Product Type: Marcy Fitness
Newest Review: ... collars often supplied with cheaper sets are not great. In the middle of a set, they can slip and cause an accident. Not these. They... more
The guns of Navarone!
Marcy Cast Iron Dumbell Set
Member Name: Danscomp
Marcy Cast Iron Dumbell Set
Advantages: Excellent design, will last
Disadvantages: Not cheap
As a lad, I worked a lot on my upper body. As an adult, I still do. If you are to get the most out of any weight-bearing exercise, you need to satisfy two criteria. The first is good technique. I've lost count of the amount of blokes, young and young at heart who have absolutely no idea how to lift.
They grunt, they groan. Their faces go crimson as they lift weights far in excess of what they should be handling. They pivot their body, jerking the weight and often causing themselves a mischief. And then they wonder why they are not building much muscle.
The second criteria is the use of decent equipment. If you are going to buy dumbbells for home use, for your own sake, do NOT shell out on chunky plastic discs filled with sand. Save up a little longer if you need to, and get something that not only will last, but will make the exercises you are doing far more effective through more efficient concentration of weight.
You NEED cast iron.
Pump it real good
This particular set comes with either 12 (20kgs) or 24 (40kgs) cast iron disks, two 14 inch steel rods with grooved sections for the two sets of spin-lock steel collars. These again are a smart investment. The clip-on collars often supplied with cheaper sets are not great. In the middle of a set, they can slip and cause an accident. Not these. They will stay in place. It is good design.
How much weight should you use for each dumbbell? That depends largely on how much you can safely handle. For home use, as long as you can do a minimum of two sets of ten repetitions with good form, you're there. I typically use 25kgs for each at the gym. At home, I would use 20kgs and more reps.
There are a number of exercises that you can perform with dumbbells. The most common are bicep and hammer curls. Here's my short routine. There is no rest between sets. The aim is to reach the point of muscular failure. This allows for the maximum benefit in the shortest amount of time.
Start with ten dumbbell curls for each arm. It is best to do them separately as concentration curls, sitting down and putting your elbow on the inside of your thigh with legs apart. Alternatively, you can sit or stand, then do both arms at once. But you need to be disciplined in how you perform the exercise. Keep upper arms pinned at your sides. Do not jerk the dumbbells. Lift slowly. Rotate your wrist at the top of the movement, tensing the bicep. Lower carefully, at the same speed you raised it.
Follow with twelve hammer curls. Position the dumbbells so that your thumbs are pointing up. Keep the hand where it is throughout the exercise. This will help develop your forearms. A must if you plan to keep everything in proportion. Continue with a set of eight dumbbell curls. Stop if you are struggling after this. Do NOT start ruining the technique of the exercise to grind out extra, pointless reps. If you are able, finish with one more set of eight hammer curls.
If you feel capable of more after this, you need to consider raising the weight. If you had serious problems finishing the third set, drop the weight. You'll soon find what works for you. Above all, if your technique is good, you will benefit
Another classic dumbbell exercise is the shoulder press. Position the dumbbells over your shoulders with your thumbs pointing behind you. Lift and rotate your hands so that your thumbs are pointing at each other when your arms are at the top. Do not lock your elbows. Once more, slow and steady is best. Aim for three sets of ten reps. You need to be careful when starting to do these exercises as it is very easy to hurt your neck or shoulder by incorrect or forced technique.
Some people work their triceps by performing dumbbell extensions. I think this is a mistake. There is usually too much stress placed on the elbow, resulting in inflammation. If you want to use your dumbbells to work your triceps, place them on the floor and perform press ups while holding them, taking care that they don't roll away on you. The extra few inches that you need to lower will work both triceps and chest.
Sound as a pound
One of the unfair things in life is that the length of your tendons between the bicep and the forearm are destined genetically. If you have a short tendon, you will never have biceps like Arnie or Jean-Claude, regardless of how hard or long you train, or whatever - ahem - supplements you use. But you can still get to a respectable size without either.
The 20kg set will cost you around £40. It is a premium price, but a premium product. The rods are solid steel and weigh a couple of kilos all by themselves. The one drawback is the number of plates. You can fit them all onto one rod, and thanks to the rotating collars, you will be safe. But it is a little ungainly.
An option to have 2 x 5Kg and 4 x 2.5Kg plates would have been better in my opinion, but I can see why they went the way they did. There are far more graduated combinations this way. (4 X 0.5Kg Cast Iron Plates, 4 X 1.25Kg Cast Iron Plates and 4 X 2.5Kg Cast Iron Plates)
Summary: Iron to match your will ;)