Over the past two years, demand for health & fitness products skyrocketed. People are now choosing to work and work out from home. It saves time and having no monthly gym membership, saves money.
If you’re looking to exercise from home, you’ve come to the right place. I’m reviewing the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells. As the name suggests, these dumbbells feature adjustable weights ranging from 5 to 52.5 lbs. The compact design provides 15 dumbbells in one set. That’s perfect for a small home gym, but are they any good?
Design of the Bowflex SelectTech 552
These dumbbells are shipped fully assembled with one dumbbell in each box. The handle and weight plates sit in a base. With weight adjustment knobs on each end, the weight increments range from 5 to 52.5 lbs on both adjustment knobs.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 features a clever locking mechanism. It ensures proper selection of weight plates and plate retention during workouts. The adjustment knobs only rotate when the dumbbell handle is completely inserted in the base. If either adjustment knob is not engaged on a selected weight plate, the dumbbell handle remains locked to the base. This is an excellent safety design feature.
Proper weight selection is accomplished by selecting the weight number on both ends of the dumbbell. For example, to have a 20 lb dumbbell, the adjustment knob must be set to 20 on both sides. Once the number is set, you can feel the adjustment knob settled into a notch. It also makes an audible clicking noise to ensure the weight is set. The dumbbell can now be removed from the base at the desired weight.
Around each metal plate is durable molding. It prevents noise when the dumbbells are removed from the base and placed on a surface. This is important, especially for people who live in a condo or near others.
Offset weight selection
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells offer a unique feature called offset weight selection. It’s something I’ve never seen or considered in dumbbells. It involves using a different weight setting on one side of the dumbbell relative to the other. While this seems counterintuitive and perhaps dangerous, it’s not. It can be a powerful muscle developing tool during certain workouts.
For example, the traditional bicep curl does little for the forearm muscle that assists in the rotation motion of the wrist. This is known as the supination and pronation of the wrist. By using different weight settings on either side of the dumbbells, you can train supination and pronation muscles during a bicep curl. Offset weight selection provides users additional workout options to build strength in muscles like the forearm.
Bowflex SelectTech app
The SelectTech adjustable dumbbells provide users with a variety of different exercises at home. With the Bowflex SelectTech app, users can choose a workout for a specific muscle group or start a 6-week challenge. The app acts as a personal trainer and guides users through each exercise with video demonstrations. It’s a great option for people who are new to strength training or just want a simple workout plan to follow.
By setting up a profile, the app calculates your calories burned to help you gauge effort. Users can also connect a Bowflex heart rate monitor to the app to get more workout metrics. From there, users can track their workouts in the app and log in their reps and sets.
Using the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
I work out in a small home gym and jump rope in my backyard. I tried the dumbbells in both locations during my morning workouts. On the first workout, I got comfortable with dumbbells during my warm-up. I set each knob to 5 and only the handle was removed from the base. This tells me that the handle without plates is the starting weight of 5lbs. From there, I added on weights and performed my typical dumbbells exercises. These include standing bicep curls, shoulder presses, incline bench, lateral raises, etc.
Compared to traditional dumbbells, these ones are longer. This is to accommodate all the different plate options up to 52.5 lbs. With lighter weights, the longer handles weren’t an issue. However, it definitely feels different once you get into heavier weights. While the grip is secure, the larger size will take some time to get used to.
By far, the best feature is the adjustable weight design. It is super easy to switch weights between sets and exercises. It’s perfect for people who like to superset, or decrease the weight down between sets until failure. 52.5 lbs dumbbells give me a lot of exercise options at home. I usually use dumbbells weights between 20 lbs and 60 lbs at the gym.
During bicep curls, I tried offsetting the weight. I only went up by a 2.5 lbs increment. I could feel the different muscles in my forearm becoming activated. However, it didn’t feel right or proper to me. I think I need to become more comfortable with these dumbbells before I try offset weight selection again.
Final thoughts on the Bowflex SelectTech 552
For obvious reasons, working out at home became very popular in 2020 and 2021. As the demand for new or used dumbbells went up, it became next to impossible to find them. The Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells are for people committed to exercising at home. With a weight range of 5lbs to 52.5lbs, it provides 15 different sets of dumbbells in one.
It’s a good choice for people with limited space. The dumbbells have a fantastic grip and switching between the weights with the dial couldn’t be easier. That said, there are some things to consider.
First, it will take time to get comfortable with these dumbbells. They are longer and thus the weight distribution is different. Your muscles will feel it, especially if you recently used traditional dumbbells. It really became an issue for me with heavier weights. They just feel heavier than usual.
Second, offset weight selection seems dangerous. I’d like to see a section in the app for these types of workouts. They should provide users with more information and workout options for offset weight selection. Without assistance, many people may injure themselves. The SelectTech app has potential, hopefully, they will add more features and workout plans with offset weight selection.
If you want to work out at home and need free weights, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells will not disappoint. Provided you got the eye of the tiger, these dumbbells will help you reach all your fitness goals.