Dumbbells have evolved tremendously from the archaic, sometimes-rusty hexagonal-headed beasts that turned your hands into calloused leather mitts that rivaled only the bottom of your feet in terms of attractiveness.
There are now a bevy of options from which you may choose to get the dumbbell that’s right for you. Whether you are hoping to stay in some respectable shape or make muscular gains to tighten up your clothing just a bit, there are several dumbbell choices out there to fit your needs.
Adjustable dumbbells are a great option for any person, from novice weightlifter to seasoned bodybuilder. Not only are they compact and easy to use, there are many designs available that are downright stylish: chrome finishes, coordinated colors, etc.
The types available range from the old-fashioned dumbbell handle onto which you add varying weight plates and lock with a spin- or squeeze-lock, to the more advanced Bowflex and Weider sets with dials and bar / pin locks. Read our review of Bowflex’s adjustable dumbbells.
Really, the only determining factor in deciding which type you want would be how much you are willing to spend. They are a hot item right now, and thanks to supply and demand, the trendier looks and styles are also the more expensive. Just a few brief trips to stores and websites and you’ll see these weights can range from $40 to nearly $700, depending on the style and technology you want.
Simply choose how much you think you can pay, and do some homework. Read reviews from users to see what they have to say, find a set you like, and go with it. You can expect to pay a bit more for these than you would the traditional dumbbell, so be sure before you buy that you plan to use the entire gamut of weights at your disposal.
Unlike the adjustable dumbbells described above, fixed dumbbells are exactly that: if you buy a pair of 35-pound fixed weight dumbbells, you get a pair of 35-pound fixed weight dumbbell. Sure, they don’t have the glitz and glam of their adjustable counterparts, but their function alone more than makes up for what they lack in style.
If you plan on only ever using just a few pounds and never advance beyond that, then at a mere $.50 to $3.00 per pound (depending on style, of course), you can get those weights you use most at a fraction of the cost for an entire adjustable dumbbell set. And they’re not all those aforementioned hexagonal headed monsters either; they have round, black-plated dumbbells, rubber dumbbells, and even beautiful chrome dumbbells, all with available weight racks ranging in levels of attractiveness.
As Exercise Science evolves, more and more Personal Trainers and Rehabilitation Specialists are moving their clients and patients out of the gyms and therapy rooms and into the local pools. Water is a naturally buoyant medium, and exercising in it alleviates many of the aches and pains weightlifting can cause over a period of time. Also, doing your workout in the pool can be unbelievably refreshing.
Enter, the pool dumbbell.
Pool dumbbells vary in size and shape, from things recognizable as dumbbells to things, well, you’ll have to ask the person at the counter about. Since water is heavier than gravity, pool dumbbells are designed to increase water’s resistance on you, making your movements through it increasingly difficult. It’s all about surface area with pool dumbbells: the larger the surface area, the more resistance you’ll face, and the better the workout you’ll have. They range in price from $10 – $30 a pair; the only drawback being you need a pool close by to warrant their use, and you should probably take a water aerobics class or two to learn how to properly use them.
Overall, dumbbells are a wonderful piece of exercise equipment no serious fitness lover should be without. They offer a tremendous range of motion, they’re safer than most any other piece of exercise equipment, and most of all: they do a great job keeping you from cheating. With dumbbells, your body’s lesser-known stabilizer muscles must contract and relax over and over to help your body accommodate to every movement.
For instance, on a barbell shoulder press, you will naturally shift in your seat to your weaker side to better leverage yourself for the lift. That’s bad for your back, and leaves you prone to injury. Dumbbells allow you to use a lesser weight for your weaker side if necessary, and you can keep your back aligned correctly, offering you a safe lift with better, quicker results.
They’re budget-friendly, don’t take up a lot of space, and when you want to isolate muscle groups, no other piece of equipment does a better job. Dumbbells are truly an awesome piece of equipment to have!