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I always wanted a cable crossover machine for my Home Gym but space and money prevents that. So instead I've created my own DIY cable crossover setup. Equipment used includes: Olympic Loading Pins (X2): These can be purchased from... Pullumsports UK Ironmind.com Amazon - Cheaper loading pin compared to Ironmind. Carabiner Clips (X6): Amazon Fitness Cable Pulley (X2): Amazon Cable Handles (X2): Amazon Swivel Pulley Block / Wheels (X2): Amazon Hanging Straps (X2): Amazon Olympic Barbell Collars (X4): Amazon Iron Bull Strength Alpha Grips (X2): These can be purchased from... Amazon Iron Bull Strength Website - (10% off code: "strengtholdschool" ) * Instead of using Alpha Grips, if you prefer, you can use the original Fat Gripz (X2): These can be purchased from... Amazon
Let me start by saying this article is not about providing only positive comments about Ironmaster to simply make some "commission" money back from referred sales... this Ironmaster review and any other product review on this website, regarding gym equipment in general, no matter the brand, will always be truthful and honest. Expect no bullshit from Strength Oldschool. No company is perfect, there will always be something negative to say regarding either the product, the delivery service, customer service, how a company's website has been designed (user friendly etc) or whether the website contains enough information about a product you wish to buy etc, or maybe even a combination of them all. Regardless, this review will contain my own personal thoughts regarding the company Ironmaster and more importantly, it's product - 'Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells'. I've personally used Ironmaster dumbbells and have actually purchased the same product TWICE and not by accident. The first purchase was given to my brother to use and try out several years ago which he loved so I invested in buying a second set! The very first time buying Ironmaster's "Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbells" was back around 2010 / 2011. Up until that point, I was living at home with my parents for several years due to financial reasons (getting on the property ladder was expensive!) and training at a good commercial gym three to five times a week. Back in 2005 / 2006, I had previously lived in Carnoustie, Scotland, for one year, renting a ground floor spacious flat. I turned one of the spare rooms into a home gym because I became sick to death of the long travelling to the nearest commercial gym. So at that time I had enough space in my spare room to purchase some Olympic weight plates... a 7ft Olympic Barbell, adjustable squat stands and a couple of light hex rubber dumbbells. Nothing fancy, just simple, basic equipment and it was great. It was so good, I was training multiple times a day (sometimes three times a day) hitting the same body parts and lovin' it! The freedom to train whenever you want, no matter the time of day is priceless which I highly recommend. The only downside to the flat was the SPIDERS! It was an old type of building with spiders appearing from the walls every single day and I'm not a fan of creepy crawlies lol! Anyway, fast forward a year later and my employment status (only guaranteed for one year) came to an end so I had to move back home again to live with my folks. As for the gym equipment, that got sold off. Even though it was basic stuff, the 7ft Olympic barbell proved too big for the bedroom I was going to be staying in at my parents house. So for the next few years, I trained at a gym formally owned by professional Scottish bodybuilder, Steve Creighton, which used to be called "The Hardcore Hell-hole Gym". That gym had a whole range of excellent equipment such as a superb heavy duty Power Rack, all types of cable weight machines, incline, flat, decline bench press stations, a huge selection of dumbbells, you name it. It had it. The gym wasn't massive by any means, it was relatively small but It was the ideal gym for hardcore bodybuilders and strength trainers. I wouldn't describe myself as being "hardcore" but I was serious about my training and loved strength training at the time so the gym was perfect for me. I don't recall the reasons why but I later moved on to another gym, maybe around 2008 / 2009 which wasn't as "hardcore" so to speak but it did have good basic training equipment. However, after a period of time, I got sick of how the gym was constantly busy, and travelling back and forth became annoying and I began really missing having my own spare room at home to use for training. Before I quit the commercial gym scene for good, I did manage to get a photo with Polish Strongman, Sebastien Wenta, back in 2010. I believe he was in town to compete at a local Highland Games show and ended up coming to my gym to train. He was with a few other guys that day, could have been family, training partners or both, I'm not sure, but they were all HUUUUUUGE!!! Giants they were, tall with massive structures. Looking back, I wish I'd stuck around to watch how they trained. Took me a bit of time to work up the courage to ask for a photo lol. For the record, I'm 6ft tall. So around 2010 / 2011 I stopped training at the commercial gym and decided to train in my bedroom at my parents home. Some people reading this may think I was foolish but I was keen to start home gym training again, no matter how small my room was. [Photo below - Parents House - My Bedroom - 2007] This was a photo of my bedroom from around 2007. The bedroom didn't change much from then up to 2010 / 2011. I think the Casio keyboard got ditched to make room for training, that's about it. My bedroom had a single bed, typical cupboards and shelves for storage, a computer desk in the background, laptop, and just enough floor space to use for training. The only challenging aspect was buying free weights that could be used in a limited size training area. Fortunately, upon researching online I came across a company by the name of "Ironmaster". It was a family owned, American business, founded in 1978, famous for designing heavy duty, compact, strength training equipment aimed at Home Gym users. Thankfully, the business spread its wings and began operating in the UK in 2008 which enabled me to buy my first set of Ironmaster Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbells. WHY I CHOSE IRONMASTER? I had very limited space for training at my parents, so I couldn't buy Olympic Barbells and I didn't want to buy a few different sized Hex Dumbbells as they would take up too much space on the floor. Other options I came across online were "Power Blocks" and "Bowflex" adjustable dumbbells. Both Bowflex (photo above may not represent the exact same dumbbells from 2011) and Power Blocks were convenient in the sense that both types could be quickly adjusted in weight, especially 'Bowflex' which simply involved turning a dial. However, both these adjustable dumbbells had a lot of negative reviews as they were easily broken and didn't stand the test of time. Power Blocks for me also looked too 'SPACE-AGE'! Those dumbbells could have been advertised as the best dumbbells in the world and I still wouldn't have bought them! I just couldn't take to them due to their weird, unusual design which also was a negative review for many other people online. Certain exercises also couldn't be done when using the Power Block dumbbells due to their unique design so again, that was a turn off. Bowflex resembled more of a real dumbbell look but after reading the negative reviews, I decided they weren't for me. So it was down to either buying Ironmaster or dumbbell handles with a selection of olympic weight plates (see below). In case you are wondering, I had already made up my mind that dumbbells were the way to go for me due to the limited training space that I had. So it was just a matter of researching and choosing the best "adjustable" dumbbells for my needs. The main problem with buying 'Olympic weight plates' for dumbbell handles at that point in time, (if I remember correctly) was that you couldn't buy ultra thin style Olympic sized weight plates or custom length dumbbell handles like you see common nowadays. And if you could, you had to buy them from America which meant that shipping costs to the UK would be expensive! I believe Fractional weight plates were around to buy then which I'm sure I had but dumbbell handles were sold at the standard length of around 20 inches and were too long to use for arm training exercises, great for back training etc i.e. dumbbell rows, but just too awkward to use for direct arm work and even also for bench press work. As a youngster I used the thick, bulky, plastic weights made by either Weider, York or Marcy, I can't recall, but that memory I suppose, put me off from buying dumbbell handles and bulky individual weight plates (which I had previously purchased before in Carnoustie) so I opted to go for "Ironmaster". It was something new to try for me, which excited me, and the fact that the company had a long history and strong reputation for producing excellent, high quality, home gym training equipment, made me think I was making the right decision which it was! These reviews at the time helped made my mind up... So on to MY OWN PERSONAL REVIEW.... 1. IRONMASTER WEBSITE In my opinion, the website is easy to navigate for users. Photos of products are large and crystal clear to see. Every item on the website contains plenty of detailed information which means less going back and forth with questions about products to customer services. If you do have questions about a particular item, the email response times are usually fairly quick (from what I remember) from as little as a few hours to no more than 24. I always got the genuine impression that Ironmaster trully cares for customer satisfaction. They fully believe in their products which shows. Another good feature I think is that Ironmaster provide videos that show off their products being used. You would think that's a common feature in gym equipment websites today but believe it or not, IT'S NOT! As a potential customer, seeing photos of an item(s) you wish to buy, whether it's expensive or not is great but customers really want to see videos of the product being used. One thing that annoys me about Gym Equipment companies in general is when they're making videos to promote certain gym products such as "Power Racks" that have built in 'cable machines' for lat pulldown purposes or tricep pushdown / cable curl exercises etc. Their videos are usually always edited to include loud background music throughout. As a potential customer I'm more interested to hear what noises come from the machine etc when getting used. Maybe I'm crazy but if you are considering buying a cable machine, I don't want to buy the machine and then discover there's a normal loud noise being exerted during every repetition! Another gym product which potential customers should be thinking about in regards to noise is if you're buying a cycling machine for cardio work, sometimes those machines give off a lot of noise and this isn't shown on companies videos who advertise and sell such products...They might list a 'dB' noise level in the description but do regular people really understand dB levels? So it's something to think about. Overall, I'm happy with Ironmaster's website and I do really enjoy browsing the site to look for new products etc. 2. DELIVERY It's been a while since I ordered from Ironmaster but delivery on two separate occasions was always prompt. I was annoyed at one point after receiving my first ever order which was the '34 kg (75 lbs) Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells' with Storage Rack/Stand. For some reason I was unaware that delivery would be in two installments. I was expecting just one large package which obviously didn't happen. So when I opened my package expecting my entire order to be there, I got pissed off after just seeing the Ironmaster Dumbbell Stand/Rack lol. It wasn't Ironmaster's fault, it does state on the website that buying the product I did, comes in two deliveries. And for some unknown reason, I had my mind fixed on one delivery only. So take note, depending on what you order, it may come in two or several deliveries and not just one large package. Also please be aware that additional deliveries may not happen within the same day, but you're best to contact Ironmaster for exact info on delivery procedures. 3. IRONMASTER DUMBBELLS [A] Are Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells Strong? Advertised as the World's Strongest adjustable dumbbells is a very bold statement to make by Ironmaster. However they do come with a reputation of being EXTREMELY STRONG and they certainly feel strong when using them. I'm not personally interested in dropping dumbbells from a great height to test those indestructible claims and If I'm honest, I don't even drop the dumbbells when using them during my home gym training sessions. However, should I ever need to drop the dumbbells at some point, I wouldn't be worried about damaging them. I'd be more concerned about my home gym floor lol. Ironmaster offer a 'Life-Time' Warranty, so that's good enough for me! [B] How Much Weight can Ironmaster Dumbbells be Loaded to? Ironmaster's adjustable dumbbell handles can be loaded up to 75 kg (165 lbs) by purchasing 'ADD ON KITS'. So they are perfectly suited for the serious strength trainer - see image below. AND.... If you wish to INCREASE the WEIGHT further Ironmaster now also sell "Heavy Handle Plate Kits" which transforms a typical Ironmaster empty dumbbell handle weighing 5 lbs into a massive 20 lbs! So a 120 lbs ADD ON KIT can be further loaded up to 135 lbs by buying the 'Heavy Handle Plate Kit above'. And a 165 lbs ADD ON KIT can be further loaded up to 180 lbs with the addition of the 'Heavy Handle Plate Kit'. [C] What's the lightest starting weight for Ironmaster dumbbells? Given that I own these dumbbells I'm going to disagree with Ironmaster's statement above. If you lift the dumbbell handles without adding any weight plates or the locking screws then yes, each handle does weigh around 2 kg. However, for me, and this may be different for other users, I'm not sure, but I'm unable to attach the locking screws to the dumbbell handles without first adding at least one weight plate to either end of the dumbbell handle. Is this normal?... I'm not sure as I've never inquired about this problem with Ironmaster. For me this hasn't been a major problem but it may bother other potential customers. So the next heaviest weight up from the 2 kg empty dumbbell handle is really 6.6 kg to be precise which is around 14.5 lbs and not the proclaimed 4.5 kg (10 lbs). This equates to the following... 2.2 kg empty dumbbell handle + 1.1 kg weight plate X 2 (one on either end) + two locking screws which each weigh 1.1 kg. I should point out the following...If you purchase the 34 kg (75 lb) Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells from Ironmaster, your package contains 24 x 5 lbs (2.2 kg) weight plates and 4 x 2.5 lbs (1.1 kg) weight plates. So the 1.1 kg (2.5 lbs) plates are Ironmaster's typical smallest weight plates. Fortunately, due to a recent upgrade in equipment, Ironmaster now sell even smaller weight plates. The smaller plates would help reduce the jump from 2 kg up to 6.6 kg but you would need to buy Ironmaster's "MICRO-PLATE KIT". Similar to Fractional Weight Plates Ironmaster's "micro" plates allow lifters to progress up in weight in smaller increments, by as little as 1.25 lbs (0.57 kg). So if you owned these micro plates, you would be able to progress from 2 kg (empty dumbbell handle) up to 5.5 kg (around 12 lbs). Ideally, jumping up to only 4 kg (8.8 lbs) first would be better but again, this may not bother a lot of potential customers. Really just depends on a person's individual strength levels. On a positive note, overall, having the option to progress up in weight by only around 1 kg (2.2 lbs) is a great thing and this is much better when training smaller muscle groups like biceps, triceps etc. [D] Can the weights be changed quickly and easily with Ironmaster Dumbbells? Compared to Bowflex adjustable dumbbells which simply involve turning a dial to change resistance, Ironmaster takes a little longer to adjust I'm afraid. You simply turn the locking screw a few degrees and pull the screw out from the dumbbell handle. You then insert a weight plate and place the locking screw back in and turn to tighten. Done! It's not complicated or time consuming but Ironmaster dumbbells are very similar to using regular dumbbell handles and loading the handles with Olympic weight plates and then adding on the collars for safety. Ironmaster dumbbells however have just been designed to be more compact. Ironmaster weight plates are compact in the sense that their plates are designed to be the same size (from a height point of view), no matter the weight. Only the thickness of the plates change in size as the weight gets heavier or lighter. This means that if you are lifting a heavy dumbbell, (see photo below for example) from a size point of view, the dumbbells only change in 'length' as the 'height' of all the weight plates are made to be exactly the same. To put the above into perspective, take for example two Hex Rubber Dumbbells of different weights. Both dumbbells below are the same design, however one dumbbell weighs 5 kg, the other 65 kg and both measure differently in length and height. See * table below for size comparisons. * I made all the above measurements when I used to have a complete range of Hex dumbbells from 1 kg right up to 70 kg!! I obviously had a lot of time on my hands! You can use this table to compare hex dumbbells with that of Ironmaster and other dumbbell training products. The square format shape of Ironmaster's dumbbells also means they won't roll about which makes them safe to use i.e. they won't roll over your toes! Depending on the lifter, this is either a positive or negative. Some lifters prefer the round look of dumbbells because it means they can push the dumbbells around a room with their feet instead of having to bend over and lift a dumbbell across a room. For me the square design is not a deal breaker....Do I prefer the look of rounded dumbbells?...YES but does the square format affect performance?...NO. So don't let the design turn you off from buying Ironmaster dumbbells. Another reason why Ironmaster dumbbells are compact is because all the weight plates can be easily stored within the rack. In the photo below, it shows 34 kg of weight plates, that's 75 lbs worth of plates stored at the bottom of the rack, with plenty of space left over for more additional plates which you can buy as 'ADD ON KITS'. The 'ADD ON KITS' would definitely appeal to the strength lifters out there looking for heavy, compact, home gym equipment. If your goal is developing maximum strength then you can upgrade to Ironmaster's 54.4 kg (120 lbs) Kit and better yet... progress to the 74.8 kg (165 lbs) Kit. The only downside is, to obtain the heaviest set of dumbbells that Ironmaster offer, you need to purchase the 120 lbs 'Add On Kit' first before buying the next heavier one. When it comes to dumbbells I'm a traditionalist. If I'm forking out my own money to buy dumbbells, they better be heavy duty i.e. last for many, many years and resemble a real actual dumbbell. I'm not interested in Power Blocks dumbbell with it's 'Space-Age' design, I want a real, traditional type dumbbell, something that resembles old school lifting. So the two things I like about Ironmaster dumbbells... They look like real dumbbells and feel like real dumbbells when using them. They are solid and won't and should not break if dropped. The good thing is, customers get a life-time warranty! WILL THEY BREAK? [E] How do Ironmaster Dumbbells work? Photo above displays the standard dumbbell handle with locking screws (see below) on either end. The square weight plates with rounded edges have been designed to stack together on top of one another which are secured to the side plates of the dumbbell handle (which have the exact same shape). The rounded edges are very smooth so won't cut your skin. It's very important that the weight plates are stacked correctly before attempting to lock the dumbbells with the screws. Also it's important to note the 'V' shape notches at the top of the dumbbell handles - To remove or add weight plates, the locking screws (which also have 'V' shape notches) must align with the 'V' shape notches of the dumbbell handle. The "OPEN -- Arrow" markings on the locking screw should point up in line with the top notch of the square dumbbell handle in order to remove the locking screw and change the weight of the dumbbell. Photo below shows a close-up of the 'V' shape notches. Photo below shows a close-up of the inside of the dumbbell handle where the locking screws go into. You can see the threaded shaft which compliments the locking screw when tightening. The photo below shows you how to align the locking screws with the 'V' shape notches of the dumbbell handle. The screw in this photo is currently out and loose from the handle. At this point, the screw would be inserted straight into the handle shaft keeping the notches lined up (screw notch matches notch on dumbbell handle) and then tightened by turning the screw 'clock-wise' until tight. How far round you turn it depends. Every set of dumbbell handles and locking screws may be slightly different but trust me, you will know when it's tightened. [F] How Thick are Ironmaster Dumbbell Handles? The chrome plated steel handles with knurled grips come in a standard size / thickness of 1.25" (3.2 cm). The width of the grip handle measures 6.5" (16.5 cm) which is slightly longer than my Hex Dumbbell handles at only 5". Please note that by buying Ironmaster's "Heavy Handle Plate Kit", the length of Ironmaster's knurled grip will become less than 6.5" (16.5 cm) - This should not affect performance in handling the dumbbell. The knurled grips feel solid and stable in your hand but if you want to focus more on developing your grip strength and build some wrist and forearm size, I'd suggest buying Ironmaster's "FAT GRIP ADAPTER SET". You have the option of purchasing 1.5" (4 cm) grip handles or 2" (5 cm) grip handles. I went with the 5" grip handles and absolutely love them. You can see the before and after photos below... I'd highly recommend the thick grip Adapters from Ironmaster, they feel great when lifting the dumbbells in all exercises. [G] How do you Fit Ironmaster Fat Grip Adapters to the Dumbbell Handles? The Fat Grip Adapters come as you see above. One thick grip Adapter set comes in two halves with four screws. You simply wrap the two halves around the handle of the dumbbell and insert the screws and tighten. I'm not going to lie and say that attaching the thick grip handles was easy to do because it wasn't. The process is simple as described above but you may find inserting the screws extremely challenging. Took me over an hour to insert all screws. It's just fiddly trying to insert a screwdriver to tighten the nuts. But once there on, it's solid and brilliant to use. The only negative here is the following... if you only have one pair of dumbbell handles (as I do) , don't think for a second that you'll be able to easily switch between using the thick grip adapters by taking them off and on repeatedly to use only on certain exercises, that won't happen! This is just my opinion but realistically if you wish to use the thick grip handles for certain exercises only then I'd suggest buying an extra pair of Ironmaster Dumbbell Handles to allow you to use just the regular grip handles for other exercises. Personally, for myself I just use one pair of dumbbell handles and leave the 2" thick grip adapters on all the time for all exercises. One note of caution....If you purchase the thick grip handle Adapters of Ironmaster, I'm not sure if the 'Heavy Handle Plate Kits' will still fit the dumbbell handles?....I would contact Ironmaster to make sure if you are definitely planning on buying both the 'Heavy Handle Plate Kits' and 'Fat Grip Adapter Sets'. Better safe than sorry! [H] How Much do Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells Cost? Ironmaster equipment in general is not cheap but all it's equipment is made to be strong, heavy duty and designed specifically for the home gym trainer with limited training space. As a customer you're paying for the unique, compact design features of a well known, respectable brand. A lot of Ironmaster's sales are through 'word of mouth' and that speaks volumes in regards to how good Ironmaster's equipment is. The 34 kg (75 lbs) Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbells are pricey...As of writing this article, the current price of buying 34 kg (75 lbs) Quick-Lock Dumbbell Set (see photo below) from Ironmaster will set you back £700.00 (UK purchase) or $700.00 (US purchase). Given the current currency conversion rates at the time of this article, the UK price should only be around £510.00, so prices are definitely high at the moment for UK customers. But keep checking the Ironmaster website for more recent, up-to-date prices. The dumbbells have the reputation of being virtually indestructible and come with a LIFE-TIME WARRANTY! Not many companies, if any, will offer that! For me, having the warranty definitely makes me feel a lot better spending my hard earned cash buying such expensive home gym equipment. Prices have definitely shot up in the last year or two. My second purchase (27 June, 2018) of Ironmaster's '34 kg Adjustable Dumbbells with the ADDITION of Ironmaster's Fat Grip Adapters' cost me LESS than £600.00. See photo below... Maybe prices will come down after all this Covid stuff? Should you lack the funds to afford Ironmaster Dumbbells or any of its branded equipment, Ironmaster do offer "0% Finance" deals allowing you to make affordable monthly payments. Something to consider if you desperately must have the dumbbells or any other type of equipment from the site. Now let's put the relatively "HIGH PRICE" tag of Ironmaster dumbbells into perspective.... The dumbbell package above allows lifters to load TWO Dumbbell Handles from as little as 2 kg (5 lbs - which is what the empty dumbbell handle weighs) right up to an impressive 34 kg (75 lbs). That weight range alone would suit the general weight training enthusiast. You would only need to go heavier if you were into serious strength training. As I've stated previously, I currently own Ironmaster dumbbells (2 kg - 34 kg). I also have a massive range of Fixed Hex Rubber Dumbbells and two dumbbell racks for storage (see photos below). [Above] My collection of Hex dumbbells ranging from 1 kg (2.2 lbs) right up to 70 kg (154 lbs). This took two dumbbell storage racks and still there was a few dumbbells left on the floor. Not all of these dumbbells were purchased at the same time. My first purchase was for 1 kg up to 30 kg and then later on I made another purchase buying dumbbells from 35 kg up to 70 kg! [Above] This rack and dumbbell range is still present in my house (recent photo). This rack holds dumbbells going from 1 kg (2.2 lbs) up to 27.5 kg (just over 60 lbs), which is less than the 34 kg Ironmaster dumbbell package. My other Hex dumbbells, 30 kg (66 lbs) + are hidden in several cupboards of my house for storage! (see below). The dumbbell storage rack above has the following measurements: Depth: 53 cm / 20.9 inches Length: 162 cm / 64 inches Height: 92 cm / 36.2 inches Now let's compare this to Ironmaster's Storage rack... You can clearly see or at least get an idea of the difference in size between buying the amount of Hex Dumbbells required to match the range that Ironmaster offer but in a much more compact way. Hex dumbbells take up so much space which is perfectly fine if you have the training space. But if you are trully a "small" home gym user, then Ironmaster is the way to go. From a price point of view, going back a number of years ago, I easily payed well over £1000 to buy Hex Dumbbells in the range of 1 kg up to 30 kg....That was for 18 pairs of dumbbells! (see below). 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 27.5, 30 The above price didn't include a storage rack which cost me a further £200+. So taking the Ironmaster Dumbbell Package of 2kg up to 34kg currently priced at £700, that's still a pretty good deal considering the amount of training space you'll be saving by not going for the same weight range in Hex Dumbbells. You can see above how the Ironmaster Dumbbells and Storage rack look in my house livingroom, looks pretty good in my opinion, a real space saver and blends in nicely with the furniture! [I] Is the Ironmaster Rack / Stand worth buying? YES! It holds all your Ironmaster Weight Plates including any additional weight plates you may buy such as the 'ADD ON KITS!' The rack is solid, no shaking what so ever and looks very stylish. [J] Can Fat Gripz be attached to Ironmaster Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbells? The answer is YES! So if you don't wish to buy the 'Thick Grip Ironmaster Adapters' you can instead consider buying Fat Gripz to increase the size of Ironmaster's Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbell Handles. The advantage of using Fat Gripz over Ironmaster's Thick Grip Adapters is you're able to easily add them on or take them off in seconds! If you also had a selection of Fat Gripz, then you could easily switch between them for different exercises i.e. one exercise use the 1.75" Fat Gripz, another exercise use 2.25" and on another use 2.75" and more importantly you could easily just revert back to the normal standard grip of Ironmaster Dumbbells. Unless you buy a second set of adjustable dumbbell handles from Ironmaster, then removing the thick grip Adapters from your dumbbell handles isn't as quick or as easy as using the Fat Gripz! Something to consider. 4. What other Gym Equipment do Ironmaster offer? Ironmaster also sell Kettlebells! The Ironmaster 'weight plates' for the adjustable dumbbell handles can also be used with the Kettlebell Handle. (see below). Other equipment includes: IM2000 Self-Spotting Machine The Ironmaster IM2000 Self Spotting Machine is a Smith Machine rack with a built in 'high and low' Cable pulley system. This rack also allows a free weight option so safety catchers can be added to the front of the rack to allow free weight olympic barbell bench pressing, squatting, military pressing etc. The rack also comes with additional 'optional' attachments such as dipping handles, chin up bar, band pegs, landmine attachment etc. This is the rack I'm currently considering getting. Olympic Barbells Super Benches Ironmaster offer quite a few features which attach to this 'Super Bench Pro' such as a heavy duty Leg Extension device, and the Cable Tower Attachment V2. I may consider buying this bench at some point. I'm still thinking about it. Cable Tower Attachment V2 A free-weight, compact cable tower which can be loaded up to 115 kg (253 lbs) and comes with a 10 YEAR WARRANTY! This tower can be attached to an Ironmaster Super Bench or Cable Tower Seat. The good thing about the cable tower which I like, is the fact that it can be easily moved around a room. Ironmaster also provide more equipment which I haven't listed above but you can easily check out the website! YOUTUBE VIDEO REVIEW Overall Opinion I would definitely recommend Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells. As for any other additional equipment, with the exception of Ironmaster's Fat Grip Adapters, I can't really comment on how good other equipment from Ironmaster really is. However online reviews are very positive. Where to Buy Ironmaster Adjustable Dumbbells? (UK): If you are based in the UK click here. (USA): If you live in the USA click here. If you have any comments about Ironmaster's Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbells then please share your thoughts below by responding to this article. I really hope I've covered enough within this article review to give home gym trainers around the world something to think about in regards to possibly buying from Ironmaster. Should you have any questions, feel free to ask. Keep training hard, Strength Oldschool * Please note: Text and Photos are copyrighted and may not be used on another website! Readers do have permission to share this article (greatly appreciated ) across social media by clicking the "share" button link. *
MONEY... MONEY... MONEY... Nothing but consistently empty pockets and doom, gloom breaking news on daily tv. In the land of regular, daily living for us ordinary hard working folk, the daily costs of just getting by in everyday life, can be financially tough. Finding a balance to save, pay bills, buy essential things like food and water (and beer lol) can be extremely challenging. This is where Visa cards become your new best friend (not recommended). I should be happy with what I've got in life but unfortunately one important thing is annoying me... I CAN'T BUILD THE HOME GARAGE GYM I DESPERATELY WANT!! Eight years ago, back in 2012 I moved into a new home. What caught my eye was the outdoor garage which formed part of the back garden (see photo above). It wasn't a large garage by any means but it had potential to be transformed into the "ultimate" home garage gym lol! If you're curious to know the dimensions of the garage, here they are. I've used the units feet (ft), metres (m) and centimetres (cm). (L) 17ft 2 / 5m 20 / 524 cm (H) 7ft 1 / 2m / 216 cm (W) 8ft 10 / 2m 78 / 246 cm LIMITED TRAINING SPACE / BASIC GYM EQUIPMENT To put the above garage dimensions into perspective, prior to buying my new home, since my teenage years back in the 90's right up to my early 30's (2010 onwards), I had either been using my bedroom to train in or a spare room when I used to rent. Gym Equipment I used back then was very basic... Living at home with my parents involved the use of a weight bench, 1" loadable dumbbell handles with large, bulky, plastic weight plates made by either Weider, York or Marcy, can't quite recall sorry (see above) and a 4ft or 5ft standard 1" barbell. Years later when renting and I had the luxury of having a spare room, so I purchased a 250 kg Olympic Weight Set which included a 7ft Olympic barbell. To go with this, I also treated myself to a set of adjustable squat stands which could be used for shoulder pressing, squats and bench presses (similar to photo below). For some reason I never had a weight bench so spent one year basically training all body parts directly with the exception of chest (and calves too - calf training bores me!). That was strange at first because I always loved benching. However after a year, my overhead pressing power was the strongest it had ever been due to solely focusing on only one pressing movement. I should point out that before I became a home gym trainer, i used to train at commercial gyms and a really good "Hardcore Hell-Hole Dungeon" which used to be owned by the Scottish bodybuilder, Steve Creighton. However, being the introvert I am, I much preferred training at home. One of my earliest memories of training at the 'Hell Hole' gym was being asked to lift a 70 kg (154 lb) dumbbell up to my shoulder in order to pass to Steve to do seated two arm dumbbell shoulder presses with. His training partner was lifting the other 70 kg dumbbell to pass to Steve, which he managed to lift just fine. Me on the other hand, I could barely budge the dumbbell which was embarrassing lol. That was my first time seeing a real professional bodybuilder in the flesh and working out! COMPACT GYM EQUIPMENT FOR SMALL TRAINING AREA Anyway, back to the story....Due to financial reasons I would later need to move back home (around 2010) and live with my parents again. Say goodbye to the Olympic weights, squat stands etc (never had the space to keep these) - Sold on the cheap to make some quick money which had to be done at the time. At that point I decided to save and "invest" in some compact adjustable dumbbells which could easily be used in a small bedroom. After researching online I came across "Ironmaster" (been around since the 70's). An established "Home Gym" company with a strong reputation for producing heavy duty, compact, home training equipment. This is what I purchased..."Quick-Lock Dumbbell Set - 75 lbs (34kg)... For a more in depth, honest, no bullsh*t review of these adjustable dumbbells, you can read my thoughts on these Ironmaster dumbbells by clicking here. And if you wish to purchase them... (UK): If you are based in the UK click here. (USA): If you live in the USA click here. Granted the equipment from Ironmaster is expensive, I'm not going to lie, you will definitely need some money in your pocket to afford these. That's why I said "investment", because it is. I don't want to turn this article into a product advertisement but Ironmaster products are "LEGIT". They will last you years and no-doubt a life-time, and I highly recommend them. The adjustable dumbbells are solid, and the weight plates are thin and stackable due to their unique design, and the storage rack is small enough to keep in a fairly small bedroom or as I do now, keep it in my livingroom (see photo below). The black, stylish, minimalist storage rack by Ironmaster looks good in my livingroom. Blends in nicely with the furniture ha ha. I would later give the Ironmaster equipment to my brother to try out and use as he was after some training equipment for a spare room in his own house. The photo above actually shows my "SECOND" purchase of the adjustable Ironmaster dumbbells. That shows how much I like them! I would later move out from my parents house to a rented ground floor flat, one bedroom. It was open plan so felt quite spacious. Back to the drawing board again in regards to buying equipment. I would eventually get the urge to buy Olympic weights again, which is what I did. I went back to an Olympic barbell, Olympic weight plates, and squat stands. Everything could be lifted out the road and stored to the side of my flat and when getting used, could easily be lifted into place. Now this wasn't a major hassle to do but it did become annoying after a while and it actually sapped my enthusiasm for training at times because I became lazy to move my gym apparatus about daily. Thankfully I only stayed in the flat for a year or two which would take me up to 2012, where I would step on to the property ladder and actually buy my own house! As I previously said at the beginning of this article, the outdoor garage grabbed my attention. Below is a video of what the inside of my garage looked like when I first moved in and the training equipment I was using at the time. Very basic and typical of what beginners would buy. Now, as the title of this article refers to 'Home Gym Problems', let's begin focusing on that.... CHEAP GARAGE GYM RENOVATION From around 2013 onwards I began renovating the gym (on the cheap). Want to see my training log showing my first ever workout session within my garage gym? Click here! I simply painted the single brick walls, replaced the garage door and ripped out some stuff to clear some extra floor space (with the help of my brother, cheers bro!). I then proceeded to build my gym by adding the following equipment (not cheap!! ) Large 6ft wide Mirror (£100 - UK British Pounds) Treadmill (£1000 - £1500 - Which I used maybe only 5 times! - Just recently gave this to my brother) Multi-Press and Squat Rack i.e. half rack (around £400) - 'Bodysolid' brand. **Now only £300 online - as of 21 July 2021** Foldable Wall Dipping bar (£160) - Purchased from 'The Gym Revolution' website Hex Rubber Dumbbells (1kg up to 30kg) and storage Rack (£1000+) More heavier Hex Dumbbells (35kg up to 70kg) and another storage Rack (£1000+) Cheap Gym Rubber Flooring (black jig-saw square panels) (do not buy!) [LINK] - Amazon purchase Various Barbells i.e. Ez-Curl bar, Cambered bar, 5ft Straight bar etc Thick Grip accessories i.e. Fat Gripz, Ironbull Grips etc. Gym equipment is not cheap, especially during these covid times. Hell, you'll be lucky to even buy brand new equipment as its likely to be sold out! However if you shop around you may get lucky with second hand equipment. Or just build your own if you're a DIY expert. Unfortunately I'm not. One of the most important gym pieces to buy I think, is a good, strong, heavy duty Power Rack which can support a lot of weight, not just the rack itself but more importantly, the safety bars. If the safety bars can't support sh*t, then don't buy! If something goes horribly wrong i.e. you fail a lift or you tear a muscle, you definitely want safety bars setup to protect you. This is all relative though, at the end of the day, it really depends on your style of training, for example... are you preparing to be a strongman and build herculean strength? If yes, get a really strong, heavy duty power rack. If no, you can settle for a cheaper, more slim-line style that still offers 'somewhat' peace of mind in regards to safety, in case of a failed lift. I was unfortunate and wasn't able to buy my "dream power rack" due to the very low ceiling height of my garage (which was a major pain in the a**!), this stopped me from buying a full power cage, so I had to settle for something in between. Despite limited space restrictions, overall, the garage became a really nice training area where I could zone out, forget my troubles, listen to "my" music and just simply train by myself without any distractions. Below are some photos displaying the 'step by step' transitional progress of my garage gym renovation... Between 2013 up to the present date (Dec 2020), the garage gym has changed and is currently not in use. Some equipment has been sold off to hungry strongmen (50 kg Hex dumbbells up to 70 kg!!, 50 kg olympic weight plates - that's kg not lbs, and some other stuff). And the reason why I sold off a lot of my equipment you wonder, AND why I no longer train in the garage.... ALL MY EQUIPMENT WAS RUSTING AWAY!!!! PREVENTING RUSTY GYM EQUIPMENT A little tip for you should you consider setting up your own garage gym... MAKE SURE your garage is INSULATED and has heating and ventilation, especially if you plan on buying EXPENSIVE gym equipment - This will help prevent / minimize rusting. Looking back, I should have insulated my garage from the start before buying any equipment. A rough estimate of the total cost involved in renovating my garage at the time (on the cheap - no insulation measures) was around £4000+ which included buying the gym equipment, painting the brick walls and other materials such as covering the ceiling with plastic white sheets etc - this was purely for aesthetic reasons. Without knocking down my garage and building it again from scratch I figure the costs involved in properly insulating my garage at the time would have been around £3000 to £4000 extra, which isn't too bad to be fair. Some recent photos of my garage gym can be seen below... The first photo actually looks inviting as the light contrasts with the darkness outside, producing a warm seductive glow....until you step into the gym and are unpleasantly greeted by a billion insects crawling the walls, along with leaves, some rubbish and stones everywhere after being blown in under the main metal garage door. My exceptional photography skills (lol) really don't do justice as to what I've described and probably for the better. I'm not a spider fan so walking into my garage covered in spiders and cob-webs doesn't appeal to me. So I removed as much equipment as I could which I have now stored in my house. Some remaining items had been sold off as I previously mentioned and other stuff which I was planning on keeping, I am now selling. My days of heavy lifting are not over but at this point in time, heavy lifting isn't my main focus. If I had kept everything in the gym till this day, I would have pi**ed away so much money for nothing. Spending so much money on gym equipment to just let it rust is stupid in my book. Granted, you might be thinking I could just clean up the dumbbells and equipment every year but when you have so many dumbbells, it becomes a major chore. See photo below: If you happen to have rust on any of your gym equipment watch what I did to remove the rust in the video below... PROTECTIVE GYM FLOORING You have probably looked at some of the previous photos and wondered what type of large mats were in my garden? If not, I'm going to tell you anyway..."Horse Mats". These mats were purchased back in 2018 with the intention of replacing my current, cheaper quality jig-saw mats. Each large mat measures 6ft X 4ft, is 18 mm (1.8 cm) thick and weigh 40 kg (88 lbs). So each mat is pretty damn heavy to move around. At the time of purchasing the 'Horse Mats' I honestly thought they were a great idea and still kinda do. The plan was to renovate my garage for a second time but get it done right, professionally insulated, proper heating, plastered walls etc and then bin the old gym mats and roll in the brand new ones. However this didn't happen. You can see from the photos below how bulky of a purchase the new Horse Gym Mats were. I had ordered six large Horse Mats. The quality was high, the mats were thick and solid and definitely looked heavy duty enough to protect my concrete garage gym floor but there were problems. [A] DIFFICULT TO KEEP CLEAN No-matter how many times I took a mop to these mats, the bucket of bleach turned a muddy black every time. I assumed it was dirt but maybe it was just the rubber material, I'm not sure. [B] SMELL Upon delivery I stored the mats in my house as you can see from the photos above. As previously stated, the plan was to keep the mats in the house until my garage got renovated. However, after a few days, there was a STRONG rubber smell that grew worse as the days went on and began spreading throughout my house. I'd wake up in the mornings and go to bed at night smelling that intense odor. It would actually give me headaches. I needed to keep the windows open all day to get some fresh air in. IT WAS THAT BAD!! After several days it was just too over-powering to the point where I complained to the company whom I purchased the mats from and seeked help on getting rid of the smell. I was told to clean the mats using "White Vinegar" I believe (can't quite remember), which did help. After cleaning the mats, I left them outside to dry for close to a week to try get rid of the rubber smell for good. I later decided to store them flat in the garage instead of taking them back in the house. I figured that since the garage isn't insulated, the rubber smell would eventually go away after a period of time, which it has done. FROM GARAGE GYM TO HOME GYM Fast forward to present times, and as I've already stated, that lovely outdoor garage photo at the beginning of this article no longer gets used as a gym. Due to work commitments these last few years, I wasn't able to devote time to training (finding a work/life balance has been tricky for me for several years now) and up to this present date, training in general has been pretty much non-existent (kind of). It's not for a lack of motivation, just simply life has unfortunately got in the way these last few years, and not for a good reason. Stress is a killer, that's all I'll say. Training can help with stress, that I know, but when you haven't got time or really the energy to even train an hour a day, due to work commitments, training slowly but surely comes to a halt. Starts off being only a day or two, then progresses to weeks, months, a year, etc. Sure, every now and then, like the common New Year resolution made by millions of people around the world to get in shape, you decide to start training again which lasts one or two gym sessions, then STOPS! On a positive note, for the last month or so, I've taken personal time to get my frame of mind sorted out which has been good as I've focused on training again and reading old magazine articles to kick-start my motivation - I recommend "Keys to Progress" by John McCallum who was a famous writer for Ironman back in the 70's, his stories on training were absolutely brilliant and will have you in stitches of laughter. So each day, I read a little, go online and watch bodybuilding Youtube videos, check out gym equipment companies to see what's the latest design in dumbbells, racks etc - this helps fire me up for a workout. Doing this everyday has also motivated me to get back into making Youtube Bodybuilding Motivational videos. It's also sparked an interest in writing my thoughts down, hence why I'm writing this article (thank you John McCallum). I plan to write more articles on a weekly / monthly basis (if possible) - I'm not the best writer but If I help inspire or motivate just one person, that's all that matters. Before Getting back to 'Home Gym Problems', firstly a quick tip on moving heavy Horse mats around, should you decide to buy any. Buy this tool... It's called a Grabbitt Mat Moving Tool which is used for moving heavy Horse Mats. I wish I discovered this tool over two years ago when I first purchased the Horse mats. I was lifting all six mats through sheer macho brute strength when I could have been using this little device. It cost's around £35 for one (you only need one), there are more expensive ones on the market but no need, this cheaper "Grabbitt" tool above will work perfectly and make lifting and moving Horse Mats a piece of cake! You can thank me later. So what's happening with my lack of gym?...Well, I do still have a gym but all equipment is now within my house as i previously said. I basically train in my livingroom. See the photos below: It's not exactly ideal. I don't live in a huge house, its relatively small (two bedrooms), has low ceilings (although a tad higher than my garage) and because I'm not solely using compact equipment, space in my livingroom is pretty limited. Plans were in action several years ago to professionally renovate my garage which I almost went ahead with. However I then decided that my garage required extending in size and this proved problematic and very costly. The garage for me would definitely need extending in size, both height and length but due to building regulations, I'm not sure if I would be able to alter the height of the garage and that really annoys me. I could move house but I'm not interested in the hassle at this moment in time plus I do actually like the house. I also just recently inquired about extending my house (not the garage) as an alternative solution to creating extra space for a home gym. In theory, it sounded great because it would also allow me to extend my kitchen. Again, I'm viewing the extension as an investment in the hopes that it would add value to my overall property. However... the cost involved is astronomical, £40,000+ !! So there's no way that's happening. Maybe if I win the lottery! So the short-term solution is to simply use my livingroom as a training area. Space will be tight but I'll make it work. The funny thing is I've just ordered a new piece of custom gym kit for my livingroom from UK gym manufacturing company called Watson . It's a heavy duty, Lat Pulldown Machine customised to accommodate the use of bands. Very expensive!! I'm crazy I know! I'll post another article and review this new piece of equipment in the coming months. As it's custom made it will take about six weeks to manufacture and be delivered. Should arrive early 2021. I'm pretty pumped to see it live. I just hope it fits in my livingroom, otherwise I'm fu**ed! NEW HOME GYM EQUIPMENT? I've already mentioned the new piece that will arrive in the next couple of months, but I'm also considering a new Rack to replace my old Bodysolid Multi-Press / Squat Rack. (see photo below). There's nothing wrong with the rack I currently use (photo above), however, I do feel I need a change and my current rack lacks certain features I wish to have. For example, I'd like a pull-up bar at the top of my rack, not just for performing pull-ups, but to enable myself to do extra band exercises like tricep pushdowns or weighted hangs to tax and strengthen my grip - the top cross bar can prove really useful for more creative training. I do strongly believe that the Power Rack should be the most or one of the most expensive piece of equipment in anyone's gym. Companies today offer so much choice with racks now from adding band pegs, thick bar pull up attachments, cable machines, jammer arms, you name it, if you can think it, it's likely it can be designed and manufactured. After researching many different rack designs, I'm still struggling to select one I really like. At the end of the day It's likely I'll opt to contact the company "Watson" again and choose one of their Power Racks but have it customised to suit my own specifications. Gym equipment today is definitely revolutionary, some of the designs online are incredible, which allows lifters to train so many exercises but within a compact, limited space. I plan to write more about this in the near future. The two most important things stopping me from purchasing my "Dream Rack" is my current lack of training space and MONEY! I always told myself I wouldn't buy expensive gym equipment until I had my garage renovated but the reality is, that renovation could take years to happen but its highly likely it may never happen due to the associate costs involved. For both those reasons I'll likely choose to buy a reasonably priced rack in the mean time, which caters to my extra requirements but at a much lower, affordable price. I probably won't sell my old rack but instead stick it in the garage just in case I wish to switch back at a later date. One rack which I am considering buying is the Ironmaster IM1500 Half Rack. (Photo below). This rack has most of the extra features I'm currently looking for: Lower Band Pegs - This would allow me to use cables for benching, deadlifts etc. Barbell Storage - I have a couple of barbells on my livingroom floor so this would help. Top Cross Bar - I can do chins, inverted rows, cable exercises etc. A dipping attachment can also be purchased for this rack. The Half Rack is priced at around £800 and given its compact design, it's certainly a contender. SUMMING UP To conclude this article, my advice to others including myself (and I keep having to tell myself) is to take your time when looking to purchase new gym equipment. Do your research and shop around for prices. Some companies will actually give you discounts if you ask nicely, especially if you are ordering more than one product from the same company. Browsing gym equipment is fun to do but you can easily get carried away if you see something you like and desperately want. It's not until you actually buy the product, have it delivered and proceed to build it and discover the thing doesn't bloody fit in your gym! So make sure you get the measurements of equipment right and measure your training area to double check. Its not just the size of the equipment, you also need to leave room for moving around your equipment and have space for actually using it! You really need to know what type of lifter you are i.e. light weights (pumper), strength athlete, maybe both, whether you prefer cable machines, free weights, everyone is different. Free weights tend to affect the joints more, so if you are prone to injuries or you wish to err on the side of caution, you may be better off looking into using more cable based equipment than free weights, or a combination of both, for example, Ironmaster's IM2000 rack offers a built in cable system which you may find more appealing? Always think before you buy, and even when you believe you are sure on something, take another few days to think about it. As far as planning my own Home Gym setup, I have a while to go yet. In the meantime, I'll settle for training in my livingroom and continue the hunt for a brand new rack! Keep training hard folks, All the best, Strength Oldschool * Please note: Text and Photos are copyrighted and may not be used on another website! 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