PowerBlock Dumbbells - Are These The Real Deal?

PowerBlock have been making adjustable dumbbells in the USA since 1991. Along with Bowflex they have taken the hassle out of owning dumbbell racks for lots of home gym owners, where space and cost is at a premium. Along with Bowflex they are market leaders are extremely well respected.

Powerblock dumbbells aren't as long as Bowflex dumbbells, they are more compact and maybe a fraction or 2 less quick to change. If you are comparing between the two, a 20 lb Bowflex dumbbell is longer than a 90 lb PowerBlock dumbbell.

What Are PowerBlock Dumbbells?

PowerBlock call them a nested hand weight. They consist of 3 components.

  1. Weight Stack
  2. Dumbbell Handle
  3. Selector Pin

Weight Stack

Powerblocks are flat, they look like a regular toaster to some degree, & this has its own benefits. You can rest the flat edge on your thighs before hauling them up into position to start your set. Easy also to rest on a bench between sets.

You get a base, the dumbbell and a pin with each set. You place the dumbell inside the base each time you want to adjust the rack. You slot the pin over the correct color bar to select how much weight you want to lift. The pins engage the correct rods which adds the weight blocks onto the dumbbell.

The Handle

The handle sits inside the base crade. It is wrapped in foam and is very easy to grip. Once the weight is loaded, it operates as a normal dumbbell. It has the advantage of being precisely balanced.

They also have a kettlebell attachment (sold separately).

Selector Pin

On top of the base unit in which the weigh stack fits there is a color chart. It corresponds to the color bars on the side. Slot the pin over one of the bars to adjust the weight.

In this video Glen Shows you have to use them and slot in the two micro adder weights so you can adjust in 2.5 lb increments.

They have a number of sets and expansion kits which enables you to find a set of options that will suit your strength levels and goals. The expansion kits allow you to upgrade your set once you have maxed out and need heavier options.

For example if you need a light set of dumbbells, the Sport 24 set (replaces 16 sets of dumbbells) allows you to adjust in 3 pound increments. Selecting the following colors gives you:

  • white = 9 pounds
  • purple = 12 pounds
  • green = 15 pounds
  • blue = 18 pounds
  • red = 21 pounds
  • black = 24 pounds

There are 4 series to choose from

  • PowerBlock Series
  • Classic Series
  • Sports Series
  • Pro Series

The Pro series has a commercial expansion kit that extends each dumbell to 175 pounds.

This replicates 4086 pounds of free weights and is the equivalent to 22 pairs of dumbbells and the MSRP is a whopping $1999. For serious users only, and in reality would only be used for a few exercises- heavy dumbbell rows, super heavy bench press for 300 pound monster bodybuilders!

PowerBlock Exp 5-90lbs

The extremely popular PowerBlock Exp series gives you 5-50 pound dumbbells. There are 2 expansion kits (stage 2 and stage 3) which brings the total up to 90 pounds.

Stage 2 expands the kit from 50-70 pounds.

Stage 3 expands the kit from 70-90 pounds.

Problems

  • If you have large wrists you may not be able to fit them inside the dumbbell cage.
  • Although quicker to change than screw on dumbells, if you are doing dropsets or P90X you may be annoyed at having to set the dumbbell down and adjust weight. Not as quick as a dumbbell rack when you want to drop dumbbells and go.
  • Need stand to maximize changing times and to protect back.
  • Need to place dumbbells on a flat surface each time you want to change the weight, it's easy to misalign the pin on an uneven surface.
  • If you are struggling to comprehend just think of a weight stack machine at the gym. You place the selector pin just below the weight you want to lift. These work practically the same, slide the pin in to select the weight.
  • Can be a pain to change on a carpeted floor, need a hard flat surface, or the stand.
  • adder micro weights slots into one side of the dumbbell, meaning the weight won't perfectly be distributed 50-50 each side.

Good Points

  • Save a fortune on buying separate dumbbells and buying a rack.
  • Save loads of space by not needing to buy loads of individual dumbbells.
  • Can change in 2.5 pound increments (adding micro weights to handle allows you to adjust in small increments)
  • Neoprene lined handle offers plenty of grip
  • smaller than hex dumbbells as weight plated dumbbells once you get past 20 pounds
  • stand puts dumbbells at perfect height and allows you to make adjustments lightning fast
  • great space saver- works just like a dumbell rack, only uses much less space- a set can replace a complete dumbbell rack
  • can expand once your strength increases
  • perfectly balanced
  • 10 year warranty

Why Would You Need A PowerBlock Set?

If you don't have the room nor money to build and maintain a large gym in your home, you cannot beat the versatility and cost effectiveness of an adjustable dumbbell set. Changing times are extremely fast, and saves you running back to the rack each time you want a change.

PowerBlock Elite Available here

About Eddie Eastwood