Nothing tops a simple set of dumbbells for convenience, reliability, and versatility when you are trying to build muscle and get in shape.
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Dumbbells make your weaker side pull (or push) it's own weight.
Dumbbells allow flexibility in wrist movement and increased range of motion.
Both arms aren't locked into a set path like on a machine, or even like a barbell.
Dumbbells bring many little stabilizer muscles into play.
Most dumbbell sets only go up in increments of 5 pounds, which is OK, unless you get stuck at a certain weight. Having the ability to increase the weight even by 2.5lbs is a big plus, which why this was invented:
As you get stronger you'll eventually need this many pairs, which are very expensive.
A complete rack of fixed dumbbells also takes up a lot of room:
Adjustable dumbbells have been around for quite awhile. Remember the old spin lock type?
You had to spin the collar off to change the plates, which didn't take that long, but the threads were exposed. If you had a nick on the threads the collar would get stuck. I remember filing the nicks down so the collar would spin freely, and you couldn't fit that many plates on them to begin with.
Enter the IRONMASTER Quick Lock Dumbbell System:
Click here to download your FREE Ironmaster Dumbbell workout! (you'll need PDF reader)
Ironmaster is a Seattle-based company that has been around since 1978. Their latest generation of adjustable dumbbells allows you to adjust each dumbbell from 5-75 lbs (in increments of 2.5lbs) with their patented quick lock design in less than 15 seconds per side.
IFBB professional bodybuilder Lee Priest uses Ironmaster Quick Lock Dumbbells in his home gym. Scroll down to see a video of his Ironmaster DB workout
The features of these adjustable dumbbells are listed below in bold, and were taken directly from the Ironmaster website. My comments follow.
New Quick-Lock handle design lets you add or remove plates with just a partial turn of the locking screws!
The inside of the handles and the locking screws are partially threaded. The locking screw can be inserted into the handle and pushed snug up against the weight plates without any resistance. Once this slack is gone, the locking screw is partially turned to lock the stack of weight plates together. Ingenious!
The knurling on the handles is sufficient. I've had zero hand slippage even with sweaty palms. But, I do have a nice set of calluses!
Initially I had some problems turning the locking screws. You had to shake the handle and the locking screws a little to get them to turn. I attributed this to them being new and they needed to wear in a little. This was the case, and now they turn freely.
When the locking screws are inside the handle, the threads are hidden and safe from becoming damaged, unlike the old spin-lock kind.
The locking screw has a flat face making it easy to rest the dumbbell on your knee. By resting the dumbbell on your knee, it makes it easy to "kick" heavy dumbbells into starting position. Try that with spin locks!
Dumbbells lock up tight with no rattling or looseness. They feel just like a traditional fixed weight dumbbell and are not restrictive in the ways you can grip them.
To add or remove weight plates, the dumbbells need to be on a flat surface, either on the rack or on the floor. The handles have a V shaped notch, as do the locking screws. You just line up these notches and turn the locking screw a 1/4 to1/2 turn clockwise to lock the plates in place.
The locking screws also have an "Open" and "Lock" with an arrow indicating which way to turn to lock and unlock.
The weight plates are designed so that they can be stacked and interlocked into each other, and they are tapered as well so they lean in towards the handles, effectively staying in place (nested) when the locking screw is removed. Brilliant!
There have been concerns raised on some forums that the Ironmaster 5 lb weight plates don't actually weigh 5 lbs. All cast iron plates can vary, and Ironmaster claims the weight plates are within 3% (on average) of the stamped weight on the plate.
What does this mean? You might not be lifting what you thought you were lifting. Your dumbbells might be off by 2-3 lbs. BIG DEAL! Who cares if you're only lifting 72.5 lbs instead of 75 lbs as long as you increase the weight every time you lift.
These look and feel like regular fixed-weight dumbbells. Any exercise you can do with a fixed weight standard dumbbell you can do with the Ironmasters. Your wrists are free to move, not inside of a cage like the powerblock adjustable kind.
Ironmasters adjust from 5-75 lbs each in 2.5 lb increments in just seconds. (75 lbs each dumbbell = 150 lbs total)
The ability to increase the weight by only 2.5 pounds is a big advantage. Good luck finding fixed weight dumbbells in 2.5 lb increments.
Changing a pair of dumbbells takes about a minute. Some forum users complain that it takes to long to change weight plates. If your lifting heavy, and you should, you'll most likely need to rest 2-3 minutes between sets, more than enough time to change plates.
Another complaint is that they suck for doing drop sets. An easy fix for this is to just buy a second set of handles.
Chrome plated steel handles with knurled grips.
The handle along with the two locking screws weighs 10 pounds. They are nicely finished, chrome plated with the knurled steel for better grip, no different than traditional dumbbells.
Heavy Duty - go ahead and drop them. No plastic or fragile parts!
The locking screws hold the interlocking weight plates securely, so there's no movement whatsoever, even after dropping them. But if you do drop them, it's best to make sure the locking screws are still holding the weight tight.
What else can you say about this? And, if you don't like the dumbbells for any reason after trying them for 30 days, you get to return them and Ironmaster will give you a full refund including the shipping charges.
Includes the full size stand that will also hold the 120 lb add on kit.
The stand is easy to assembly and securely holds all the weights. It's compact and takes up little room versus a full rack of fixed dumbbells. Perfect for the home gym user with limited space.
Dimensions are just 6.5" x 6.5" x 14.5" at the 75lb size.
The 120 lb add on kit ads another 4 inches to this length:
Add-on kit available to go up to 120 lbs each dumbbell.
The 5-pound to 75-pound set costs $489 plus $69 shipping for a total of $558.
Eventually as you get stronger and you'll outgrow this set.
The add-on kit costs $199.00 plus $40 shipping for a total of $239.
IFBB professional bodybuilder Lee Priest uses Ironmaster Quick Lock Dumbbells in his home gym. Video provided by Sam from SamsFitness.com.au. If you need Ironmaster or Powertec equipment and you live down under, check out his website.
New for 2009! As if you didn't have enough reasons to buy the Ironmaster's over EVERY other adjustable dumbbell, they have developed a new Quick-Lock Kettlebell handle:
The Quick-Lock Kettlebells will be sold as just a basic KB handle (22.5 lbs) as an accessory to the Quick-Lock Dumbbells and Ironmaster will also sell weight plates and locking screws in case someone wants extra parts or does not have the QLDBs yet. If you use the standard locking screws, it will go up to 57.5 lbs. If you use the Add on Kit locking screws it will go up to 80 lbs.
I can't wait to try them out and review them! These handles are another great innovation from Ironmaster, and add to the versatility of this already awesome dumbbell system.
You can get a set of well-made adjustable dumbbells that go from 5lbs to 120lbs and can be adjusted in 2.5-pound increments, with a free rack, for a total of $797!
Expensive? Not compared to a comparable set of fixed dumbbells, and it's a small investment in your long-term health. And, IF you ever decide to sell them, the resale value is extremely high.
If I could only keep one piece of my gym equipment, the Ironmaster dumbbells would be it. They were my first purchase for my home gym, and by far the best purchase.
Click here to download your FREE Ironmaster Dumbbell workout! (you'll need PDF reader)
Hi Barry, Just thought I'd let you know that I purchased Ironmaster dumbbells and the Superbench. You helped me along in this process, by your review on your website and conversing with me on the subject. Have you written a review on Amazon for Ironmaster's dumbbell system? Those reviews helped to solidify my choice for Ironmaster, as well. Again, thanks. Dan
Wow! I just received my dumbbells and I am amazed! I've been weight training for 24 years and have worked/worked out in various gyms and this set is as close as you can come to pro-dumbbells. I have been building my home gym over the last year and even bought a pair of another brand's adjustable dumbbells (rhymes with "power-shock") and your dumbbells rock! My old dumbbells were very awkward and unbalanced especially when I used them with their 130 lb add-on kit. I could not 'wrap-in' which limited my training...and I was staying away from my usual training weights due to the fear of dropping these expensive items and bending them. Finally, I am hitting the weight in my home gym that I used to hit when I was a member in a commercial gym. Thank You!