NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set review in a sentence: Bowflex-style adjustable weight set has a trump card up its tight fitting sleeve: one year of iFit classes worth over $300/£250.
If you haven’t already added strength training into your regular cardio routine, you don’t know what you’re missing. One of the most essential parts of any collection of the best home gym equipment is a set of the best dumbbells. As popularised by Bowflex, this kind of instantly adjustable dumbbell – no fiddling about with collars and weight plates here – is a great solution if time and space are at a premium for you. It fits the equivalent of 15 pairs of dumbbells into one – admittedly quite large –pair, in a tray.
We’re in the middle of sun’s-out-guns-out season, after all, and if you’re tentatively trying to transform your single-barrels into doubles this year, this is the gear that can get you there. As one of the most fundamental pieces of gym equipment you can own, plain ol’ dumbbells are great for full-body HIIT routines, helping you get fit, burn more calories, and bulk up your limbs – one muscle group at a time. There’s nothing dumb about these dumbbells, though. Heck, one might even call them smartbells.
This ergonomic dumbbell set might be just what your home gym was missing, and NordicTrack sweetens the deal by bundling in one year of iFit’s excellent on-demand classes, to boot. Granted, 55 pounds might not be enough weight to satisfy the powerlifters among us, but these dumbbells are still a rock-solid option for your next sweat session, especially if you could use a few pointers in the form department. Read on to see if these dumbbells are for you.
NordicTrack Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set Review: Price and availability
In the USA, NordicTrack’s Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set is available from their website for $599, and your purchase comes with a one-year iFit Family membership – a $396 value – which is half the draw here – more on that below.
In the UK and Australia, this particular NordicTrack weight keeps selling out, but when it is available – check on Amazon – it will cost you around £500 or AU$800.
NordicTrack Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set review: how do they work?
Just like a regular dumbbell, except with a tad more customization. The 16.5 x 8-inch footprint of each dumbbell (when maxed out to full weight capacity) is somewhat larger than the industry standard, but each one is fully adjustable between 10 and 55 pounds in 2.5, 5, and 10-pound increments, which allows you to seamlessly switch between sets in a matter of seconds.
Well, relatively seamlessly. Swapping out those mini-weight plates is as simple as pulling out two parallel pins on each dumbbell, sliding the pins to your desired weight range, and popping ‘em back into place. Easy-peasy.
NordicTrack Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set review: design and build
This NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set is built like a tank, so select a low-traffic area to store them – where you’re less likely to stub a toe. The base weight of each Select-A-Weight dumbbell starts at 10 pounds, and as you Select A (heavier) Weight with the sliding pin, the appropriate plates click into place, leaving behind the unused ones as you pick the dumbbell up.
There’s a rotating dial on the inside of each dumbbell to adjust the smaller 2.5 and 5-pound increments, and you can slide the main pin back and forth to select from 15, 20, 30, 40, or 50 pounds; the stickers on each side of the storage trays take out any guesswork out of just how much iron you’re about to pump. Overall, it’s a similar style to the Bowflex SelectTech 1090i/552i Dumbbells or PowerBlock Sport 2.4 Adjustable Dumbbells, which are comparably priced, and similarly customizable.
Note: Don’t try attaching any loose plates back onto the dumbbells without putting them back into their proper tray slots first. I hastily attempted this during the unpacking process, and if each groove on each plate isn’t lined just so, the plates won’t connect properly. This basically means that those storage trays are essential for adjusting the weights; if you try to swap out the plates sans tray, those plates inevitably end up strewn all over the floor. Annoying, but not a deal-breaker.
NordicTrack Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set review: performance
Let’s chat some more about those storage trays. They do their job just fine, but for this kind of money, they look and feel a bit flimsy. And this is admittedly a small complaint, but the notches/slots for each weight plate could be a little deeper; if the plates are slightly off-kilter when you return the dumbbell to the tray, they don’t slide together properly. Once you get the hang of it, though, adjusting the mechanisms on each dumbbell is a snap – literally. You’ll acclimate soon enough, but just make sure everything is locked into place before you pick the dumbbells up. Safety first, folks.
After using the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set for a couple of weeks in my home gym for a variety of HIIT and CrossFit-style workouts, I was pretty darn impressed with how well they complemented the rest of my gear. I also own a NordicTrack Vault, which came with its own dedicated dumbbell set, but those ones max out at a paltry 30 pounds. How am I supposed to build and bulge my beach muscles with just 30 pounds, bro?
Long-story-long: you better believe I’ll find a use for that extra 25 pounds of resistance whenever I feel like packing some extra muscle onto my frame.
As well as that weight tray base, there are a few other things NordicTrack could improve here. The dumbbells’ plastic grip and nearly non-existent knurl are underwhelming at best. They can get a little slippery if your hands are sweaty, and you certainly don’t want to drop 55 pounds of deadweight on your foot.
A rubberized grip would be much better, though I suppose you could use wrist wraps as an additional safety measure for some exercises, like dumbbell shrugs. The grip style doesn’t really allow for two hands, either, so skull-crushers might be a challenge – depending on your hand size and body type. I kept getting one reminder after another that these dumbbells are simply not designed for powerlifters, especially since dropping them on the floor is not advisable. Bonus tip: get some quarter-inch exercise mats for your workout area to save both your joints and floor.
It has to be said that these caveats apply to all weight sets of this type. Where you gain massively in convenience, you lose a little in terms of the versatility of the weights due to their non-standard shape.
While I appreciate having the extra 25 pounds of weight as an option, I must admit that the dumbbells bundled with NordicTrack’s Vault felt better in hand, and not nearly as clunky; they also make much less noise when you move them around. That being said, the Vault is a super bulky piece of furniture, and all 12 of those dumbbells – plus two kettlebells – actually live inside that mirror-cabinet combo. If you have the money for both, the NordicTrack Vault and Select-A-Weight dumbbells complement each other very, very well.
NordicTrack Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set Review: iFit subscription
As I mentioned, a major perk of these dumbbells is the addition of a whole year of iFit classes. This unique personal training ecosystem makes any workout regimen far more dynamic, and a helluva lot more fun. Your iFit subscription is a virtual gateway to dozens of world-class personal trainers, accessible right from your living room via smart TV, smartphone, or any iFit-equipped piece of gym equipment.
As of this writing, I counted at least 250 iFit weight-training classes. You can narrow your searches based on workout duration, muscle groups targeted.
iFit does a superb job of on-boarding some genuinely fantastic talent; there are currently 14 different coaches available, though iFit employs dozens of others for their other elliptical, running, rowing, and cycling classes. I have no problem flying solo with my weekly fitness routine, but after sampling workouts from Alex Morgan, John Peel, Gideon Akande, and several other certified personal trainers, I really did appreciate their motivational energy during each class, not to mention their detailed step-by-step instructions. It’s a great way to learn new exercises and tweak your form in real time.
NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set review: verdict
Not everyone has the space at home (or the spare cash) for a full dumbbell set, and you may have already noticed that your local gym probably uses a dedicated rack to hold theirs. That’s because all that weight adds up quickly.
NordicTrack’s Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set clocks in at 110 pounds in total and are undeniably bulky. However, if you were to purchase pairs of dedicated dumbbells for each weight increment that these ones offer, that would easily add up to 700+ pounds, and 30 individual dumbbells. So suddenly these don’t seem so bulky.
Pound for pound, then, the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set is a sound investment for anyone looking to augment their home gym setup. Thanks to that one year of iFit classes, they’re also a great choice for anyone who could use some pointers on how to incorporate dumbbell exercises into their fitness journey. By the time your membership expires, you’ll practically be a pro yourself.
NordicTrack Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set review: also consider
It might be smaller and operating it might be a bit more cumbersome but the PowerBlock Sport 2.4 Adjustable Dumbbell is still worth considering as an alternative given its price: it’s basically half of the price of the Bowflex SelectTech 1090i and you even get a pair of dumbbell for that much money.
As a low cost option, the Men’s Health Adjustable Dumbbells are excellent and can withstand a much greater degree of abuse than the plastic shells let on. Even after months of heavy use, they are still going strong and have never once missed a beat. We even have a longer comparison of the two here: Bowflex Selecttech vs Men’s Health Adjustable Dumbbell.
And finally, the MuscleSquad 32.5kg Adjustable Dumbbell offers pretty much the same workout experience as the Bowflex SelectTech 1090i but cheaper, like, much cheaper. Go and check out our full review of it.
If NordicTrack is what you must have, there are yet more options. It sells standalone Hex Dumbbells – ranging from 5 pounds ($10 each) to 40 pounds ($63 each) – that have rubberized ends, which don’t make nearly the same racket as traditional steel dumbbells if you accidentally clink them together. Nor will they vibrate your limbs as drastically during such collisions. (They’re easier on your floors, too.) The NordicTrack Vault also comes with its own set of dedicated dumbbells – ranging from 5 to 30 pounds – if you pony up for the $2,999 Complete package.
For a slightly more palatable $349, the company’s SpeedWeights are essentially the same as their Select-A-Weights, but the former tops out at just 12.5 pounds instead of 55; it’s a less-bulky option for those who only require a fraction of the weight in their home gym.