help me focus on and develop specific muscles such as shoulders and biceps. A lot of people say that they need a gym membership because they're not motivated enough at home, and to be honest, I don't know whether that will be a concern for me. On one hand, I'd love to be able to do concentration curls or Russian Twists at any time but on the other, I don't know if I would lose motivation like everyone else.

    What are your thoughts?
    I recommend a pair of 90 lb PowerBlocks, a chin up bar and some parallels (or two chairs back to back) for dips. That's all you need. Do the big bang for buck exercises. Do your deadlifts once a week at the gym or get some loadable kettlebell handles and a load of plates.
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  7. #7
    Registered User radrd's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    I recommend a pair of 90 lb PowerBlocks, a chin up bar and some parallels (or two chairs back to back) for dips. That's all you need. Do the big bang for buck exercises. Do your deadlifts once a week at the gym or get some loadable kettlebell handles and a load of plates.
    This isn't a bad idea. I'd trade the parallel bars for an adjustable bench though. Rogue wall strip(s) can also let you use some rack attachments without a rack.
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    Originally Posted by radrd View Post
    Bowflex isn't recommended. Check out the stickied thread. I own and recommend PowerBlocks. Others swear by Ironmaster. Can't go wrong with either.

    I also recommend rack, bar, plates, and adjustable bench for a true home gym. As far as benches go, I would look at Rep Fitness and Ironmaster over bowflex.
    +1.

    Powerblocks and Ironmasters will hold their value far better than Blowflex as well, should you decide the home gym isn't working for you.
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  9. #9
    Registered User radrd's Avatar
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    If you went for an Ironmaster bench, they have a bunch of attachments that might help you make some gains with limited equipment.
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    Originally Posted by orielonline View Post
    I'm not hell bent on Bowflex but I thought they may be good because their online reviews and aesthetics. I did read some people complaining about the quality but it seems few and far between and their customer service seems really friendly.

    The bigger question I have is if a bench + dumbbells combo by itself is worth it. I


    don't want to go overboard and convert our living room to a gym but always thought that having it that would make my living room corner look better for one. If there are other, smaller types of weights I would consider it but not sure what else I'll need. I really don't want an entire large set like a bench with full cables behind it and a pull up bar on top. But would not mind adding a kettle bell or something small.

    Your thoughts? In the meanwhile, I'll look at alternatives.
    Take the advice already given, forget all the marketing and glowing reviews, Bowflex really is crap.

    A set of IM's or PB's, a decent bench and a few kettlebells will provide a decent workout, however a barbell/rack set up would be way more versatile.
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    Originally Posted by gym62richard View Post
    Take the advice already given, forget all the marketing and glowing reviews, Bowflex really is crap.

    A set of IM's or PB's, a decent bench and a few kettlebells will provide a decent workout, however a barbell/rack set up would be way more versatile.
    I agree regarding how useful a bench and a pair of good adjustable dumbbells can be. Due to space constraints, I worked out for about two years with a decent bench and a pair of powerblocks (with ironmasters added later once I outgrew the 90lb powerblocks for dumbbell presses).
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    Registered User orielonline's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rakshar View Post
    I agree regarding how useful a bench and a pair of good adjustable dumbbells can be. Due to space constraints, I worked out for about two years with a decent bench and a pair of powerblocks (with ironmasters added later once I outgrew the 90lb powerblocks for dumbbell presses).
    90 lbs each? I don't think I'll ever reach that. Even with the dumbbell assisted chest press and squats, the most I've ever did was 50 lbs each, and that's on a good day. Maybe when I was religiously training I could have pressed more, but doubt I've ever needed that much on a dumbbell, and unless it's a standard size, I feel would be excessive. I'm kind of scrawny tbh, like a smaller version of Brad Pitt from fight club
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    Don't buy bowflex anything, especially the dumbbells, they are total garbage. Plastic coated weights, flimsy plastic handles and selectors that will pop out and fail on you. Oversize product that will decrease your range of motion. It won't last long and it won't have any value if you want to resell it because its going to break if you use it for any amount of exercise. Based on your strength, get 70 lb Powerblocks kit or the 75 lb Ironmasters kit, can upgrade it further if you ever got too strong, but don't under-estimate how strong you can get even as a smaller person. Otherwise don't get lighter than a 50 lb kit, you can always work up to doing like 20 to 30+ reps if things get too easy and they can be expanded. A quality adjustable bench would help a lot to provide variety. The bowflex bench is NOT a quality bench.
    Also a kettlebell might be nice, get a 24KG.

    As far as a substitute for a gym membership, I ended my gym membership and just use dumbbells (I got a few adjustable handles with plates on them, right now set up for 25s,40s,50s,60s,70s, can make them as heavy or as light as I want)+ incline adjustable bench, 16+28kg kettlebell, concept 2 rower, recumbent bike, exercise bands, pullup bar, a few other odds and ends, I workout a few times a day when I walk past the equipment I do a couple sets here and there, and do about an hour in the mornings on the C2 steady state ~5 days a week. I find I workout more as a result.
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    Look, I’ve got the Bowflex.

    They suck.

    Broke one while being moved, and now it’s nothing but a big paperweight. Can’t be fixed, isn’t worth ****. Choose anything else.
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    Originally Posted by radrd View Post
    If you went for an Ironmaster bench, they have a bunch of attachments that might help you make some gains with limited equipment.
    Ditto for the PowerBlock Sport Bench. A Roman Chair is nice to have, too. Heavy back extensions make for a powerful body.
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    Originally Posted by orielonline View Post
    90 lbs each? I don't think I'll ever reach that. Even with the dumbbell assisted chest press and squats, the most I've ever did was 50 lbs each, and that's on a good day. Maybe when I was religiously training I could have pressed more, but doubt I've ever needed that much on a dumbbell, and unless it's a standard size, I feel would be excessive. I'm kind of scrawny tbh, like a smaller version of Brad Pitt from fight club
    You'll find a lot of use for the 90's and beyond. That's why I also recommend loadable kettlebell handles and a lot of plates.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

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    Registered User orielonline's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice you guys. And by the way, if anyone wants to see what my body composition looks like, attached are my before and afters.

    Thanks again.
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    While I think half measures like this might work for some, for most people you will end up with some dumbbells and a bench that sits and the corner and doesn't get used. Now if you actually think you will put them to good use and really use them and develop a full routine around them for when you can't go to the gym go with the advice already given in this thread. If you have lingering doubts about how much you will actually use it then save you money and drive to the gym for a workout.
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    I originally was going to invest in Powerblocks because I liked how quickly you can change the weights, and the overall size of them is quite convenient for a multitude of lifts - but Ironmasters fell into my lap for a better deal so I went with those instead. Been using em for 5 or 6 years now, they're built like tanks and also have a nice compact size. Plus I like the mellow knurling on them, comfortable to grip which really helps on pulling lifts. Only downside is plate switching is slightly slower but this is not a total con. Prior to the Ironmasters, I was using standard handles and plates which were economical and more than enough weight, but the ends of the handle would sometimes scrape my skin a little bit because of how long they were to support those plates. With the Ironmasters I was able to use just as much width as needed, to an extent - meaning eventually for certain lifts they will be outgrown and I may return to using my regular handles and plates instead. But that's a long way off, if ever that point is reached strengthwise. I wouldn't go with bowflex personally, they've got the quick-change mechanism going for them, but the material they're made of is not very durable, so they're not going to hold up well. Besides, you'll outgrow their weight capacity in not a lot of time if you're consistently progressing on your lifts, so I can't see these being worth it for the long term.

    I do wanna mention something else though, and that's to invest in some dumbbell holders. Eventually you'll reach a point where your set will be inhibited just getting the weights into position, and some supports would greatly help alleviate that issue, so you can devote all your strength to the lift. In the beginning when you're lifting light it won't be a thing, but once the weight gets particularly heavy for you, you'll see what I mean. With Ironmasters or Powerblocks the dumbbells can be set down vertically or horizontal, but with old school handles and plates just horizontally. Good luck putting your setup together though.
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