The Dumbbell might very well be one of the most versatile equipment items you can own. The number of ways you can use dumbbells to increase your fitness level is limited only by your imagination. We are firm believers in doing more with less. Creative programming and usage is easy with the dumbbell.
We do suggest that you look for a few things when selecting what type and weight dumbbell for your home or commercial gym. A few considerations now will help you make the best decision on what style of dumbbell is the best for you.
The Handle - There are two basic handle styles - the straight and the contoured. We really like the contoured handle because it fits much more comfortably in the hand. The slight taper on either end makes it easier to grip. Most dumbbell handle thicknesses increase marginally with increase in weight. Handle diameters can range in thickness from 25MM to 35MM.
Knurling - The engraved pattern on the handle is there to enhance your grip. It helps you hang on to the dumbbell during a long workout or when it rotates in your hand as in the Snatch. Most dumbbell knurling is light to moderate and is not deep or sharp enough to cause any discomfort.
The Head - This is the part of the dumbbell which attaches to the handle. Here is where the most variation occurs between manufacturers. We like the Rubber Hex hands down. The 8 sided head keeps the dumbbells in place when you set them in the rack or on the ground. And the rubber coated head increases durability, protects flooring and equipment, keeps noise to a minimum and is easy to clean.
Sizes - It is our recommendation that you select three sizes of dumbbells with which to train. Heavy-Moderate-Uncomfortable. So, how can you determine what those weights might be?
Heavy - this weight should scare you a little. If the programming included 5 reps of Clean and Jerk Every Minute On the Minute [EMOM] for 10 minutes, this should be weight that would leave you wiped out at minute 8. Recommended weight for men - 55lb, for women - 35lb.
Moderate - this is a weight that I would want to use for Dumbbell Fran [21-15-9 Thrusters/Pullups] The goal is to be able to get through each round of reps in two sets max. Recommended weight for guys - 35lb, for women - 25lb.
Uncomfortable - notice we didn’t say “Light”. You shouldn’t get anything light. Light things don’t make you strong. They make you good at picking up light things. Who needs that? Anyway - pick something that’s uncomfortable for a WOD like 20 Renegade Rows/20 Double Unders - 4 Rounds for time. That’s 80 reps. Recommended weight for men - 25lb, for ladies - 15lb.
Many of the Foundational CrossFit movements can be performed with the dumbbell