How the Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells Work
Bowflex SelectTech article by Kristopher Gardner
Now you can change the weight of your dumbbells with just the twist of a dial. If you’ve seen the infomercial for Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells, you may be wondering how they work. All you have to do, is turn the dial on the end of the dumbbell to the weight that you want to use, and when you lift the dumbbell out of the cradle, it will weigh exactly that amount.
The key is in a patented locking mechanism that lets the dumbbell base find and pick up the weight plates that add up to the weight that you want, and lock them into place on the handle. That way, when you lift, only those plates lift out of the base.
The Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbells come in two different versions, each one packing the equivalent of 30 individual dumbbells into a single pair. Each SelectTech 552 dumbbell adjusts to fifteen different weight settings from five pounds to 52.5 pounds. The Bowflex SelectTech 220 Adjustable dumbbells adjust from 2 pounds to 20 pounds. They also let you do something that’s tough to do with most adjustable sets and impossible with fixed dumbbells – vary the weight on either side of the dumbbell. And they make changing the weight on your dumbbells as easy and quick as turning a dial.
All right. Now you can say it – how do they DO that?
How Conventional Dumbbells Work
Dumbbells are designed to be gripped and lifted with one hand, adding weight and resistance to your exercises. You can use just one to work out one side of your body (in bicep curls, for instance) or one in each hand to get a bilateral workout. Add a pair of dumbbells to standing lunges and you increase the weight-bearing for your lower body as well as adding a nice upper body workout to the mix.
In order to get the most benefit out of dumbbells, you need different weights – for different exercises and to increase weight as your muscles build. One way is to have a set of dumbbells in each weight that you want to use. That works fine – until your collection starts to outgrow your home gym. Adjustable dumbbells are a solution to that problem. Instead of adding a complete set of dumbbells in every weight increment you need, you’ve got a pair of bars and sets of weights in different weight increments.
Adjustable dumbbells used to look a whole lot like the baby cousins of barbells. Conventional adjustable dumbbells consist of a short bar, a pair of weights and a safety collar. If you want to change the weight, you unscrew the lock on the collar, slide the collar off the bar, slide the weight off the bar, slide the new weight onto the bar, replace the collar and screw it down to lock it. Then you repeat the whole process on the other end.
Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells Dial-a-Weight Technology Makes It Easy
Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbells are a whole new breed of adjustable. Each dumbbell consists of a handle, a base and ten interlocking slotted weight disks. When the handle is in place in the base, the dumbbell looks just like a miniature barbell with a full set of weights on the bar.
At either end of the handle, you’ll find a dial knob marked with numbers from 5 to 52.5. To select a weight all you do is turn the dial knob until it clicks into place at the weight you want, then lift the handle. The patented locking mechanism selects the right weight disks to equal your chosen weight so that only those disks come up with the handle. The remaining disks remain locked in the base. That really is all there is to it – turn the dial on each end to the weight you want and lift the dumbbell out of its base.
Changing the weight is just that easy, too. Just lower the dumbbell into its base, turn the dials on both sides of the dumbbell to your new weight, then lift. That’s it.
How Bowflex SelectTech Works
The ten weight plates each have a slot into which the handle fits. When the disks are all in place, the handle can be set into the base, settling into the slots. As long as the weight dials are set to 5 – the weight of the handle by itself – the handle will lift freely from the slots without picking up any weights.
Suppose you want to work out with a 7.5 pound dumbbell. You simply turn the handle dial to 7.5 until you feel the click. The locking mechanism in the handle will close and lock over the outermost weight plate (1.25 pounds), locking it onto the handle. Do the same on the other end, and the lock closes over the 1.25 pound weight plate on that end. Lift the handle straight up from the base and the two locked weight plates lift with it – leaving the rest behind in the base.
Want 20 pounds? Since the handle weighs five pounds, you need fifteen pounds in weights. Divided evenly that’s one five pound and one 2.5 pound weight on each end – but you don’t have to figure all that out. Just turn the dial selector on either end to twenty, and the patented lock does the math for you. When you lift the handle out of the base, the right weight plates to add up to twenty will be locked into place.
Bowflex Patented SelectTech System is Safer Than Conventional Dumbbells
The patented locking system is designed for safety as well as convenience. The weight disks are permanently locked in place like a Chinese puzzle. In order to lift the handle out of the base, the weight selector dials must be properly set. If the dial isn’t clicked into place, the base won’t release the handle, so there’s no chance of a weight disk slipping off the bar because it’s not properly locked. If the lock isn’t completely engaged, you can’t pick up the dumbbell.
Once you’ve lifted the dumbbell from the base, the dial can’t be turned, so there’s no chance of them coming unlocked and falling off the bar. The locking mechanism also holds the disks firmly in place. There’s no wobbling from weights that aren’t properly tightened down - you get the same balance you’d get from a single, molded dumbbell.
Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells for Offset Weight Training
Generally, you’ll want the weight on both ends of the dumbbell to be equal, but the Bowflex SelectTech also allows you to choose different weights for either end of the bar. By allowing you to use unequal weights on either end, the Bowflex SelectTech system increases your workout and training options. Offset training can help you strengthen forearm and wrist muscles, something that conventional dumbbells aren’t designed to do. It’s a great way to get some extra power into your tennis swing and increase the flexibility, strength and range of motion in your wrists. The owner’s manual even includes a handy reference chart to tell you which weight to select at either end for various weight combinations.
Space-saving Stand Holds SelectTech Dumbbells At Just the Right Height
Bowflex also makes a specially designed stand for the SelectTech. The stand is ergonomically designed to hold the weights at the right height and position for safe lifting. The space-saving design encourages proper positioning of your body and grip to help you avoid strain or injury when picking up the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells. It’s the perfect storage option between workouts.
The experts all agree that working out with dumbbells is an excellent addition to your strength training routines. Dumbbells help you develop balance and precision, and make it possible to work on areas that are neglected in bilateral training with barbells or weight machines. Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbells are the perfect way to add a full range of dumbbell weights to your workout in just one small, power-packed piece of equipment.