NordicTrack's adjustable dumbbell system is like having 15 sets of weights in one, and it's become an essential part of my home gym

NordicTrack's adjustable dumbbell system is like having 15 sets of weights in one, and it's become an essential part of my home gym
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  • A high-quality dumbbell set helps you work toward building and maintaining muscle, should be easy to use for a wide variety of exercises, and can easily stow in a closet or garage.
  • I tried NordicTrack's Select-A-Weight 55 lb. Dumbbell Set which is unique because it features a total of 15 sets of weights in just one system — and a liked that it takes up minimal space and was mostly easy to adjust.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky As gyms across the country remain closed or operate in a limited capacity, many dedicated lifters decided to outfit their own at-home gyms to maintain the ability to strength train. Essential home gym equipment is subjective to the type of weight training you wish to do but one of the most popular pieces of equipment is the dumbbell. These versatile tools can be used for hundreds of exercises ranging from curls and tricep extensions to the shoulder shrugs and chest presses.
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With dumbbells in short supply almost everywhere, I jumped at the chance to test NordicTrack's Select-A-Weight 55 lb. Dumbbell Set. These dumbbells are highly versatile and are capable of adjusting from 10 pounds on up to 55 pounds each — this also allows it to have an incredibly small footprint, too, making them great for small living spaces.

Like have 15 sets of weights in one

The entire set comes with two dumbbells that each have their own specific tray. The hard-plastic tray is marked with the weights to guide your adjustments, and it also serves as handy storage when the dumbbells aren't in use. The plates are 12-sided rather than round, which aids in aligning the dumbbells properly when placing them in the tray.

In total, each dumbbell adjusts between 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 32.5, 35, 40, 42,5, 45, 50, 52.5, and 55 pounds each. Not only does this accommodate a wide range of exercises but it also affords you a clear path to getting stronger by being able to incrementally add weight.
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Intuitive setup process

The dumbbells arrived in a box that looked quite beat up — perhaps this was just from normal shipping but it warrants noting. Overall, the box weighed 125 pounds, which was much too heavy for me to carry, so I opened the box on my porch to be able to move one dumbbell inside at a time. This turned out to be the right call as the Styrofoam packed in the box had been pulverized during delivery, and would've been a pain to clean up in my home.

During the delivery process, a plastic piece of one of the selectors on top of one of the dumbbells busted off. It wasn't a functional piece as the arrows on it appear to only serve as a visual reference. I could've fixed this easily with super glue but decided to skip it since the selector was intuitive enough that the arrows were unnecessary. I found the page of instructions to be confusing, but once I started using the set a bit, I discovered it was mostly simple. There are selectors on the top of both sides of each dumbbell which adjust their weight in ten-pound increments. You need to just pull the adjuster up and move it forward or backward to the weight you want. Then, on the interior of the inside plates is a disc selector that adjusts the weight of each dumbbell in 2.5-pound increments. Everything is labeled for easy reference, too.
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Within five minutes of opening the box, I had the dumbbells in my home gym and figured out how to use them.

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What makes the dumbbells stand out

Before receiving the set from Nordictrack, I'd done very little weightlifting over the past 20 years. But after picking back up some cardio and recently losing 55 pounds, I needed a way to keep the weight off. Muscle burns more calories than fat so I figured I'd pack on some muscle. My original goal when I hit my target weight was to get a gym membership but where I live, most gyms remain closed.

What I particularly liked about this set is that to make them even more versatile, all I needed was to add a bench (I now use the Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max Weight Bench). With the bench, I have a home gym with virtually limitless strength training options. And, since the set takes the place of 15 sets of dumbbells, I've been able to set up my gym in an out-of-the-way corner of my living room.
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I've used the dumbbell system every other day for a little more than about two months now, and I mainly do dumbbell bench presses, tricep extensions, and alternating curls, and often do a circuit of exercises with a rest between each set. Though there are potentially eight different adjustment points on the dumbbells, it's a smooth process once you get the hang of it. At no time did I have any issues with the weights or selectors.

It's also important to note that these dumbbells are essentially maintenance-free. If you sweat excessively on them, you do sitll want to wipe them down with a towel but other than that, they're hassle-free.

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Cons to consider

I find it somewhat annoying that there are eight selectors you potentially need to tinker with when changing weights, yet I'm not sure there's a better way to engineer such a variable system. Each dumbbell has two top selectors and two disc adjusters and though i've gotten the hang of making the adjustments quickly and rarely messing it up, there were two times early on when I ended up with misbalanced weights. Practice makes perfect, I guess.
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Another nitpick is that the increments between weights aren't entirely consistent, either. For instance, each dumbbell has possible weights of 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 22.5, etc. However, weights like 17.5, 27.5, 37.5, and 47.5 aren't an option, so as I'd slowly up the weight I'd lift each week, I had to go from a 2.5-pound boost to a 5-pound boost. It's not a major issue, but the nerd in me wants consistency.

The warranty that comes with the dumbbells is only good for 90 days, which doesn't seem long for such an expensive product. That said, I haven't had any issues with the dumbbells during the time I've been using them, and they seem solidly built and highly durable.

The bottom line

Despite the minor negatives above, I still strongly recommend NordicTrack's Select-A-Weight 55 lb. Dumbbell Set, if you can afford it. At this price point, it ceratinly may not be for everyone, but it does make a solid addition to a home gym and one that takes up little space and allows for a wide range of possible exercises and lifts.
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  • Should you buy it? If you have the budget to spend over $500 on home gym equipment, then yes. It's like buying nearly 15 different sets of dumbbells, so it's versatile enough to allow you to expand your weekly fitness routine without taking up the same amount of space. With that said, if you don't tend to lift heavier weights, or don't need some 40 pounds or more of weight fluctuation, you can save some money by opting for a single lightweight option.
  • What are your alternatives? Though it's not a dumbbell specifically, consider adding a set of resistance bands to your home gym. Resistance bands are able to do many of the same exercises and lifts as dumbbells and can be more cost-effective and space-saving. If it's still a set of dumbbells you seek, check out our guide to the best dumbbells for your home gym.

Pros: 15 weight options, easy to adjust, maintenance-free, features a helpful storage tray, takes up minimal space in your home gym

Cons: Up to eight selectors need to be adjusted when changing weights, short warranty, expensive investment
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