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How Do Adjustable Dumbbells Work?

In the past few years there has been a steep rise in the number of home gyms. This has further resulted in the unending search for gym equipment. One of the most sought-after equipment for home gyms is the adjustable dumbbell.

A highly efficient and versatile solution for strength training sessions, adjustable dumbbells are a league above traditional dumbbells, especially when it comes to home gyms. They allow easy weight modifications depending on your workout needs. 

That’s why it becomes even more vital for you to understand the world of adjustable dumbbells and how to optimally use these ingenious tools get your training in right at home. 

You can tailor your workout routines with ease once you’re able to grasp the functionalities of adjustable dumbbells. And thus, progressively get stronger by targeting various muscles and raising resistance training with different weights. 

Knowing how adjustable dumbbells work will further help you make better decisions before investing in any type of gym equipment. 

That said, let’s dive in!

What are Adjustable Dumbbells?

Ingenious strength training equipment, a set of adjustable dumbbells provide the user with easy weight customizations and offer varied resistance levels. The main purpose is to provide efficiency, flexibility, and convenience in exercises; thereby, ideal for fitness enthusiasts and personal trainers with different workout preferences and varying strength levels. 

The adjustable dumbbell is made up of a variety of key components: a single dumbbell handle, weight plates, and a mechanism that secures the handle and plates together.

The weight plates are placed on either side of the handle as the user grips the dumbbell handle at the center. The big thing the changes from  brand to brand and model to model is the mechanism for changing the weight!

There are pros and cons to each of these design variations. There are compact adjustable dumbbells with only one single unit that houses the weight plates. Then, you have dumbbells with a dial mechanism that are quite popular among users; The most common design, though, allows you to adjust the weight by adding or removing the plates manually to choose your desired weight.


Exploring the Change Mechanism: How do Adjustable Dumbbells Work?

Dumbbells with adjustable weights function on a variety of underlying locking mechanisms, each one allowing you to tailor weight loads uniquely. 

You can efficiently set the dumbbell weight seamlessly, making workout customizations in home gyms possible and effectively helping you progress in your exercises. There is a stark difference in the adjustment speed, ease of use, and overall experience with each of these designs. 

Plate Loaded Adjustable Dumbbells

One of the most common and popular types of adjustable dumbbells - the plate loaded style is cheap and effective. You just manually slide your weight plates onto the dumbbell handle to adjust the weight load. You'll need to lock them in place with a collar to secure the weight plates. 

The construction and components are stable making them perfect for heavy lifting, different types of exercises, and weight training. These generally come compatible with either 1" standard plates or a 2" olympic plates and you can use whatever plates you may already have in your gym!

Twist Lock / Spinlock Adjustable Dumbbells

A spinlock adjustable dumbbell set is very similar to a plate loaded dumbbell. The end of the dumbbell handle will be threaded and uses a twist-locking mechanism that allows you to release or secure the plates with a collar and adjust the amount of weight.

This type of dumbbell is very old school and usually only compatible with 1" standard weight plates. 

PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells

Powerblock utilizes a system that’s unique to their selectorized adjustable dumbbells. PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells have a boxy, rectangular shape that encloses around your hand. The dumbbell handles have adder weight slot to adjust small increments (2.5 - 5lbs) and then they have steel plates around the dumbbell handle that adjust for every 10lbs. The handle has slots in it for weight selection, and the selector pin goes around the color coded steel rail and into the selector slots on the handle.  You can tweak the weights in a matter of seconds by simply pulling the pin out and placing back in the desired spot. 

Specifically designed for simplicity, efficiency, and convenience, PowerBlocks are revered by workout enthusiasts and are the go-to equipment for home gyms. 

Dial Adjustable Dumbbells

In contrast to the Twist-Lock type, this single pair of dumbbells consists of a turning dial mechanism. You need to turn the dial, which will then select a specific number and choose your desired weight. The dial simply activates the underlying mechanism which adjusts the weight load.

Tools such as the Body-Solid Tools SDBX132 or Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells use a dial system on either side of the handle. You select the weight by rotating this dial mechanism which raises or lowers the load incrementally. 

A different type of dial adjuster system is used by MX Select. They have an easy to use pop-pin that lock and unlocks at the press of a button. You can then simple turn the dial to select your weight increment and push the dial down to lock it in. 

The design of the Turn Dial adjustable dumbbell is user-friendly. You have the leeway to select precise weights and the adjustments are quick.

Pull-Slide Selector

This is an extremely common modern adjustable dumbbell change mechanism. You pull the lever or slide the selector pin along the rail mechanism. Doing so locks the pin into position and selects the weight plates accordingly.

This type of adjustable dumbbell has a level or pin for the weight adjustment mechanism. You choose the weight load by either pulling the lever or sliding the pin along a rail system. 

The weight adjustment time is minimal, the design is compact, and the components are easy to use.

Handle Twist Adjustable Dumbbells

This style of adjustable dumbbell was widely popularized by the SMRTFT Nuobells. These dumbbells might have the simplest change mechanism out there. Simply twist the dumbbell handle to change the weight. There is an indicator on the side that shows you what weight is selected. 

This set of adjustable dumbbells offers a short bar handle with a threaded end. By twisting the locks into position, you can secure appropriate weight plates to the threaded handle.

You may choose different weight settings by utilizing the dumbbell’s handle and adding or removing the plates. 

Ideal for amateur lifters, the adjustments are quick and easy.

Smart Adjustable Dumbbells

This set of dumbbells features LCD screens and sometimes a mobile app; the interface can be smooth and user-friendly. You adjust the weight load by making use of the electronic controls and sensors. The Digital adjustable dumbbell functions on an underlying motorized system that is activated digitally through your weight inputs on the LCD screen. Data tracking, programmable, and precise weight settings are some of the advanced features that make this dumbbell type an attractive option.

Adjustable Dumbbells: Benefits and Drawbacks

A careful analysis is crucial to decide whether or not adjustable dumbbells line up with your desired workout style, budget and preferences.

Benefits of Adjustable Dumbbells

  • Extremely Versatile Tool: In contrast to regular dumbbells, a single set of these dumbbells provides you with various adjustable weight options. Be it for bicep curls, bent-over rows, or shoulder press, there’s no need to change dumbbells. One set for a wide range of weights, major muscle groups, and a variety of exercises.
  • Compact: Simply put, adjustable dumbbells take up a very little amount of space. Unorganized, cluttered, and limited workout spaces will never be a worry again with these dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells work wonderfully for home gyms where space is quite limited. These ingenious tools with a compact design cut down storage needs, saving much space. Space save from not having a full size dumbbell rack will allow you more area to workout or to put another piece of equipment.
  • Cost-Effective: One of the key factors why you should invest in these tools - they will save you a bucket load of money. No more piecing together a used dumbbell set or shelling out cash for a full set up front. Purchasing a set of adjustable dumbbells will be way cheaper and much easier. Get on your way towards your fitness goals!

Drawbacks of Adjustable Dumbbells

  • Adjustment Time: Selecting and changing the plates to adjust the weight of the dumbbell might be a hassle at first, depending on the change mechanism. It may even break the flow of your workout which honestly can be quite annoying. Twist-lock and Plate-loaded adjustable dumbbells especially will require extra patience, effort, and time.

  • Weight Limitations: You might feel limitations in weight loads as you progress through your strength training. Advanced lifters may find a few models to be lacking in overall weight. Even precise weight increments could be an issue since there are limited options small weight changes.


Tips for Using Adjustable Dumbbells

Here are some practical tips and safety precautions for you to make the most out of your adjustables:

  • Secure the Adjustable Mechanism: Do not forget to fasten the locking mechanism using the lever, pin, or dial on either end before lifting. If you're not used to your set, the plates can slip off or get stuck if not locked in properly.
  • Uniform Weight on Both Ends: Plate loaded, spinlock and turn dial adjustables usually change the weight one side at a time. Ensure to set the same weight on both ends of the dumbbells to keep it loaded properly. 
  • Maintenance: Just like any other gym equipment, adjustable dumbbells can also wear out with usage and time if they are not taken care of appropriately. And if there are any damaged parts, they can quickly turn into a safety hazard. Routinely check and inspect your dumbbells prior to using. IF something is loose, tighten it. If something is cracked, get a replacement part - you get the jist. Regular maintenance will not only increase the longevity of your tools but also prevent injuries.
  • Take Full Advantage: Implement your adjustable dumbbells directly into your normal routine. Focus on different muscle groups by utilizing varied exercises in the convenience of your home gym. Prevent plateaus and keep your muscles pumping and guessing through a wide range of tempos, stances, and grips, that these adjustable dumbbells offer.
  • Implement Progressive Overload: Raise the resistance gradually by lifting heavier dumbbells over time to challenge the muscles. Adjustable dumbbells make this easy to do! 

Get Your Hands on Adjustable Dumbbells Today

Adjustable dumbbells are already a very common sight in the fitness industry, especially in home gyms. Extremely versatile, takes up less space, and a very cost-effective solution; a pair of adjustable dumbbells will open up new avenues to further take your workout to the next level. Knowing how to efficiently use and implement these pairs of dumbbells will bring you a step closer to your dream physique and build.

Now that you’re thoroughly equipped with our guide on how do adjustable dumbbells work, go ahead and check out some of the products we offer:


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