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Homemade Dumbbells and Platform

May 19, 2010

Here is a photograph of the homemade dumbbell platform and dumbbells. Note how the thin metal guides hold the two dumbbells perfectly in place. The guides are held to the plywood by small machine screws. Photograph by Robert Drucker.

Here’s a view of one of the homemade dumbbells with some plates loaded on it. The dumbbell is 30 inches long, and the inner plates rest 15 inches apart. This spacing keeps the plates from rubbing against my legs during a lift. Note the use of hose clamps for the inside collars. Hose clamps are used for the outside collars as well, but they are not visible in the photo. Many standard-sized collars do not fit 3/4-inch nominal pipe. But, this doesn’t matter much. Hose clamps work great, and they are much less expensive than barbell collars. Photograph by Robert Drucker.

Here’s a close-up view of one of the homemade dumbbells without the plates loaded. The handle is seven inches long, and it has five inches of grip space between the two protruding eye bolts. The handle is optional, and I sometimes do not use it. Photograph by Robert Drucker.

Shadow, the neighborhood’s strongest dog, loves the new dumbbell platform. She doesn’t want to move off of it! Photograph by Robert Drucker.

If you have ever performed dumbbell squats or dumbbell deadlifts, then you know that trying to keep the two dumbbells in the perfect position prior to a lift can be a problem. The dumbbells tend to roll, or they won’t stay perfectly straight on the floor. Additionally, commercial dumbbells are often too short for the number of plates that you need to load.

Well, I solved both of these problems with a sheet of plywood, a section of 3/4-inch pipe (nominal) and a few metal strips, eye bolts, Quick Links, and hose clamps. Now, my dumbbells stay perfectly in the proper place until I am ready to lift them. Also, if desired, the effective height of the dumbbell handles can be adjusted by securing a chain of any desired length between each set of Quick Links.

I should point out that a nominal 3/4-inch pipe made in the USA has an actual outer diameter of 1.050 inches. A typical standard barbell has a slightly smaller outer diameter. This small difference in size may pose a problem with some standard-sized plates. I had to bore about 1/64-inch off the inside diameter of a few of my plates before I could slide them on my homemade dumbbells. I did this by using an electric hand drill equipped with a cylindrical grinding tool. 

I like using standard-size plates on my homemade dumbbells for two reasons: (1) I don’t own any Olympic-sized plates, and (2) the standard sized-plates allow me to dip lower when doing dumbbell squats.
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