Bowflex weights

Bowflex weights DEFAULT

On lucky days, my friend Andrew drops a dumbbell alert in my Slack group chat. He tells us which sites — Rogue, SPRI, NordicTrack, Bowflex — have them in stock, which are shipping, and what kinds of weights are available. If you get to his messages five minutes late, the weights are almost always sold out.

“Finding dumbbells that deliver within a reasonable time (less than a month) is like trying to acquire concert tickets for a pop legend without ever knowing when the tickets go on sale,” Andrew told me. “I checked in up to five times a day on my most reliable sites, hoping that I would get lucky that two dumbbells in the weight I want will be available.”

Dumbbells, like Nintendo Switches, yeast, and bidets, are one of those things that have become extremely popular during the pandemic and extremely hard to find. People are spending more and more time at home, and they’re buying things they never needed or possibly wanted before. The sudden surge in demand has created shortages of the most seemingly disparate things.

There’s also a shortage of knowledge because so many of us are first-time buyers. Gyms made these decisions for us. Trying to buy them now includes questions not just pertaining to the weight, but also shape, material, and which companies to purchase from and which to avoid — a dumbbell can go for $40 or $150 depending on where you’re purchasing it. Friends like Andrew, who have done the research and the work, are godsends. Their recommendations are valuable and trustworthy.

For gym-goers, obtaining your own weights and working out from home had always been a possibility. But justifying the purchase was hard, especially with the rise of gyms and boutique fitness studios.

The pandemic swung the pendulum the other way — so much that it’s hard to rationalize going back before a vaccine is created. Depending on where you live, gyms may not be open (which has led to the rise of “speakeasy” gyms), and disconcerting research shows that they are looking more and more like coronavirus hot zones. Working out from home with dumbbells — for one reason or another — seems like the future of fitness. Just as soon as you can get your hands on some.

America’s dumbbell shortage is what happens when huge demand collides with a broken supply chain

“March 15 and 16 — that was kind of the weekend that America changed,” Colleen Logan, the vice president of marketing at Icon Health & Fitness, the family of fitness brands that includes NordicTrack, told me. “We started seeing crazy, crazy sales every day. We finished March 200 percent higher than March of 2019. We finished April 400 percent higher in sales versus 2019. We finished May 600 percent higher than our sales in 2019.”

Bowflex, which I still remember from my childhood for that commercial, saw an astronomical rise in its sales, too.

“The second quarter of 2020 was one of the strongest quarters ever for our company, highlighted by record sales. Net sales increased 94 percent to $114 million compared to the same period last year,” said John Fread, director of global marketing communications at Nautilus Inc.

Those numbers are staggering, but Logan and Fread said that once the pandemic hit, that kind of demand could be expected.

Gyms were shut down, and people who were into fitness began purchasing home equipment. Logan said her company had already seen spikes in sales and app usage following closures and lockdowns in countries like Italy and China. Peloton and Bowflex, like NordicTrack and the Icon brands, saw a massive sustained increase in sales, too.

Boutique fitness companies saw that wave as well, although it looked a little different. Barry’s (formerly known as Barry’s Bootcamp) responded by offering online classes at home where you could opt for bodyweight, resistance bands, or weighted classes.

Fitness professionals like Charlee Atkins, a trainer and founder of the fitness company Le Sweat, were probably best-equipped for the shortage. Atkins was teaching workouts from home before the pandemic and was producing workout content for her exercise app. Weights were a necessity for her job. But even she found herself searching for more options.

Marlin Levison/Star Tribune via Getty Images

“Luckily, I had a set of Bowflex adjustable dumbbells going into quarantine, but I still found myself needing more options over the last few months,” Atkins told me. “I recently ordered a few kettlebells from Rogue after scouring their site every day.”

While one could ostensibly use jugs of water or books in a backpack as dumbbell alternatives, you’d probably, with consistent workouts, get strong enough that you’d need heavier and heavier things. That’s the goal.

“The way we build muscle is by overloading the body enough to stimulate muscle breakdown and growth,” Atkins said. “You can overload the body with bodyweight, but at some point you are going to have to add more.”

But that colossal increase in demand from home fitness enthusiasts is just one side of the shortage.

Logan explained that over on the supply side of the shortage, there was actually a twofold problem. The first layer is that dumbbells are a small fraction of the consumer dollar share of exercise equipment sold for home use; treadmills, which are priced much higher, are still the biggest sellers, in both numbers and revenue. According to a 2019 report from the National Sporting Goods Association, around 3.9 million units of free weights were sold in 2018 compared to 5.2 million motorized treadmills.

In an average year, those sales usually start in the fall, hit their peak with January’s New Year’s resolutions, then taper off as it gets warmer and people are more likely to venture outside or go back to the gym. 2020 wasn’t an average year. And store inventories were not at all equipped for such a massive surge in demand.

Ramping up production wasn’t simple, however, for one reason: 95 percent of the world’s dumbbells are made in China, Logan said. To curb the virus spread, China instituted strict lockdowns from January to April; highways and public transportation were shut down, which affected manufacturing supply chains.

“The factories couldn’t open,” Logan said, explaining that the shutdowns affected more than 35 million residents in China in January and would affect global supply chains because workers couldn’t come in. Even if retailers got orders in at the turn of the New Year, there wasn’t anyone to make the dumbbells. By the time the first wave of Americans were ordering weights for their lockdown workouts, they were already out of luck.

“It takes a month or so to get the products made and get them to the port,” Logan continued. “Then it goes from China to the United States” — landing, she says in Long Beach, California — “and then if they’re going to the East Coast, they have to go through the Panama Canal.”

Once weights do get to America, ports, too, are subject to lockdowns and social distancing, adding even more delays. The weights, through their shipping delays and lockdowns, seemingly complete a March of the Penguins-like migration.

“We had to triple our capacity for the second half of this year and have spent the last few months seeking out new factories to work with,” Fread said. “For reference, it can take up to months — if not longer — to ramp up a new factory. Globally, product demand continues at a high level, so we’re constantly making changes to our operations to deliver products as fast as possible.”

It’s August now, and fitness equipment companies like Rogue Fitness and SPRI still don’t have a full stock of dumbbells. SPRI is sold out of all dumbbells above 30 pounds; Rogue doesn’t have any under 95. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Modell’s, and Big Five all have low to zero availability and aren’t shipping their weights. They’re scarce on Amazon, too, with some shipping in the middle of next month via Prime. Though eBay has a supply, they’re marked up — a 15-pound pair on eBay is currently selling for $169; on Rogue Fitness a similar set sells for just under $40 (when they are in stock).

The pandemic has brought the fitness industry to your home

The dumbbell and exercise Slack I have with my friends isn’t just about alerting when those sites have stock; it’s also where we can pool reviews and ask and answer questions. We talk about online classes that we’re taking, who our favorite instructors are, and whether we like recent purchases like a new pair of shorts or my Peloton.

“The thing about all this for me is learning and thinking more about dumbbells than ever before,” friend of Vox.com, Eater social media manager, burgeoning fitnessphile, and Slack participant Adam Moussa told me. “Dumbbells were a thing I would pick up at the gym and they were simple. But now it’s like, ‘Do I need hexagonal? Rubber-covered? Is concrete covered in silicone just as good? What the fuck is an adjustable dumbbell set and why is it $4,000?’”

To answer his question, an adjustable dumbbell set is a fitness holy grail. It’s a pair of dumbbells that, thanks to fasteners and switches, can be as light as 10 pounds or as heavy as 55, depending on the brand. The 10-55 range is NordicTrack’s set. The appeal is that you don’t have to spend money on every incremental set of weights between 10 pounds and 55 pounds, and they take up much less space. Living in a New York City-size apartment and only possessing two pairs of weights — a set of 25s for arms and 50s for legs and chest — having a range of weights would be a luxury. Retailing for $599 and shipping within a week or so, adjustable dumbbells are definitely that.

That’s pricey. But in the context of replacing a gym membership or fitness classes, the cost of adjustable dumbbells could quickly equal or exceed those expenses if that’s where your money used to go. But even casual gym-goers might be able to justify the spend since weights at home are the only option when gyms aren’t open.

“When it comes to at-home workouts, initially people are looking for bodyweight routines or ones that include a small piece of equipment, such as resistance bands,” Atkins, the trainer and fitness company founder, said. “You have to progress the workout at some point.” She says that after people take her heavyweight class using dumbbells heavier than 10 pounds regularly, “they always say, ‘I’ve gotta get heavier weights, I didn’t realize how strong I’ve gotten!’”

Since the pandemic and shutdowns began, Atkins has built out her app and her workouts to keep up with the demand. Trainers like Atkins, who offer classes on Zoom or Instagram Live or on apps, were better-equipped for the new reality. Same goes for companies like Barry’s, which offered and continues to offer at-home classes. And in its own way, the pandemic accelerated the trend of home, virtual, or online classes.

“I would say the people that are exercising are exercising at home more,” Atkins told me. “I think many people are starting to realize how much you can do from home with minimal equipment, space, and time.”

As Atkins points out, lockdowns have eliminated a lot of the time we were spending outside of the house. Not being able to go to a restaurant or a movie or, yes, even the gym means more time spent at home — a huge reason why home improvement and hardware stores are seeing a rise in sales and traffic.

Gym-goers finally had a reason to make an exercise equipment purchase. And for companies like NordicTrack and Bowflex, the sheer magnitude of the demand and the spirit behind it took them by surprise.

The demand for exercise equipment doesn’t surprise Logan and her team when it comes to regular gym-goers, but, she says, “What’s really great is that we’ve seen that all of a sudden a bunch of people who maybe hadn’t prioritized exercise in their lives, for whatever reason, now are taking it up.”

Logan, Fread, and Atkins believe that the pandemic has swung the pendulum toward working out from home. Home workouts are here to stay, and because of that, people will continue to lift weights, spin, run, and everything in between in their living rooms.

NordicTrack

But there’s a lingering question that isn’t far from the one I terribly misgauged in March, which is: How long does this last? As gyms and studios open up — New York City announced gyms could start opening on August 24 as long as they adhere to new safety protocols — will people feel safe going back?

In June 2020, a OnePoll survey, conducted on behalf of LIFEAID Beverage Co., found that one in four of the 2,000 gym-goers asked do not plan to return to the gym even after the pandemic ends. Similarly, a Morning Consult poll for the week of August 17 found only 14 percent of respondents said they would feel comfortable going to the gym in the next month.

“When the dust settled, I had spent $450 on six weights,” Khalid El Khatib, a friend and fellow Slack group dumbbell shopper, told me. “But I don’t regret it. Even as gyms reopen, I’m going to stay extra safe by staying home to lift.”

Lifting weights at home to stay safe and in shape feels different from working out surrounded by people, but there are some things that don’t change. “I’ll keep taking ‘gym selfies’ in front of my own mirror,” Khalid said. He doesn’t even have to wear a mask.


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Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells: Pros, Cons, Cost, and More

Bowflex adjustable dumbbells make it easy to mix up your workout routine by combining several sets of weights into a single piece of equipment.

They are especially appealing to people with limited space or those looking to upgrade their home gym without purchasing an entire rack of dumbbells.

However, the dumbbells also come with a hefty price tag, which could be a key consideration for budget-conscious consumers.

This article will review some of the key features of the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells to determine whether or not they’re worth buying.

Product specs

Bowflex offers two models of adjustable dumbbells: the Bowflex SelectTech 552 and Bowflex SelectTech 1090.

Both products include a pair of dumbbells, which can be adjusted to different weights using a simple dial mechanism.

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 is designed to replace 15 pairs of weights.

It can be adjusted from 5–52.5 pounds (2.3–23.8 kg) in increments of 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg), up to the first 25 pounds (11.3 kg).

Meanwhile, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 replaces 17 pairs of dumbbells and offers weights ranging from 10–90 pounds (4.5–40.8 kg) in 5 pound (2.2 kg) increments.

summary

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 offers weights from 5–52.5 pounds (2.3–23.8 kg) and replaces 15 pairs of dumbbells. Meanwhile, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 replaces 17 pairs of dumbbells and can be adjusted from 10–90 pounds (4.5–40.8 kg).

How it works

Bowflex adjustable dumbbells are designed to replace 15–17 pairs of dumbbells, making it easy to fit in a full-body workout at home.

The dumbbells feature a built-in dial that is used to select the desired amount of weight.

They also have an automatic locking mechanism, which locks in the weights that you select and leaves the rest of the plates in the tray.

Together, these features allow you to choose heavier or lighter weights, depending on your training plan and fitness goals.

summary

Bowflex adjustable dumbbells feature a locking mechanism and built-in dial, which you can use to select heavier or lighter weights.

Cost

The cost of the Bowflex’s adjustable dumbbells depends on which model you select.

Here are current manufacturer suggested retail prices (MSRPs) for each:

  • Bowflex SelectTech 552: $349
  • Bowflex SelectTech 1090: $759

Both models include free shipping and have financing options available. However, keep in mind that prices may vary depending on where you shop.

The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 includes a 3-year warranty, while the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is only covered for 2 years. Bowflex also offers extended protection plans for an additional fee.

summary

Bowflex adjustable dumbbells range in price (MSRP) from $349–$759 and include free shipping and a 2- or 3-year warranty.

Features

Bowflex adjustable dumbbells are equipped with several impressive features to maximize their effectiveness.

For instance, they are designed with premium grips for extra stabilization and comfort. They also include molding around the metal plates to ensure a smoother, quieter workout.

The weight of each dumbbell can be easily adjusted using the dial mechanism, which can save you space by eliminating the need for multiple sets of dumbbells.

The dumbbells can also be used with the Bowflex SelectTech app, which includes access to an extensive library of guided workouts and training plans.

To further enhance your workout, you can purchase additional accessories on Bowflex’s website, including benches, dumbbell stands, barbells, and kettlebells.

summary

Bowflex adjustable dumbbells include features like premium grips, molding around the metal plates, easy dial mechanisms, and access to the Bowflex SelectTech app.

Customer feedback

Both the Bowflex SelectTech 552 and Bowflex SelectTech 1090 have mostly positive reviews on the Bowflex website, with an average user rating of 4.8 and 4.7 out of 5 stars, respectively.

Specifically, customers enjoy the space-saving design and find it easy to switch between different weights while working out.

Many reviewers also note that the plastic molding helps minimize noise and prevents the metal plates from clanging together, which is especially beneficial for those living in apartments or shared spaces.

However, some customers report that the bulkiness of the dumbbells makes certain exercises more challenging, and that the plates sometimes shift, making it difficult to place the dumbbells back in the rack.

Other common complaints involve issues with the durability of the dumbbells and jamming of the locking mechanism.

summary

Online reviews note that the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells can help save space and are quiet and easy to use. However, some have reported issues with the bulkiness, durability, and locking mechanism of the dumbbells.

Comparison with competitors

Although Bowflex produces some of the most popular adjustable dumbbells on the market, there are several other options to consider as well.

Here is a brief overview of how Bowflex stacks up against some of its competitors:

Keep in mind that prices for these products may vary by retailer.

summary

There are several brands that produce adjustable dumbbells with a variety of weight and training options.

The bottom line

Bowflex adjustable dumbbells are more compact and convenient than regular dumbbells, making them a great option for those short on space.

With premium grips, plastic molding, and an easy-to-use dial mechanism, they can be a high quality addition to your home gym.

However, there are also several drawbacks to consider, and some customers may prefer products that are simpler, less bulky, or more affordable.

Sours: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/bowflex-dumbbells
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I should get one important point out of the way right off the bat: Adjustable dumbbells are not the ideal weight training solution. In a perfect world, you live in a house with a large garage or basement or gym and you have access to a full rack of standard dumbbells from 10 pounds through 100 — the kind that are fixed, easy to handle, and allow you wide freedom of movement.

But alas, few us of have that kind of space, that kind of money, or that kind of significant other — i.e. the type who tolerates several thousand pounds of industrial-looking metal racked up against a wall.

Sure, you can find such weights at a gym, but there's the whole, you know, pandemic thing. That can make it tricky for many of us to comfortably return to such spaces, meaning an interim (or possibly permanent) solution is necessary. And that's where the adjustable dumbbell truly shines.

The Bowflex SelectTech552 is one of the adjustable dumbbell OGs. Contained within each unit is essentially 15 sets of weights, from 5 to 52.5 pounds. They're adjustable through the first 25 pounds in 2.5-pound increments, providing a micro-range with lower-weight exercises, and use an intuitive dial system for weight selection. I got to give a pair of 552s a whirl, and I have to say, they sure beat the crap out of the adjustable pair that I got back at Sports Authority 20 years ago for about $50. (Though to be fair, my dad bought me those. Thanks, Dad!)

Here's everything you need to know about them.

What We Like

Bowflex

Intuitive Weight Selection

A vaguely intelligent monkey — most monkeys — could get the hang of the weight selection system on the 552s. It's quick and intuitive: rotate the large selector knob on either side of the dumbbell to the proper weight, pull up, and... that's it. The weights seat and re-seat easily, and you can even select uneven weight distribution for special exercises should you so choose. Otherwise, you simply match the weight number on both dials — located on each end of the dumbbell — and that's the weight you get. In other words, once both dials read "25," you'll get 25 pounds of total weight on the dumbbell (not 25 pounds on each side). It's an easy system that simply works.

Bowflex 552

Lots of Weight

As I mentioned, the 552s go up to 52.5 pounds each, which is plenty of weight for all sorts of stuff: dumbbell presses and curls, dumbbell squats, triceps extensions, farmer carries and more. If you lift super heavy and you need something heavier, well... you'll have to look elsewhere. (Bowflex offers the SelectTech 1090, which goes up to 90 pounds, for $799). But the 552s offer plenty of weight for the average person doing workouts at home, and the ergonomics are such that you can also use them for creative moves like deadlift variations.

Replacing an Entire Set of Dumbbells

They live up to their promise, meaning you no longer need an entire rack of weights. The 552s conveniently offer a solution that's portable — if heavy — and allows you to legitimately work out at home. And they really are far better designed and constructed than my old-school adjustable dumbbells, the kind that use bare metal plates and giant steel wing nuts that invariably come loose as you're heaving weight around. It's worth noting that the 552s work in concert with Bowflex's free SelectTech training app, but I haven't tried it yet. I have my own workout routines that I follow, as I imagine most of you reading do, too.

Watch Out For

Bowflex

Wobbliness

I'm doubtful one of the 552s is going to come apart when positioned above my face during a skullcrusher, but it feels like there's a chance, because the plates wobble slightly as you use the dumbbell. The entire 552 selector mechanism is brilliant, but the fact that the plates shift a bit is a slight cause for concern, and I wonder if it can't be addressed in future iterations. (Perhaps my fears are unfounded, but it's nerve-racking to have 50 pounds of wobbly, plastic-coated steel positioned a foot above your nose.) If there were a way to improve the connection to the bar such that the plates were seated tighter, that would do a lot for peace of mind.

Awkward for Certain Exercises

If you don't have a barbell at home — I don't — then you might sometimes use dumbbells for deadlift variations. Gripping a standard dumbbell by the side works fine for various types of lifts, but it's a bit awkward to grip a 552. Because the plates progress from smaller to larger, outside-in, you end up gripping the dumbbell from one of the smaller plates, which doesn't feel sturdy or give you as much surface area to handle. Again, it's mostly a psychological consideration — and it won't apply to everyone — but it made these lifts a little more difficult. I could imagine a more conventional design, such as the JaxJox DumbbellConnect, being a bit easier to handle — though I haven't tried that system myself.

Not the Handsomest Option

Speaking of those JaxJox dumbbells, they are a bit more aesthetically pleasing. The 552's vibe is highly industrial, the red accents aren't my jam, and they'd probably look right at home in a hardscrabble tent gym on a forward operating base in the Middle East. Yes, these things are pretty great — they just wouldn't be my first choice of decor in my bedroom, is all I'm saying.

Is It For Me?

You've made it this far in this review, so probably. If you're dedicated to working out, pandemic be damned, and you want to continue to lift reasonably heavy, then you really need a pair of adjustable dumbbells. (Or a barbell, but that's a whole different story.) This set is intuitive, easy to use, and decent-looking. They're not cheap, but they're much cheaper than a full weight rack. And if you're dedicated to home fitness, it's a small price to pay for years of use — especially if you're no longer paying gym fees.

Verdict

I dig the 552s — a lot. While the wobbliness of the plates does give me pause, after examining the dumbbells to ensure their structural integrity, I am confident they are not going to result in my death. They're portable, intuitive, versatile, and not unreasonably expensive considering their various use cases and build. If you need to lift heavier than 52 pounds each, go for something like the 1090s, but otherwise, the 552s are pretty damn great. I see myself using them for many years to come.

Bowflex

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells

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Bowflex kettlebells and dumbbells are on sale at up to 27 percent off at Amazon. (Photo by Amazon)

Even if your gym has reopened, there’s a good chance you're still working out in the comfort of home. Here's a big chance to refresh your routine with some high-end gear that's on sale. (If you haven't got a workout routine, no worries...this is a great place to start!)

During the first round of lockdowns last year, dumbbells, yoga mats, kettlebells and other essentials disappeared from shelves. Now, after having weathered substantial delays in the supply chain, Amazon has finally managed to restock. The news gets better: Two of our favorite fitness tools are on sale right now, for a limited time. The Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell and Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells are both available at massive discounts, with savings as high as $150.

Amazon will give you free shipping too. But if you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get so much more — access to new movies and TV shows, discounts at Whole Foods, plus exclusive sales and two-day shipping on many, many items. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here.

$149 at Amazon

Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell

It’s like having six kettlebells in one — and it’s $50 off right now. (Photo by Amazon)

The Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell is the perfect at-home kettlebell because it’s adjustable — which means you don’t need to store a bunch of kettlebells of different weights. Better still? This top-shelf model is $50 off at Amazon right now, down from $199 to just $149.

How does it work? When it’s sitting in the base, just turn the dial to the desired weight — anywhere from 8 pounds to 40 pounds. Lift the kettlebell, and it’s good to go.

The space-saving design of this ergonomic equipment has earned the endorsement of fans. One satisfied customer writes: "Definitely the best thing I've ever purchased for exercise. The convenience of this kettlebell has really got me working out and enjoying it. I bought this during COVID quarantine and it has been a perfect purchase…. "

Additional features include free access (via the Bowflex app) to 24 trainer-led exercises — swings, rows, squats, twists — for a full-body workout, plus tips on improving your kettlebell form.

$149 at Amazon

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells also connects to an app to build customized workouts. (Photo by Amazon)

Like the kettlebell above, the Bowflex dumbbells adjust to meet the needs of everyone in your home. They can be as light as five pounds and as heavy as 52.5 pounds; you can fine-tune in 2.5-pound increments for the first 25 pounds. Bowflex is also adding a two-year warranty on weight plates and parts, in case you're a little too strong and somehow damage this indestructible equipment.

One five-star reviewer says: "I bought these in January and have been using them about 5 days a week, on average. We moved out of an apartment [building] that had a gym, into a house. [This] has enabled me to use a little space in the garage to keep my workouts up without the gym costs.”

Another enthusiastic fan added: "Perfect for the whole family! The whole family uses them every day. They are perfect for all ranges of abilities."

Who knows how long the kettlebell and dumbbells will be $50 and $150 off, respectively. Don’t let these deals slip by. Grab (and lift!) these genius workout devices at a discount while you can.

$399 at Amazon

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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Weights bowflex

Looking to add some mass this summer? You might want to invest in an adjustable dumbbell set. They're convenient, they take up less space in the home gym than a full weight rack or regular dumbbell set and they can be adjusted as you get stronger and need heavier weights to build muscle during your workout.

However, with some gyms still closed and a climbing interest in home fitness gear, inferior free weight products have popped up to meet demand -- and it's becoming increasingly hard to separate the cheapest options from the best ones. That's where I come in. To help you out, I did some digging and some serious testing to find the best adjustable dumbbells out there for your workout routine. I looked for dumbbells that had an easy weight adjustment process, had a wide range of weight options and could be used just as easily as a fixed-weight dumbbell.

Also, because any adjustable dumbbell is a decent investment -- the adjustable dumbbell weight sets on this list range from around $200 to over $1,000 -- you want to make sure you're spending your hard-earned money on the best adjustable dumbbell weights you can afford for your dumbbell exercise routine.

Keep in mind that just like a fixed dumbbell set, there's high demand for all of these adjustable dumbbell sets right now, so they often go out of stock. In most cases, you can place your order now, but shipping may take a couple weeks or more. If you can't wait, there are some other options that are available right now, but I stand by the following picks. I'll update this list periodically as I test out new dumbbells.

Best overall

NordicTrack Select-A-Weight

Lindsay Boyers/CNET

The NordicTrack Speedweight adjustable dumbbell set is similar to the Bowflex in style and design, but it's a little less bulky and has a smaller weight range. The weights start at 10 pounds and go up to 55 pounds in 2.5-pound weight increments. Adjusting the weight setting is a two-step process that involves a slidable pull tab and a turn dial on the innermost weight plate. The pull tab adjusts in 10-pound weight increments, while the dial lets you fine tune your weight preferences by 2.5 or 5 pounds.

While this process is more involved than the others, it also makes the dumbbell less bulky and easier to manage for your workout, so I think it's a worthwhile trade off. The pull tabs did jam up a couple of times, but they're easy enough to wiggle and move, so this was only a minor inconvenience. 

Like the Smrtft adjustable dumbbell weight set, the length of this weight bar depends on how much weight you're lifting. At its shortest, it's 9.5 inches and at its longest, it clocks in at just under 17 inches. This makes the workout setup easier to handle and allows for full range of motion, especially when you're dealing with lower weights. The NordicTrack also had my favorite grip handle of the bunch. It's ergonomic and rubberized and has two different textures, so it was easy to hold onto even when the heat started to ramp up.

My only knock: Since the weight numbers are displayed on the base, rather than on the top of the dumbbell or on the weight plates themselves, it makes it a little more difficult to match the pin to the desired weight, but this certainly isn't a dealbreaker.

Best design

Smrtft Nuobell 80

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Looks are subjective, but, for what it's worth, the Smrtft Nuobell 80 also gets my vote for best-looking adjustable dumbbells. The sleek, streamlined design is not only aesthetically pleasing, it makes the weights less bulky, since they're completely flush with each other. This translated to smoother motion, better performance and easier storage.

To adjust the weights -- they go from 5 pounds to 80 pounds in 5-pound increments -- you simply spin the handle until you hear a click. The weight displays in a viewer that's conveniently located right in front of the first weight plate, so you can easily see it. This quick spin method also makes it easy to adjust both dumbbells simultaneously, which is really convenient when you're changing weights during your workout for speed sets or interval training.

The length of the weight bar also depends on the amount of weight you're lifting. At its smallest, it's just under 9.5 inches and goes up to 17 inches with the full 80 pounds locked in. Combined with the flat design of the weights, this makes performing exercises a lot easier for body frames of all sizes.

If I had to pick on this set for something it would be the grip on the weight bar. It was rougher on my hands -- and got a little more slippery -- than others on this list, but a set of weightlifting gloves could easily solve that problem.

Best budget adjustable dumbbells

Ativafit Dial Tech Adjustable Dumbbells

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Adjustable dumbbells are meant to replace entire traditional dumbbell sets and, usually, their price reflects that. But at under $300 per pair, these Ativafit Dial Tech Adjustable Dumbbells are a more budget-friendly adjustable dumbbell option that have a lot to offer. There are nine weight settings that range from 11 pounds to 55 pounds and go up in 2.5-pound increments. The barbell itself weighs five pounds, so you can also choose to lift sans weight plates for lighter reps and a strength training workout.

Adjusting the weights on the Ativafit Dial Tech adjustable dumbbells is a super smooth two-step process that involves pushing down a small red upward-facing button and then turning the side dial until it clicks into place. While it's not as convenient as the other quick-dial options, it never jammed or got stuck.

One of the major pros for the Ativafit dumbbells is that the weight bar has one of the most comfortable (and blister-friendly) grips on this list. The shape of the weight plates also makes them easy to grip if you're using a single dumbbell for squats or single dumbbell front raises.

Like Bowflex, the length of the weight bar stays fixed at about 17 inches. But unlike the Bowflex, the plates stack instead of toggle at higher weights. This made it difficult to perform certain exercises, like overhead dumbbell presses, since it limited the range of motion and the weight didn't feel as evenly distributed. Another non performance-related gripe is that the weights are listed in kilograms, which isn't a huge deal (you can just quickly multiply by 2.2 to convert to pounds), but worth noting, nonetheless.

One more thing to keep in mind is that this dumbbell is sold as a single, so the price you see is for one. If you want a set, you'll have to checkout with two. 

Best adjustable dumbbells for heavy lifters

Bowflex SelectTech 1090

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With a weight range of 10 to 90 pounds, the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells are the beefiest adjustable weight option on this list, making them an excellent choice for increasing strength and building muscle mass. The weight adjusts in 5-pound increments through a turn dial that's easy to spin and didn't jam once, no matter how fast I was moving.

One downside is that the dials on each side adjust independently, so every time you want to make a weight change on this Bowflex SelectTech you have to spin both sides. This isn't a huge deal, but it does require a little extra attention while weight lifting to make sure you have an even weight distribution. 

The length of the weight bar is fixed at about 17.5 inches, so unlike the NordicTrack and the Smrtft sets, the Bowflex adjustable dumbbell set doesn't get shorter with smaller weights. But one thing I loved about this is that, at higher weights, the weight plates are toggled on the bar. This helps evenly distribute the weight on the bar, so even though it's pretty long, it doesn't feel like the weight is pooled on one end.

As far as movement goes, the rounded shape and grooved texture of the weight plates makes these dumbbells easy to maneuver and easy to grip during single dumbbell exercises that require you to hold the plates directly. The textured steel handle felt a little rough at times, but provided some serious grippage even when my hands started to sweat.

Sours: https://www.cnet.com/health/fitness/best-adjustable-dumbbells/
Bowflex 1090 Adjustable Dumbbells Review: Good, Bad, \u0026 Ugly...

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