One of the biggest issues for most people who want to do dumbbell exercises at home is the cost of getting a wide enough range of weights.
One of the products that a few of my clients were buying for their home fitness gyms is the Bowflex SelectTech range, so I decided I needed to take a closer look at it.
And I found some pretty exciting facts. Read more as I review the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells.
What Are Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells?
Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells are adjustable dumbbells that take advantage of a unique dial system to adjust the weight settings.
I believe these Bowflex adjustable dumbbells have become so popular in online reviews because of how easy and fast it is to adjust and change the weights.
You can have both dumbbells adjusted in about 5 seconds, which could be essential and highly beneficial for anyone who needs to maintain specific heart rates in between sets.
The weights range from 5 to 52.5 lbs, which will be enough to cover everything from squats to biceps curls and bench presses for most people.
What might be more critical, though, is the weight increments.
From 5 to 25 lbs, you’re able to adjust in 2.5 lbs increments, and from 25 to 52.5, it’s 5 lbs increments.
That should give you enough flexibility for each set of exercises in your workout routine, even you're just at your home gym.
How Do They Work?
Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbells work by rotating a dial system at each dumbbell end. There is a number printed for each dial turn that should make it fast and easy to make the switch in between each exercise set.
The different available plates are either engaged or disengaged as you turn the dial.
When you pick up the dumbbell in your home gym, some plates remain in the stands.
At the end of each of your exercise sets, you place the dumbbells back in the stand, ready to turn the dial for your next workout.
The speed with which you may set the weights is critical if you’re doing a lot of high-intensity interval training.
This is where you wouldn’t want your heart rate to drop below a certain level. But there are more benefits to this product.
Benefits Of Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells
While it ended up in a typical team discussion about the order of these benefits, at least we agreed that all these seven should do training with weights at home much more feasible.
1 - Space Saving Design
Even if you’re lucky enough to be able to use a part of your garage or a spare room, space is going to be an issue for home gyms.
You might have a rower or treadmill, a barbell rack, and a bench already taking up a fair bit of your workout space.
One thing often highlighted in the online reviews and from my own experience is that the SelectTech product range is space-saving and pretty easy to store.
2 - Good Option For Increment Flexibility
Depending on how you structure your workouts, you may have some exact requirements for the amount of weight you lift.
That’s not a problem when you’re at your local gym, as there are probably more than a hundred different dumbbells available.
Having a smaller increment option, like the same weight range of traditional dumbbells.
That is one of the main features of the Bowflex SelectTech range, which is why some of our clients opted for buying these dumbbells.
3 - Looks And Feels Like A Regular Dumbbell
I’m a bit of a traditional kind of guy when it comes to my fitness and gym equipment.
I like things made of steel and made in a familiar way.
That might make me old-fashioned, but I don't think I’m the only one.
With the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, you’ll get that typical round shape that should feel somewhat familiar.
4 - Quality Hard-Wearing Design
I was initially skeptical about seeing some of the parts made of plastic.
My experience with plastic fitness equipment has been pretty poor.
But I have to say that after months of use, I don’t think that the plastic parts are getting worn out.
They also don’t seem to be under constant strain and look like they might be helping to protect the mechanism that engages the adjustable plates.
It seems to use premium quality materials, making it a solid and reliable option for your home gym.
5 - Fast Weight Adjustment
This is a big plus and one we’ve already mentioned.
The weight plates take less than 5 seconds to adjust, and we had a few entertaining competitions here at the office.
As you’re going through your exercises, there are two things you don’t want to happen:
- You don’t want to spend a load of time adjusting weights and bringing your heart rate down.
- You don’t want to waste a short moment to catch your breath on struggling with the weight plates.
You don’t have to worry about it because adjusting the weights will take a minimal amount of time out of your workout.
6 - Suitable For All Types of Dumbbell Exercises
We already mentioned that they have a space-saving design, but compact also has the bonus of not getting in your way.
We have encountered similar products that might be too bulky for things like a shoulder press or upright rowers.
The last thing you want is to adjust your workouts for a set where the dumbbells just get in your way.
Also, they won’t occupy too much space when you set them aside after your workout.
7 - Affordable For Home Gym Equipment
This is probably another deciding factor for people setting up a home gym.
While price shouldn't stop you from committing to a workout routine, having to buy 20 or 30 dumbbells is quite an expense.
And with the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, you could end up saving a small fortune.
For the price of one product, you get the same benefits as if you had an entire set of dumbbells.
8 - You Won’t Need A Load Of Storage Space
If you’ve ever had issues with storing your weights and workout equipment, that’s something you probably won’t experience with these dumbbells.
Even on the standard stand, they should only take up about 2 square feet of floor space, allowing you to keep them out of the way.
This means less space occupied and more room for storing other pieces of equipment.
Is There Something We Don’t Like?
Overall, I believe that the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is one of the best on the market, but there are two minor things that I would highlight.
These are by no means game-changers, but I believe that this wouldn’t be an honest exercise equipment review if I didn’t highlight them.
Minor Materials Issue
Yes, I have to get back to the plastic parts. These aren’t part of the core adjustment mechanism, unlike other similar dumbbells.
But they are still used as a way to engage the different selections.
Now, I haven't had an issue so far, but I would be interested to see how these parts look after a few years of regular and complete workout routines.
Plastic is not ideal for an otherwise premium, excellent quality set.
What I mean here is that if you go to the lowest setting and then the highest setting, the overall length of the dumbbell stays the same.
I’m used to lifting heavy and bulky weights in my fitness routines.
But some people who tend to use lower weights for just a tiny amount of resistance could feel a bit bulky.
It is also not advisable to use these adjustable dumbbells for a few workouts that involve placing your entire body weight on them, as it can hurt the delicate dial mechanism.
Do You Need Any Accessories?
The Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbell set doesn't need any accessories. On its own, it's already a good investment for your home gym, but I have found a couple of accessories that might help to improve your workout just a bit more.
Full Height Stand
The official Bowflex dumbbell stand is well designed, where each weight is just the proper distance apart.
This might make it just a bit easier to get your body in the proper position to lift them without causing unnecessary strain on your back.
‘’Back pain may be caused by poor posture or technique. If your back is rounded, your hips are put at a high angle that stresses the ligaments. When you lift weights, it adds additional stress that can lead to strain.’’ - Michelle Wishart, Fitness Writer
If you have a bench space at home, make sure you get one.
You’ll gain a lot more flexibility in both compound and isolation exercises.
There’s a very good reason why you see plenty of them in gyms.
The Bowflex bench options seem to be as good as they get, and I’ve read many positive reviews about the quality and comfort.
We also reviewed the best dumbbell racks out on the market.
Bowflex 552 vs 1090 Differences
The most popular among the Bowflex adjustable dumbbell range is the Bowflex SelectTech 552 model.
Before comparing it to other available options, let me explain what the numbers mean.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 is an entry-level dumbbell that allows you to change the weights from 5 lbs to 52 lbs, and that’s where the 552 description comes from.
This should help you review the other two options.
If you need a higher weight range, then the Bowflex SelectTech 560 would give you a range of 5 to 60 lbs, while the SelectTech 1090 model is the real heavyweight.
Following the same logic, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 starts at 10 lbs and goes all the way up to 90 lbs.
We recommend the 1060 model to more experienced people who can lift that weight.
For the average home gym, though, I believe that the 552 model should be more than enough.
But if you do have some bulking and strength training plans, then maybe it’s best to go to the next size up.
I say this because you cannot increase the weight range at a later time through extra add-on weights.
Are Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells Worth The Investment?
Yes, the Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbells are worth the investment. While the Bowflex SelectTech 552 is a great purchase, I have yet to find other models where weight plates are more easily adjusted while not compromising space and durability.
Even as a professional fitness coach with plenty of gym equipment at home, I have found that I use these more than the standard dumbbells that I have built up over many years.
I have enjoyed using them, and I believe they are an excellent choice for a small home gym or home workouts in general.
Are Bowflex Dumbbells Any Good?
Yes, Bowflex dumbbells are good for strength and fitness training. They have one of the unique mechanisms for changing weights that may be best suitable for people who need to avoid cooling down too much in between sets.
Are Bowflex Dumbbells Suitable for Muscle Building?
Yes, Bowflex dumbbells are suitable for muscle building. Many bodybuilders have switched to using them in their home gym because it helps them save space for other equipment.
Because of the shape, they also feel just like a standard dumbbell. That way, you should be able to focus on your workout rather than adjust your exercises.
Should You Buy Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells?
If you want to have the flexibility of an extensive range of dumbbells without the huge price tag of a full set, then Bowflex is most likely the best answer.
Whether you’re aiming for progressive overload or just want to do some high-intensity interval training for weight loss, you won’t be struggling with variety.
The design is compact, and based on all the review comments I have read, it’s likely the easiest one to use.
I even work with professional bodybuilders, who find these the best solution to keep their equipment less cluttered.
So after using these for some time, it’s safe to say it’s one of the best options out there for a home dumbbell set.
Make sure you let us know how they work out for you on social media.