T Nation

Dumbell Rack Lifting Aids

I’ve been looking into the possibility of developing a dumbell rack that helps with the handling of dumbell weights while doing sets. Usually when body builders think of dumbell racks, they think of dumbell storage racks for hex-shaped racks. I’m not talking storage racks, but of the actual rack that will assist a person to position themselves in front (or underneath) of the dumbells before lifting them and allow them to rest the dumbells after each set done (like what the traditional barbell rack does for a person for preloading of weights and self spotters).

There are several designs of these types of machines/racks, but so far none will do the job like I’d want them to due to design limitations. Some of the designs I’ve come across are not even being produced (perhaps due to dis-interest or because other weight lifters didn’t like how they worked or bad marketing or all of these problems).

Several months ago I searched for a machine that would hold my dumbells in place so that I could lay down on the bench, get underneath of them and then lift them off the rack to do reps. I did find this one simple weight accessory called POWER HOOKS. Some people like them (according to testimonies). I bought them.

They do hold the dumbell, but the power hooks are a bit clunky and make the dumbell handle a bit uncomfortable because of design limitations. I suppose one could just put up with it and get use to the way they work. Trouble is, if I end up not being able to push the dumbells back up to starting position, I get a bit trapped with heavy dumbells while laying down. Then I’d need to wrestle a bit with the dumbells to get them off of me so I could sit up and put them on the floor. I imagine other lifters have similar situations (yes/no?). Every lifter has their own way of getting through this snaffoo.

I for one am not satisfied with that solution. That’s when I started thinking and doing research into various past and present dumbell rack designs to see what designs have been done. So far I haven’t found the design I’m after and that brings me to the point where I’d like to develop my own dumbell rack product.

I have several questions for all here (hope to get some response) :). And perhaps there is some helpful feedback from experienced lifters too.

How interested would you be in a product that helped you lift dumbells more safely in various exercises and get you started in safer positions to avoid injury due to hiking up dumbells while laying down on a bench. How much would you pay for such a machine if it was truly helpful or even revolutionary in design. It would not be smart to design a product, get patents, and spend lots of money to get it into production without some user feedback.

The main issue is for people to avoid unsafe positions and movements that could potentially incur minor or major injury due to straining and awkward movements. Anything ?can? be done without training aids, but you increase your risks to injury very much when you include movements that are unsafe because you can’t avoid them. Trying to get up from a dumbell bench press could make lifters hurt their backs in the process even if it’s just a minor pull in the back muscle or minor spinal pinch.

I know many lifters tend to ignor these sorts of small pains as they subside within several hours or a couple days. Lifters try to control the movement of getting up after a set in such a way so as to make the movement smooth enough in an attempt to prevent injury to the back. This to me is Russian Roulette with the spine. At some point all those little back pinches and back muscle pulls are gonna result with back problems down the road.

Yet heavy dumbell exercises are essential for varying your workout routines and they hit certain stabilizer muscles that normally don’t get hit the same way as with barbell routines. In fact I’ve found that heavy dumbell shoulder shrugs feel safer than heavy barbell shrugs, but it would be safer to not have to lift them from the floor each time.

Side point: Which do you prefer? Dumbell w/bar integrated (hex weights) or seperate dumbell weights & dumbell bars.

Me, I like the flexibility of seperate dumbell weights and bars.

FYI: This is primarily a product that would be used by lifters who want to lift at home (like me) though I imagine a Gym industrial version could be developed for Gyms too (and for people who want top notch features and don’t mind paying a bit more for it). I want the home version of this product to be able to handle up to 300 lb dumbells (600 lbs. for both dumbells). I figure anyone who can do more than that is far and few in between and would want the industrial gym version.

I forgot to mention that this rack can also handle barbells as well. But I primarily am interested in developing a system that focuses on dumbell rack and spotting even though it can be made to handle both barbells and dumbells.

All dumbell systems of this related sort don’t have a way to spot dumbells at multiple positions during the ROM which would be especially important during heavy dumbell work with DB bench presses and also to a lesser degree with DB military presses & DB flies.

I’ve never heard of anyone getting hurt when doing db bench presses. It’s pretty easy to just dump the db’s if you cannot complete the lift or after your set is done.
If nobody is in the gym on a max effort chest day, than I will occassionally use db’s instead of barbell presses for this very reason.
Good luck.
-Tim

[quote]timmyboy5410 wrote:

I’ve never heard of anyone getting hurt when doing db bench presses. It’s pretty easy to just dump the db’s if you cannot complete the lift or after your set is done.
If nobody is in the gym on a max effort chest day, than I will occassionally use db’s instead of barbell presses for this very reason.
Good luck.
-Tim[/quote]
It’s not the DB bench press that strains your mid section. It’s when you hoist up the weights and lay down is where it’s possible that you could pull an ab muscle or perhaps a back muscle. Then when you are done with your set, you have to strain in order to sit up with those heavy dumbells in hand or wiggle around in order to sit up on the bench after a set. It’s those movements that I’d rather avoid with dumbells which led me to search for a product that would help with that situation.

When I looked around the net, I didn’t find much except for the POWER HOOKS and they don’t offer spotting positions, but just a starting position. Because I couldn’t find the type of tool or rack I wanted, that’s when I decided that I’d look into building my own. There are various similar patents of one type, but none offer the self-spotter feature. Of the different designs I’ve seen, none really do what I want. I then thought that perhaps other people might want such a rack too hence my survey here.

As far as just dropping dumbells, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to bust up my floor (or concrete in my basement) by letting the dumbells drop to the floor. It’s also possible to mess up the dumbell itself. No thanks, rather avoid that option.

If anyone here isn’t clear on the principle behind my idea, I’d be happy to clarify whatever is fuzzy.

If you were in the market for a dumbell/barbell rack lifting aid, would you buy the product described above?

If yes, how much would you be willing to pay?

A. $100 - $200
B. $201 - $300
C. $301 - $500
D. $501 - $700
E. $701 - $900
F. $901 or a bit more

I’d pay approximately $0 for one, and probably wouldn’t ever use one even if it were free. No interest at all. Why, you ask? Because it’s totally, 100% unnecessary, and a superfluous invention. I have a great version of what you’re talking about selling, except mine was free…it’s called a training partner.

Or you can just man up and move your weights around…even if it means wiggling around. If you do a lot of DB work it becomes a little bit of GPP…walking back and forth with the weights is like a farmers walk. I made a point of using a bench far away from where I’m picking up my weights on the rack so I get the walk in.

[quote]InCorporeSano wrote:

I’d pay approximately $0 for one, and probably wouldn’t ever use one even if it were free. No interest at all. Why, you ask? Because it’s totally, 100% unnecessary, and a superfluous invention. I have a great version of what you’re talking about selling, except mine was free…it’s called a training partner.

Or you can just man up and move your weights around…even if it means wiggling around. If you do a lot of DB work it becomes a little bit of GPP…walking back and forth with the weights is like a farmers walk. I made a point of using a bench far away from where I’m picking up my weights on the rack so I get the walk in.[/quote]

I can image if you were lifting way back in the early 1900’s you would have thought that the regular bench rack was superfluous too. Now most lifters use the common bench rack because it’s a superior way of positioning the barbell. This idea aims to improve on the existing idea making it even more flexible. That’s OK, I expect people to be critical of something new and different. I’m only sorry I cannot provide drawings–perhaps they would better explain the concept. I’m still in the pre-patent phase so that is out of the question.

BTW, training partners don’t usually work out with you in your home–doesn’t work for many people at least not for me. I need to be able to work out by myself and there are various other individuals who work out alone too.

Wiggling around and straining to get up from a laying down position on a bench is a recipe for potential hurt (pulled groin muscle, kink in the spinal area back muscles, etc.). Believe me it does happen 'cause all it takes is one careless manuever and ouch–I’ve done it and I try my best to avoid potentual risks. I’d rather avoid that as much as possible. This rack system would help a person avoid those situations more effectively. There’s no perfect solution if one wants to work out with weights, but why continue to use old methods when there are better methods that can be developed.

With everything said, thanks for your post. I’m getting opinions and it helps in the grand scheme of things to know how people think of these sorts of new introductions. Keep’em coming :slight_smile: