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  1. #1
    Registered User DBartlett23's Avatar
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    Adjustable dumbbells- any good?

    I'm thinking about getting some adjustable dumbbells such as Bowflex- what are people's thoughts on adj dumbbells in general and any advice on which are the best?

    Thanks for your help!
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    Registered User KBKB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DBartlett23 View Post
    I'm thinking about getting some adjustable dumbbells such as Bowflex- what are people's thoughts on adj dumbbells in general and any advice on which are the best?
    Stay away from Bowflex dumbbells. There have been a number reports here of them falling apart.

    The best adjustable dumbbells are made by Ironmaster and Powerblock. Ironmaster dumbbells are more solid with a traditional dumbbell look and feel. The weight on Powerblock dumbbells can be adjusted more quickly, but you have to be careful about not dropping them. (You shouldn't drop your dumbbells anyway, IMO.)

    There is another, much less expensive type of adjustable dumbbell known as spinlocks. These are available from a number of sources, including big box fitness stores. As far as I know, they're all pretty much the same. Despite being less expensive, these would still be a much better choice than Bowflex.
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    Registered User akeod99's Avatar
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    Do NOT get Bowflex. Powerblock the way to go. We had Bowflex. Cheaply made (but price isn't cheap) and they fall apart.
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    Lifting Vicariously Domicron's Avatar
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    i'm unfamiliar with the ironmasters, but i do own a set of Powerblocks. they're great, though they take a little getting used to the shape. one thing to keep an eye out for, though, is that the some models have internal rods which account for smaller increments of weight. so instead of a simple pin, they require a little bit more work, it's not terrible, but i could see them getting obnoxious i the middle of a workout. that being said, i don't know how fast it is to swap plates on the IM.

    as for the SelectTech, years ago in a big box retail store i saw a set. walked up, dialed up a weight, picked it up, and 2 pieces fell right out. luckily for my toes, they were made of plastic. if i could find a set at a garage sale for 30-40 bucks i might pick them up for novelty sake, but that's it.
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    Registered User KBKB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Domicron View Post
    i'm unfamiliar with the ironmasters, but i do own a set of Powerblocks. they're great, though they take a little getting used to the shape. one thing to keep an eye out for, though, is that the some models have internal rods which account for smaller increments of weight. so instead of a simple pin, they require a little bit more work, it's not terrible, but i could see them getting obnoxious i the middle of a workout. that being said, i don't know how fast it is to swap plates on the IM.
    I've timed myself with the Ironmaster dumbbells. It takes me 30 seconds to change the weight when I use the same screws and do not have to swap in (or out) the large plates. If I have to switch to different screws and the use the large plates, it takes close to a full minute to do the change. So, e.g, 30->50 is 30 seconds. 50->75 is one minute. 75->95 is 30 seconds. This is the progression that I often use for dumbbell bench press and dumbbell bench rows.

    I recall reading other discussion about Ironmaster vs Powerblock which indicates that the Powerblocks are about the same speed as Ironmaster when the adder weights are involved.
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    Registered User throwaway3441's Avatar
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    I wonder if the quality of the SelectTechs has gone down. I've had the 552s for just over four years and they still work well. I don't use them as pushup stands. I've never intentionally dropped them but they've fallen off my bench a few times.
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    Registered User whitessp's Avatar
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    Has anyone tried the spinlock style that they sell on amazon/ebay?

    http://www.amazon.com/One-Pair-Adjus...able+dumbbells

    I've thought a few times about picking a set up, but I haven't seen any real reviews on the quality of the handles and weights and such. The Ironmaster's look incredible, but I cant justify the price for them. I've also thought about just buying a couple of Olympic dumbbell handles and some more 10's and 25's.
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    Unregistered User Cleveland33's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by whitessp View Post
    Has anyone tried the spinlock style that they sell on amazon/ebay?

    http://www.amazon.com/One-Pair-Adjus...able+dumbbells

    I've thought a few times about picking a set up, but I haven't seen any real reviews on the quality of the handles and weights and such. The Ironmaster's look incredible, but I cant justify the price for them. I've also thought about just buying a couple of Olympic dumbbell handles and some more 10's and 25's.
    You can find spinlock handles separately, these are $29
    http://www.amazon.com/Body-Solid-SDA.../dp/B0026P2G3G

    So the set you were looking at would be $1/lb for the plates - that's ridic. You can get used pancake plates for much less.
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    Registered User morebarbell's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cleveland33 View Post
    You can find spinlock handles separately, these are $29
    http://www.amazon.com/Body-Solid-SDA.../dp/B0026P2G3G

    So the set you were looking at would be $1/lb for the plates - that's ridic. You can get used pancake plates for much less.
    ^^

    My local Play it Again Sports sells the handles for $10 each new or $6 each used. Standard plates are the most common and easiest to find on Craigslist. They are also usually the cheapest. I've gotten them for as little as $0.
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    I love my powerblocks.


    Spinlocks are awful in my opinion...they dig into your legs so painfully if you try to rest the DBs on your quads while sitting on a bench before hoisting them into a flat-bench position.
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  12. #12
    Common sense/moderation. gbullock32's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by morebarbell View Post
    ^^

    My local Play it Again Sports sells the handles for $10 each new or $6 each used. Standard plates are the most common and easiest to find on Craigslist. They are also usually the cheapest. I've gotten them for as little as $0.
    Wal-Mart has spin locks for ~$5-8 each.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by gbullock32 View Post
    Wal-Mart has spin locks for ~$5-8 each.

    True, but they're just threaded rod with a rubber grip in the center. There's nothing to keep you from over tightening them and splitting the rubber.
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  14. #14
    inside the box thinker CliveWarren's Avatar
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    I'm keeping my eyes on the Stairmasters from Costco. Only 5-50lbs but I like traditional dumbells and barbells for the heavier stuff. There's only one review here, but it seems pretty positive.
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    O'Brien Iron Bench905's Avatar
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    I've had multiple sets of powerblocks and multiple sets of ironmasters. Honestly, I was annoyed by them both - ironmasters just take way too long to change. It's not really the TIME per se, but more like the annoyance of having to swap weights constantly.

    If I had to choose a set, I'd take powerblocks...but I was always scared of dropping them for fear of bending the pin. I really didn't mind my hand "in the box" feeling. The adder weights were annoying - I wouldn't bother with 5lb adjustments.

    I ended up selling all my adjustable dumbbells. If I move, I'll start collecting pro-styles and a big commercial DB rack.
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  16. #16
    Common sense/moderation. gbullock32's Avatar
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    ^I use the time adjusting weights as my rest between sets; works out pretty well actually.
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    For things like side raises, curls, and other simple lifts I like spin locks - as others have mentioned they are both durable and inexpensive.

    If cost is not a factor then Powerblocks have been around for a long time and give you a broad range of weight options without taking up a lot of space.
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  18. #18
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    Powerblocks here. I don't change the adder weights very often.
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    Originally Posted by whitessp View Post
    Has anyone tried the spinlock style that they sell on amazon/ebay?

    http://www.amazon.com/One-Pair-Adjus...able+dumbbells

    I've thought a few times about picking a set up, but I haven't seen any real reviews on the quality of the handles and weights and such. The Ironmaster's look incredible, but I cant justify the price for them. I've also thought about just buying a couple of Olympic dumbbell handles and some more 10's and 25's.
    Check craigslist for adjustable dumbbell handles like these. I see them all the time.
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    Registered User Vicuna's Avatar
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    Love powerblocks.. I have the sport urethane ones.
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    Originally Posted by KBKB View Post
    I've timed myself with the Ironmaster dumbbells. It takes me 30 seconds to change the weight when I use the same screws and do not have to swap in (or out) the large plates. If I have to switch to different screws and the use the large plates, it takes close to a full minute to do the change. So, e.g, 30->50 is 30 seconds. 50->75 is one minute. 75->95 is 30 seconds. This is the progression that I often use for dumbbell bench press and dumbbell bench rows.

    I recall reading other discussion about Ironmaster vs Powerblock which indicates that the Powerblocks are about the same speed as Ironmaster when the adder weights are involved.
    KBKB, the PB's are a LOT faster to change even with the adder weights involved.
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