While gyms are still operating in a limited capacity throughout the States, it’s no wonder many exercise enthusiasts are turning to quit their home gyms. After all, you don’t even need heavy equipment for strength training these days. Sure, the essential home gym equipment remains subjective to the type of training you want, but dumbbells remain popular pieces of equipment. The reason is, they are handy and versatile little tools that can help you with hundreds of exercises. From basic curls to chest presses, alternating curls, tricep extensions, and shoulder shrugs, there’s so much you can do with a weight dumbbell set.
That is one reason why dumbbells are one of the most sought-after gym equipment. And they constantly go out of stock everywhere. Considering this opportunity, we decided to review NordicTrack adjustable dumbbells released a few years back. In fact, these dumbbells were NordicTrack’s first major swing at the adjustable weight market with a design that aims to further improve the ease of use. This adjustable dumbbell set can apparently do the work of 15 different pairs of dumbbells as their weights range from 10 to 50 pounds on each unit. In this article, we are looking at how successful they have been in improving the ease of use and what makes this set a good investment.
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Different Types of Adjustable Dumbbells Available Today
Before we delve deeper into the review and what makes this set unique, it will help to understand what’s out there already and what you are getting. Adjustable dumbbells have been around for quite a while. Their very first models worked similar to a barbell where you could slide on weight plates and then lock them with collars to hold them together.
However, in the last two decades, several manufacturers like Bowflex, Ironmaster, PowerBlock, etc., have come up with more user-friendly designs. Each of these brands sets itself apart by offering a unique approach to different features such as shape, material, weight range, and most important adjustment mechanism.
For instance, Powerblock’s set of dumbbells feature a large locking clip that can be slid into a suitable weight setting. On the other hand, Ironmaster uses a bit more traditional approach. As its models come with sliding plates, you have to spin a lock till the end after sliding them on or off. Bowflex uses tumblers with a dial to engage the NordicTrack adjustable weights and keep them secure.
All of these approaches come with their own pros and cons. Ultimately, the choice to go for which version comes down to personal preferences. Some people like the Bowflex design, while others prefer the Powerblock’s and so on. Unlike all of these brands mentioned above, NordicTrack has developed its own unique spin on the design.
The NordicTrack adjustable dumbbell set comes with an adjustable pin on each side of the dumbbell. You can slide the pin forwards and back to lock the dumbbells. Lift it a little to slide it to your desired weight limit, and then release it to easily lock it down. It’s very simple and requires no effort on the user’s part.
Nordictrack Select-a-weight 55 lb Adjustable Dumbbell Set Honest Review
The biggest selling point of NordicTrack’s adjustable dumbbell set is its highly affordable price. The pair comes at $329 on Amazon. To give you some idea, all the adjustable sets from brands mentioned above come at a much higher price than NordicTrack. With that said, let’s take a detailed look at some of its features.
As we already mentioned above, NordicTrack uses a small sliding adjustment pin to hold the weights. The pin has a very basic design, with no shiny bells and whistles. There are no eye-catching colors or fancy number dials like PowerBlock and Bowflex models, respectively. However, it gets the job done, and that’s all that matters. Right?
We have used these weights for quite a while and confidently say that it does their job without any issues. The pin doesn’t get stuck between the plates, and you always have the security that each plate will be locked securely into its place. While some people find the locking mechanism difficult because it’s invisible, we suggest moving it back and forth a few times to check whether it’s locked in. You also get used to it after a few times.
NordicTrack’s weight selection is also very diverse and satisfying. You get a wide range of weights. The lowest among them is 10 lbs up to 55 lbs with an incremental increase of 5 lbs. There are also smaller, 12.5, 22.5, 32.5, 42.5, and 52.5 lb weights to add some extra variation in the mix.
While other branded adjustable dumbbell sets require you to add all the weights manually, NordicTrack does this with a selector. It is attached to the innermost plates consisting of a tiny slider that pushes a cam to engage the plates. Notice it is also very simple, striking the right balance between quality and convenience.
However, keep in mind that you will have to keep the variable weight dumbbells in the included tray. This is because weights are locked into the handle vertically. Only the tray keeps them properly aligned. This is a slight inconvenience, but not something unfamiliar. If you have used an adjustable dumbbell set, you must have seen this design before.
Material & Build Quality
Here’s one aspect of NordicTrack’s adjustable dumbbell set that’s slightly disappointing. They feel more plastic than metal in your hands. No, the plates themselves are not plastic. In fact, they are metallic plates. However, they come covered with plastic.
Besides, the adjustment dial, pin selector as well as dumbbell handles are all made of plastic. Sure, plastic makes the entire unit a little more secure if you drop them accidentally. Still, there is no replacement for the feeling of having a metallic dumbbell in your hands. Right?
Other than that, we don’t have any major complaints.
The Nordictrack dumbbell design is excellent. The plates are octagonal with slightly rounded edges to give you a premium feel. Not to mention, this design gives them the right balance and ergonomics that you expect from any other standard rounded plates and enough flat surface to stop them from rolling away.
Some other brands use square plates. The problem with such square plates is that you always need to be cautious about not hitting yourself with a sharp corner. Octagonal plates remove this problem. You can do exercises like tricep extensions, etc. In addition, they stay put when you put them down for a little break.
NORDIC’s offers a month-long subscription of iFit to its customers which is a personal training ecosystem that makes workout regimen more dynamic and fun. It is a virtual gateway to a dozen world-class personal trainers that are accessible via smartphone, smart TV or equipment that has iFit integration.
The program has over 250 weight-training classes which can be narrowed down based on targeted muscle group and workout duration. Furthermore, it has employed 14 certified coaches that motivate during workout and provide detailed step-by-step instructions. Hence, even those that have never seen the face of a gym can quality training without having to spend extra for personal trainers.
The overall performance of the Nordictrack’s dumbbell set is well-above than most trainers in this price bracket. There are things that could have been a bit better but despite that it gets the job done. For starters, the storage trays feel flimsy and the slots for weight plates are less deep for our liking. You may find it a bit difficult to slide them together properly but once you crack the code it will be all breeze.
Adjusting mechanism is the standout feature of these dumbbells which is fluid and super easy to use. Once the weights are locked, sliding the pins at the top of weights can make 5 pound increments. You would appreciate the customizability while training a specific set of muscles guided by the coaches from iFit.
Furthermore, the set complements other gym equipment that is manufactured by Nordictrack. You can slide in additional weight plates from the Nordictrack Vault’s dumbbell set to add more resistance whenever you feel like packing some extra muscles.
Nordictrack could also have improved the grip because frankly it does not cut it for a 55 pound dumbbell set. The plastic grip is nearly non-existent and can get slippery when the hands sweat which risks accidental falls of 55 pounds weight dead on your feet. Rubberized grip would have been much better but most users would work it around using wrist wraps for additional safety.
Adjustable dumbbells are designed to save time when the users switch between different exercises. If the adjustable mechanism is difficult it essentially renders the set useless. Fortunately, Nordictrack did not disappoint and produced a set that lives up to its name. That said, there are few caveats to this set but none of them is a deal breaker and can be worked around with a bit of tweaking.
Who Are They For?
Because of the max weight capacity of 55lb, the NordicTrack dumbbells are targeted toward beginners and intermediate weight lifters. If you are just starting out or have a few months’ experience, you will benefit from the wide range of available weight options.
However, it’s important to consider how serious weight training you want to get before purchasing a piece of gym equipment. This is because the max weight range of dumbbells, barbells, and other similar equipment is very limited. If your strength increases too fast, you may have to invest in better equipment.
Still, 55lbs on both ends is a hefty maximum weight. Many weight lifters don’t even reach that goal. For others, it will take some years of strength training to reach that goal. And in case you are among the few who happen to outgrow them, if they are kept in good condition, you can sell them easily.
The Goods About NordicTrack Adjustable Dumbbell
- As compact as you can get in adjustable dumbbells
- Fast to adjust and very easy to use
- 15 adjustment settings to give you plenty of weight variation
- A solid and durable design if properly taken care of
- Reasonably priced, lower than many high-end brands
The Bads About NordicTrack Adjustable Dumbbell
- The plastic feel of the dumbbells, as most of its parts, are plastic
- Fragile plastic parts can break if dropped
- There’s no option to expand your weight range
While NordicTrack’s dumbbell set adjustable is quite good, sometimes you need a little more. Here is our suggestion for an alternative pair.
Bowflex 552 Select-Tech Dumbbells
Bowflex is a respected name in the industry, and its equipment hardly disappoints. The 552 Select Tech dumbbells are another of their quality offerings. This set offers 2.5 lb adjustments, excellent for various isolation exercises most beginners are fixated at. It’s also super easy to adjust. Not to mention, it comes with Bowflex’s unique select tech dial system. Moreover, they have slightly longer handles than the NordicTrack model we reviewed earlier. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, but it can be a bit awkward to train with for the first few weeks. Overall, they are a pretty capable alternative. Fast to adjust, convenient to use, and a reputable name in the industry.
Core Adjustable Dumbbell Set
Core’s adjustable set is another alternative that offers a premium experience to those that can burden their pockets. It features a solid build quality that feels high-end and has sleeker plate designs. Furthermore, it also offers handle adjustable which is a new level of customization. Grips are kurlly with ergonomic design and feel great in the hands.
Weight can be adjusted from 5 to 50 pounds with just a turn of wrist. It features “TwistLock Technology” that provides a natural feel as there are no large clunky handles or permanent support system. The interior rod lock makes the unit smaller in size as you go down in weight.
The downside? Weight increments are restricted to 5 pounds which can make the increase significant particularly on lower loads. It is in contrast to Norditrack’s dumbbells that allow 2.5 – 5 pounds of increments to gradually ascend. Furthermore, the price tag of the set is quite hefty and that would be a deal breaker for people that are new to home training.
In a nutshell, the set does not cut any corners and offers as premium a feel as one can get in a home training equipment. Those that can spare a couple of extra hundred would find this dumbbell set a total peach.
To Sum Up
If you already have a lifting routine, you must be familiar with the necessity of having a good dumbbell pair. Dumbbells offer an excellent range of motion as well as customizability – two qualities indispensable for a good workout. Nordic adjustable Dumbbells Set hits the market with quite a reasonable offering at a reasonable price. There’s nothing too shiny about this pair. Still, they are very easy to use, designed well, low maintenance, and provide excellent exercise range. Get them if you are serious about building your own home workout gym. That’s all for now. Thank you for reading, and do let us know what you think about this set.