Working out at home is a great option if you’re self motivated, have the space for a decent set up and can afford it.
No longer do you have to contend with a long commute to the gym, waiting around for equipment and putting up with the sweat and smells of fellow gym patrons.
One of the biggest hurdles that the home gym trainer faces, however, is the problem of progressive resistance.
The principle of progressive resistance is the foundation of weight training.
It states that in order to make progress in terms of building muscle and getting stronger, you need to be adding more resistance.
That either means putting extra plates on the barbell, investing in heavier dumbbells or adding plates to adjustable dumbbells.
In the gym, that’s not a problem.
Just grab some more plates off the rack or pick up a heavier pair of dumbbells.
At home, though, it’s a different story.
Most of us can’t afford to be going out every month and buying extra dumbbells or weight plates.
So, what’s the solution?
Up until a couple of decades ago, adjustable dumbbells were simply bells that had removable collars that allowed you to take off or add plates to either end of a short bar.
Now, though, you are able to buy adjustable dumbbells that come in the form of a weight block that allows you to select the poundage that you want.
This new take on the traditional dumbbell are a great solution for home trainers.
Now, you are able to afford the equivalent of the complete rack of weights that are lining the wall of the gym downtown.
For somewhere in the neighborhood of $175 – $300 you can get a full complement of dumbbells.
You don’t need to purchase an additional dumbbell rack and the whole deal takes up only about a square foot of space.
The Adjustable Dumbbell Market
A dumbbell is a short handled barbell that is designed to be used mainly with one hand.
Dumbbells are generally 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30cm) in length.
They feature a knurled part, which is 6 inches (15cm) long.
Fixed dumbbells are solid steel and have either round or hexagonal ends.
If buying fixed dumbbells, the rubber encased hexagonal bells are a great option.
The have a very comfortable grip, won’t smash into your forearms and won’t roll around.
The adjustable dumbbell market is now clearly divided into the traditional single adjustable design and the new selectorized adjustment system.
Traditional Adjustable Dumbbells
Traditional adjustable dumbbells come in the form of a pair of 8 to 12 inch handles, with 6-inch knurling handle grips.
Some models feature plastic rubberized handle grips.
At the extremes of the knurling there is a raised stopper to prevent the weight plates from sliding toward your hands.
On the outside of this is a 2-3- inch length to load weight plates onto.
Some bars will have spinlock ends that feature grooves that allow you to spin provided spinlock collars onto the bar to quickly lock the plates in place.
Others will come with plastic or metal screw up collars.
The major problem with these types of dumbbells is that they don’t provide you with much space to load extra weight onto the bar.
If you are using plastic coated weights, this issue is heightened.
You may also find that placing large plates that were made for a barbell onto the ends of a dumbbell will makes it difficult to perform such exercises as dumbbell curls and presses as the weights will bash into your body as you go through the range of motion.
A second issue with traditional adjustable dumbbells is that the collars are liable to come loose, with the result that the plates become loose and move around.
In a worse case scenario, the collars can fail completely, with the weights slipping off one end.
Selectorized Adjustable Dumbbells
Selectorized adjustable dumbbells were pioneered by Bowflex some 20 years ago.
Now there are a large number of competitors in a whole new market sector.
Selectorized adjustable dumbbells feature a platform or bed which each dumbbell sits in.
The dumbbell itself consists of handles with selector dials on their ends.
The handles sit on the platforms which also house weight plates.
When the dial is turned to a certain resistance, the handles lock in that level of resistance from either end.
The weight increase usually go up in 5 pound increments.
The majority of selectorized adjustable dumbbells on the market provide resistance levels between 5 and 50 pounds.
Some suppliers, however, provide heavy duty sets that go up as high as 100 pounds.
Adjustable Dumbbell Buyer’s Guide
It is vital that the adjustable dumbbells that you equip your home gym with provide you with the quality and performance that you need.
When you’re talking about hoisting a sizeable amount of weight over your body, you don’t want to take any chances with loose collars or slipping plates.
Here are the essential things to look for, starting with traditional adjustable dumbbells:
Handles – the handles need to provide you with a good level of both comfort and grip.
You don’t want the skin on your palm pinching into the point where the handle meets the plates.
Nor do you want the ends of the plates smashing into your forearms when doing pressing movements.
Collars – the integrity of the collars is crucial.
The most reliable, and the quickest to apply, are the spin lock collars that features groves on the ends of the bar for them to fit into.
The least reliable are the screw up type collars.
Bar length – you need a decent length at each end of the bar to allow for plates to be loaded.
Bar strength – you should only buy solid steel bars; you don’t want some cheap aluminum product breaking apart when you load up your max lift.
Progressive resistance increments – the majority of the models will increase in 5lb increments.
If women will be using the set, this may be too large a jump, so you’ll want a set that goes up in 2.5lb increments.
However, this will mean that you’ll get a lower total weight.
Max weight – for serious weight trainers, a 55lb max will be a must.
This narrows your options considerably.
After 6 months, you’ll be wanting to advance to a heavy duty set.
Minimal moving parts – the more moving parts, the greater the opportunity for things to go wrong or parts to get lost.
Easy interchange – check online reviews for the ease if changing the resistance.
Some sets can be hugely frustrating when things don’t click into place – especially when you’re in the middle of a workout.
Stand – some sets come with a free standing weight stand to keep everything looking smart.
Plate sizing – you don’t want a set with bulky plates that will bang into your forearms, so look out for compact plates.
Guarantee – you will want a product that carries at least a 12- month guarantee.
Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulks it up into this site.
Having to be stuck as a 110lb skinny guy in the early days, he has had no choice but to keep improving himself until he cannot.
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