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I Tried £399 Dumbbells – Were They Worth The Price Tag?


If you’re into home workouts, there’s a certain amount of kit you need. A decent mat, a set of dumbells and some YouTube fitness videos, and you’re all set.

Exercising at home is perfect for the rainy, dark winter months, but if you keep it up, doing three or four short workouts a week, you’ll soon find you’re able to lift heavier weights. And you should – albeit safely and correctly.

So, which dumbbells should you go for? The little light ones you might start out with are all pretty purse-friendly, but if you’re already quite strong, or you build up to breezing through 5kg bicep curls, heavier weights can have scary price tags.

On test: SelectTech 552s

Bowflex’s SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells are pretty hefty, but with a weight range of 2-24kg, they take up an awful lot less space than even a set of three.

How do they work?

The dumbbells replace 15 separate weight sets, combining them into one. You simply turn the dial to select the weight you want, with each dumbbell adjusting from 2-24kg. They’re wonderfully simple to operate.

Are they any good?

Depending on how heavy you normally lift, they can feel quite bulky. I was used to a nice neat 5kg, but needed to start lifting heavier, and these feel long and big in comparison.

But you soon get used to it, and if you’re already lifting heavy – 10kg, for example – your usual weights will already be quite sizeable, so you won’t notice the difference.

How much are they?

At £399, these weights are hugely expensive. They’re really hard-wearing, as you’d expect, and because of the moulding around the plates, there’s no loud banging and clanging when you put them down.

They also balance well if you’re doing deadlifts. You can sync your workout with the Bowflex SelectTech app to customise your experience and utilise different exercises to give your workout a boost.

It is a lot of money, but a pair of decent dumbbells in just one weight can easily be over £30, and if you buy them like that, you end up needing a rack which will make your cosy front room look like a sweaty home gym.

If you fancy going halves with a partner or flatmate, it works out quite well, and because the weight range is so vast, men and women can easily share these dumbbells, even if one is used to lifting heavy and the other’s only just starting out, which is definitely a good selling point.

Bowflex Select Tech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells, £399, Fitness Superstore.

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