Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nov 16, Ironmaster Dumbbells | All About the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbell System

The Ironmaster dumbbells are one of the best pieces of weight training equipment you can buy for your home gym. They are highly versatile, extremely durable and very simple to use.

If you currently workout with barbells only, or with an incomplete or poor quality dumbbell set, then the Ironmaster dumbbells will give you the ability to do a plethora of new and effective exercises.

In short, they'll give you more productive workouts, which in turn, will accelerate your progress.

On this page, I'll present all the helpful information that I learned from thoroughly researching the Ironmaster Quick-Lock adjustable dumbbells. I was researching these to decide whether or not to purchase them for my home gym...

...And for the record, I did end up buying them.

They arrived in the mail over the weekend (today is 11/16/11), and I am yet to open the packages. I plan on videotaping the unboxing and then doing a full review, as soon as is possible.

So just to clarify, the information on this page is not my personal testimony of these dumbbells; rather, this is my summary and analysis of the information available online for this product, as well as a compilation of relevant resources.

I'm going to be covering a wide range of topics on this page, so let me give you a heads up on how it'll be organized:

First, I'll provide an basic overview of the Ironmaster dumbbell system. Then I'll move on to a discussion of their pros and cons, followed by a listing of insightful review videos made by other owners of the system.

From that point, I'll get into the topics that you may or may not be as interested in: all the nitty-gritty product specifications, details and factoids about the add-on kits and accessory options.

I'll start by briefly discussing the most basic features of this dumbbell set. This way, you'll have a general understanding of the product before I get into too much detail...

...Before I start my spiel, though, I recommend watching the below video as a primer. It covers most of the basic points and gives you the visuals to go along with it:

The main component of the Ironmaster dumbbell system is the base set, which gives you a maximum dumbbell weight of 75 lbs.

But the fun doesn't stop at a measly 75 pounds, folks. There are two optional add-on kits that you can purchase to increase the maximum dumbbell weight...

...The first add-on kit, as shown in the video above, allows you to use up to 120 lbs. per dumbbell. The second kit, which isn't shown or mentioned in the above clip, raises the max weight per dumbbell to a whopping 165 pounds! (The 120 lb. kit is required to use the 165 lb. kit.)

Of course, most people won't need or want the second add-on kit, at least to begin with. Still, it's nice to know that you always have that option on the table.

The other major draws of this adjustable dumbbell set are the many compatible accessories and complementary equipment available (i.e. fat grip adapter, kettlebell attachment, straight bar, EZ-curl bar, Super Bench, dumbbell spotting stand) that enhance and expand its functionality. I'll discuss these options in greater detail, later.

The Ironmaster adjustable dumbbells use the Quick-Lock screws to secure the weights to the dumbbell.

With the dumbbell handle lying horizontally, you place the desired number of plates against the dumbbell handle. Check that each plate is properly aligned; the grooves on the back of each plate should fit securely into the grooves of the plate in front of it...

...Then, take one of the Quick-Lock pins and insert it through the center hole of the plates so that the arrow on the pin is in line with the indentation of the dumbbell handle. Proceed to screw it into the handle until it's tight.

Repeat this process on the other side of the dumbbell, and then again on both sides of the second dumbbell.

The video below shows how simple it is to change the weight:

Having now finished my summary of the Ironmaster dumbbells, I'll get to the part that you probably care about most: the pros and cons of the Ironmaster dumbbells.

Natural Look & Feel. Feels and looks like a traditional fixed dumbbell. Unlike some of the more "creative" adjustable dumbbells out there (e.g. PowerBlock), the Ironmasters actually feel like fixed dumbbells when you handle them. They also look quite similar to fixed dumbbells, with the minor difference of square-shaped weights.Expandable to 165 Lbs. Greatest expandability of (almost) any adjustable dumbbell on the market, of up to 165 lbs. Spinlock or Olympic handles are the only types of adjustable dumbbells that you could expand to more than 165 lbs., though doing so would entail using taller weight plates, which sacrifices functionality on some exercises.Heavy-Duty Durability. Thanks to their simple design and all-metal construction, these dumbbells can take a beating. Even with less-than-gentle use, the likelihood of damaging these dumbbells is minimal. This doesn't mean you should slam the dumbbells on the floor or toss them around just "because you can." That would be careless, and generally stupid behavior. What it does mean, though, is that you don't have to coddle the weights like a newborn baby.Secure Weights. Once the weights are locked in, they stay locked in. There's no rattling, shaking or loosening of dumbbells. This means you can lift them explosively or use them in swinging motions, without fear of the plates flying off.Accessorizabilty! The Ironmaster Quick-Lock dumbbell system has many accessory attachments available, which greatly expand your training options. I'll talk about these attachments later on this page.Included Dumbbell Rack/Stand. An accompanying stand comes standard when you buy the Ironmaster Quick-Lock dumbbell set. It's very compact in size (14.5" W x 19" D x 26" H), yet still large enough to fit a fully loaded pair of dumbbells on its top, and store all of its weights (including the optional 120 lb. add-on kit) within it. Thus, it serves to fulfill the average home gym owner's requirement to maximize space efficiency. Standing at just over two feet tall, it is specifically designed to facilitate racking/unracking the dumbbells in an ergonomically sound fashion.Knurled Steel on Handles & Knobs. Knurled steel on the screw knobs makes it easier to grasp onto the Quick-Lock screws and twist them on or off. The knurled steel on the dumbbell handles ensures you maintain the tightest possible grip on the dumbbells, even if your hands are drenched in sweat. The only catch is that you'll have to endure some minor discomfort while your hands adapt to the rather harsh texture.Customizable Load Distribution. You can load each end of the barbell independently of the other. This means that you can make one end heavier than the other end, if you so desire. Obviously, you would load the dumbbells evenly for the vast majority of exercises. But there are some movements where an uneven load is required (e.g. pronations, supinations, deviations) or desirable (e.g. hammer curls).Plates Compatible with Any Standard Bar. The Quick-Lock plates will fit on any standard (1" diameter) barbells or dumbbell handles that you have in your gym. So if you should ever have the need, you can use these plates on those bars without any issues.30-Day Guarantee & Lifetime Warranty. You get a thirty day money back guarantee, with shipping covered if you decide to return it. The lifetime manufacturer's warranty which includes repairs and part replacements (though you'd pay). See the full terms and conditions.Longer Adjustment Time. The main downside of the Ironmasters is that it takes longer to adjust their weight, compared to "quick change" adjustable dumbbell sets like the PowerBlocks. It typically takes somewhere between 15 seconds to 90 seconds to adjust the weight. It varies depending on the amount of weight you're putting on and/or taking off, and whether you are trying to change it as fast as you can or if you're taking your sweet-ass time. :DUneven Weight Distribution if Using XX.5 Lbs. If you're trying to use a weight that's not a multiple of 5 lbs. (e.g. 22.5, 57.5, etc.) by adding just one of the 2.5 lb. plates, then the dumbbell will be slightly heavier on whichever side you put the plate. This isn't a problematic issue, though, because you can simply hold the weight slightly off-center to make it balanced.Some Organization Required. Unlike the simple and convenient self-containing storage feature of dumbbell systems like the PowerBlock, the Ironmaster Quick-Lock dumbbells require separate storage of the many individual weight plates. Although the included dumbbell stand provides dedicated storage space, you must still maintain some level of organization within it. Otherwise, you waste time sorting through a disheveled mess of weights to find the right one. I personally don't believe that this issue deserve a full-blown "con" status, since the worst case scenario is that you experience a temporary and minor inconvenience. However, I've included it here because the significance of this issue is for you to judge, not me.

Below, I've compiled the most helpful video reviews that I found for the Ironmaster dumbbells.

The first three video reviews are from ordinary weight trainees...

...The forth video review, as you'll see, is from a not-so-ordinary lifter who you may recognize.

Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells Amazon

Below are three clips of IFBB pro bodybuilder Lee Priest reviewing and using the Ironmaster dumbbells during his chest workout.

75 Pound Ironmaster Dumbbell Set The base set includes 2 x 5 lb. dumbbell handles, 24 x 5 lb. weight plates, 4 x 2.5 lb. plates and 4 standard-sized Quick-Lock screws5 to 75 lbs.Adjusts in 2.5 lb. increments6.5" W x 6.5" H x 14.5" L (14.5" length when fully loaded)Included stand for racking the dumbbells between sets, as well as for storing plates and pins. Its dimensions are 14.5" W x 19" D x 26" H.Price: $578 ($499 + $79 S&H)120 Pound Ironmaster Dumbbell Add-On Kit You must first have the 75 lb. base unit for the 120 lb. kit to work.The kit includes 4 x 22.5 lb. plates (45 extra lbs. per dumbbell) and 4 extended-length Quick-Lock screws (2 per dumbbell)70 to 120 lbs.2.5 lb. increments6.5" W x 6.5" H x 18.5" L (18.5" length when fully loaded)Fully loaded dumbbells still fits on the standPrice: $260 ($215 + $45 S&H)165 Pound Ironmaster Dumbbell Add-On Kit You must first have the 120 lb. add-on kit, as well as the 75 lb. base unit, to use all 165 lbs.The 165 lb. add-on kit includes 4 x 22.5 lb. plates (an extra 45 lbs per dumbbell) and 4 extra-long screws. These screws are different than the screws used in the 75 lb and 120 lb sets in that they are fully threaded (as opposed to partially).122.5-165 lbs.2.5 lb. increments6.5" W x 6.5" H x 23.5" L (23.5" length when fully loaded)Fully loaded dumbbells won't fit all the way on the rackYou must custom order this kit via phone (US: 800-533-3339, Int'l: 425-408-9040).Purchase is non-returnable and non-refundableExpect delivery to take 2-3 weeksThe original warranty is void if you drop, or otherwise mistreat, the dumbbells when using the 165 lb. kit. This is because the dumbbell set was originally designed to withstand rough use for a maximum weight of 120 lbs using the partially threaded Quick-Lock screws.Price: $283 ($235 + $48 S&H)

Each of the three dumbbell kits (75lb/120lb/165lb) have varying screw sizes, though they share the following commonalities:

The knob size on all three screw size is the same: 4 inch diameter, 0.5 inch thickness.There is knurled steel around the edge of each knob, which allows you to easily grip onto and untwist the screw.The screws are constructed from chrome-plated solid steel

Again, the above are the similarities of the screws. The differences are shown in the images and descriptions below:

As shown below, the screws for the 75 lb. base unit are 4 inches long and weigh 2.5 lbs.

Quick-Lock Screw for 75 Pound Ironmaster Dumbbells

As shown below, the screws for the 120 lb. add-on kit are 6 inches long and weigh 3 lbs.

Quick-Lock Screw for 120 Pound Ironmaster Dumbbell Add-On Kit

As shown below, the screws for the 165 lb. add-on kit are 8.5 inches long and weigh 3.5 lbs. Additionally, these screws differ from those from the 75 lb. and 120 lb. sets in that they are fully (not partially) threaded...

Fully Threaded Screw for 165 Pound Ironmaster Dumbbell Add-On Kit

...That is, the threading wraps all the way around the screw's circumference, as opposed to only part of the way around it.

Because of this design, these screws aren't actually "Quick-Lock" screws, since you have to screw them in all the way (instead of sliding them in most of the way before tightening them). This provides extra tightness to ensure the weights remain in place with the heavier load.

5 lb. handle6.5" inner handle length7" total handle length w/o plates or screws (8" with screws)1.25" handle diameterThe dumbbell ends have recessed grooves that are designed to hold the first weight plate in place, and prevent it from movingEmpty Ironmaster Dumbbell Handle

There are three plate sizes for this dumbbell set: 2.5, 5 and 22.5 pounds. All three have the same length and width dimensions of 6.5" x 6.5". However, they vary in thickness. Below are their respective thickness specifications.

2.5 lb. plates are approx. 0.25" thick.5 lb. plates are approx. 0.5" thick.22.5 lb. plates are approx. 2.25" thick.2.5 lb, 5 lb & 22.5 Ironmaster Quick-Lock Weight Plates

Other notable information about the weight plates includes the following:

Standard 1" diameter center holeCast iron construction with a painted black surfaceEach plate is within 3% of its stated weightThe plates have an interlocking design, which keeps them aligned and secure

All of the following accessories can be found here on

If you want to enjoy the benefits of thick bar training, then you're in luck. The Fat Grip Adapters allow you to increase the dumbbell handle diameter so you can improve your grip and accelerate your forearm development.

Ironmaster Fat Grip Adapter

The Fat Grip Adapter specifications are listed below:

There are two different fat grip adapters available that increase the original 1.25" handle diameter size. One will increase it to 1.5", and the other will increase it to 2".The adapters are made from a high-strength plastic composite material.Just as with the regular dumbbell handles, the fat grip adapters have knurled textures, which facilitates a more secure and better quality grip.Each adapter consists of two halves, which you secure around the handle with small screws. Keep a Phillips screwdriver nearby if you want to take them on and off during your workout.Price: $35 ($29 + $6 S&H)

The Quick-Lock kettlebell is a innovative, yet simple design that uses the same plates and pins as the dumbbells. So if you've already got the dumbbells, then all you need is the kettlebell attachment, itself.

Ironmaster Quick-Lock Kettlebell

The notable information about the kettlebell includes:

Handle weighs 22.5 lbs.Adjustable in 2.5 lb. increments1.375" diameter gripSolid steel construction; no knurling.Maximum weight is 57.5 lbs. when using 32.5 lbs. worth of plates (i.e. 6 x 5 lbs. + 1 x 2.5 lbs.), along with an accompanying standard-sized Quick-Lock screw (i.e. the kind used in the 75 lb. base set).Maximum weight is 80 lbs. when using 55 lbs. worth of plates (i.e. 1 x 22.5 lbs. + 6 x 5 lbs. + 1 x 2.5 lbs.), along with an accompanying extended-length Quick-Lock screw (the kind used in the 120 lb. add-on kit).Price: $108 ($89 + $19 S&H)

While I've personally never done any kettlebell work, I am certainly tempted to buy this nifty attachment so that I can start learning. That said, I wouldn't seriously consider this purchase until after buying the 120 lb. add-on kit.

Watch the clip below for a general outline of the kettlebell attachment, its uses and how it works.

The Ironmaster Quick-Lock kettlebell attachment introduces a whole host of new and different exercise options. In this video, professional MMA fighter Lyle Beerbohm demonstrates many of the movements made possible by the kettlebell attachment.

A personal trainer does a quick review of the kettlebell attachment and then performs a workout using it.

An EZ-curl bar gives you a few more options for biceps and triceps exercises.

Ironmaster EZ-Curl Bar

The major specs and measurements for this accessory include:

7" ends (i.e. space available on each side for plates)48" total bar length34" inside grip lengthSolid steel construction with knurled gripUses spinlock collars to secure platesIf you have the four 22.5 lb. plates from the 120 lb. add-on kit as well as the weights from the 75 lb. set, then the maximum load is 165 lbs. (15 lb. bar plus 75 lbs. per side).If you have only the plates from the 75 lb. set, then the max bar weight is 145 lbs. (15 lb. bar plus 65 lbs. per side).Adjustable in 2.5 lb. incrementsPrice: $92 ($75 + $17 S&H)Ironmaster Straight Bar

The major specs and measurements for this accessory include:

11.5" ends (i.e. space available on each side for plates)66" total bar length42.5" inside grip lengthSolid steel construction with knurled gripUses spinlock collars to secure platesIf you have the four 22.5 lb. plates from the 120 lb. add-on kit as well as the weights from the 75 lb. set, then the maximum load is 228 lbs. (18 lb. bar plus 105 lbs. per side).If you have only the plates from the 75 lb. set, then the max bar weight is 160 lbs. (18 lb. bar plus 65 lbs. per side).Adjustable in 2.5 lb. incrementsPrice: $100 ($75 + $25 S&H)

The Super Bench is better categorized as being a separate piece of equipment that is complementary to the Ironmaster dumbbell system, than as an accessory to it...

Ironmaster Super Bench

...That said, I've nonetheless included it in this section because of its compatibility when used with the dumbbells and other dumbbell accessories (e.g. the spotting stands).

However, I won't delve into details on the bench, as that would require a page of its own. Instead, the two videos below are sufficient for this page.

See the video below for an overview of the Super Bench.

The video below shows the several exercises you can do on the Super Bench.

As with the Super Bench, the dumbbell spotting is most precisely categorized in a class of its own, rather than as an accessory or attachment specific to the Quick-Lock dumbbell system...

Ironmaster Dumbbell Spotting Stand and Super Bench Combo

...As such, I'll skip over the specific stats, and instead provide the following summarizing video clip:

To gain a better understanding of how the dumbbell spotting stand works, take a look at the video below.

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