Home Adjustable Dumbbells Best dumbbells 2022: York to Technogym | British GQ

Best dumbbells 2022: York to Technogym | British GQ

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The best dumbbells are simple tools that can have a huge impact on your weightlifting gains on the road to bigger arms.

Bulging biceps aside, shifting a weight around can do far more than work your arms. A solid set of dumbbells or adjustable weights make for a formidable addition to your cardio routine, focusing on making your muscles (and therefore your body as a whole) stronger. You don’t necessarily need to lift heavier weights all the time to reap the benefits either, with many exercises focusing on lightweight, high rep movements for stability. 

With so many weight options available, dumbbells are a staple of any good commercial or home gym. As with their kettlebell and resistance band cousins, they’re quick to master, take up little space, and are super effective.

With all that said, there are a few things to consider before cracking open your wallet and ordering a bunch of heavy weights. We’ll go through a few basic things first, before diving into our top picks, though you’re welcome to skip ahead too, if you know what you’re after.

What are the best dumbbells?

Best dumbbells for beginners: Proiron

Proiron 20kg Cast Iron Adjustable Dumbbell Set

This is a superb set for anyone starting out on their weightlifting journey. Cast iron plates ensure a lifetime of use, letting you split 20kg across each dumbbell or lift more with a single arm, while an included adaptor that converts them into a single barbell is genius too.

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That’s right, smart dumbbells are absolutely a thing, and here’s the proof. Jaxjox’s entry will automatically track your weight, reps, volume and more, so you can keep an eye on your progress via a connected app. This is an adjustable set too, which means you can dial in weights up to 22.7kg on each dumbbell for extra convenience.

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MuscleSquad 32.5kg Adjustable Dumbbell

Adjustable dumbbells are a great way to save space and reduce the time spent faffing around with removing or adding weight plates. This model from MuscleSquad offers an impressive 32.5kg total weight, which can be adjusted all the way up from 5kg.

Should you go with fixed or adjustable dumbbells?

Fixed dumbbells are the kind you find in gyms and are well suited to drop sets when you’re lifting progressively lighter weights. The best adjustable dumbbells will let you change weights to increase or decrease the load you can lift and offer more variety in terms of the exercises they can be put to use. These are a good option if you have more limited space and would like the option of lifting a variety of weights from one easy setup. They’re also a good starting point for beginners who want to gradually increase the weights they lift as they go.

What should your dumbbell be made of?

Dumbbells are traditionally made from stainless steel or cast iron, but you’ll find plenty of options that come in more durable and protective materials, such as rubber and urethane, that can be a better fit for home use. These softer options are less destructive when dropped on fragile surfaces such as tile and hardwood, though they’re still going to give any unfortunately placed toes a rough time. Another benefit to dumbbells with a softer finish is the fact that they’ll make less noise when plonked down — something to consider if you live with or above others.

Does the shape of a dumbbell matter?

Most dumbbells have traditional circular weight plates, but you can also snap up different shapes such as hexagonal and triangular weights. Aside from standing out, these will also prevent them from rolling around the floor like miniature toe-crushing road rollers, and can be more convenient for exercises like renegade rows. The downside is that these shapes are limited to certain manufacturers and can be more expensive and harder to find.

What should you look for in terms of grip?

Being able to get a good hold of your dumbbells will ensure you get the right form during reps to maximise benefits of the exercise and not put yourself at risk of an injury. Knurling (the crossed lines pattern on the handle) on the grip usually indicates an ergonomic dumbbell that will be easier to hold. A metal finish on the handle, particularly common on fixed dumbbells, is often a more favourable option, particularly when things get a bit sweaty, though you could buy a pair of neoprene or mesh gloves for extra grip if you prefer.

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