BowFlex are specialists in home fitness. They have a range of machines and products which make working out at home closer to having your gym at home. As an avid hater of the gym and keen to get back into strength training after having my second baby, their adjustable BowFlex dumbells sounded like something which could take my workouts up a notch, especially as they could go from 2 to 24kg with a simple twist.
There are packages and then there are PACKAGES. When not one, but TWO parcels turned up for me which were too heavy for me to even get up the stairs resulting in them hanging out on the hallway for several days, my long-suffering husband raised a weary eyebrow. “It’s for YOU too!” I reassured him, “You’re going to love it!” When I eventually managed to get the parcels upstairs with the help of our wonderful nanny (who has saved me from many a sticky situation), there was still some convincing required. First however, you should know a little more about what I was sent. The BowFlex SelectTech 5521 is a weights system which consists of two dumbbells, each with the capability of quickly and easily switching weights from 2kg up to 24kg in increments of 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 23, and 24kg. There’s no faff required, taking plates on and off, such as you’d find with barbells. Who’d complain about that?
But I put forward my case as follows (I should have been a lawyer):
- You don’t belong to a gym yet know that strength training is something you want to work on. Ta-daaah!
- You don’t have time to go to the gym. Now you don’t need to go anywhere. You could work out in your pants if you wanted. Ya-daaah!
- They’re heavy! They’re super heavy! These are proper weights like you’d get in a proper gym. Ta-daaah!
- You love things which don’t take up more weights than you need. This is the fitness version of nesting tables. Ta-daaah!
I’m not sure whether my husband relented to put an end to such annoying-ness or because he was truly convinced.
We’ve currently got them stored in our lounge – they’re pretty discreet but ideally I’d have them outside on our balcony. However, I’ve not yet managed to find something which will work to raise them off the ground and keep them dry. So for now, they’re inside with us which I quite like, as I do most of my workouts in our lounge!
How the BowFlex SelectTech Dumbells works
Each dumbbell has a ‘frame’ and a cradle which it sits in. Within the cradle, there are weighted plates. With the dumbbell frame in the cradle, you switch around the weighting indicator on the side of each end to assign your weight. If you wanted, you could have one weight at one end and a different one at the other. You can only change the weights when the dumbbell is in the cradle. Once changed, you can use as per a normal dumbell.
What I liked
I think the mechanism is just so clever. One second I have a 2kg weight and the next a 24kg one! It made working out feel quite compact and ‘tidy’ – I didn’t have to pull out all my weights for my workout. One thing I know I need to work on too is strength for bone density. Currently, my home weights only go up to 6kg so this immediately gives me more scope for my home workouts. There’s a rubber grip around the metal bar which helps reduce any slippage.
What I didn’t like
The dumbbells are quite long which can get in the way of some exercises. It’s not terrible but it does take a little while to get used to. You also need to put the dumbells back in their cradles to change the weight, which isn’t a problem as long as you’re working out near where they’re stored. If I’m totally honest, I also think they’re a little ugly when they’ve got fewer weights on – but in the grand scheme of things, that wouldn’t stop me using or recommending them.
If these weights were just for me, they’d be wasted. I’m never going to need 24kg dumbbells, but they’re great as a shared piece of equipment for myself and my husband. And whilst they’re heavy, and longer than most normal dumbbells, they really don’t take up too much space. Don’t get me wrong, they’re an absolute luxury to have as they’re not cheap but if you’re someone who uses weights a lot at home then these are a smart investment.
Who are they for: Home workout types who have their own home gyms or workout from their lounge and who like to lift heavy!
Where from: They sell worldwide, but for the UK, buy online at Fitness Superstore, or look up their retailers.
How much: £399 for two dumbells (sold as a pair)