NordicTrack Now Lets You Scream On Its Smart Dumbbells

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Smart dumbbells aren’t new to connected fitness, but today NordicTrack is announcing a unique approach to the product. NordicTrack iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells are voice-activated weights that work with Amazon Alexa. As you go along, you can now ask Alexa to adjust your dumbbell weight instead of having to do it yourself.

The dumbbells can be electronically adjusted between five and 50 pounds in five pound increments. According to iFit, the parent company of NordicTrack, the dumbbells feature a “motorized weight selector” that allows users to quickly change the weight of the device. As for the Alexa integration, you can ask the voice assistant to set a specific weight, increase or decrease the weight, or create a preset weight for specific exercises. You can create presets for 15 common dumbbell movements: Bicep Curls, Over Shoulder Press, Side Shoulder Raises, Front Shoulder Raise, Tricep Extension, Curl Row, Chest Press, Squat, Deadlift, lunge, side lunge, wood cut, chest fly, reverse fly and renegade row.

Although an iFit membership is not required to use the dumbbells, the weights come with a free one-month family membership. You also need a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection, apparently for firmware upgrades and other supporting features. The dumbbells also come with their own stand, which comes equipped with a tablet stand so you can track workouts from iFit or your favorite fitness app. The dumbbells can also be adjusted manually via a button.

You can also adjust the weights manually via a button.
Image: iFit

At this point, you might be wondering: what are voice-activated dumbbells for? Besides accessibility reasons, it comes down to speed. If you’ve ever taken a strength training class from a fitness app, you’re often only given 10 to 30 seconds between sets. Many adjustable dumbbells work using a pin mechanism to attach or detach additional plates, which means if you rush you can end up with a plate falling off in the middle of the exercise. (True story: Instead of hitting pause, I rushed over while tweaking my adjustable dumbbells and ended up with a five-pound plate hitting me in the face when pressing on my chest.) You should also put the dumbbells back on the rack each time to add or remove plates.

If dumbbells can actually change weight quickly and safely, that would solve one of the biggest problems with adjustable dumbbells. However, other connected weights are making similar promises with mixed results. I tested JaxJox’s smart adjustable kettlebell, and while it was handy, it still took a hot second for the electronic locking mechanism to secure the weights. In this case, you will still have to face Alexa to figure out your commands, a good Wi-Fi connection, and the background noise of the classroom you are watching.

At $ 429, it’s the cheapest connected fitness equipment out there, but still a big investment for the average person. That said, dumbbell prices have been volatile since the start of the pandemic due to shortages and shipping delays. As for adjustable weights, options with a similar weight range can cost anywhere from $ 200 to over $ 500. A full barbell rack can cost a few hundred or thousands of dollars – and can take up a lot more room than you would like in your home. Another factor to keep in mind is that you need an Alexa-enabled device to use voice commands. If you don’t already have one, this is another purchase to make.

We’ll have to take a look at the NordicTrack iSelect adjustable dumbbells before we can definitively say how useful the voice command feature is. But if you’re impatient, the dumbbells are available from today on NordicTrack’s Amazon store.

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