Fitness

I Use Bowflex’s Best-Selling Adjustable Dumbbells at Home and Don't Miss the Gym at All

My house gymnasium has by no means been something elaborate. Workout tools is relegated to a slim strip of flooring area in my house workplace with an exercise mat, medication ball, heavy sandbag, resistance bands, two kettlebells, and a single 35-pound dumbbell. Yes, only one dumbbell. Not even a pair. Due to area limitations, getting an entire set was by no means one thing I thought-about. I’ve at all times had a gymnasium membership, so I figured I did not want a set of adjustable dumbbells. That is till I obtained my arms on the Bowflex SelectTech 552.

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The Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells simply match into my tiny exercise area and have made at-home workouts have change into far more frequent. 

“I’m a huge fan of adjustable dumbbells,” says Jim Ryno, a private coach with over 30 years expertise and proprietor of house gymnasium design firm Iron House. “I use them at home, as well as in my gym. You can’t beat the price point, they save a ton of space, and they look cool, too.”

When you contemplate how a lot use you’ll get out of them, no single piece of at-home exercise tools affords a greater worth than adjustable dumbbells. And Bowflex SelectTech 552 is a class chief in the area, delivering 15 completely different dumbbell weights.

In the beneath assessment, you’ll get an entire breakdown of each key characteristic of Bowflex SelectTech 552 that will help you determine if that is the product you wish to take your house gymnasium to the subsequent degree.

Overall Impressions

Easy to Use Right Out of the Box

First impressions are essential, and Bowflex SelectTech 552 handed the check. The dumbbells are already put collectively, so no meeting required. Just take them out of the packing containers (every packaged individually), take away the security straps with the included Allen wrench, and get proper right into a exercise in order for you. The adjustability is self-explanatory, with dials on both facet that checklist the weight increments clearly.

Related: The Best Adjustable Workout Benches For Your Home Gym

The dumbbells are solidly constructed and have a pleasant, high-quality really feel to them whereas figuring out. The particular person weight plates are spaced just a few millimeters aside, however you don’t get the annoying clanging you usually do with cheaper adjustable dumbbells. These are stable via and via.

Price Is Competitive With Other Comparable Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552 affords a terrific worth at a listing worth on Amazon of $549, and are at the moment marked all the way down to $429. To the uninitiated, $400 to $500 might sound costly, however for the high quality Bowflex tools gives and the truth you’ve gotten a full set of dumbbells starting from 5 to 52.5 kilos, the worth is correct—particularly when you think about that even an affordable gymnasium membership today will run you $500 a 12 months ($40 a month), and pricier boutiques and purposeful fitness amenities are simply into 4 figures ($100+ month-to-month).

Bowflex SelectTech 552 is priced competitively with different comparable adjustable dumbbells:

  • NordicTrack 55-Pound Select-a-Weight Dumbbells: $399
  • Ativafit 66-Pound Adjustable Dumbbells: $360 (was $500)
  • PowerBlock EXP 50-Pound Adjustable Dumbbells: $370 (was $395)
  • Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Set (50 lbs.): $370
Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells

Joe Wuebben

Adjusting Weight Is Quick, Easy, and Conducive to Fast-Paced Workouts

As beforehand talked about, weight adjustments are so simple as turning the dials on the dumbbells. When doing so, you get a reassuring (even satisfying) audible and tactile click on at every increment. 

One barely awkward factor about “re-racking” the dumbbells after a set or to vary weights is that they must be positioned completely into the trays so the plates match into their assigned slots. The plates aren’t at all times symmetrical on both facet, so it’s possible you’ll have to flip the dumbbell to suit accordingly.

This is the case for the different adjustable dumbbells listed above as nicely, so it’s not a knock on the Bowflex set particularly. Just one thing to remember in the event you’ve by no means used such a adjustable dumbbell. 

Related: 50 Best Abs Exercises That Pack a Six-Pack Punch

The technique of placing the dumbbells again in the trays, altering the weight, and choosing the dumbbells up once more can take wherever from 5 to 15 seconds. If you’re doing supersets in a exercise, the place the aim is to remove relaxation intervals to maintain depth high, this quantity of down time to vary weights is appropriate. Perhaps you could possibly do it faster with a full rack of fastened dumbbells all sitting subsequent to one another, however that’s nitpicking.

The Dumbbells Feel Great In-Hand

The grips on Bowflex SelectTech 552 are very comfy. They have the same contour as many different dumbbells (fastened and adjustable) together with a rubber sheath in the center to successfully remove slippage. Some lifting purists might favor a non-contoured, knurled grip with no rubber (like what you get with an Olympic barbell). Personally, I like the really feel of the rubber and curvature.

The thickness of the handles is in the “middle” vary—just a little thicker than my 10-pound dumbbells, not fairly as thick as the heavy-duty kettlebells I personal, and just about the very same thickness of my 35-pound fastened dumbbell.

Supported one-arm row is a dumbbell exercise you may carry out with a free weight or an adjustable dumbbell like Bowflex SelectTech 552.

Andreas Endregaard

15 Different Weights Have You Covered for Vast Majority of Exercises

The weight goes up by 2.5-pound increments till 25 kilos; after that, the increments go up by 5 kilos with the exception of 1 final micro-jump to 52.5 kilos. In different phrases, you’ve gotten each weight alternative you’ll ever want in the event you don’t plan on going tremendous heavy.

That stated, a possible damaging is {that a} max weight of 52.5 kilos is limiting for superior lifters who wish to go heavy on exercises like dumbbell bench presses for the chest and lunges and farmer’s carries for the legs. For these situations, an adjustable set that goes as much as 80 or 90 kilos (like NUOBELL 80-Pound Adjustable Dumbbells and PowerBlock Elite USA 90-Pound Adjustable Dumbbells) could also be desired. Just remember these heavier sets run $700+.

“Adjustable dumbbells that top out at 50-ish pounds represent a sweet spot in which full, well-rounded workouts can be accomplished,” says Ryno, whereas additionally noting that having the ability to increase the set as much as 80 or 100 kilos (which this Bowflex set does not provide) can be excellent. “I prefer to have the option to go heavier, if needed.”

Bottom line: A overwhelming majority of individuals will have the ability to do a overwhelming majority (if not all) of their most well-liked dumbbell exercises with Bowflex SelectTech 552.

All-in-One Design With Practical Plastic Trays

The space-saving nature of adjustable dumbbells can’t be overstated. When sitting subsequent to one another, the pair of dumbbells take up roughly 16”x16” of sq. footage (at round 9” high), making them simply stowable in the nook of a spare bed room, house workplace, lounge, or storage gymnasium.

The plastic trays the dumbbells sit in come normal and serve two main functions: (1) to deal with unused weight plates when the dumbbells are in use at any weight below 52.5 kilos; and (2) to assist maintain your house exercise area wanting tidy and organized quite than having dumbbells scattered round.

Related: The 13 Best Hydration Drinks and Drink Mixes

The trays additionally come in useful for holding the dumbbells stationary and permitting them to double as makeshift pushup handles; you don’t get the similar rotating motion as with devoted instruments like the Perfect Pushup, however holding onto the dumbbell handles helps scale back wrist flexion versus doing pushups on the flooring.

Not as Compact as Fixed Dumbbells, however Not a Serious Issue

Although dimension is the inherent advantage of adjustable dumbbells, these weights are awkwardly lengthy the lighter you go. To be truthful, this will likely be the case with many adjustable dumbbells; it’s the nature of the beast, you would possibly say.

Regardless of weight, every Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbell is roughly 16.5 inches lengthy. At the heavier settings (e.g. 50 or 52.5 kilos), this isn’t far off from a set dumbbell and appears fairly pure. But at decrease poundages, it’s a fairly dramatic dimension distinction.

To illustrate this, I did side-by-side comparisons between Bowflex SelectTech 552 and two completely different fastened dumbbells I have at house (a 35- and 10-pounder). The 35-pound fastened dumbbell is just a little over 13 inches—over three inches shorter than the Bowflex, and it’s fairly noticeable.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 in comparison with 35-pound dumbbell free weight.

Joe Wuebben; Unsplash

The 10-pound fastened dumbbell is just a little below 10 inches (a 6.5-inch distinction), and the side-by-side with the Bowflex Select 552 appears pretty comical.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 in comparison with 10-pound dumbbell free weight.

Joe Wuebben; Unsplash

In each instances, the Bowflex dumbbells are additionally wider—round 8 inches huge versus 6 inches and 3.5 inches, respectively, for the 35- and 10-pounders.

Awkward, sure, but it surely’s not a dealbreaker. Functionally, it’s not an issue. Some individuals would possibly complain the extreme size doesn’t will let you deliver your arms shut collectively on chest or shoulder presses (until you flip your palms in towards one another in a impartial place), however that’s a minor gripe.

It’s value noting, nonetheless, that the dumbbells are a bit restricted relating to squats. You can do squats the place the dumbbells are held at your shoulders, however goblet squats positively work higher with a set dumbbell or kettlebell. Again, I’m nitpicking.  

While There’s Plenty of Plastic, These Should Last for Years

Lifting diehards might scoff at the truth the solely seen steel on Bowflex SelectTech 552 is on the outer edges of the handles in distinction to the aforementioned PowerBlock and NUOBELL merchandise and even less-expensive forged iron sets like Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbell Set. Granted, Bowflex is delivering a “softer” look right here, with nearly each half both coated in or manufactured from plastic (together with the trays).

Will this have an effect on the long-term sturdiness of the dumbbells? I can’t say for certain from private expertise, as my testing interval was weeks, not years, lengthy. But supplied you’re not repeatedly dropping them on the flooring and banging them collectively at the prime of your dumbbell bench presses, you may really feel assured these can take a few years of normal use with out cracking. In the occasion the plastic does crack below regular use, Bowflex affords a 2-year components guarantee with the choice to purchase three or five years of additional protection.

Does the plastic harm the aesthetics? This is subjective, after all, however in my view, no. These dumbbells look good. They’re glossy, with rounded contours as a substitute of laborious edges and 90-degree angles, and the contact of crimson appears good towards the black. Maybe appears shouldn’t matter relating to exercise tools, however contemplating your dumbbells will doubtless be out in the open in your house, it’s higher in the event that they’re not an eyesore.

With the JRNY Platform, you may observe instructor-led workouts at house.

Courtesy Image

Bowflex’s JRNY App Offers Trainer-Led Workouts

These dumbbells can plug and play into any current free-weight training routine, however you even have the choice of getting your workouts straight from Bowflex. The JRNY app is ideal for rookies or anybody who needs to observe pre-programmed video workouts demonstrated by an skilled coach (just like Peloton).

At an affordable worth (subscriptions start at $11.99 per thirty days or $99 per 12 months), the JRNY platform permits you to choose workouts relying on how a lot time you need to exercise (from “under 11 minutes” as much as an hour-plus), what areas of the body you wish to goal (entire body, decrease body, core & legs, arms, and so forth.), and what tools you wish to use (adjustable dumbbells or body weight solely). JRNY incorporates some fairly cool tech options, together with movement monitoring to examine your kind and rely your reps.

Related: We Tested 9 Highly Rated Exercise Bikes for Your Home. These are the Very Best.

I did just a few completely different JRNY workouts utilizing Bowflex SelectTech 552 and discovered them simple to observe. I particularly appreciated having the ability to decide the muscle teams I wished to focus on and for the way lengthy. The workouts aren’t simply light-weight “sculpting” routines; for instance, I did a strength session with comparatively low rep counts (8 per set) the place I was capable of do flooring chest presses with the full 52.5 kilos, and it wasn’t simple. The movement monitoring was useful and simple to make use of. I’ve been lifting weights for over 30 years, so I know what I’m doing, but it surely was nonetheless good to get the occasional mid-set teaching cue that I wasn’t bending sufficient at the hips on my dumbbell bentover rows. I additionally used the app for just a few brief stretching routines post-workout.

For anybody needing workouts designed and demonstrated for them, whether or not you get the Bowflex dumbbells or not, the JRNY app is nicely value the modest funding of round $100 per 12 months.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons

Great worth contemplating you’re getting 15 dumbbells, as much as 52.5 kilos, for the similar worth you’d pay for only some pairs of fixed-weight dumbbells.

They prime out at 52.5 kilos per dumbbell, which might not be ample for lifting heavy and training for 1-rep max private information (PRs).

Comfortable grip with non-slip rubber coating.

When going mild (5-20 kilos), the dumbbells appear approach longer than they must be; fixed-weight dumbbells are extra compact and simpler to maneuver.

Solidly constructed—they really feel similar to fastened dumbbells, particularly at heavier weights.

All the plastic on these dumbbells may not attraction to those that choose the look of steel.

User-friendly dials make it simple to vary weights on the fly; the satisfying “click” assures you the new weight is chosen.

They look good—a premium search for your house gymnasium setup.

Final Verdict

For anybody on the lookout for an entire set of fairly priced dumbbells to make use of at house, assuming you don’t plan to go super-heavy in your workouts, Bowflex SelectTech 552 is a transparent winner. They look good, really feel good, take up minimal flooring area, and are infinitely helpful for any fashion of training—hypertrophy (muscle building), strength, HIIT, you identify it. If you’re conscious to not drop them on the flooring or bang them round unnecessarily, you’ll get a few years of use out of them. Even at checklist worth ($549), these are a terrific funding; after they go on sale for sub-$400, the worth is off the charts.

Are these for everybody? No. If doing dumbbell exercises with upwards of 80 kilos is a major facet of your training—and you’d wish to train this manner at house—you’ll in all probability wish to spend just a few hundred additional {dollars} for a heavier set. Likewise, in case your workouts by no means name for greater than 25 kilos per dumbbell for any exercise, go forward and save just a little cash and go for a 5- to 25-pound set like Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell Set or Keppi Adjustable Dumbbells.

Related: Best Gym Flooring Options to Build the Home Gym of Your Dreams

Why You Should Trust Me

I have greater than 20 years expertise as a health and fitness journalist protecting fitness traits, writing exercise articles, and getting hands-on expertise with gymnasium tools for a lot of of the greatest manufacturers in print and digital publishing. Outside of my profession, I’ve been a constant gym-goer for over 30 years, so I know what I like and don’t like relating to dumbbells and all different varieties of free weights.

I’ve at all times frequented business gyms, however in the final a number of years—because of being house with younger children, a busy work schedule, and/or gymnasium closures throughout the pandemic—I’ve spent a whole lot of hours figuring out at house with naked bones tools. Prior to testing Bowflex Selecttech 552, I had solely owned one different set of adjustable dumbbells: a pair of PowerBlocks I lent out to a pal and by no means obtained again. This is all to say that at-home exercise tools is an space I have private expertise in and that I plan on increasing in the future.

To present an much more thorough perspective, I enlisted an unquestioned professional on training and at-home fitness gear: Jim Ryno, a licensed private coach and proprietor/founding father of Iron House, a New Jersey-based firm that designs customized house gyms incorporating strength-training, cardio, yoga, and spa tools. Ryno has been designing gyms since 2005, so he’s a professional at choosing the finest tools for numerous budgets and house setups.

“When working with clients on their home gyms, we often end up recommending adjustable dumbbells for their versatility and space-saving qualities,” he says. “For clients aiming for a comprehensive workout with minimal equipment, adjustable dumbbells are an excellent option.”

Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells

Joe Wuebben

What We Look for in Adjustable Dumbbells

The key issues to think about when purchasing for adjustable dumbbells are proper consistent with the options I’ve highlighted above for Bowflex SelectTech 552. Nonetheless, I asked Ryno what he appears for in a set, no matter the model. Here are his primary {qualifications}:

Price

One cause to decide on adjustable dumbbells over a rack of fastened weights (apart from lack of area) is the monumental worth financial savings. But that doesn’t imply the cheaper, the higher.

“When shopping for dumbbells, cost is definitely something to be skeptical of,” says Ryno. “If they’re inexpensive, there’s usually a reason. Adjustable dumbbells are priced according to weight range. You can typically stay under $200 for a pair, but they may only top out at 25 pounds, if that.”

Durability

“Will they last? Are they mainly constructed of plastic and rubber, or steel?” Ryno asks. While adjustable dumbbells present a great worth, they’re not low-cost. If you wish to get your cash’s value, they should maintain as much as a number of years of significant workouts. It’s value noting that materials shouldn’t be the solely standards; plastic and rubber can show sturdy in the event you’re not too laborious in your tools. The inner components you don’t see are simply as essential to the longevity of your dumbbells.

Related: The Most Creative Dumbbell Workouts to Build Muscle and Burn Fat at Home

Feel

Aside from offering the purposeful advantage of isolateral training (the place every arm lifts an impartial weight, versus a barbell that’s held in each arms), guys usually like the approach conventional dumbbells really feel throughout a set. You needs to be on the lookout for the similar expertise with adjustable dumbbells. “They should feel just like fixed dumbbells when you’re using them,” Ryno says.

Ease of Use

Adjustable dumbbells aren’t very sensible if weight adjustments are difficult and/or time consuming. Ryno at all times appears for a pair which might be simple to make use of and alter shortly. This is particularly essential for guys who do fast-paced workouts that require quite a few weight adjustments—notably supersets, the place you return and forth between two exercises that always name for various resistances. Circuit training is one other instance; right here, you’re doing exercises one after one other for each massive (legs, chest, again) and small (biceps, triceps) muscle teams, so your weights will likely be throughout the map.

The goal for each supersets and circuits is to reduce relaxation time between exercises in order to maintain training depth high to maximise outcomes. If it takes a full minute to vary the weight (and even 30 seconds), it undermines the exercise stimulus.

Comfort

Handles are an essential factor of dumbbells. “How are they built, and what kind of grip are they providing?” Ryno says. The handles ought to really feel stable and comfy throughout your set, with a grippy sufficient floor, via both knurling or rubber, to reduce slippage.

Maximum Load

Ryno prefers adjustable dumbbells that go as much as 80+ kilos or a 50-pound set with the choice so as to add on further plates. How a lot top-end weight to get is determined by your training wants; you probably have no plans (or want) to go above 50 kilos on any exercise, a set of adjustable dumbbells that goes as much as 80 or 100 kilos is overkill.

Also, contemplate what different tools you’ve gotten at house. If you have already got an influence rack with a barbell and a whole lot of kilos of weight plates, you will get your heavy work in by way of barbells and save the dumbbells for moderate-weight and high-rep sets.

Length of Dumbbell

“The longer the dumbbells are, the less compact and therefore the more ‘clunky’ they’ll be,” Ryno says. This is certainly one of the primary drawbacks of adjustable dumbbells versus fastened. The latter are usually extra ergonomic and higher proportioned, which makes them higher for Olympic-style actions like dumbbell cleans and snatches, in addition to completely different squat variations. This is the sacrifice with adjustable dumbbells, however for most individuals the budget- and space-saving advantages outweigh the clunky draw back.

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Testing Process: How I Reviewed Bowflex SelectTech 552

While penning this assessment, I used Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells for 2 weeks value of workouts (eight workouts complete). Most of the workouts had been a part of my current routine, with just a few handpicked from the JRNY app.

My workouts give attention to main compound actions for big muscle teams, the place each exercise is supersetted with at least one different transfer (for instance, legs and core, chest and again). I discovered the weight providing (52.5 kilos max) ample for all the exercises I do, and the fast dial weight adjustments stored each superset seamless.

The primary exercises I did utilizing the dumbbells had been: goblet squats (one dumbbell), two-dumbbell squats (held at the shoulders), cut up squats, reverse lunges, Romanian deadlifts, bent-over rows, one-arm rows, flooring chest press, standing shoulder press, standing alternating curls, and mendacity triceps extensions (aka “skull crushers”). 


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