Dumbbells are free weights and one of the most common pieces of fitness equipment you’ll find in gyms, studios and homes across the world. The reason for this? Well there are many, but simply put they are very easy to use, extremely effective and highly versatile.
A bit of Dumbbell History
Weights have been used for centuries, if not millenniums, to increase strength and build up greater muscles mass, across all countries and cultures. The name in English might sound strange but it seems to come quite literally from its origins; the Oxford English Dictionary suggests that weights were used as a tool for practising bell-ringing, and as they made no noise they were called ‘dumb bells’.
Their use for bell-ringing practice has given way over the years to fitness applications, and the modern dumbbell has a handle with the main mass that makes up the weight located on the two ends. You will find different types of dumbbells, but in general they can be categorised into 3 types.
Types of Dumbbells
The first is fixed-weight ones, where the dumbbell is made with two equal weights on the end of the handle and the weight cannot be changed. These are very common and you can buy them individually or in sets. In gyms you will find racks with them ranging from as little as 0.5kg right up to 50kg or potentially even more.
Adjustable dumbbells come with a metal central handle and open ends onto which you can secure weight plates – like a smaller version of a barbell bar. The plates are kept in place using either collars or ‘spinlock’ systems, with neither being better than the other but just a matter of design and personal preference.
The third type, and probably the least common although certainly equally useful, is those which come in a block and allow you to select which weight you want to work out with. These selectorised weights are extremely practical, replacing the need for stacks of different weights of dumbbells, although they are a bit more bulky to exercise with. If you need a range of differently weighted dumbbells but are lacking in space, then these are an ideal option.
Materials and Designs
Dumbbells are generally made from cast iron but can have different finishes and exterior coatings, and the weighted ends can also come with different shapes and designs. Rubber and neoprene weights help to reduce noise and protect floor surfaces when placing them down between sets, making them great for home use. Hexagonal, or hex, dumbbells let you place them down without them rolling away, and rubber hex dumbbells are very popular. Rounded iron weights are very common and usually come in a black colour, something which you will see in commercial gym environments. And ones with a chrome finish will look stunning.
Why Use Dumbbells and what to do?
Dumbbell training is a highly effective way to tone key muscles groups, build strength and increase muscle mass. What’s more, exercising with dumbbells activates not only the main muscles themselves, but also the stabilising ones too which makes your workout more comprehensive and can help reduce the likelihood of injuring muscles.
Dumbbells are very accessible. For those who work out at home, they don’t have to cost the earth at all, but are a very cost-effective fitness accessory that can deliver the same outstanding results as gym workouts. And for gym-goers, every gym will have a wide range of weights to use and to use people of all levels of fitness and strength. Dumbbell workout routines will also fit in well to those people following weight loss programmes.
It might be a bit daunting, first not knowing what to do with them and second because other people seem to lift much heavier weights that you are capable of, but don’t let this put you off. Even adding a couple of kilograms of weight to any exercises you do will have a big impact, increasing the resistance against which your body moves.
Men and women can use dumbbells to enhance their fitness routines and target muscles that can be difficult to work doing other exercises. Giving you a great range of motion on all exercises, dumbbells will suit 100s of different reps and drills and are certainly not just for your upper body. Whilst many people know that they can be used for curls, presses, raises, rows to target the chest, arms, shoulders and back, pick up a pair when lunging, squatting, doing jumps, deadlifts and plenty of other lower body or total body exercises.
With dumbbells you can perform one arm at a time or both together, letting you ease into exercises or specifically work each side harder and more attentively. Using two dumbbells together also gives you a mental challenge, engaging your brain more as you train. And whilst barbells are exceptionally good strength tools, because you’re not restricted by a long bar you can usually take each rep with a dumbbell deep and work a greater range of each muscle.
So if you feel that dumbbells are for you, then have a browse of our range above on this page. At Sweatband.com we sell weights from all the top brands, giving you the best choice and fantastic prices!