Dumbbells are the cornerstone of home and commercial gyms. The wide and diverse range of types, shapes, and styles mean there’s always one for everyone. Among these is the rubber-coated variety, which has made its way into the hearts of fitness buffs everywhere with the affordability and convenience it brings. They look good, feel good, and offer a host of other benefits as well. But before we get to that, what are rubber-coated dumbbells exactly?
As the name implies, these weights are not made entirely out of rubber. They can be made from steel or cast iron, and encased in natural rubber or neoprene fabric (synthetic rubber). These dumbbells are available as solid fixed weights or as removable plates and bars, and either version could use hexagonal heads or round ends.
Besides the added layer of protection and aesthetic appeal, they are just like your good old-fashioned cast-iron/steel weights. However, there are cheaper knockoffs that use concrete filling as weight instead of metal, so be wary of them. With these in mind, let’s move on to the benefits of rubber coated dumbbells:
Easy on the floor
Steel and iron are extremely hard, and there’s no paint job or baked-on finish that can prevent the sharp edges of hex dumbbells from stabbing into your floor if you’re not careful. On the flipside, rubber coated dumbbells are way easier on your floor with its impact-absorbing properties, so they’re less likely to scratch, dent, or break your sensitive floor work.
They can also resist cracking and chipping when set down heavily or dropped accidentally. Plus, the rubber encasing on weight plates helps reduce the clanging metal sounds that can be annoying while you exercise.
Gentle on your hands
Rubber coated dumbbells are not just gentle on the floor but on your hands too. Without this soft cover, the rough surface of iron and steel can be uncomfortable when held and cause those nasty calluses. Bare steel and chrome handles also tend to be slippery especially when wet, but with a rubber layer they stay nice and grippy even as you sweat. This saves you from worrying about the heavy dumbbells sliding off your hands, which can be a serious risk.
Protects against the elements
Cast iron in its unprotected form can be prone to rust. Rubber, with its waterproof properties, helps keep water at bay so your weights stay rust-free. Even the priciest enamel-coated dumbbells from the leading brands will eventually chip when they’re constantly knocked around. But rubber coated dumbbells are made to withstand everyday impact and stress for a longer service life.
Take note however, that rubber is subject to damage from heat and sunlight, and frequent exposure may cause it to crack with all the contraction and expansion. Because of this, it’s best to keep the dumbbells away from the sun and far from appliances that heat up, especially if you’re in a warm climate.
In most cases, rubber coated dumbbells are considered to be the safer choice compared to chrome or iron dumbbells. However, if you’re sensitive to strong odors or allergic to latex, then the chrome or iron varieties may be the healthier option.
In the end, no matter what kind of dumbbell you go with, it pays to do each workout slowly and carefully to avoid strain and injury. Always be mindful of your form and never take on new exercises without the guidance of a spotter or trainer. And in case you strain or injure a muscle, stop lifting and see a doctor immediately.