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Posted by Barry on May 8, 2013

Adjustable Dumbbells


When it comes to needing dumbbells to work out you can either go and get a full set of dumbbells or get a set of adjustable dumbbells.  I have over the years of trying to get in shape purchased many pieces of workout gear such as a bench press, squat rack, set of dumbbells from 3 lbs. to 35 lbs. and after I started P90X since my whole family was “going for the same weights” a couple sets of adjustable dumbbells.  So if you are just starting out I would suggest trying the adjustable dumbbells.

Adjustable dumbbells are perfect to use with P90X as they are compact, (and if you started out like me doing it in your living room space was limited) easy to adjust, and quickly change to the weight you need so you can stay up with the video.  There are a bunch of brands out there, but the two main ones are Bowflex’s Selecttechs and Powerblocks.

Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells


I do not personally own a pair of these, but several of the coaches on our team do so I pulled from their firsthand knowledge of the Powerblocks. They are well made and offer a lot of options. There are sets that range from 5-24lbs, all the way to 10-175lbs. The sets all adjust weight by replacing the dumbbell in the base and removing an indexing bar that determines how many “plates” get lifted off the base. There are also smaller weights that can be inserted and removed from the handles to make smaller adjustments.

Pro:  They are very compact dumbbells.  In fact, the size is the biggest benefit of the Powerblocks.  They don’t take up as much room as other adjustable dumbbells.

Con:  You basically have to plan on using only 10 lb. increments for anything above 30 lbs.  It is possible to go 35, 45, etc, but to do so you literally have to remove weights from inside the handle apparatus.  This does not work if you are trying to keep up with the P90X video or any of the other videos that use weights like Body Beast.  More specifically, to get a 5 lb. increment, you have to insert and remove the 2.5 lb. bars from the base handle. You have to pull the pin from all of the plates, open the selector gate, and remove or add the two 2.5 lbs. bars depending on if you want to go up 5 lbs. or down.

Selecttech Adjustable Dumbbells


I do own two pairs of the Bowflex Selecttech 1090s.  The Selecttechs come in either the 552 model or the 1090 model.  From the name the 552 has an adjustable range from 5 to 52.5 lbs. (2.5 lbs. increments the first 25 lbs.) and the 1090 has an adjustable range from 10 to 90 lbs. (5 lbs. increments from 10 thru 90).  The way you change the weights is you put the dumbbell in the base and dial to the poundage you want.

Pro:  It is really easy, quick, and accurate.  You just turn the dial to the weight you want and go.

Con:  The dumbbells are a little longer than most other dumbbells; however it is not so long that it causes me a problem.

Cost Comparison

Comparing them equally: normally Bowflex Selecttechs 552s sell for $349. The Powerblock U-90 Stage I (which are also 5-50lbs) sell for $379. Now you can always get sales on both the Selecttech and Powerblock adjustable dumbbells, so they are both basically the same cost. What does favor Selecttechs is that Bowflex runs very good deals, very regularly. Just check the Bowflex website.

So to sum it up I of course like the Bowflex Selecttech 1090s as I did my research before I bought them and then waited until they had a great sale with 40% off and free shipping.  I use them every day and my son and I still love using them.  However if you can get a good deal on a set of used Powerblocks then don’t hesitate as they will last you a long time as well.

To purchase, check out:

Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells

Selecttech Adjustable Dumbbells

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