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Sampiro
09-09-2011, 09:27 PM
I need to start working out again; I did rigorously for a while but it's been a few years. I want to buy a set of dumbbells for home use- solid one piecers so that I don't have to unscrew and then add weight.

Questions:

Are the rubber coated ones worth paying more for than the plain cast iron?

Are the adjustable dumbbells worth anything? The reason I ask is that when I see them in stores they rarely work properly, though that could just be a floor model problem, but I'd hate to find out they break easily.

boytyperanma
09-09-2011, 10:07 PM
First craigs list. Buying new sets of weights is a complete waste of money when there are millions of sets that were only ever used the first few weeks of January. You can buy for pennies on the dollar, in many cases people are happy to simple give them to anyone willing to carry them away. Carrying a complete set or weights out of a third floor walk up is a great way to start out your new workout regime.

I don't like rubber coated ones. The only real advantage I can think of is if you plan on using them on a hard surface, then the rubber coating helps cut don't on scraps or dings from setting them down. I prefer matting in a work out room though I'm now using a spare bedroom which is carpeted.

I wouldn't consider anything other then one piece dumbbells. The adjustable ones are just as much a pain as the store ones present. If you want to get into really heavy weights those are about all you can readily find to make heavy dumbbells. I don't see much need for dumbbells over 60 pounds.

Tarwater
09-09-2011, 10:55 PM
I need to start working out again; I did rigorously for a while but it's been a few years. I want to buy a set of dumbbells for home use- solid one piecers so that I don't have to unscrew and then add weight.

Questions:

Are the rubber coated ones worth paying more for than the plain cast iron?

Are the adjustable dumbbells worth anything? The reason I ask is that when I see them in stores they rarely work properly, though that could just be a floor model problem, but I'd hate to find out they break easily.

There are some adjustable dumbbells that work properly. If you anticipate using a variety of weights for your work-outs, I would definitely recommend purchasing a quality pair of adjustable weights. Like boytyperanma said, you can find all kinds of dumbbells on Craigslist. Adjustable dumbbells are an especially common item, since people purchase them with the intent of using the entire gamut of weight, only to burn themselves out within a couple weeks.

As for rubber weights vs. cast iron: there's really no difference between the two in terms of quality. But if you're planning on lifting more than 20 lbs., I'd recommend investing in a set of dumbbells with rubberized grips, if you can. The grips on some cast-iron dumbbells will rip your palms apart if you're not wearing weight-lifting gloves.

Unintentionally Blank
09-09-2011, 11:15 PM
I had the lady at the sporting goods store try to sell me an extended warrantee on my dumbbells. :D

Toxylon
09-10-2011, 04:58 AM
I'm a bit surprised at some of the comments above regarding adjustable dumbbells. I've worked out at home for the past six years using adjustable dumbbells for most everything, and wouldn't have it any other way.

There are two things, IMO, that make adjustable dumbbells superior to fixed weight ones when training at home. First, for a complete and effective workout, one needs a wide variety of resistance for different exercises; second, small increments in resistance are mandatory for progressive, safe strength training.

Suppose you plan to do bent-over DB rows for your back and biceps, DB bench presses for your chest and triceps , Goblet squats for the lower body, DB upright presses for your shoulders, traps and triceps and lateral side raises to finish off the shoulder area. Each of the exercises needs a different weight dumbbell, from maybe 15 lbs. for the lateral raises to 100 lbs. for the DB rows and all sorts in between for the rest. And to keep things going, you'll need to be able to add a single pound to the side raise weight every now and then but five pounds to the rowing weight.

I don't really see anything less than a massive rack containing dozens of different-size fixed-weight DBs covering the need for an effective workout. If I was a millionaire, I'd have that. Now, I'll just use three pairs of cheap dumbbell handles and a plastic box full of weight plates ranging from a half-pound to 20 lbs. These I can mix up every which way for any need. About 90 % of what I have was bought second-hand, as new sets are ridiculously expensive, as others have noted.

Failing to twist the screw locks on tightly on cheap adjustable dumbbells before hitting the iron is a recipe for injury and dented floors. Since learning that, I haven't had any issues with mine.

All the weight plates I have are cast iron. I hate the way rubberized (or worse, vinyl) weight plates look, and at least cheap rubberized ones sometimes have a rank smell, as well. To keep floors intact, I have a piece of MDF under my weight training corner, covered with a heavy mat. The best dumbbell handles I have are all plain iron. IME, rubberized handles tend to break down with heavy use. I've never experienced hand problems from gripping the plain iron handles of up to 120 lbs. dumbbells without gloves.

Mean Mr. Mustard
09-10-2011, 08:13 AM
I just browsed Craigslist out of curiosity; yeah, there are a lot of sets for sale.

And many of the ads say how little they were used. :)


mmm

Martin Hyde
09-10-2011, 08:22 AM
Toxylon is correct that if you get a set of olympic dumbbell bars that you can put standard olympic plate weights on you have a huge amount of granularity and can do very incremental increases.

There are some negatives though, even with good screw on locks years ago when I used such a setup I got kind of annoyed with it over time.

If you are considering at all the fast-switch style dumbbells the Ironmaster set is very nice and IMO the Bowflex product is not good and feels like it could break apart while lifting which could result in serious injury.

silk1976
09-10-2011, 08:42 AM
I'm thinking of getting a set of dumb bells off craigs list as well. For what its worth, when speaking to people about this, they highly recommend the hexagonal type - or at least some type with a flat edge, vs those that are rounded.

Sampiro
09-10-2011, 09:45 AM
I'm definitely keeping an eye on Craig's List. Where I live (which isn't a large city) they don't have any at the moment (lots of barbells/weight benches but no hex iron dumbbells yet) but that could change, and I might look at B'ham.

I'm not getting into any type of Body-for-Life or hardcore training, just gradual resistance training to build muscle and strength, so I don't really need much over 25 pounds initially. I can always add to it later if need be.

Unintentionally Blank
09-10-2011, 09:49 AM
The problem with plate based dumbbells is that you spend a portion of your workout time swapping out weights.

The problem with fixed weight 'bells is one of storage

The problem with Bowflex dial-a-weight 'bells is the cost.

DCnDC
09-10-2011, 10:08 AM
I'm definitely keeping an eye on Craig's List. Where I live (which isn't a large city) they don't have any at the moment (lots of barbells/weight benches but no hex iron dumbbells yet) but that could change, and I might look at B'ham.
Do you have any pawn shops in town? I had an extra set years ago that I tried to sell to a pawn shop and they stopped me even before I finished the sentence, merely pointing to the pile of weights they had sitting in the corner, which had clearly been there for quite some time.

kayaker
09-10-2011, 10:22 AM
First craigs list.

When my son went through a phase where he wanted weights, I found a very nice bench and weights that the owner wanted gone asap. I paid next to nothing.

A year later, my son was over his interest in weight training and his mother wanted them gone. I put an ad on Craigslist and sold the (barely used) set within a week for a tidy profit.

Jaledin
09-10-2011, 01:34 PM
Agree with above for just using adjustable dumbbells. I had a 300lbs Olympic set, but since I didn't get some Olympic dumbbell grips for dumbbells, I went with standard. They're fine, IMO. But if you don't have a bench and rack, go with Olympic (and get the weights used) or one of the newfangled adjustable sets (can't remember what they're called, it's been so long). You'll be able to upgrade when you move to benching using a squat rack, or, like I did, just move to a new standard. Weights are heavy, but they're not that expensive. I need adjustable weights, for me, for different exercises.

jacobsta811
09-10-2011, 07:48 PM
The adjustable dumbells (dial a weight) are probably the easiest to store for a wide variety of weights - the original was powerblocks (http://www.powerblock.com/) although there are many others now.
If you go olympic dumbell handle & weights use the squeeze things at the end to hold the weights on, not a screw on.

x-ray vision
09-10-2011, 08:08 PM
If you decide to go with hex style fixed weight dumbbells in 5lb increments, you can save a lot of money and storage space but getting a set of one of the following and purchasing the dumbbells in 10lb increments (or maybe even 15lb increments) instead.

http://www.home-gym.com/platemate25lbs.html

http://thewegg.com/best-sales.php

Toxylon
09-11-2011, 12:17 PM
I'm not getting into any type of Body-for-Life or hardcore training, just gradual resistance training to build muscle and strength, so I don't really need much over 25 pounds initially. I can always add to it later if need be.

Just wanted to stress the last sentence: the number two reason for trainers not getting visible results (right after not sticking with it long enough) is not lifting heavy enough. For a complete novice, almost any weight is a challenge to the system. But after a short break-in period, small weights just don't cut it. There is not a single compound exercise and just a couple of isolation exercises where 25 pounds will suffice for an average adult male looking for some muscle size and strength. You'll need more than that in a heartbeat, especially having trained before.

I spent the first two years or so lifting light and seeing very little progress in muscle size or strength - I just got really good at moving those small 'bells. After buying enough plates to last for a good while and committing to pushing myself, I finally got where I wanted to be: somewhat muscular, strong for my size and fit. Unless you (the general you) are genetically very gifted, you need to utilize a pretty hardcore training style to have visible results. I know guys who only use average weights (like 25 lbs. dumbbells) week in, week out, and look the same as five years ago: non-trainers in just a T-shirt.

The problem with plate based dumbbells is that you spend a portion of your workout time swapping out weights.

I have three pairs of dumbbell handles and dial in whatever weights I need before working out. Very rarely do I need more than three different-weight dumbbells for a workout, as I also do pullups, dips, weighted pushups and deadlifts. No time spent swapping weights and intensity stays high throughout.

DMark
09-11-2011, 12:38 PM
I can tell you what not to do.
Ages ago, when I was living in West Berlin, I went to visit friends in East Berlin and wandered into a sporting goods store. I saw a dumbell for a ridiculously cheap price - and I want to say it was 25 pounds?
It was a solid piece of black iron with round balls on each end - think of the design of a dumbell you would see in a Donald Duck cartoon, and that was what it looked like.
I bought it and then started walking through East Berlin.
First of all, an American wandering through East Berlin carrying a single dumbell was not a common sight.
And while 25 pounds did not feel all that heavy for a rather fit 20-something in the store, it did indeed start to get heavy rather quickly as I wandered through the streets. After awhile, I was switching from one hand to the next. Then I started to make little pauses every once in awhile, setting the dumbell down at the bars when drinking a few beers.
About 5 hours later, when crossing back into West Berlin, half-crocked and with very sore arms and hands , the East German guards didn't quite know what to make of me and my purchase. I had the receipt, and it was legal, but they were still suspicious and my dumbell was taken in a back room for awhile. X-Rays? To check it wasn't a huge chunk of hash-hish painted black? A cartoon bomb?
Eventually they gave it back to me and I schlepped it to my apartment in West Berlin.
The next day I was pretty much certain my arms were 2 inches longer than the day before and my shoulders were killing me.
It was about a week before I started to use the dumbell.
As I should have realized from carrying it over the border, it was really too heavy to do much. It would have been far wiser to buy a much, much smaller dumbell so I could do more than just a couple of painful reps.
It was a great conversation piece, quite useful for keeping the door open on windy days and holding down stacks of newspapers, but less useful for creating those studly arm muscles I envisioned.

Moral of story: buy smaller weights, on sale (or from idiots like me), and start slowly.

Sampiro
09-11-2011, 04:16 PM
Moral of story: buy smaller weights, on sale (or from idiots like me), and start slowly.

Is that in general or just in East Berlin?


I intend to start slowly because I need to get my form back. I don't have as much money to pay a trainer this time as last so I need to work on movement/technique/etc. first and then add the weight.

That said, any suggestions for a good book or videos on weight lifting? (I used to work out so I'm not a complete novice, but it's been about 5 years.)

running coach
09-11-2011, 04:21 PM
ExRx (http://www.exrx.net/)
Every exercise is illustrated with a small video.