About adjustable dumbbells

Adjustable Dumbbells are perfect for not just the home gym, but any gym.  They afford you several resistance options ranging from 5 – 100lbs (often in 2.5 pound increments), and they don’t take up a whole lot of space.

In fact, most adjustable dumbbell sets – holding rack included – take up only as much room as a medium-sized stereo speaker, so you can keep them in any room you choose without the worry of them being an unsightly distraction.  You don’t see too many squat racks tucked away next to entertainment centers now, do you?

So your commitment is there, and your Internet is up; if you don’t move now, you’ll never tone those arms, legs, and midsection.  The big hurdle now is, just what do you look for when buying an adjustable dumbbell set?

The Locking System

The first thing to consider is the locking system.  You’ve got internal keys and pin-lock systems different manufacturers put into place for you to add some weights and restrict others.

Bowflex 552 Dial Locking System

An example of a key-type locking system would be the dial you see on the ends of the dumbbell.  It most often looks like the face of a combination lock, and works much the same way: simply dial in the weight you want, wait for the click to let you know everything is in place, and pull the weight off the rack.  The Bowflex 552 as shown in the image here uses this type of locking system.

For the pin-lock type system, the dumbbell comes with a light bar you slide into spaces or holes between the weights to separate the ones you want from the ones you don’t.

If you are looking for weights in 2.5-pound increments, the internal key system offers that option, and both offer the five-pound adjustment.  Consider your workouts and body demands when deciding which system to use.

The Footprint (size)

Next, think about the footprint you want your weight set to have in your home or gym.  Within a certain degree, all of them are very compact, only about the size of their heaviest weight’s iron dumbbell.

For instance, if you are looking at getting a 50-lb adjustable dumbbell set, you can expect each dumbbell to be the size of the 50-lb iron hexagonal dumbbells made famous in old high school football weight rooms across America.

And let’s face it: looks are important, especially if you are building a home gym.  It’s worth the extra money to invest in a weight rack for your adjustable dumbbells.  Not only does it keep them off the ground (and you from having to bend over to pick them up), it contributes to an overall more professional look and feel.

Investing in that appearance will subconsciously keep you more motivated and dedicated to your workout program, and that alone is a huge return on your investment.


Of course, the thing most people must take into account is cost.  Yes, you will pay more for the adjustable dumbbells than you will for a single dumbbell of equal weight.

But you will wind up paying considerably more for all the corresponding single dumbbells leading up to that weight, and if you are afraid the weight rack for the adjustable dumbbells may be unsightly, consider just how “unpretty” that rack would be if you needed space for each individual dumbbell.

You could just bypass all this and get a gym membership, but with the rates they are charging nowadays, you will outspend your cost for a beautiful adjustable dumbbell set in a matter of a few months.

The decision is clear: if you want to build a better body and don’t have a lot of space in which to do it, adjustable dumbbells are the way to go.  They are compact, multifunctional, and are offered in a multitude of designs that are not only sleek and stylish, but also make for great conversation starters when people come over, asking you how you transformed your old body into a pool-ready one.

What do we recommend?

We recommend the Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbell Set at Amazon which offers free shipping and a good price.   You can read our own review about it here.

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