Selectorized Dumbbells: A Smart Idea for Your Home Gym

Maybe you are the type of person who feels more comfortable working out in the comfort of your own home, maybe you don’t like spectators watching you dripping with sweat, or maybe you are just looking for ways to tighten up the budget a little bit. With the monthly cost of a gym membership, and the joining fee on top of that, working out at home would, no doubt, save you quite a bit of money. But better yet, by applying that money towards a few quality pieces of equipment, you could set yourself up pretty nicely for a long, long time.

Selectorized Dumbbells – A Great Place to Start

Most people don’t have tons of space in their home to convert into a gym, especially college students living with roommates, or those living in small apartments. Selectorized dumbbells are trendy among home exercisers because they are designed specifically to help conserve space, and cost a lot less than buying a full set of fixed weight dumbbells, yet still provide a wide variety of exercises that will definitely get you ripped!

How Do Selectorized Dumbbells Work?

Selectorized dumbbells work a little differently than your typical adjustable dumbbells that include weight plates that screw onto a bar, and they are much less time consuming. With selectorized dumbbells, rather than removing and replacing weight plates, a selector pin or dial is used to choose your preferred weight. Then, when you pick up the dumbbell, the remaining weight is left on the ground or stand.

Best Brands for Selectorized Dumbbells

Powerblock and Bowflex are definitely the front runners when it comes to quality selectorized dumbbells.  

  • Bowflex SelectTech comes in a 552 model as well as a 1090, and the weight is adjusted by turning a dial to the desired weight. The 552 model ranges in weight from 5-52.5 lbs. and can be adjusted in 2.5 lb. increments. The 1090 model ranges in weight from 10-90 lbs. and can be adjusted in 5 lb. increments. It is consistently one of the highest rated dumbbells on user review sites and has even earned recommendations from several fitness publications. Price ranges from $400 -$600.
  • Powerblock Sports Series works using a sliding pin to select desired weight.  It comes in models 2.4, 5.0, 5.5, and 9.0. (The 2.4 model ranges from 3-24 lbs. and can be adjusted in 3 lb. increments, 5.0 model ranges from 5 to 50 lbs. and can be adjusted in 5 lb. increments, 5.5 model ranges from 2.5 to 55 lbs. and can be adjusted in 2.5 lb. increments, and the 9.0 model ranges from 2.5 to 130 lbs. and can be adjusted in varied increments). It has a somewhat boxy design. This system is preferred by serious weightlifters and bodybuilders when compared to Bowflex SelectTech.  Price ranges (depending on Series) from $150 -$900.

 What exercises can I do with selectorized dumbbells?

The sky is the limit on exercises you can do with selectorized dumbbells. Presses, flies, rows, triceps extensions, lunges, squats, dead lifts, calf raises, and core exercises such as back extensions and crunches just to name a few-there is plenty of work to be done for arms, legs, back, chest, and even your core with selectorized dumbbells.

Criticism of Selectorized Dumbbells:

The most common complaints that selectorized dumbbell users report are that sometimes the weights can feel bulky when all the weight plates are attached, plastic pieces can break when weights are dropped, and sometimes the adjustable devices (pins and dials) can be finicky when selecting desired weight.


All those machines at the gym cost thousands of dollars, but for just a small amount, you can get something that will still allow you to do all the exercises. The variation in weight that selectorized dumbbells offer is great in helping you avoid hitting those plateaus that result when it is time to select a higher weight. Selectorized dumbbells are also a great asset because using dumbbells, as opposed to machines more closely represents real life posture and movements and allows you to train each side independently.

What more could you ask of a product that literally takes up just a small amount of space in the corner of your room?

Adjustable Dumbbells: Pros and cons of Adjustable Dumbbell Sets. (Updated January 2010). Retrieved on October 29, 2011 from

3 Reasons to Own Adjustable Dumbbells. Retrieved on Oct. 28, 2011 from

Johnson, Jolie. (May 23, 2011).  Guide to Using Dumbbells. Retrieved on October 29, 2011 from


"Any change requires an initial period of discomfort until the body adjusts to the new demand." - Author unknown

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"Any change requires an initial period of discomfort until the body adjusts to the new demand." - Author unknown

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