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Dumbbells are some of the most user friendly free weights. They are inexpensive, portable, and simple to use. Dumbbells are extremely versatile free weights as they offer a wide range of motion and they are great for beginners as they can easily be added to bodyweight exercises for increased strength and muscle mass.
Dumbbells allow you to work up to training with a barbell, but are the best place to start when it comes to free weights. It is a good idea to start small when you first begin your training and work up to heavier weights. Start with what you can comfortably lift for 12-15 times for 1-2 sets and progress after four weeks.
Dumbbells: Fixed or Adjustable
There are two types of dumbbells: fixed and adjustable. Fixed dumbbells have a weight that cannot be adjusted. These dumbbells are sturdy, simple, and effective. They have the greatest flexibility and longevity. These are the usual dumbbells that you see at the gym. However, they take up a lot of space as you need a different dumbbell set for each different weight.
Adjustable weights are weight adjustable. Adjustable dumbbells have a range of weights that they can be changed to. This makes them a great space saver! When it comes to adjustable dumbbells there are two different types: selectorized and plate loaded with a threaded collar.
Threaded Collar dumbbells have a handle with threaded ends on both sides. You change the weight plates according to your desired weight. Pick your weight plates, then screw the collar to lock them in place. This is the cheapest way to get a full set of dumbbells.
Selectorized dumbbells are fancier and more expensive. You can adjust the weight with a simple selector after putting the base plate down. This makes them highly adjustable and with quick transitions. However, the selection mechanism can be damaged if dropped, making them potentially less durable.
Most are 5lbs to 60lbs with 5lb increments. Over a long period of time you need a range of dumbbell weights because different exercises need different weights. You’ll have to move up as you get stronger. Each movement may need a different weight as stronger muscle groups will require heavier weight when training. Beginners will usually need to start with a dumbbell weight of about 2-15 pounds. Advanced trainers train for muscle endurance and will need heavier dumbbells.
There are two common dumbbell shapes: hexagonal and round. Round dumbbells are slightly more comfortable. Hexagonal dumbbells are similar but have pointy bits. The difference is that the hexagonal dumbbells don’t roll on the floor. These are safer for the user as they won’t roll into you and cause injury.
Dumbbells are made of steel. The Outer layers can be bare steel, rubberized, or chrome. Chrome dumbbells are finished for the aesthetic but have a diminished appearance when dropped over time.
Rubberized dumbbells have a rubber layer on the outside of the dumbbell. This makes them quieter when dropped, and it also gives them more grip. These generally last a very long time but eventually with heavy use the rubber can start to tear.
Bare Steel or “naked” dumbbells have no coat over the steel, usually just some rust protection. These dumbbells last forever but are louder and potentially more damaging to the floor when dropped. They are also more industrial in appearance.
The dumbbell handle has four aspects that can vary: material, texture, diameter, and shape.
The handle material can be either metal or rubberized. The dumbbell -metal handles are hardwearing and easy to clean. The rubberized handle wears out more quickly and is more difficult to clean but it has a good grip and is easy on the hands.
When it comes to texture, the cross-hatch pattern on the metal handle is known as knurling. This provides extra grip so that your hands don’t slide, especially when you’re sweaty. The Knurling on the dumbbell can be shallow or deep. Deeper knurling gives more grip but is tougher on your hands. This becomes more important as you move up in weight.
A diameter of 1” to 1.4” on the dumbbell handle is good for most. This gives a good, secure, and comfortable grip for the dumbbell. With higher weights a small handle like 25mm can be painful, cutting into your hand. Thicker handles allow weight to be spread out more evenly and 1.5” is comfortable for most. High level athletes sometimes use a dumbbell with a handle size of 2” and above, as there are potential strength benefits from thick handles.
The shape of the handle can be straight or slightly bulbous in the middle. Bulbous handles offer slightly better grip and comfort.
Dumbbells can come in all varieties when it comes to style so ultimately it is up to you and what suits your home gym needs. What kind of dumbbell do you want to look at when you work out in your home gym every day? Maybe if you choose something aesthetically pleasing then you’ll want to work out more.
When considering the appearance of your dumbbells, consider whether they have numbers on them or not. Numbers allow you to quickly and easily see which weight is which and to see which weights go together.
Also consider the brand that you are purchasing when buying dumbbells. Dumbbells from a reputable brand will usually be more expensive, but they can help you have peace of mind knowing that they are quality.
You can also purchase pre-owned dumbbells from reputable brands here at Buy and Sell Fitness.
Dumbbells and Your Home Gym
The last thing that you need to think about when making a dumbbell purchase, is how they will fit into your home gym. These are a great first piece of equipment when setting up your at-home gym as with a range of weights, dumbbells alone give you so many options when it comes to your workouts.
For adjustable dumbbells, you won’t need much extra space. If you purchase a dumbbell set, you’ll need a bit more space. For fixed weight dumbbells, you will want a rack to keep them all organized and in place.
With this guide hopefully you are set to make a decision for your home gym dumbbell needs. Check out our dumbbell selection here at Buy and Sell Fitness for premium dumbbells at a great price.
Arm Exercises to do with Dumbbells:
- Biceps Curl
- Triceps kick-back
- Overhead Press
- Dumbbell Bench Press
- Hammer Press
- Dumbbell Woodchop
Leg and Core Exercises to do with Dumbbells:
- Dumbbell Goblet Squat
- Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift
- Dumbbell Rear Lunge
- Dumbbell Frog Squat
- Dumbbell Calf Raise
- Weighted Crunch
- Side Planks