Bowflex SelectTech 2080 Evaluation: An Adjustable Barbell for Strength Training at Home

Close up of a hand adjusting the weight dial of the Bowflex SelectTech 2080 Adjustable Barbell.
Photograph: Bowflex

The SelectTech 2080 Barbell with Curl Bar arrives in a field weighing greater than 115 kilos. My husband and I assembled the bars and base in about 50 minutes. The bottom accommodates one bar at a time; we saved the barbell there and put the curl bar on the ground subsequent to it.

I did quite a lot of exercises over a five-week span, experimenting with a spread of workouts, units, and repetitions utilizing each bars. Every of the bars is 1.1 inch in diameter with a flippantly knurled texture that gives an honest quantity of grip with out being overly harsh. With simply an 8-pound set of dumbbells at my disposal whereas figuring out at residence since mid-March, I used to be desperate to elevate heavier, and I loved the Bowflex’s versatility. Some days I targeted on decrease repetitions and better masses for workouts like deadlifts and overhead shoulder presses. Different days I grouped 4 or 5 workouts collectively, performing them in succession for a particular size of time every with quick breaks in between. I had enjoyable with it and loved incorporating some heavier weight coaching again into my routine. However I bumped into a couple of snags. This was shocking, since at this worth ($550) one would anticipate a reasonably quirk-free expertise. (To elevate a daily barbell, in spite of everything, you simply must, nicely, elevate it.)

Each the barbell and the curl bar improve by 10-pound increments with every flip of the adjustment dials. This strategy is much like that of fixed-weight barbells, which historically improve by 10 kilos per bar. For the development of sure workouts, nonetheless, we discovered a full 10-pound leap too aggressive. For example, an overhead shoulder press at 40 kilos wasn’t difficult sufficient, however at 50 kilos it was an excessive amount of; a bent-over row introduced an identical scenario. A subtler fee of improve would have been good. (The corporate’s SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells improve by 2.5 kilos for the primary 25 kilos and 5 kilos after that.) However once more, this desire depends upon your objectives and present energy ranges.

Sure workouts which might be proven as SelectTech 2080 choices on its exercise-demonstration movies could also be restricted relying in your health stage and objectives. I again squatted comparatively comfortably however wasn’t capable of progress to the load I needed for a extra strength-focused exercise as a result of I couldn’t get into the place safely. (As an alternative of stepping below a barbell suspended on a rack and getting ready for the elevate, with the Bowflex this train requires lifting the barbell over your head and positioning it in your shoulders—a transfer that’s neither secure nor potential at a sure level.)

To work round this downside, I modified key variables, lowering the load, rising the repetitions and units, or lowering the remainder durations between workouts to get my desired exercise. When the 80-pound most didn’t adequately problem me on a deadlift, I elevated the repetitions and swapped in a single-leg model executed at a lighter load. Alternating reverse lunges with the barbell on my shoulders (at a weight that facilitated endurance) labored tremendous.

I didn’t have entry to a weight bench—a vital piece of apparatus for performing a bench press. Bowflex has one for $330, an elective accent that, relying in your objectives, might make or break the expertise. (There are, after all, many different weight benches you may select from.) If in case you have expertise with train choice, you possibly can substitute. For example, I switched to a floor press (video), which was trickier to get into (I recruited my live-in spotter because the load progressed) however doable. I additionally did triceps extensions whereas mendacity on the ground.

In contrast to on a daily barbell, the place a hard and fast weight or a weight plate sits perpendicular to the bar, on the SelectTech 2080 the oblong plates slant away from the bar at a roughly 100-degree angle. That orientation facilitates the switching of the plates within the base however makes for some barely awkward maneuvering of the bars, significantly once they rotated in my fingers and the plates ended up pointing sideways or the wrong way up. However the positioning doesn’t basically change the way you elevate. “The angle of the weights on the end will not affect anything,” stated Michael Lisa, professor of physics at The Ohio State College and writer of the textbook The Physics of Sports activities. “They appear to be mounted such that the center of mass of each plate is along the axis of the bar, just like the traditional perpendicular mounting. [You] will not notice a thing. This is indistinguishable from the traditional mounting in terms of weight … or torque or stability.”

The plates on one facet caught annoyingly as I lifted the bar from the bottom, making lift-off awkward. I had points with returning the bars to the bottom, too: If the bottom plates shifted out of alignment even barely, the bar didn’t match flush. I needed to routinely alter the bottom plates’ positioning earlier than re-racking the bar, and I usually resorted to brute drive to be able to land it. This wasn’t an enormous deal the primary or second time it occurred. However after a number of weeks of this sticking, I discovered myself rolling my eyes every time it resisted a clear transaction.

The SelectTech 2080 system frequently prices $550 (excluding $20 delivery). Nonetheless, it’s cheap in contrast with a set of 10 Titan Fitness fixed-weight straight barbells, which sells for $1,210; commercial-grade units of fixed-weight barbells usually promote for 1000’s of dollars. The MX Select 80 Adjustable Barbell and EZ Curl Bar, the closest competitor to the SelectTech 2080 that we might discover, prices $900. We plan to test it, too.

Bowflex supplies 14 barbell and curl bar train demonstration movies on its website and YouTube channel. They don’t embrace audio cues, however the demonstrator does show sound type. A 3-year guarantee covers each bars within the set.

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