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Universal Five-Position Weight Bench (UB300)

Even the most dedicated cyclist will normally cut back on their mileage during the winter. Most of us use our extra “free time” engaging in some other athletic endeavor—usually we turn to weight lifting to help develop core strength. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I used to workout on weight machines, then turned to resistance bands before finally settling on free weights. If your workout centers around the use of dumbbells then you need a good weight bench. A few weeks ago I switched from an old flat bench to the Universal Five-Position Weight Bench.

Universal Five-Position Weight Bench (UB300)

Universal Five-Position Weight Bench

The Universal Five-Position Weight Bench can be adjusted for use as a flat bench, incline bench or decline bench and has five bench-back settings (-10°, 0°, 15°, 30°, and 45°). Unfortunately, this bench does not offer a 90° angle (I would like it for the seated dumbbell shoulder press). This bench has two 8″ foam rollers to hold your feet in place when needed. The padding on the bench is adequate for the job—it is thick enough to prevent pain, but thin enough to not get in the way.

Five Bench Settings (-10°, 0°, 15°, 30°, and 45°)

Five Bench Settings (-10°, 0°, 15°, 30°, and 45°)

This bench comes unassembled, but it only took about 30 minutes to put together. If comes with a pair of really cheap, disposable wrenches that you can use when you put the bench together. However, you will save yourself a lot of aggravation if you just grab two adjustable wrenches from your garage and use them instead.

Weight Limit on the Universal Five-Position Weight Bench

This Bench Has A 430 Pound Weight Limit

The Universal Five-Position Weight Bench is fairly compact (51″ L x 17.5″ W x 25″ H) and doesn’t take up much room—when not in use I stand my bench up in a corner of the family room. This bench has a maximum user weight of 250 pounds. A sticker on the bottom of the bench warns that the combined weight of user and equipment should not exceed 430 pounds.

The only complaint I have with this bench is that it is going to be too small for some people. I am 5’10” and this bench barely fits me—I think anyone over 6′ tall should look for another bench. Though not a deal breaker, the gap between the seat and the adjustable back piece is larger than it needs to be.

The Universal Five-Position Weight Bench has a retail price of $170. I bought mine from Amazon.com for $99 and got free shipping (it arrived just three days after I ordered it). Walmart.com sells this product for $99 as well, and you can have it sent to your local Walmart for in-store pickup. If you enjoy burning money you can also buy it from Sears.com for $214 (shipping starts at only $55). By the way, Universal is a brand owned by Nautilus, Inc. (they also own the Bowflex, CoreBody Reformer, Schwinn Fitness, and Peak Fit System brand names).

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Product Reviews

 

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Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

I am a cyclist, not a bodybuilder. I lift weights to develop core strength, not because I enjoy it. I have no delusions about appearing on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine (though I am still holding out for Archaeology Today). Exercising outside in the snow and ice beats an indoor workout any day of the week. That being said, one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my health was the purchase of a pair of Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Each Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbell adjusts from 5 to 52.5 pounds (in 2.5-pound increments up to the first 25 pounds). Because of the beautifully designed dial system you can change the weight of a dumbbell in a matter of seconds. Each dumbbell has fifteen different weight settings available (5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 52.5 pounds).

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Just dial in the weight you want and lift!

To select the desired weight for a dumbbell all you have to do is turn two dials—one at each end of the dumbbell. As you pull up on the handle the unneeded weights stay in the storage tray. In several months of use this product has functioned perfectly. You can switch weights on these dumbbells faster than you can on a resistance machine or when using resistance bands.

A little over ten years ago, when I decided to regain control of my health, I took up cycling and bought a rather large home gym that took up a lot of space in my family room. I got rid of that machine two years ago mainly because of the time we lost power during a blizzard and couldn’t use the fireplace to heat the house because the home gym was in the way (it was a big machine). After getting rid of the monster machine I started using resistance bands for strength training—they do a decent job of maintaining muscle tone, but I never showed any real progress while using them. The Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells work far better than I expected and I would highly recommend them to anyone. They take up very little room and are a pleasure to work with. This product also comes with a DVD that shows how to correctly perform over 30 exercises.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex Dumbells are really easy to use

I purchased my Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells at a brick-and-mortar Dick’s Sporting Goods store. I went into the store with the intention of buying the PowerBlock Classic Adjustable Dumbbell Set, but didn’t like the way they felt in my hands. The Bowflex set has a very comfortable grip and after trying out both sets there was no question that I wanted the Bowflex. The suggested retail price of these weights is $450, but Dick’s Sporting Goods sells them for $400. However, I wish I would have checked Amazon.com first—they sell the set for $300 and offer free shipping!

Bowflex SelectTech 2-in-1 Stand

Bowflex SelectTech 2-in-1 Stand

If you decide to purchase the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells I would highly recommend that you also buy the Bowflex SelectTech 2-in-1 Stand. This stand holds your dumbbells at a comfortable height and makes using the weights a lot easier than if you keep them on the floor. This stand retails for $170, but I bought mine from Amazon.com for only $135 (including free shipping). This stand comes unassembled, but it took less than 30 minutes to put together. It also has a small towel rack to keep you from throwing a wet towel on the floor.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Product Reviews

 

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