POWERBLOCK Adjustable Dumbbells Review

At the time of this writing we are slowly coming out of the QVID-19 quarantine. The gyms are still closed and many of us are finding ways to workout at home. Much of the workout equipment for home is largely sold out. It’s almost as if it was like toilet paper. Once everyone realized they weren’t going old-guy-cartoon-with-dumbbellsto be able to go to their local gym or health club, they started hoarding  equipment they could train with anywhere.

I am fortunate, I purchased a pair of POWERBLOCK adjustable barbells about 6 years ago. My main

POWERBLOCK-Sport-EXP-50
POWERBLOCK Sport Expandable 50 pounds

 

reason for getting them at the time is so when I didn’t have time to go to the gym I could still get in a workout at home. I also bought an inexpensive bench for under $100.

The POWERBLOCK Sport 50 can be purchased with the capability to use from 2.5 to 50 pounds. Extensions can be bought to bring the total weight up to 70, or, 90 pounds.

What are Adjustable Dumbbells?

The ones you see on long rows of racks at your local health club or gym are NOT adjustable. The 50 pound dumbbell will be 50 pounds every day. So, to have a complete variety of dumbbell weights, from 5 pounds to 120 pounds, a lot of room is needed. And, all those dumbbells combined cost many thousands of dollars.

For most homes, there isn’t nearly enough available space for all those things. Adjustable dumbbells take up about the same amount of space as those at the gym.

Adjustable dumbbells are just that, you can adjust the weight so that, the same bar, or grip, can be used for low weight or considerably more weight. The user can just make the ‘adjustments’.

One of the advantages is that the adjustable dumbbells can be kept in a relatively small space compared to what is required in a gym. And, you’ll still be able to use a wide variety of weight.

Two Main Types of Adjustable Dumbbells

FIRST: One type has a dumbbell bar, weight plates and collars to keep the plates firmly in place. If the

adjustable-barbells-w-plates-and-collars
Adjustable Barbbells with Plates and Collars

weight of the dumbbell is 20 pounds and the user wants to put another 10 pounds on, (5 pounds on each side), he or she would have to remove the collars from both sides of the dumbbell, add 5 pounds to each

side, then fasten the collars back on. If the user is using 2 dumbbells, one for each hand, that’s 4 changes of plates and collars.

SECOND: The other type has built dumbbells where the weight adjustments can be made without collars that need to be tightened on and off every time there is a weight change. And, plates do not have to be lifted back on or off to each side of the bar.

I prefer the second type with the easy adjustment.

  • It’s quicker to make the weight adjustment.
  • It’s easier. There are no plates and collars to mess with.
  • It takes up less space. It is essentially one integrated unit.

 

Comparing Bowflex 552 and POWERBLOCK Sport 50 Adjustable Dumbbells

After doing my research, I saw Bowflex and POWERBLOCK to be the two top brands. I went to retailers to learn more and try out each brand. Let me start by saying I think both of these brands are high quality, super well-designed equipment for home workout. I believe Bowflex is more well-known because of years of infomercials.

I’m reviewing the Bowflex that has 52.5 pounds vs. the POWERBLOCK that has 50 pounds. Since most of my audience are men over 60 years of age, the majority will likely not be interested in heavier weights, although they are available. Following are pros and cons for both brands:

Bowflex Pros for this 68 year old guy:

Bowflex-dumbbells
Bowflex Dumbbells
  1. They are shaped more like traditional dumbbells. As such one can do behind the neck presses for triceps work. I have found those to be very effective muscle-building exercises.
  2. Making the weight-change adjustment is quicker with the Bowflex. It’s just the turn of a dial.
  3. Weights can be adjusted easily in 2.5 pound increments.
  4. I like the way they look better. But, in making the decision, that was not a big deal for me
  5. At $329, the Bowflex 552 was $20 cheaper than the POWERBLOCK Pro with 50 pounds.  With the 552 you can use weight from 5 pounds to 52.5 pounds.

Bowflex Cons from a 60+ perspective:

  1. There was a lot of plastic and it felt cheaper and less sturdy.
  2. There was a 2-year warranty vs. a five-year warranty with the POWERBLOCK, That further reinforced my concern about how well-build the Bowflex was.
  3. Can’t add weights beyond 52.5 pounds

POWERBLOCK Pros for this old boy:

  1. More compact, using less space.
  2. Built sturdier with metal and not plastic.
  3. 5 year warranty

    POWERBLOCK-dumbbells
    POWERBLOCK Dumbells
  4. Expandable from 50 to 70 or to 90 pounds as strength increases.
  5. Closed cage handle to help reduce the chances of a wrist injury
  6. Magnetic selector pin to adjust how much weight
  7. Can expand up to 125 pounds per dumbbell

POWERBLOCK Cons:

  1. It is primarily set to be changed in 10 pound increments. It can be changed in 2.5 or 5 pound increments but it does not do it with the efficiency of the Bowflex.
  2. Could be uncomfortable for people with very large hands
  3. The weights make some noise when being used due to the looser tolerances to accommodate the adjustment style
  4. At $349 for the POWERBLOCK 50 is $20 more than the Bowflex 552

Why the heck do I want to be lifting weights after 60?

There are many reasons for us older guys to be doing resistance training after 60 and beyond. A healthier, more energetic and vibrant quality of life is for starters. Resistance training for building muscle also builds bone. That’s right! Resistance training actually helps improve bone density. At our age that’s a big deal. How embarrassing would it be if you fall down and break a hip in the middle of the night when you’re up for your third visit to the bathroom?

Muscle increases your metabolism which means you burn more fat, even when you’re sitting on the couch watching sports history shows.

For much more information and research references see my article, “Building Muscle After 60.”

Building Muscle After 60

Conclusion

The POWERBLOCK dumbbells I bought have gotten many hours of use over the last 6 years.   They have been my primary workout equipment for home.  As I said earlier, I see both POWERBLOCK and. Bowflex as high quality dumbbells. You really can’t go wrong with either. My preferences were for the reasons I stated above.

I hope you found this product review helpful. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the Comments section below.  I will be more than happy to respond to any questions you may have.

Glenn
Glenn

Best Supplements for Men Over 50

As we age, our bodies produce less of the chemicals that contribute to our fitness. A healthy, nutritious diet is foundational. Supplements are intended to “supplement” that good diet.

This list is based on my opinions.  And, my opinions have been formed over years of personal experience and the many things I’ve learned from countless experts. Some may disagree with my list, or, the order. That’s OK. I’m not trying to say that my list is THE best list. But, as a guy in his 60s, these supplements are working well for me. My aim is to share my knowledge and experience to help you in choosing supplements for men over 50.

I get many of my supplements from bodybuilding.com. They have so many of the best and most popular supplements. They have great sales and specials and they have a price match guarantee. You can see their products by clicking on this link:

https://goto.bodybuilding.com/products

I’ll explain why I have each of these supplements on my list to help you in making decisions for yourself.

My Fitness Journey

In my 20s my fitness included running 3 to 5 miles a day and, as much water skiing and snow skiing as I could fit in. In my 30s I played racquetball 2 hours per day, 6 days a week. In my 40s I got into roller hockey. Additionally, to playing with all the kids in the neighborhood I played on a team at the local club. I usually trained by various skating routines to get faster.

At 47, I decided it was time to hang up the skates. I wanted to start training with weights. I knew I needed some help and structure, (a plan). Being kind of competitive, I joined a 90-day challenge.

The program included 3 days per week of weight training. Each session took 45 to 60 minutes. And, 3 days of High Intensity cardio training for 20 minutes each session. I also tracked what I ate each day and how much water I drank. The two supplements I used were protein powder and creatine. The picture below was my “after picture”. Unfortunately I lost the “before” picture, but, trust me, it was nothing to be proud of. The after picture was exactly 11 weeks and 4 days after I started the program. I was 47 years old. And, only 2 supplements: protein powder and creatine.

 

How to Build Muscle After 60

This blog post is one in a series that is going to provide you with information, encouragement and inspiration to learn how to build muscle after 60 and beyond.

When I was 62 years old I was lean and fit. I decided I wanted to build some muscle. As I did when I was 47 I researched and found a workout and diet plan I thought would help me reach my goals. There’s a picture on the last page of this article. I was nearing 63 years of age. I had packed on more muscle than I ever had in my life, in 90 days. Part of the program required that I eat . So, I had more muscle AND more fat. (See picture on the last page of this article.)

4 years later, at age 66, I still maintained a good amount of the muscle and with less body fat. (See picture on the last page of this article.)

I’m just a normal guy who works about 55 hours per week, and follows good workout and diet plans that experts design. You can do this! If you are someone who wonders, “Why would I want to build muscle?” If you wonder how you would find the motivation, take a look at my article that addresses those questions:

https://fitness-for-men-over-60.com/building-muscle-after-60/

The Best Supplements for Men Over 50

Two reminders:

1) This list is based upon my research and years of experience. You can find many similar lists with other opinions. I’m in my 60s and have provided a couple of pictures above to help show that I have been getting fairly good results for my age. I put the list in order of importance for me. You might have some differences based on your needs and goals.

2) I include the “under 50 guys”, aka “The Youngsters” as they are facing similar challenges as they age.

Multi-vitamin

Few people of any age get all the vitamins and minerals they need from the food they eat every day. I have read favorable and unfavorable studies of some popular multi-vitamins out there. For over 10 years my family and I have taken multi-vitamins provided by Life Extension

Life Extension is a science-based company, devoted to helping people live longer, healthier lives. A whopping 98% of their customers recommend them to family and friends. The superior quality of their products is above reproach. 99% of their products are manufactured in the U.S. and a Certificate Analysis is available for every product they produce. Their website is full of scientific studies conducted by Life Extension’s scientists and many others as well.

You can check them out at:

 

Testosterone

It may surprise you that I would list Testosterone second in my list, but as we age our body produces less and less testosterone. Testosterone levels drop about 1% per year after age 30. There are a massive number of supplements on the market that promise to do great things for you as they stimulate your body’s testosterone-producing abilities. Results vary. There are dangers to having too little or too much testosterone.

I recommend getting help from your doctor. He or she can have your blood tested to know exactly what your levels are. Then you can be prescribed with either a serum to inject weekly or a cream to spread on your skin daily. By monitoring blood levels you can assure that you have a truly healthy amount of testosterone, not too much and not too little.

If your testosterone levels are low, you will find wonderful benefits in raising those levels to appropriate levels. For me, following are some immediate benefits I’ve experienced:

  • More energy and vitality
  • More energy for working out without getting tired. With testosterone, I can work out for and hour and still have plenty of energy. Without, I feel low energy after 20 to 30 minutes of working out.
  • Improved muscle growth and overall fitness in response to my training regiments
  • Better, overall sense of well-being
  • Increased libido

Suffice it to say, if you have low “T”, it will be worth checking in with your doctor. It can be a huge help to your quest for fitness.

Protein Powder

As I’ve explained in a previous post, Proteins are the building blocks for growing muscle, at any age. Protein powder or bars are a convenient way to supplement your healthy diet with the amount of protein you need every day.

My personal favorite is “Pro JYM Protein Blend Ultra-Premium Protein Powder”. What sets this supplement apart from others is the scientific blend of 3 protein sources that digest and synthesize at different rates.

When you add medium-digesting and slow-digesting proteins to fast-digesting whey, muscle protein synthesis remains elevated for longer than when using whey alone. And muscle protein retention is higher, as well. That means that more protein is being built in the muscle, which is what leads to long term gains in muscle size and strength.

The chart below illustrates the time each protein is at work. The Whey Isolate goes to work very quickly. The synthesis of the egg protein is medium in time. And, the micellar casein is still at work for hours after ingestion.

Pro JYM Digestion Timeframe


And the different flavors are fantastic. Check out the Vanilla Peanut Butter Swirl! The price per serving is much less expensive if you purchase the 4 pound bag vs. the 2 pounder. Click on the link below if you would like to learn more or purchase the Pro JYM powder.

Pro JYM Ultra Premium Protein Blend

Creatine

Creatine can help increase power and intensity in resistance exercising which results in greater muscle growth and strength. It is a substance that our bodies produce, and, like other substances that produce energy and strength, it lessens as we age. Primary foods that have creatine are meats. It is most abundant in beef. You’d have to eat 2 pounds of steak to get 5 grams of creatine.

There are two primary kinds of creatine on the market today, creatine mono hydrate and creatine hcl. The mono hydrate form has been around the longest and is, by far the most popular. It is also the most researched. In some people it can cause intestinal discomfort and diarrhea. Those people would prefer the creatine hcl which has not shown any negative side effects.

I can tell significant performance improvement, training with weights, when I am taking creatine every day. I’ve taken both the mono hydrate and the hcl types of creatine. They both work equally well for me and I have never suffered any side effects from the mono hydrate. When I’ve stopped taking creatine for a while, I can tell a drop-off in my strength and energy to push through in workouts. As a result, I take 5 to 10 grams of creatine daily.

“Platinum Creatine” by Muscle Tech has a 9.5 out of 10 rating. I agree with that. It is the creatine I am using. I can tell how effective it is when I run out before purchasing more. I can really tell the drop-off in strength. BodyBuilding.com has it for 30% off at the time of this writing. That makes it $0.10 per serving. You can learn more or purchase it at the following link:

goto.bodybuilding.com/muscletechcreatine

Pre-workout Supplement

There are many, many pre-workout supplements on the market today. I have tried many of them over the years and found them to be super effective in helping with more energy and focus so I can really maximize each and every set in my workout.

“Neruocore Pre-workout” by MuscleTech is one of the best rated pre-workout powders and definitely the best priced. It scores 9.2 out of 10 with 676 reviews. It’s normally $22.99 per container. At the time of this writing BodyBuilding.com has it for $16.09.

If you’d like to learn more about it, just click on the link:   goto.bodybuilding.com/pre-workout

BCAAs

Branch-Chain Amino Acids are made up of leucine, isoleucine and valine. All three are amino acids. They are found in protein-rich foods and protein supplements. They can also be consumed in BCAA supplements. And, they are effective in aiding protein synthesis. That helps with muscle growth, and reduces exercise fatigue when engaged in resistance training. I like to put BCAA powder in my shaker cup full of water and drink it during my workouts. I find it helps me power through each set and have energy reserves by the end of my work-out. BCAA’s are also effective as a pre, or, post-workout supplement.

The BCAA supplement I use is, “BCAA Energy Amino Acids” by Evolution Nutrition. With 2,866 reviews it earns a 9.4 out of 10 score. And, at $21.99 per container, it is less than half the price of some of its competitors. At the time of this writing BodyBuilding.com has a special: 2 for $36.00. If you are interested in learning more or purchasing, you can click on the following link:

goto.bodybuilding.com/bcaas

Anti-inflammatories

Inflammation is part of the body’s defense system. As we age there is a part of our immune system that increases and that is the part that causes inflammation. The term “inflammaging” is used to describe it. We can begin to experience chronic inflammation that results in various aches and pains as we age. Additionally, to reducing overall quality of life, chronic inflammation can lead to various diseases such as stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, heart disorders, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.

Diet certainly plays an important role. There are foods which contribute to inflammation and foods which counter-act it.

I take a product named “Relief Factor”. It’s 100% drug free and 100% botanical and fish oil. It’s anti-inflammatory properties support relief from aches and pains. And, it comes in convenient individual packets. It has been amazing for me in eliminating the discomfort I had learned to live with in my knees. You can get a “3-week Quick Start” for $19.95 + S&H here.  Copy and paste this into your web browser:  www.relieffactor.com

Conclusion

I actually take all the supplements above every day. I am not suggesting you have to do that in order to be fit. You probably already take something in the list above. I hope the information has been helpful for you in learning what some most effective supplements guys our age can take as we work toward becoming more fit and more youthful with an ever-increasing quality of life.

I welcome your comments and questions below.

Pictures Below:

I was almost 63 in the pic below. I was near the end of a 90 training and diet plan. I gained on more muscle than I ever had before. My diet had me ingesting more calories than I burned so I added fat pounds as well.

The last picture I was 66. I had retained much of the muscle I had gained two years earlier and was able to reduce much of the fat. I was doing more cardio which helped improve my overall fitness and sense of well-being. My reason for sharing these pictures is my hope that you will realize you can improve every aspect of fitness in your 60s and beyond. We lose muscle and bone every year as we age unless we do resistance training to grow both muscle and bone. That’s why I believe it is the most important part of a fitness regiment for old guys like us. You can do this!

A Start to Fitness

You may be an aging guy who has reached a point in life where you want to dedicate yourself to becoming fit.  Or, you may be a guy who wants to get fit but utterly hates the idea of exercise.  Perhaps you are someone who has started a journey toward fitness but you didn’t have success.  Maybe you are one of those guys who has joined a gym on January 2nd and by February 2nd, you are done.  But, now you’d like to give it another go.

It’s absolutely vital to start a fitness program well.  If you start poorly, it will be miserable, you’ll see little to no progress, and you’ll quit.

My aim in this article is to provide guidance to help; you get set up for a successful start in your journey to fitness.old-man-jumping-rope

 

Workout Plans for Beginners

There is no lack of workout plans available on the internet.  I Googled “workout plans for beginners” and 150,000,000 results popped up.  So, if you do the same, you should be able to find a workout plan that suits you and your goals.  It’s super important that you start with specific fitness goals and a specific plan or you’ll flame out just like so many other guys of all ages, especially older dudes like us.

I’m going to offer some tips to help set you up for success.

  • Check with your doctor.  See if he has any suggestions or precautions.
  • Find a plan that is going to be do-able for you.  Make sure the plan includes recording your progress every day.  That can be done on printed copy or online.  (I prefer online.  I can do it on my phone after each set.)
    • A basic recommendation I make is, do weight training 3 days a week and cardio 3 days a week.  It doesn’t have to be massive amounts of time.  Weight training could be done in 45 to 60 minutes and HIIT cardio for 20 minutes.
  • Set specific goals and put them in writing (see my post on fitness goals and motivation at: from-fat-to-fit
    • https://fitness-for-men-over-60.com/what-is-fitness-and-why-should-you-want-it/
  • Enlist the help of someone for motivation and accountability.  This could be a workout partner, a personal coach or someone you know, respect and trust.
    • At the time of this writing we are still in COVID-19 lock down.  A friend of mine and I are about to start an 8-week training program using resistance bands.  We’re going to meet each day on Zoom.  When we can, we’ll do the workout at the same time.  When we can’t do that, we will at least touch base for encouragement and accountability.
  • Use a workout program that has your exercises planned and in writing so you can record your actual results on either hard copy or electronically.  This includes your cardio sessions.
  • Watch videos on the correct way to perform various exercises.  (There are many, many available on YouTube)
  • Remember, proper nutrition is even more important to fitness than exercise.  You can see my previous posts for more information:
    • https://fitness-for-men-over-60.com/nutrition-for-fitness/
    • https://fitness-for-men-over-60.com/protein-supplements-for-men/
  • Balance:  I Google “balance exercises for older men” and there were 87,000,000 results.  If you’re older than 60 you probably have noticed that your balance isn’t what it used to be.  In fact, if you are one of those unfortunate guys that has begun to fall down, there is good news.  You can regain our balance.  Over the decades we spend so much time sitting on our butts and so little time doing things that require balance, it just slowly begins to deteriorate.  Like so many other things with our bodies, it’s a “use-it-or-lose-it” proposition.  You can do some balance exercises almost anytime.  Do them while you’re watching TV.balance-exercise
  • Flexibility:  Just like balance, flexibility is a “use-it-or-lose-it” proposition.  154,000,000 results from Googling “stretching exercises for older men”.  Good stretching exercises done regularly can help you become more flexible than you’ve been for many years.  TV time is also a good time for stretching.
  • Last but not least, use Moderation.  Don’t try to regain your youthful fitness in one session.  In the first few weeks, especially, it is better to err on the side of being too moderate than overdoing it.  Your body will not respond well to overdoing exercise.  You risk getting sick or injured.  Either of those will set you back on your fitness journey.

Weight Training Routines for Seniors

Google offers up 63,000,000 results for “weight training routines for seniors”.  Depending on your current level of fitness, you may wish to select a workout routine designed specifically for old folks like us.  I’ve been working out regularly over recent years so I prefer a workout that is more challenging and produce greater results.  If you are more of a beginner, remember hat you would rather err on the side of being more moderate.  You can always go for routines that are more challenging later when yo are physically and mentally ready for it.

 

Cardio Workout Routines

As with resistance training, what kind of cardio workouts you choose should be the ones that will best support your fitness goals.  Is your goal primarily about fat loss or overall cardiovascular health?

If fat loss is your goal, you’ll be able to best measure your progress by measuring your percentage of body fat.  You can get this done at most health clubs.  Or, you can buy skinfold calipers.  They are inexpensive.  Remember, if you are gaining lean muscle mass while losing fat your overall weight might not be going down much.  Your goals should be tied to percentages of lean muscle and fat rather than weight.

For measuring heart health, the best indicator is your heart rate at rest.  For most adults that is somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute.  You should ask your doctor for what is best for you.  I know guys my age who have heart rates well above 100.  If they didn’t know from their doctors they were OK, they might freak out to see much higher beats per minute.

Whether you prefer doing cardio on a machine at home or in the gym, or, if you prefer running, bicycling, hiking or some other outdoor form of cardio, any of them can help you achieve your fitness goals.

 

Home Workout Plansold-guy-on-rings

If you are someone who prefers to workout at home, there are innumerable plans out there.  You can perform routines that require no equipment.  Most of the resistance exercises are using body weight.  Or, you can buy inexpensive equipment to provide resistance.  You can purchase a set of resistance bands that provide up to 150 pounds of resistance for $25 to $45 for the set.  There are sets with more and less resistance.  For most guys over 60 150 pounds is probably good for most exercises.  A combination of body weight resistance and resistance bands can give you all the versatility you need to work every muscle group.

There are several brands of adjustable dumbbells that are amazingly versatile.  Depending on how much total weight you would like, you can spend between $150 and several hundred dollars for a set.

Weight benches start as low as $70.  Pull up bars that you can mount in a doorway start as low as $30.

And, of course, for those who desire and can afford it, you can build a home gym with as much equipment as you desire.

 

Gym Workout Plans

over-60-weight-trainingMany gyms/health clubs these days offer their own workout plans.  They can be accessed through their mobile app providing lots of information and support.  One of the things I like about the ones I’ve used is they even calculate the rest time between sets.  Those plans are also tailored to the equipment they have so all the exercises are able to be performed just as intended.

Of course deciding between working out at home or in a gym or a combination of both is personal.  I am much more motivated to work out when at a gym than I am at home, but, I have enough equipment at home to get a good workout when necessary.

 

Summary

If you are going to be successful in your fitness journey, you have to have a good START:

  • Check with your doctor
  • Find a workout plan good for YOU
  • Set specific, written goals
  • Someone for motivation and accountability
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Moderation
  • Proper Nutrition
  • Routine for Seniors right for you?
  • Cardio routine
  • Home and/or Gym workout plan
  • Reward yourself for achieving milestones

Bodybuilding.com has over 2,500 workout plans designed by experts.  They have over 3,500 exercise videos, and much more.  I’ve used bodybuilding.com for years.  The workouts are so easy to use.  You have everything you need on your phone.  You choose a workout and your phone becomes your guide and keeps record of your progress.  If you’d like to take a look, you can click on this link:  https://www.bodybuilding.com/workout-plans/

Disclosure:  If you click on the link and make any purchases from my website I get a commission at no added expense to you.

I hope you’ve found this helpful for getting a good START.  I welcome your comments or questions below.

– GlennGlenn-at-home