Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells Review

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Sunday, April 12, 2009
When I decided to start getting back in shape the first thing I wanted to add to my exercise equipment was a set of adjustable dumbbells for some more upper body exercises. When looking for some more ideas for dumbbell exercises I also started learning about P90X and an adjustable dumbbell set looked like a good idea for that program.

I had a set of weights and bars but I wasn't using them often. They can be a bit cumbersome when you need to switch to different weights for different exercises and I wanted something that I could easily fit under my desk to throw in a few sets throughout the day when I needed a break.

When I decide to purchase something that's fairly expensive, I try to do a bit of research to make sure I'm not wasting my money. This time was no exception. After looking around at various options I decided on the 2 x 25 lbs Bayou Adjustable Dumbbells.

Now that I've used the set for some time, I wanted to share my opinion.

While an adjustable dumbbell set might look expensive at first, when you compare it to a comparable set of hex dumbbells, it's cheaper and saves a lot of space.

The two other sets I looked at where the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells (2009 Model) and the Powerblock Classic Adjustable Dumbbell Set.

I have to say, that the SelectTechs are cheaper too.

The nice thing about the SelectTechs which are the same length no matter how much weight you adjust it to. This can make certain types of exercises more cumbersome.

The reason I went with the Bayou set was there were some good reviews online and it seemed to have a good design. I emailed Bayou Fitness with some questions before I purchased and they were quick to respond. The main reason though was price. The Bayou Adjustable Dumbbell Set was available in a set of two 5-25 lb weights. I didn't want to spend over $300 on a set of dumbbells and I thought this set would be enough for a while. had the Bayou Adjustable Dumbbells for around $155 which included shipping.

The Bayou Adjustable Dumbbells have a simple design. There are 4 2.5 lb plates on each end of the chrome dumbbell and you pull then slide a pin on each side of the dumbbell to select the weight you want. The weight is adjustable from 5 lbs (bar without any plates) up to 25 lbs per dumbbell in increments of 5 lbs. The pins operate independent of each other so you could adjust the weights in increments of 2.5 lbs but that would make the dumbbells be off balance. For some exercises, such as hammer curls, that might not be a problem, for others it could put strain on your wrists.

There is a plastic base that holds each dumbbell and provides a little sticker to help you remember the weight settings. If you adjust the pins to set the bar to 15 lbs, when you pick up the bar it will come off the base with 2 plates attached and 2 plates left on the base. The weights are just held by gravity and the resistance of the base. If you lift the bar off at an extreme angle, it's possible to dislodge some of the weights that are left behind and they can fall out of the base. This only happened to me once at the end of a workout session when my arms were pretty tired. Luckily I was able to keep the plate from crashing on my foot.

At first, one of the dumbbells in the set was hard to adjust and very difficult to put the bar back in the rack. I adjusted the position of some of the plates and eventually got it to work better, but from time to time I still have a hard time putting the bar back. Since the plates are only sitting on the base they can tilt at the top sometimes and if they aren't properly aligned the bar won't seat properly.

The weights are quick and easy to adjust but maybe one out of 10 changes still gets stuck which slows things down. Sometimes the pin will have a hard time sliding to a different weight setting or the bar won't slide down into the base as mentioned above. To make things quicker, I was hoping it would be possible to use one hand on each pin but that's not possible, you need your other hand to hold down the bar, otherwise the bar will lift slightly which locks things up.

The plastic base seems strong but lightweight and I was concerned that lifting up the weights when at 25 lbs, the base would come along with it, but that wasn't the case. There are a couple of holes in the base that I believe are meant to screw it down to a flat surface if you decide to build a stand.
Overall, the set works fine and I'm not inclined to return it, mainly because I already put the boxes out for the recycling truck and don't want to deal with the hassle of shipping them back.

One of the reasons is that I don't expect the 25 lbs per hand to be enough for some exercises for much longer. That's my own fault.

The main reason though is I think they're overpriced for what you get. When I research a new product I usually do a very thorough job and I put in a lot of time before I made this decision, but that wasn't the case. The $155 seemed like a good way to get a decent adjustable dumbbell set when the competition was starting at over $300. Unfortunately, I completely missed one of PowerBlock's sets which goes up to 24 lbs per hand (pictured left).

The benefits of the PowerBlocks more and this set is adjustable from 3-24 lbs in 3 lb increments which is more versatile.

The PowerBlock set.

More likely, I'd go with one of the PowerBlock Sport 9.0 Stage I that goes for a little over $400 including shipping.

When I outgrow the Bayou set, I'm probably not going to invest in a new set of adjustable dumbbells right away. While I like working out with weights, I've always liked the machines at the gym better. With weights, I see a lot of people not using good form and cheating a bit. Because of the physical weight you can use the momentum a bit. You've probably seen people doing this, or have done it yourself. For example, during curls they swing their arms like a pendulum instead of using their muscles to do all the work. You can't really do this with weight machines, or resistance bands which are a lot cheaper. Good form is important to get the best results and if you're working with resistance bands you can't really cheat the same way you can with weights.

So I decided to order the Ripcords Exercise Bands Black Sniper Edition. This set of resistance bands simulates weights of 3 to 62 lbs per hand. Ripcords also offers a lifetime replacement warranty in case a band breaks. The set also includes a door hook that allows you to use your bands instead of a pull up bar.

The bands are also very portable since they are small and the shipping weight is only 5lbs. Easy to store in a suitcase or a desk drawer. In hindsight, I should have just gone with the bands over the adjustable dumbbells. I would have had more resistance and saved $100. I'll have a better idea of that after I've received them and used them for a while.


  1. how do you like the power bands?


  2. Thanks for this! Very informative and well written.



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