T Nation

Adjustable DB's


I need a pair of adjustable DB's to bring with me on a ship.

I've had my eyes on the Bowflex Selecttech 1090 Dumbbells (pictured), which look nice but kind of pricey.

Has anyone here tried these or some other type of adjustable DB you would recommend?


I have had a pair of powerblocks for over 10 years and use them regularly without any problems. They too are expensive but are very durable and well made.


Powerblocks are the best. More compact. More practical to use.


I've heard these are nice...


I have the bowflex dumbells. They're convienent but aren't too durable. I wouldn't be too confident putting them down on the floor with too much force.


I was looking at Powerblock, as they are the only ones I can find that doesn't require oversea shipping. The price was just ridiculous though, seeing as how you need to buy the basic 9.0 set and then the 9.0 II set to have enough weight to work with.

I've tried a smaller version of the Bowflex, and I agree that they do not seem to be very solid.

The Ironmaster DB's look nice.

Thanks to all for your input.


what type of ship are you going on that you can take dumbells?


Don't those things only go up to 50 lbs?


Elite set 5-130 lbs


What type of ship did you have in mind that could not house a pair of DB's? lol


Bowflex go up to 90lb, Ironmaster goes to 120lb.


I don't remember Navy ships offering much in the way of personal storage. I'm sure you could bring a pair of DB's, but there'd be little room for anything. Of course there's no need since every Navy ship I've been on already has exercise equipment.


i own both the powerblock 130s and the ironmaster 120s- I say the ironamsters r much better to that hardcore mentality us heavy lifters have. I think the powerblock feels a little more balanced and is a little faster to change, but also kinda seem to delicate to drop. with the ironmaster, u will require more stabilzer strength in my opinion.they do not rattle and u could slam the $#!^ out of em after a good heavy set. I vote Ironmaster.


I happened to be in two different Sears stores over the weekend. They sell the Bowflex and each store had a demo model. Both sides of both dumbbells from the set in both Sears stores were broken.

In other words, 8 separate chances for the mechanism to still be working, and all 8 failed. I can't comment on the others, but there is no way I would buy the Bowflex ones.


Most adjustable dumbbell sets (at least the cheap ones) effectively require you to have the base tray that comes with them, as it holds the plates in position so you can drop the handle in and adjust them. This is a major drawback as far as portability (and an even more major drawback with the cheap brands that have a plastic base.

From the looks of it, the powerblocks don't have this problem. Is this true?



I'm currently on a supply vessel in the North Sea. We have exercise equipment here, but unfortunately no free weights. There is a multi station kind of thing which is decent enough for a few things (lats, arms), but there is no way to really train legs or even shoulders.

I am looking for something that won't take up too much space, which is why the Bowflex seemed ideal. After reading the comments here I have reconsidered.


Have you considered jump stretch bands?


I've never used them outside of physical therapy, and don't think I'd like them much for pushing heavy weights, but they should provide you with more flexibility to your workout. Another bonus is not having to worry about compensating for swells.

The price is similar to the adjustable DB's, will probably be easier to store, and will certainly be a hell of a lot easier to carry around. You could probably get away with safely storing the base in the gym (no one would know what to do with it) and keep the bands in your private storage.


makes sense to me to not have free weights on a rolling ship. but fyi... I have the ironmasters as well. I like them a lot.


That's a good idea, I'll definitely buy some bands. I don't think I'd need the base, should be easy enough to improvise something in that regard.


You just have to store them properly when not in use, that's all.