Why are dumbbells so expensive? Here are some alternatives.

Making your own gym is not easy. Olympic plates can be expensive and dumbbells can cost an arm and a leg – there is no point in sugarcoating it. When making a home gym, they can amount for more than half of the entire expense. Today, we are going to see what we can do to go around the problem at hand. If you don’t feel too eager to pay a small fortune, you are going to have to be imaginative. Let’s me help you out, and give you some options.

Dumbbells – the reason behind the high price.

First of all – they are made of steel, and that stuff is not cheap. Also, depending on a country, it can be taxed extra. Ironically, most of dumbbells we know are made in China, and while wages there are usually smaller than those in the rest of the world, shipping can cost a lot. Don’t forget, just one set of dumbbells can weigh up to 200lb.

Another thing that allows manufacturers to keep the prices high is a relatively big demand. Almost all of us wanted to change the way we look at some point in our lives. One of the first impulses we get is to buy something fitness related. Most of us join the local gym or start jogging, but there are people who act on the urge and buy a set of dumbbells right away, with a bench on the side. Most of those end up as dust collectors very soon, but that might work to your advantage if you are opting for used dumbbells (which you should). The big secret here might be –visit garage sales if you want a bargain.

The thing we can’t forget when it comes to dumbbells and their price is their durability. You usually don’t plan on buying dumbbells twice, and believe me, the companies know that. We are more prone to spending big amounts of money if we know that the thing we are buying is going to last a lifetime. Companies in those sorts of industries could add an extra 20% to the original price, and we wouldn’t protest too much as we are “buying it just this once”.

But we are not here to lament, and, today, we are going to see what we can do to go around the problem at hand. If you don’t feel too eager to pay a small fortune, you are going to have to be imaginative. Let’s me help you out, and give you some options.

Making your own dumbbells – a way for the handy

If you know your way with tools, and if you have some metal bars, empty canisters and cement lying around, why not make a set of dumbbells yourself, or refurbish some old, used dumbbells? It’s not too difficult or time-consuming; you can reuse some of the things you would get rid of anyway, and you will end up with a completely unique set of dumbbells.

However, this option might not be the best for all of us living in apartments. Also, unless you can devote a substantial amount of time to making different sets of dumbbells, you are going to end up with just a few pairs, and doing a whole body workout with a set of 20s can seem as an impossible task, but we will get to that later.

Ways to replace dumbbells – work with what you have!

Our muscles don’t really know what equipment we are using, and they can’t see the weight on the plates. What they do know is how difficult an exercise is, and what tension it provides for the muscles working. That’s great news because it means that you can get your whole body working with equipment that is not only cheaper, but also allows for muscle contractions that you haven’t felt in a long time.

There is a plethora of options out there, but some of my favorites are a pull-up bar, elastic bands (try these for a completely different set of strength curves), a physioball, TRX bands, a medicine ball and battle ropes. The choice will ultimately be dictated by your goals, but the take-away point here is: Don’t despair if you can’t afford the equipment that you think you need, do a bit of research and make best with what you have.

Purchasing adjustable dumbbells

Regular dumbbells are not gentle with your wallet, but they are not too considerate with your space either. Think about it, even if you have the money it takes to purchase the whole set of dumbbells, where are going to keep them?

This is where adjustable dumbbells come into play. The cost of these sets looks meager compared to that of en entire set of physical dumbbells, and they can fit into a corner of a room. We have covered this topic before, and if this sounds like something you might like, you can find the best option for you on our website.

Utilize your own bodyweight and your surroundings

Say you want to get your mass up, and you don’t have dumbbells. You are struggling with money and don’t have any extra cash for any equipment whatsoever. Say you are on vacation and nothing is available to you at the moment. Does that mean that you are out of options? Of course not!

There are no excuses with leading a healthy life. Wherever we go, you always have your brains, your imagination, and roughly 150lb of weight that you can use as resistance if you know how. It would take a lot of space to get into the details right now, but let me give you just a couple of examples and principles you can use.

  • You want to work your lower chest, but you don’t have a dip station, or a captain’s chair. Not the easiest, I agree, but you still have your kitchen counter, right? There is your dip station, right there.
  • Say you are on the beach and it’s your shoulder day. There are some rocks, but they all look too small to hit your shoulders properly. One word for you– pre-exhaust (or is it two words? Never mind, that’s not the point). Do a set of pike pushups or water-bottle-front raises, and then superset it with overhead rock press. That 20lb rock is going to feel a lot heavier now. This principle translates to all other muscle groups. Pretty handy, right?
  • Moving on to the back. It’s your back day, you are away from home, far from any gym, and a pull-up bar is nowhere to be found. Surely there is no way to hit the back now. Wrong! Wherever we are, there are usually chairs. Find a broomstick or a bar and put it over anything sturdy enough to handle your weight. You can now do reverse rows (or Australian pull-ups, there are many names going around). Use narrower underhand grip to target your bicep; widen your arms a bit and reverse your grip to really work the lats, and flare the elbows if you want to hit the rhomboids, the traps and the rear delts.
  • Finally, we come to the legs. Far too often we see people stepping into squat racks under bars that are too loaded for their quads to handle. Their knees cave in, the thoracic spine flexes a bit, their lower back is loaded heavily and even the slightest rotation can wreak havoc to your lumbar vertebrae. I am not bashing the squat, don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s one of the best exercises when done right. However, we over underestimate the potential of single leg training. Single leg squats or deadlifts, Bulgarian split-squats, single leg hip thrusts, levitation squats (bent-knee version of a pistol squat) are all great ways to develop the legs you desire without compressing the spine or hiding muscle imbalances in the process.

Final word

As you can see, fitness fits everywhere. If you want to stay healthy and athletic, there is always a way. Dumbbells are just a means to an end, what really matters is how hard you are ready to work to meet your goals. It’s not easy, but, as we saw here today, it doesn’t have to be complicated, either.

About the Author Dumbbellsgeek

Hey! My name is Paul Sheldon. I live in Nashville, TN and I love all things related to sports. Naturally I love workking out and I do it every day. If you want to talk feel freee to hit me a message or if you happen to be in Nashville we can get a coffee, I know a great place. Peace!