Dumbbells are a versatile addition to any strength-training workout. They allow you to perform weight lifting exercises in the comfort of your own home and are cheaper than a standard exercise machine. Traditional dumbbells are a fixed weight and can be purchased individually or in sets. Adjustable dumbbells work with adjustable weight plates and a bar with clamps to secure the weights in place. Traditional and adjustable dumbbells work the same and produce the same exercise results, though there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
When you visit your local gym, you have probably seen the racks of traditional fixed weight dumbbells. They usually begin at 5 pounds and go up to 100-plus pounds in 5-pound increments. While this is great for a gym, this becomes costly if you are looking to purchase a full set. On the other hand, adjustable dumbbells are much lower in price and offer you the versatility of different weights.
Think back again to those weight racks in the gym. Fixed weight dumbbells and racks take up a large amount of space. In contrast, adjustable dumbbells come apart and you can pack them away in a closet until you are ready to workout.
When working with any type of free weights, there is always the potential risk of injury from dropping the weights. With traditional dumbbells, you have one uniform piece. Adjustable dumbbells have the bar, the weights on each end and the clips holding them in place. Unfortunately, as time goes by, these clips can loosen and you may notice that your weights are moving in the middle of an exercise. Worst-case scenario, those clamps give way and you lose a weight off the bar. This can be a concern in over-the-head exercises like a dumbbell press.
Before beginning any weightlifting program, consult with a physician and trainer. Regardless of whether you are using fixed or adjustable dumbbells, proper technique is essential in reducing the risk of injury when using free weights. Never lift weights without a spotter. When choosing between fixed and adjustable dumbbells, consider the differences above to determine which is a better fit for you and your workout.
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.