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I never thought I would be this excited about a set of adjustable dumbbells, but apparently that’s where I’m at these days. Ever since the pandemic started, I’ve been trying (and mostly failing) to find the same enthusiasm for working out at home that I had when frequenting gyms and group fitness classes.
Even though I’m fully vaccinated, going to a local gym just doesn’t feel like a safe thing for me to do right now, since I currently live in an area where vaccination rates aren’t great and mask wearing seems practically nonexistent. So I’ve stuck to working out at home.
The results of my new at-home workouts have been…mixed. I really, really missed lifting significant weights and having a whole gym full of equipment to use. Bodyweight workout videos and light weights can be great, but it was getting old doing the same thing, by myself, in my apartment every workout. Then I received a set of the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells to try out, and they brought a lot of what I’ve missed about the gym into my home. I’ve found myself using them almost every day.
I’ve discovered that a set of adjustable dumbbells can be a good one-and-done home-gym purchase for someone looking to strength-train at home, especially for apartment dwellers who are short on space and aren’t looking for a huge hassle with equipment. The Core Adjustable Dumbbell Set features two adjustable dumbbells that each go from 5 to 50 pounds in 5-pound increments. While it’s not the same as a whole gym’s worth of equipment, this definitely provides the range to mix up and progress your workouts without buying more stuff.
The coolest part comes when you adjust them: You literally just twist the handle of the dumbbell as you pick it up off the base—no loading and unloading plates or anything else that’s going to slow you down between sets. For comparison’s sake, I previously bought an adjustable kettlebell that you have to take apart completely any time you want to add or remove weight, and it is harder than it should be. No one needs that kind of negativity mid-workout.
The set is pricey at $395 (amazon.com)—and another $160 for the optional elevated stand—though the cost seems comparable to other adjustable dumbbell sets of similar weights. But what sets these apart for me is how easy they are to adjust and how normal they look and feel. Once you assemble the base and plates for each dumbbell (which took me about 10 minutes), you’ll see that it uses a standard 5-pound dumbbell as the handle, so you can use those alone for low-weight reps. When you put the 5-pound dumbbell into the base and twist the handle, you can add on increments of 5 pounds, which adds plates directly on each side of the dumbbell. This way, your weight still looks and feels like a regular flat-sided dumbbell—it doesn’t become unnecessarily big and bulky at lower weights, which can happen with some adjustable sets.
After using these weights for a few weeks, I can say that the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells feel really great and intuitive. At lower weights they feel super secure, though there’s a tiny bit of jiggle when you go up to 40 and 50 pounds. Still, that may be unavoidable with adjustable dumbbells and doesn’t necessarily say anything about their safety and durability. I feel comfortable doing everything from overhead weighted squats to chest presses with these, and it’s still comfortable enough to grip the sides when doing things like goblet squats and overhead tricep extensions (though it’s maybe a bit harder than if you were using a hex dumbbell, for instance).
I was also pleasantly surprised that there was no weird new-weight smell, which can happen sometimes when buying weight-training equipment. They also take up basically no space in my apartment, even with the optional elevated stand. My weights and stand live in a corner of my apartment and measure about 3 feet long, 2 feet deep, and less than 3 feet high—not a terrible footprint for a home gym.
The one potential downside for fellow apartment dwellers: actually getting them inside. While the delivery process was seamless and fast, it’s worth noting that the adjustable dumbbell set will come in two big boxes, each weighing a little over 50 pounds (plus a third box for the stand, if you purchase that). If you, like me, live on the third floor (or higher) with no elevator, I would suggest bribing a friend to help you carry these bad boys up to your home—not trying to do it yourself…especially if you are not quite as strong as you were going into this pandemic. (Seriously, learn from my mistakes.)
Overall, I would definitely recommend this set to anyone looking to weight-train at home without a bunch of equipment. And the best part: no annoying gym bros grunting theatrically nearby and forgetting to rerack the weights properly.
Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells
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