6 Benefits of Adjustable Dumbbells

woman adding plates to adjustable dumbbells

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Strength training is essential for strong muscles and bones. It also helps maintain a healthy body weight along with cardiovascular exercise and a balanced diet. Building and maintaining strength helps improve daily functioning, making the tasks you perform easier with fewer chances of injury. 

While bodyweight training is excellent for building strength, adding dumbbells to your workouts can add challenge and progression, which is necessary to keep seeing results. Also, dumbbells add variety to your workouts with dozens of options for training all of your muscle groups. 

However, storing a large number of dumbbells can be tricky, even with the most spacious of home gyms. As you get stronger and require more challenging weights, you will need to purchase and store additional dumbbells. An alternative is an adjustable dumbbell set that takes up a small footprint but comes with a wide range of weight loads.

May Be More Budget Friendly

While buying a single pair of dumbbells might not be expensive, as you progress and get stronger, you’ll need heavier weights. Plus, different body parts are capable of lifting much heavier weights than others. 

For instance, you can perform squats at a greater weight than you can do a bicep curl. For this reason, using heavier weights for some exercises and lighter weights for others is ideal for getting the most out of your workouts.

Adjustable dumbbells are more expensive than a single pair, but the savings quickly add up when you start to require multiple sets. Adjustable dumbbells are a one-time purchase that provides you with a weight range that can cover numerous body parts, exercise types and grows with you as you gain strength.

Although adjustable dumbbells that come with a wide range of weights are often expensive, the upfront cost is typically much less than what it would cost to buy each weight set individually. Try calculating how much you'd spend for the same variety of weights compared to the price of the adjustable set to see if it is truly cost-effective for you.


Owning a single pair of adjustable weights takes up a much smaller footprint than necessary to store multiple pairs. Even if you have the space available for many dumbbells, owning adjustable ones allows you to use that space for other pieces of equipment or room to perform different movements.


Adjustable dumbbells are a convenient way to strength train since you can store them easily and transport them to different areas of your house or even outdoors. Instead of relying on a gym for a variety of weights, you can fit your workout in during the day in the comfort of your own home.

Switching between weights is accessible with a turn or click, depending on your model. You can quickly go from five pounds to 50 pounds without needing to lug or locate different sets of weights.

Provides Smaller Weight Increments

Dumbbells typically come in rounded weights, such as five pounds, 10 pounds, 15 pounds, and so on. With adjustable dumbbells, you often can choose weights between these, such as 12.5 pounds and 27.5 pounds. 

This unique benefit of adjustable dumbbells allows you to make strength progressions at a rate that might be more suitable to your abilities, helping you move past strength plateaus and get stronger.

Smaller individuals, or women, might benefit from a set that allows for smaller increments in weight increases. If you cannot perform your desired number of reps with a certain weight, you can drop by as little as 2.5 pounds and try to work through your strength plateau.

Allows For Increased Variety

With a more extensive range of weights at your disposal comes a more comprehensive array of exercises you can do and more variety when it comes to programming your workout routine. While keeping the same weight and adding more repetitions when you get stronger is an option, you may need to use heavier weights with fewer repetitions to reach specific types of body composition goals.

With strength training, it’s wise to include different phases every few weeks. For instance, adding more repetitions with lighter weights will work if you plan to increase muscular endurance. To build strength, choosing heavier weights with much fewer repetitions is the most effective, especially for the stronger body parts during compound lifts such as deadlifts, squats, rows, chest and shoulder presses.

May Accelerate Ability To Progress

Increasing the weight of your lifts is one very common way to progress your workout results. If you only own a limited range of dumbbells, you might run out of options when it comes time to challenge yourself. Sticking with the same weights might interfere with your ability to keep progressing.

If you already have a heavier, more challenging weight available with the turn of a dial, you are perfectly set up to push yourself to new levels without delay, saving you time and frustration.

Larger, stronger individuals may outgrow a set of adjustable dumbbells that does not include higher weight ranges. You'll be surprised at how quickly you might need to increase the weight on compound lifts. For this reason, you should take into consideration how heavy you might need your weights to be before making a purchasing decision.

How to Choose the Best Adjustable Dumbbells for You

Choosing the best adjustable dumbbells for your needs requires you to know your goals, approximate budget, and what types of exercises you’d like to do. It’s wise to choose a versatile option that will grow with you as you progress.

Weight Range

Some sets range up to about 27.5 pounds and increase by 5 pounds. This limited range is a great starter option, but you will likely outgrow this weight limit if you plan on doing compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and rows. In this case, choosing a weight set that includes much heavier weights, such as up to 52.5 pounds, will provide you with more options and last longer as you get stronger.


If you are on a tight budget, you could choose a lighter option for the beginning and save up for a more expensive set. Alternatively, there are adjustable dumbbells that come with weight plates that can be added to as you need, allowing you to spread the cost out over time.

Storage Space

If you are extremely limited with space, some sets take up an even smaller footprint than others. Consider where you will store your set when choosing adjustable dumbbells.

A Word From Verywell

Adjustable weights are a cost-effective, space-saving, and convenient choice for anyone building their collection of home gym equipment. The wide variety of exercises that you can perform with dumbbells makes them a wise decision for anyone wanting to build strength and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. When choosing adjustable dumbbells, consider the types of exercises you’d like to do as well as your goals so that you can make a decision that will serve you for the long term.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Evans JW. Periodized Resistance Training for Enhancing Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength: A Mini-Review. Frontiers in Physiology. 2019;10. doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.00013.

  2. Peterson MD, Pistilli E, Haff GG, Hoffman EP, Gordon PM. Progression of volume load and muscular adaptation during resistance exerciseEur J Appl Physiol. 2011;111(6):1063-1071. doi:10.1007/s00421-010-1735-9

By Rachel MacPherson, BA, CPT
Rachel MacPherson is a health writer, certified personal trainer, and exercise nutrition coach based in Montreal.