If you want to get a good strength workout at home, you’re going to need some dumbells.  If you don’t have much space, the Bowflex 552 SelectTech Dumbbells may be an ideal solution.  552 SelectTech Dumbbells combines 15 sets of weights into one using a unique dial system.  It’s one of the most space-efficient and flexible strength-training options available with its unique and effective design. With just the turn of a dial, you can automatically change your resistance on each dumbbell from 5 pounds all the way up to 52.5 pounds of weight. It adjusts in 2.5-pound increments (up to 25 pounds), enabling you to gradually increase the weight.


The dumbells have a chrome handle that is reasonably comfortable.  The majority of the rest of the dumbell is made from a composite material.  Unlike traditional dumbbells (which are all iron), you can’t drop these on the ground after a set.  They are fairly sturdy, but I would be very nervous about dropping these from any height over about 12 inches.  The handle is ergonomic to fit the palm of your hand and the grip feels good and natural during lifting.  The handle is thicker than a dumbbell and I prefer it to the thinner dumbbell handles.

The weights have a dial on the end of them that you turn to select the desired weight. If you select 10lbs, it will then lock in the two weight plates to make 10 lbs, and release everything else; so when you pick up the weights, you get 10 lbs and all the other weights are left in the base plate.  When done, you put the weights back in the base plate.  This works very well, with the exception of it “catching” occasionally if the weight plates shift a little bit.  This happens maybe 1/100 times or so though and isn’t a big problem. You just jiggle the weights a bit until it locks.  The plates are firmly locked onto the handle. There is no shaking or movement of the plates at all, and they don’t feel much different than dumbbells.


The suggested retail price on these is $450, but they can be found at various retailers for under$400 .  While they may seem expensive, if you calculate the cost of a large range of dumbbells (which typically sell for $1 per pound), these are a very favorable comparison. Just two 35lb dumbbells are going to cost you at least $50 (closer to $70 if new).


The biggest advantage of theses dumbells is their small “footprint”.  Unlike, a traditional dumbell set which can take up a substantial amount of space, the Bowflex adjustable dumbells take up no more than approximately 2 sq ft.  This allows anyone to own a set, that they can put away if need be.  You don’t need to dedicate a large amount of space for a “gym”.


The real problem with these weights is the length.  I had no real problem with the width, which is very manageable, but the dumbbells are 16″ long.  This can cause a problem with some  exercises. There are maybe a few exercises during that are awkward to do because of the length of the dumbbells.  This isn’t enough of an issue that it would discourage me from buying them again.   The only other issue to be aware of is the material.  They are very well made, and can handle some occasional bumps, but at the end of the day….they’re plastic.  This is their strength and weakness.  This gives them the flexibility to be adjustable, but make them more fragile than traditional iron dumbells.


Overall, I would definitely recommend these to anyone looking for dumbells to use for an in-home workout.  While not as durable as iron dumbells, they should be fine for most residential use… as long as you’re careful.  The only debate should be between getting these or the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbell.  This is effectively the same dumbell, however this model goes up to 90 pounds.   Even though there are a few exercises where you could eventually need more than 52.5 pounds, I really think this is enough weight for 90%  of the population.

The SelectTechs also come with a short DVD that shows you some workouts specifically designed for these dumbbells and how to use them.  Although this wouldn’t be needed for those working with Mike.   Optionally, you can buy the Bowflex SelectTech 552 / 1090 Dumbbell Stand to use with these. It looks great, but I wouldn’t recommend it, as it’s not really necessary.

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