To fight againt my dad-bod -
Now to complete the triforce… I mean trifecta!
A home gym!
Table of Contents
But I needed a set of weights that wouldn’t take up too much space…
So I asked myself - “what weights should I get?”
Weights would be the most important piece of equipment I would need to work out at home so I researched the hell out my choices.
In the end I bought the IronMaster adjustable dumbbell set.
Read on if you would like to know why I chose the Ironmaster DBs!
Why did I choose adjustable dumbbells?
For any type of workout, you are going to need different resistances for different parts of your body.
For example your legs are inherently stronger than your pinky finger and will need a lot more resistance in order to get improve.
For all these different resistances (i.e. weight) you will need many sets of weights per workout, which takes up a lot of space. While this is fine in a commercial gym, I did not have the space… Well I technically have the space but it would be getting the wife to give up the space for her shoes which would be the more difficult part 😉
So I decided to get the best set of adjustable dumbbells I could find. The higher end sets will last me a long time and I should be able to get enough use out of them to justify the higher cost.
Considering it’s been over 10 years since I bought them, I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth.
After trying both I went with the IronMaster, here’s why.
What makes IronMaster dumbbells so special?
The Company : IronMaster
Well the full technical name of the DBs are “IronMaster Quick-Lock Dumbbell System”. The company is based out of Seattle, Washington (USA) and they have been around since 1978. Ironmaster designs and sells all their own fitness equipment.
They claim that over 30% of their business comes from referrals as well as repeat customers!
Since eventually getting both their “Super Bench ” and their dumbbells I can see definitely see why. These are high quality pieces of equipment.
They have even been featured in magazines like “Muscle & Fitness” and “Flex”.
The Quality and Feel
- These dumbbells are heavy duty, chrome plated handles with deep knurling (I’ll come to this)
- It’s nice and solid in your hands
- There is no give to them and everything is held together tightly
- Everything is designed and engineered in the USA
It really does feel like a high quality piece of equipment.
The lifetime warranty also shows that the company stands behind their product!
The knurling is the same as you would find on an Olympic barbell adding to the satisfying feeling in your hands. It lets you get a good grip without slippage and really makes you feel like you are getting some real work done.
The Quick-Lock system
The Quick-Lock system they have designed for the dumbbells is quite ingenious.
The weights themselves are square and are made to stick together so they don’t spin around while you are lifting. The lock consists of a screw with a notch running along the length of the screw.
To unlock the quick lock system:
- You spin the locking screw until the notch lines up with the corresponding arrow on the dumbbell handles
- Pull out screw by just pulling it out, no need to keep unscrewing at that point
- Add or remove however many plates you want
- Insert the screw
- Spin to lock
The entire process takes about 5-10 seconds. This system is actually one of IronMaster’s patents.
Most adjustable dumbbells are far too long. They will a lot of exercises more difficult or impossible to do.
The length of the Ironmaster dumbbells were the most compact I was able to find. The ones that use Olympic plates are always far too long. It makes certain exercises impossible to do.
The IronMaster dumbbells are short enough that I can use them for overhead tricep extensions without the danger of denting my head from the ends of the dumbbells.
The dumbbells can also be expanded to support up to 165lb per dumbbell. though the official maximum is 120lb per dumbbell.
The 165lb version is a custom kit that IronMaster offers but it will void the lifetime warranty if dropped.
Add-ons consist of more weight plates as well as longer screws to handle the plates. Here is the breakdown of how much each part weighs
- Dumbbell handle - 5lb
- 2x Locking screws - 2.5lb each
- Weight plates - comes in 2.5lb, 5lb or 22.5lb (the 22.5lb plates are part of the add-on kits)
So the handle plus 2 locking screws would be 10lbs.
There have been a couple of add-ons to the system that really expand the number of exercises you can do without taking up much space.
One is that IronMaster has released a kettlebell handle!
There is a barbell and ez-curl handle as well.
Both barbells and kettlebell versions let you use the same square weights as the dumbbells. The kettlebell would actually use the same locking screw while the barbells have a collar to keep the weights locked on.
The 75lb version (which is what I now have) also comes with a weight stand.
The weight stand is nice but not necessary, it does a good job of keeping the weight plates all in one location.
I just keep my plates and handle on the mats I have on the floor.
- High quality - these are solid pieces of metal
- Versatile - Barbell, EZ curl bar and Kettlebell options
- Fast weight changes - 5-10 seconds per change
- Short length - the handle doesn’t jut out past the plates, makes overhead exercises MUCH safer
- Free storage stand with 75lb set
- Made in the USA
- Lifetime warranty
- More expensive than simple dumbbells - if you only need a few weights or have the space, you can go with the traditional dumbbells and save quite a bit of money
- Barbell option - I wasn’t impressed with the barbell option. I would stick with the dumbbell and kettlebell options instead. I can’t comment on the EZ curl, I never got to experience it first hand
- DB Stand - it comes free but I found I didn’t use it. It was just taking up space, so I stored the stand away and keep the dumbbells on the floor mats by the bench
- Weight plates are not rubberized. I don’t drop the dumbbells on the floor so it isn’t really a con for me, but you always see people in the gym just drop the weights. Always seemed a bit dangerous to me…
For people who need the space savings, I would definitely recommend the Ironmaster dumbbells. The quality of the construction along with the sheer versatility and usefulness make them an outstanding choice!
Also while it is nice the dumbbells can go up to 160 lbs, 99% of us will never need it. You can go with the 45/75lb version and be good for many years.
Especially if you go with a higher volume style of working out .