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Dumbbells: Proven Track History Of Building Muscle!
I love dumbbells. Sure, they may not have the trending flash of, say, suspension straps or the infomercials of one of those bodyweight get-it-on, dance-a-thon workout DVDs on our midnight televisions, but when it comes to increasing strength, building muscle, and stripping fat, the humble dumbbell is hard to beat.
In fact, some believe that a couple types of early dumbbells, the Greek halteres and the Middle Eastern Indian Clubs, could very well have been the first pieces of resistance training equipment some 98-pound weakling picked up a few thousand years ago. And, although dumbbells have indeed evolved over the millenniums, there is a reason people continue to use them all around the world: dumbbells work!
Dumbbells Rock Because Dumbbells Work
Dumbbells are such effective strength-training tools because they do more than work the targeted muscle. When you lift a free weight such as a dumbbell you are working a huge range of stabilizing and secondary muscles in addition to working the targeted muscle. And, the more muscles you work, the more calories you will burn, and the stronger you will become.
Greater Range Of Motion = Greater Gains
Let us take bench pressing for example. There are two main ways you can bench press: on a machine or with free weights. When you bench press on a weight machine, the range of motion your hands can move is fixed to the pathway provided by the machine. Moving the weight through this limited range of motion primarily calls on your pectoralis major muscles to work while ignoring your secondary and stabilizing muscles. However, when you bench press with a pair of dumbbells, your arms, your back, and your torso all have to work in conjunction to keep the dumbbells moving up and down while keeping them, the weights, from swaying too much as you bench. In addition to hitting your pecs, benching with dumbbells will likewise hit your trapezzi, triceps, all three of your deltoid heads, serratus, and abdomen.
Not All Free Weights Are Created Equal
As we stated above, working out with free weights hits more of your muscles than does working out with weight machines. However, when it comes to free weights, the dumbbell is the most effective of them all.
First off, dumbbells are safer than barbells. You can workout with dumbbells on your own, while you must have a spotter when you bench, squat, or overhead press with a barbell. Secondly, you can even hit your stabilizing muscles harder by using two dumbbells of different weights at the same time. I LOVE doing standing overhead presses with a two dumbbells of different weights. This turns an exercise, that is primarily a shoulder exercise, into one that hits the all three heads of my shoulders and my entire core. All of the muscles supporting my trunk get a real workout when I do overhead presses with dumbbells of different weight. Another great exercise to do with two dumbbells of different weight is the farmer’s walk, which is simply walking with a heavy weight in each hand. Trust me, farmer’s walks his will fry your entire body!
Five Best Exercises For Dumbbells
Though any type of resistance training movement can be done with the dumbbell, the best are compound movements, those that work more than one major muscle group. The top five dumbbell exercises are the:
- Standing Overhead Dumbbell Press: This compound movement will make you strong quick. It hits the entire upper body, while targeting the shoulders.
- Bench Press: Probably the favorite lift in America when done with a barbell, the dumbbell bench press will fry your chest, traps, tris and bis, and front, side, and rear delts.
- Farmer’s Walk: Working the grip is a lost art in America. But, you can go old school by simply picking up a heavy dumbbell in each hand and walking. In addition to your grip, your back, shoulders, forearm, and bis will be given a real workout when you farmer’s walk with a pair of adjustable dumbbells. Oh, and the farmer’s walk will also get you huffing and puffing, which is great for your cardiovascular system.
- Goblet Squat: Hold a single dumbbell tight to your chest with both your hands and squat. This is a simple dumbbell exercise that hits your quads, glutes, hammies, lower back, upper back, and core.
- Dumbbell Deadlift: The deadlift works the entire body from head to to toe! With a pair of adjustable dumbbells you can do single dumbbell deadlifts, equal-weight dumbbell deadlifts, and unequal-weight dumbbell deadlifts. Start out with a light weight as you work on perfecting your deadlift form!
- Dumbbell Row: Don’t forget to work your back, the most neglected body part in the weight room. By bending at the waist until your upper body is nearly parallel to the floor and pulling a heavy dumbbell from a dead hang up until it touches the side of your chest, your upper back (those wide lats that give your torso a V shape), grip, and rear delts will take a beating, a very good beating.
The Adjustable Dumbbell Is The Most Convenient Piece Of Exercise Equipment Ever
Working out with dumbbells has never been easier. Thanks to the modern adjustable dumbbell, you no longer have to buy and store a dozen dumbbells of varying weights. Now, you can simply buy a pair of adjustable dumbbells and get at it! Easy peasy!
Below are the 10 best adjustable dumbbells on the entire planet. I promise you that these top adjustable dumbbells will work you better than any other piece of exercise equipment anywhere:
The 10 Best Adjustable Dumbbells On The Planet 2016
Our Rating: 9.8/10 | Customer Reviews: 2000+ on Amazon
You know that Bowflex makes some top quality gear, don’t you? Well, it is no different with the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells. The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells are incredibly easy to use thanks to their dial system that makes adding and dropping weight super easy.
These adjustable Bowflex dumbbells are not only easy to adjust, they also shine by just how adjustable they are. Each dumbbell, they come as a pair, has 15 weight settings running from five pounds to 52.5 pounds in 2.5-pound increments. If you purchase a pair of Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable dumbbells you are buying the equivalent of 30 dumbbells. How cool is that?
My favorite way to use the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells is on days when I do not have much time because they are great for circuit training or High Intensity Training (HIT). Since I am able to adjust the weight of each dumbbell simply by turning the Bowflex dial and dropping or adding weight, I can move from one exercise to the next without losing any time. This type of fast paced lifting works out my WHOLE body to include my lungs, heart, and central nervous system, not just my skeletal muscles. This ought to be your goal too since all the pretty muscles in the world ain’t going to do you any good if you have a heart attack, will they?
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells come with a two-year warranty of weight plates and parts. They ship for free for Amazon Prime members living in the U.S.
Listers Love The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Too, Saying:
“These Bowflex adjustable dumbbells are PERFECT for the P90X program.”
“No question, these dumbbells have a cutting edge design. They rate 5 out of 5 stars!”
“Of top-grade quality and being ultra easy to use, these Bowflex adjustable dumbbells are now my go-to workout gear.”
Our Rating: 9.0/10 | Customer Reviews: 1000+ on Amazon
There is a lot to dig about the CAP Barbell 40-Pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case. First off, they look like old-school dumbbells. Secondly, they can be adjusted to weigh much more than the 40 pounds they come with if you buy more weight plates. They can even be set up to weigh more than 100 pounds a piece. And although you cannot adjust their weight as quickly and easily as you can with the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells, adding and removing plates is a simple process. And, their ergonomic handles helps them feel natural and secure in the hand.
The CAP adjustable dumbbells were the first set of adjustable dumbbells I ever used (well, this is not including the cheap set that came with my cement barbell and dumbbell set I had as a teen), and these dumbbells are still my go to pair when I am doing heavy dumbbell work. When I am working heavy singles or sets of two or three reps in deadlifts or squats, I reach for my CAP dumbbells. Though they are simple, in many ways, the CAP dumbbells are the best adjustable dumbbells I have ever used.
The CAP Barbell 40-Pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set with Case comes with a pair of dumbbell handles, four spin-on collars, four five-pound cast iron plates, four 2.5-pound cast iron plates, and a case. Additional and larger cast iron plates are available. These adjustable dumbbells ship for free for Amazon Prime members living in the U.S.
Users Of The CAP Barbell 40-Pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set Say:
“Quality, Easy to Use, Inexpensive, what more do you need?”
“Best $40 I Ever Invested In My Body”
“The CAP barbell adjustable dumbbell set is of top primo quality, and perfect for those who workout at home! Really, they are such a great deal and so easy to travel with that I no longer have an excuse to workout even when I am on the road.”
Our Rating: 8.8/10 | Customer Reviews: 400+ on Amazon
Why, you ask, is there a single adjustable dumbbell on this list of the top adjustable dumbbells? Well, there are two mighty fine reasons that this single dumbbell deserves such a killer ranking: (1) all by itself this Bowflex weighs more or less the same or in some cases even more than the various pairs of adjustable dumbbells here, and (2) you can get an incredible workout with just one dumbbell. In fact, in some ways, a workout with a single dumbbell is more effective than a workout with a pair since going with just one forces even more stabilizing muscles to fire up!
This Bowflex SelectTech 1090 single adjustable dumbbell is just as easy to adjust as is the pair of Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells listed above thanks to the insanely convenient Bowflex dial. However, it differs in that it is adjustable in five-pound increments going from 10 pounds to a very hefty 90 pounds. But, do not worry, when you are working with these heavier weights, you do not need 2.5 increments, five pounds is specific enough for any workout.
In addition to boasting a weight that makes it perfect for deadlifts, squats, and heavy rows, this single Bowflex adjustable dumbbell features a durable molding surrounding the weights that makes it very quiet, your partner will not be woken up by any clanking or clicking weight plates when you lift with this, and a “Secrets of the 4-Step Rep” DVD.
The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single) ships for free for Amazon Prime members.
Users Of The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single) Say:
“This adjustable dumbbell is perfect for working out in the small space of my apartment.”
“Amazing buy with a shocking range of weights!”
“This one dumbbell has drastically improved my workouts.”
Our Rating: 9.6/10 | Customer Reviews: 500+ on Amazon
Okay, I will be the first to admit it, these PowerBlock Elite adjustable dumbbells are some funky looking weights. However, we are here to workout, to lift, to get stronger and to become fitter, not to impress others with our pretty workout gear, aren’t we? And, when it comes to functionality, the PowerBlock Elite dumbbells are hard to beat.
While the PowerBlock Elites are adjustable in 2.5-pound increments running from five pounds per adjustable dumbbell up to 50 pounds, what really makes them a standout adjustable dumbbell is the simple fact is that you can purchase expansion kits that increases their weight to 70, 90, and even 130 pounds per hand. And, you have got to trust me, there are not many lifts that call for a 130-pound dumbbell. Of course, another benefit/feature of the PowerBlock Elite adjustable dumbbell set is that they are square, which of course means that they won’t roll away in the middle of the night or over your toes while you are working out. Sure, this last positive sounds odd, but I and many other lifters like it.
The made in the USA PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells come with a 10-year home-use warranty and ship for free for Amazon Prime members.
Users Of The PowerBlock Elite Adjustable Dumbbells Say:
“These are the best adjustable dumbbells I have ever used.”
“The comfortable grip and how fast and easy it is to adjust their weights make them excellent when I need to change weight quickly.”
“These adjustable PowerBlock dumbbells are very well built. They have a great design with no dials and no moving parts!”
Our Rating: 9.2/10 | Customer Reviews: 600+ on Amazon
I like the look of these adjustable dumbbells. Though glossy, they look like something Dave Draper, the Blond Bomber, may have lifted way back in the day. Like the CAP Barbell 40-Pound Adjustable Dumbbell Set listed above, this Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbell set is made up of solid chrome handles and spin-on locking collars and cast iron plates. And, though the plates are iron, they have been given a semi-gloss finish that protects them from rust. Moreover, the collars are easy to spin on and off and do not require any tools.
There are two sizes of adjustable dumbbell available, a 1-inch diameter handle for the Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbell sets of 40, 50, and 60 pounds, and a 1.25-inch handle for the heavier 52.5 and 105-pound sets. Regardless of what size you decide to start off with, you can rest assured that plates fitting 1-inch diameter and 1.25-inch diameter handles are readily available.
You can probably guess that I am a big fan of the CAP adjustable dumbbell set and this Yes4All Adjustable dumbbell set. I like the way they look, the fact that they can be made very heavy, and the way the chrome handles feel in my hands. However, I have got to warn you that you never want to rest one of these chrome-handle adjustable dumbbells on your thighs with the end of the handle digging into your leg. I had this happen in between sets of dumbbell bench pressing. Instead, rest the dumbbells on their sides on your thighs.
The Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbell sets ship for free.
Users Of The Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells 40, 50, 52.5, 60 to 105 lbs Say:
“The plates on the Yes4All adjustable dumbbells lock in tight and never wobble.”
“For the price, this is a great set of adjustable dumbbells.”
“The weight plates, handles, and collars are all of an extremely high quality.”
Our Rating: 9.4/10 | Customer Reviews: 300+ on Amazon
The Universal PowerPak Adjustable Dumbbells set is so complete that it comes with a very sturdy and good-looking stand and workout guide. Designed to replace a total of 18 dumbbells, these Universal adjustable dumbbells are among the best adjustable dumbbells because they adjust in five-pound increments from four to 45 pounds, boast an ergonomic thermoplastic rubber no-slip grip, and come with more than just the dumbbells. Oh, and they also look pretty cool too, don’t they?
I have enjoyed testing these set. They, like the Bowflex models, use a dial to adjust weight quickly and easily. They feel good and secure in the hand. And, though I have not played around with them long, I am confident that these adjustable dumbbells will last because they are made by Nautilus, a fitness equipment maker I have used for decades. I actually believe the very first time I tried circuit training on a series of machines, they were Nautilus.
The only, and I do mean “only,” downside to the Universal PowerPak Adjustable Dumbbells is that they max out at 45 pounds apiece and there is no way to increase their upper limit. That said, for many people, especially those whose only goal is getting and staying fit, a pair of four to 45 pound adjustable dumbbells is more than enough! I have gotten some real effective workouts with this pair.
The Universal PowerPak Adjustable Dumbbells ship for free.
Users Of The Universal PowerPak Adjustable Dumbbells with Stand – 4-45 lbs. Say:
“Awesome For The P90X Workout Program!”
“Very happy with these, should have bought them months ago.”
Our Rating: 9.0/10 | Customer Reviews: 300+ on Amazon
These are a superb set of a pair of adjustable dumbbells. The Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 adjustable dumbbell set is the PERFECT adjustable dumbbell set for those who are looking for a small pair of adjustable dumbbells at a great price!
The truth about resistance training is that everyone should do it. That includes your grandfather, your daughter, and, yes, you. When you lift regularly, your body will better maintain its muscle mass while likewise strengthening your bones, no matter your age. This extra muscle demands calories which means that it will melt fat from your body. And, finally, lifting will make you happier according to a study out of the University of Sydney that found that following a lifting weight program helped 60% of a group of clinically depressed people feel happier. And, I know that when I get done with a weight session, I feel like I can conquer the world!
So, if you are not looking to get huge or ultra powerful and not hoping to spend much money, you need to seriously consider the Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 adjustable dumbbell set. They are adjustable in three-pound increments from three to 24 pounds apiece. Being of a lighter weight, these great adjustable dumbbells are also smaller than the other top adjustable dumbbells on this list.
The Power Block adjustable dumbbell GF-SPDBLK24 set ships for free from Amazon.
Users Of The Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 Adjustable Dumbbell Set Say:
“These adjustable dumbbells are whisper quiet.”
“The Power Block GF-SPDBLK24 dumbbells are the most convenient workout gear I have ever used!”
“I absolutely LOVE the small size of these adjustable dumbbells. I can even use them in my office.”
Our Rating: 9.2/10 | Customer Reviews: 300+ on Amazon
These adjustable dumbbells sold by Unipack are awesome. They offer the same type of textured grip that the other chrome-handled adjustable dumbbells on this list a best adjustable dumbbells feature along with similar spin-on locking collars, and durable cast iron weight plates.
These dumbbells can be adjusted in 2.5-pound increments going from five to 52.5 pounds for each dumbbell, which makes this pair of adjustable chrome and cast iron dumbbells a very solid choice for those looking for a medium-weight set of dumbbells. And, of course, if you get these and find yourself getting too strong for them, you can always purchase more weight plates. Sure, it sucks spending more money, but it does indeed feel great getting stronger! So, that is a pretty cool trade off in my opinion.
These adjustable cast iron dumbbells ship for free from Amazon.
Users Of The One Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells Cast Iron Total 105 Lbs (2 X 52.5 Lbs) Say:
“The price and build of these cast iron adjustable dumbbells are incredible. They are a great buy.”
“Love my compact adjustable dumbbells.”
“They’re so easy to use, I use them every day.”
Our Rating: 9.2/10 | Customer Reviews: 300+ on Amazon
Now we are talkin’ brother! Yeah, what could be finer than a pair of 100-pound dumbbells? Nothing, eh? Oh, but wait, there is more, these 100-pound dumbbells are adjustable which means that this insane pair of adjustable dumbbells is also a pair of 100-lb dumbbells, a pair of five-lb dumbells, and pairs of dumbbells at every five-pound increment in between five pounds and 100. Yeah, that means this one pair of adjustable dumbbells can replace 20 pairs of non-adjustable dumbbells.
Consisting of a pair of textured solid chrome handles, spin on chrome collars and 14 cast iron plates of various weights, this is a top notch adjustable dumbbell set! SInce this adjustable dumbbell set contains such a wide range of weights, it is the perfect weight set for families. Family members who just want to tone up can use the lighter weight plates, while those looking to really get at it under the bar (or handle) can spin on the big ol’ weights!
Amazon ships the One Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells Kits – 200 Lbs (100lbs X 2pc) completely free of charge.
Owners Of The One Pair Of Adjustable Dumbbells Kits – 200 Lbs (100lbs X 2pc) Say:
“I like it big and I like it heavy, so I love, love, love my adjustable dumbbells.”
“Heavy and solid, but quiet thanks to the rubber washers in their collars.”
“I can only give two muscle-bound thumbs up to my new adjustable dumbbells.”
Our Rating: 9.4/10 | Customer Reviews: 100+ on Amazon
First off, we must give mad props to these Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System for its insane stand. It is clearly the top stand offered by any of these top 10 adjustable dumbbell sets. Also, the Ironmaster adjustable dumbbell set uses a patented fast lock system that is both unique and easy to use. In fact, I was able to adjust the weight of these Ironmaster adjustable dumbbells in 10 to 15 seconds with no problem again and again.
The Ironmaster’s lowest weight setting is the heaviest of the bunch coming in at a beefy five pounds apiece thanks to the five-pound handles and the 2.5-pound locking screws. The Ironmaster dumbbells are adjustable in 2.5 pound increments going from five to 75-pound increments per dumbbells. A few other selling points that I loved about the Ironmaster dumbbells is the fact that they came with a workout poster and the aforementioned stand and that they are very compact.
The Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand ships for free from Amazon.
Owners Of The Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand Say:
“I don’t have a weight room in my home so these adjustable dumbbells are great for me.”
“I love the feel of them and how easy these weights are to change.”
“The Ironmaster dumbbells feel very sturdy and stable in my hands. They are quality.”
How To Select The Best Adjustable Dumbbells For YOU!
Clearly there is a wide range of quality adjustable dumbbells for you to choose from; this can be a very daunting task. However, I am here to tell you that you can find the perfect adjustable dumbbells for you if you keep in mind a few key things: your lifting goals, where you will use them, who else will use the dumbbells, and your budget.
- Your Lifting Goals? I touched upon this quite a bit above. If your lifting goal is to tone up and maintain your muscle, a light- to medium-weight set of adjustable dumbbells will serve you very well.
On the other hand, if you are looking to get big, swole, and as strong as the hulk, you must accept the fact that you will have to lift HEAVY, which means you will need to get a heavy set of adjustable dumbbells.
- Where Will You Use Your Adjustable Dumbbells? If you have a fairly large bedroom, garage or other workout space, the size of your adjustable dumbbells does not matter. While, if you are shopping for adjustable dumbbells to use in your office cubicle or your small studio apartment, you ought to consider the size of the footprint of your prospective adjustable dumbbells.
- Who Else Will Use Them? If you are not going to be the only lifter using the adjustable dumbbells make sure the dumbbells you select have the weight range the other lifter needs too.
- What Is Your Budget? Sure, we do not like to be limited by our budget. But, the truth is that we are. Only spend what you can afford when purchasing the best adjustable dumbbells for you.
Final Thoughts On Buying The Best Adjustable Dumbbells For You
Remember, we all need to keep fit no matter what our current fitness level is, our age, or our situation. And, remember that lifting weights is one of the quickest and most effective ways of getting fit and strong, getting fitter and stronger, and maintaining your level of fitness and strength!
With a set of adjustable dumbbells you can workout in the comfort of your home or office in a very small space whenever it is convenient. And, you will quickly learn, as I did, that if you circuit train or HIT lift with your dumbbells you can give your heart, lungs, central nervous system, and muscles a very demanding workout in 10 to 15 minutes. Yeah, in many ways, the perfect adjustable dumbbells are the ultimate home gym!
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