Health & Fitness The Best Dumbbells Of 2022 For Your Home Gym

23:01  20 july  2022
23:01  20 july  2022 Source:   coachmag.co.uk

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We all dream of a fully-equipped home gym, complete with several types of cardio machine and more bells – barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells – than a campanologist convention, but for most of us a lack of space makes such an enterprise an impossible fantasy. So it’s best to get real and prioritise, and at the top of your list should be dumbbells – the obvious choice of fitness equipment for home workouts. They’re small, they’re relatively inexpensive, and unless you opt for a fixed set you can adjust the weight on them so they’re appropriate for all kinds of exercises.

A pair of dumbbells on the living room floor © Provided by Coach A pair of dumbbells on the living room floor

Convinced? Of course you are, so now what you need is a selection of the best dumbbells available. We’ve rounded up our top picks below, divided up into fixed and adjustable dumbbells, with the latter proving increasingly popular as a space-saving solution for home gyms. After that you’ll find our dumbbells buyer’s guide.

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Best Adjustable Dumbbells

It’s a serious investment, sure, but with a weight range of 5lb/2kg to 52.5lb/24kg, it’s one that will set you up for a lifetime of workouts at home. There are 15 weight options, chosen by twisting the handle when the dumbbell is in its base, which locks in different combinations of plates. To sweeten the deal, Bowflex now includes a year’s subscription to the JRNY fitness app. Equivalent services cost in the region of $10/£10 to $15/£15 a month – quite the sweetener.

Beginners, and even those with a bit of training experience, may find they never need to look at a 50lb weight, let alone lift one. Powerblock makes a range of adjustable dumbbells, including ones which can take expansion packs to break through that 50lb ceiling, but we like this affordable starter set. It’s decidedly low-tech with a plastic clip used to add and remove nested weight plates, but very secure. We’ve used them during fast-paced dumbbell workouts, which included lowering them towards and whirling them around our head, without any hint that a plate would come loose. The caged design limits movement of the wrist in certain exercises and people with large hands may find the handle on the small side, but these are minor complaints given the great value and low starting price the Sport 24s offer.

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These selectorised dumbbells have an extra trick up their sleeve to lure you away from the more established brands above. As well as the eight weight options between 3.6kg and 22.6kg, which are easily selected using the buttons on the stands, these dumbbells link up with the JaxJox app to track your workouts and take guided video classes (if you pay a monthly subscription). Be advised that we found the app to be a bit buggy, to put it mildly, and we had trouble even getting it to connect to the dumbbells we were testing.

Fortunately the weights work just fine without any app involvement. While they do get a little large and cumbersome when using all the plates, that’s just the trade-off for the flexibility of an adjustable set, and they certainly save on space compared with picking up a similar range of weights with individual dumbbells.

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The range on this adjustable dumbbell is the most extensive we’ve found anywhere, going up in 2kg increments from 2kg to a massive 32kg. That makes it a highly versatile bit of kit and not the sort of purchase you’re likely to out-train – and it’s certainly better value than buying separate dumbbells to cover that weight range. The robust steel plates are fairly slim so the whole kit, while undoubtedly large, packs away neatly and can be tucked into a corner.

This durable set of cast-iron weights from big-box sports retailer Decathlon is an absolute bargain. You have to remove the spin lock to add or remove weight plates, but that’s a minor inconvenience given how much cheaper they are than other adjustable dumbbells. There’s 20kg in total in the set, including the bars, but if 10kg per dumbbell fails to pose a challenge after a while, you can pile all the weight plates on one dumbbell or buy and add extra cast-iron plates.

Best Fixed Dumbbells

These simple neoprene dumbbells are fine for those who are happy with lighter weights, whether they’re rehabbing or need them for a Pilates or spin class at home. They’re small, soft, and just the job.

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Big-box sports retailer Decathlon doesn’t care what you think a hexagon should look like, with its hex weights looking more like a triangle (despite still being six-sided – we counted). This actually makes them more stable, if a little larger. The range of options is limited, though, with just five levels available.

These robust rubber weights are decent value and come in an extensive weight range that runs up to 30kg. That said, given the size of the 12.5kg and 15kg weights we tested, a 30kg dumbbell might end up a little unwieldy due to its girth. The lighter weights come only in pairs, but from 12.5kg up you can choose to buy one or a set of two.

This solid hex dumbbells are great value and are available in pairs from 2kg to 20kg. The contoured grip offers a secure and comfortable hold on the weights, while the rubber coating protects your floor in the case of any inadvertent drops.

Hexagonal dumbbells are our favourite type of dumbbells, since the rubber ends are floor-friendly and provide a stable base for renegade rows and the like (plus they don’t roll away when you put them down). For casual home training we’d normally recommend a more affordable retailer than Eleiko, which makes barbells for serious powerlifting and Olympic lifting, but if you’re looking for top-quality weights from a respected name, you’ll find them here. The weight range is also the widest we’ve come across, starting at 1kg and topping out at an incredible 40kg.

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Dumbbell Buyer’s Guide

A decent set needn’t break the bank – or your floorboards. Here’s what to look for.

Shape: Hexagonal dumbbells are the smart choice. They won’t roll away when you perform moves like the renegade row, or roll under your feet when you’re off-guard.

Features: As with any contraption, the fewer parts it has, the less likely it is to go wrong. Be careful with adjustable sets that can crack if used frequently.

Weight: Less is undeniably more here – both in mass and price. Too heavy and you’ll miss out on a range of worthy exercises, but with a lighter set you can always do more reps. A 12kg set will do the trick.

Material: Rubber-coated ends might not be as eye-catching as shiny metal plates but they’ll buffer any impact with your floor (or feet). Ridged or “knurled” chrome handles offer firm grip and easy cleaning.

Three Types of Dumbbells Explained

Fixed weight: The classic as-seen-in-the-gym dumbbell that’s set at an unchangeable weight. Gym sets typically start at 2kg and go up in 2kg increments, and a single pair of fixed-weight dumbbells is the cheapest option. However, if you opt for these you will be restricted to using the same weight for all your home gym moves. That’s a problem because for some exercises it will be far too light (such as squats or lunges) and for others far too heavy (such as lateral raises and triceps extensions). You could buy an entire set of fixed dumbbells, but that’s pricy and takes up a lot of space.

Adjustable (standard): A far wiser choices for home weight training because you can simply add or subtract weight plates to each dumbbell quickly and easily to change the amount of weight you’re lifting for different exercises. This gives you a much greater range of lifts you can do at home safely, and you can always buy extra weight plates once you get stronger and need more resistance – although there is a limit to just how many weight plates you can stack on each side.

Adjustable (selectorised): The resistance of these higher-tech dumbbells are adjustable through the addition or subtraction of weight plates, followed by the simple turn of a dial when the dumbbell is resting in its stand. This means you can adjust the weight more quickly than with a standard set of dumbbells, and these models can typically reach a much heavier weight, meaning this might be the only set of home dumbbells you ever need to buy. That said, they’re by far the most expensive option – not to mention seriously heavy when moving them from one room to another.

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