Dumbbell Design / Ergonomics / Usage

Dumbbell ErgonomicsThere is somewhat more to a dumbbell than attaching two weights to a short bar.  The handle itself is a matter of personal preference.  Some users will prefer a straight cut handle while others will insist on an ergonomic or arced handle.  Sufficient knurling should be present to allow a good grip of the handle but not too deep/sharp which some users find uncomfortable.  A few users op for a specialist 2” handle.  This will not allow the handle to wrap so far around the handle so encourage good grip strength.  Some users will have a preference for a rotating dumbbell head while others with like this to be fixed.  A rotating head will allow the heads to move freely while performing an exercise so the exercise will be marginally easier and less wrist/grip strength will be required.  A few specialist manufacturers produce dumbbells with bearings in the handles to make for a very smooth rotation, (as opposed to tradition welded dumbbells where the weights rotate on the bar).

A well balanced dumbbell will have its centre of gravity in the centre of the handle resulting in a ‘feel’ as if the weight is in the centre of the palm with no moment applied.  However, the radius of gyration will vary from one dumbbell to another depending on construction, density diameter and size.  Hence two dumbbells with the same handle and weight, with the same centre of gravity can ‘feel’ different.  This can become a problem on very large dumbbells where the head is very large making the weight cumbersome.  To this end prototype high density (lead) dumbbells have been tried to improve usage.  Of course if the dumbbell is fitted with a high quality bearing to allow rotation then the effect of the radius of gyration along the axis of the handle will be reliable.

Most dumbbells available to gyms will have cylindrical weighted heads.  However there is growing demand for classical circus style dumbbells with spherical heads, (for novelty value).  Additionally hexagonal dumbbells always have a following, either cast or rubber coated.  These dumbbells have a particular niche market for ships where the gym itself may be undulation and a traditional round dumbbell would roll.

For the most part gym dumbbells are constructed from various components each with its own material properties beneficial to the overall construction.  For example, high grade steel for the handle, mild steel for the heads, urethane coating, attractive chrome plating.  Some dumbbells are available as a single piece iron casting.  While being very cost effective these do not perform well as grip, finish and strength are all compromised.

Dumbbell ErgonomicsAnother key point when considering your dumbbell selection would be the environment in which they are to be used.  For example, in a ‘warehouse’ style ‘spit n sawdust’ gym, most gym owners would not be worried about a steel dumbbell chipping paint or damaging floors/furniture.  However is a pristine inner city environment where the gym is newly refurbished a dumbbell with a rubber, neoprene or urethane coating will be far gently on the gym area and floor.  We recommend resilient rubber flooring for a dumbbell area.  However, we aware that in a commercial environment this can be counterproductive.  Users are more likely to ‘throw’ dumbbells down on a rubber matted floor damaging both the dumbbells and the gym than if the rubber matting was not there.  Above all we would recommend maintaining good gym discipline.  There is no need to throw/drop dumbbells it is poor training practice and simply lazy.

We hope this background information have been useful.  If you have a specific required for a particular dumbbell of set of dumbbells please email us and we will do our best to meet you requirements.