For a while now I have been searching for a piece of home exercise equipment that would give me a solid resistance workout, yet wouldn't take up a lot of space. I had my eye on the Bowflex Selecttech 552 series free weights, and after some research and deliberation, finally decided to pull the trigger. I am 100% satisfied with the purchase and will use this article to provide you with my general impressions after a few weeks of use as well as some pros and cons of these specific weights.
If you are unfamiliar with these dumbbells, they are Bowflex's take on adjustable free weights. The resistance can be adjusted from 5 pounds all the way up to 52.5 pounds at increments of either 2.5 or 5 pounds. Both weights are housed on a "platform" and all you need to do is twist the dials at either end of the weights to your determined resistance and then pick them up. The excess weight that you do not use just stays on the platform. It's really that simple!
The main advantage of the Bowflex Selecttech 552s is a pretty obvious one: the ability to adjust weights quickly with the turn of a dial. Just place the weights back into the platform, select your weight, and start a new exercise. There are 15 different resistances to select from so you have a wide range of choices.
Also, the fact that you have 15 different weights at your disposal on only one dumbbell saves you a tremendous amount of space. I certainly dont have space for 30 different dumbbells at my house and I don't know too many people that do.
Another, possible less obvious, feature of these weights is a rubberized grip. They are easy to grasp, don't slip out of your hands, nor do they rough up your hands like traditional dumbbells.
I have found two main disadvantages of these weights. The first is their size. In order to accommodate all of the possible resistance levels, the weights are much larger and longer than traditional weights. I haven't had any huge issues with this, but I would understand of someone found it unwieldy. I have found that with certain exercises like a fly or a military press that, because of their extra length, the weights come in contact with each other much sooner than with a standard weight.
The second disadvantage that I have found is transporting the entire weight/platform system from place to place. I keep the platforms in our storage area in our basement which works fine if I do not need to make a lot of resistance changes. Other times, I actually bring the entire systems out in to the basement so I can make more rapid changes. You either have to move the entire system as a whole (close to 55 pounds) or you have to make multiple trips. The weight isn't a huge problem for me but for someone who has trouble lifting a heavier amount of weight, I could see this being an issue.
Side by side comparison to standard 2 pound weight
I listed this under a separate heading because depending on how you look at it, this can either be an advantage or a disadvantage.
Typical price range for the Bowflex Selecttech 552 weights is $299-399 (I got mine for $299, btw). At first glance, that seems like a lot and may turn some people off. However, if you do a little research, this actually could be a huge advantage.
With a quick Amazon search of "Dumbbells", I found a listing for Cap Barbell Sold Hex Single Dumbbells. I picked this example because these dumbbells come in many of the same weights as the Bowflex. Looking at the prices at the time of me writing this, a single 5 lb. weight costs $11.67. Of course, you need to buy two so now you are looking at over $23. A 25 lb. weight costs $32.64, totaling approx. $65 for the pair. We are now at close to $100 and we only have purchased 2 weight levels! Move up to the 50 lb. weight, and you are at close to $60/dumbbell.
For just those three weights, the total price is almost $210. The Bowflex gives you 13 additional resistance levels for anywhere from $299-399. Plus, you don't have to store all of those weights!
I cannot stress this enough: you do not need a ton of exercise equipment to construct a comprehensive golf fitness program! Nor do you need to pay monthly gym fees when the vast majority of exercises can be performed at home (assuming that you know what you are doing!).
My home setup is fairly basic: an exercise bike, stability ball, resistance bands, and now the Bowflex Selecttech 552 free weights. This is just the way I like it because nothing that I listed truly takes up that much space. I have a decent sized finished basement with the normal furnishings (couch, ottoman, TV, kids' toys, etc.) and I am able to get everything done without too much hassle and within a relatively small amount of space.
While it would be nice to have an exercise bench down there as well, I currently do not have the space. So what I have done in this situation is use our ottoman as a makeshift bench. The length is perfect and while the width is slightly more that a standard bench, it still allows me to perform dumbbell flys without any major hindrance to my shoulder range of motion. It works great for every other exercise that I do as well like military press, overhead triceps press, or bent over rows.
I can target practically every major muscle group with just those few pieces of equipment. I get cardio from the bike, the bands work perfectly for the rotator cuff and chopping/rotation exercises, and the stability ball provides a great core workout with hundreds of different exercises and variations. The free weights now provide some heavier resistance and also more freedom of motion than what the bands provide.
Yes, there are some factors about the gym that are nice, but for me, I'm much more comfortable in the confines of my own home.
*If you would like to read more about these weights, please follow this link:
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