bowflex selctech 1090

That “Oh So Good” Utility Of Adjustable Dumbbells

First, let me ask you this, do you lift weights?  Or at least planning to? If
yes, you definitely need to read this article, but if not, I hope you’ll still
stick around.

Dumbbells are staple items in fitness clubs as well as personal gyms in many homes. While you can practically lift any makeshift dumbbells like milk cartons, or maybe a bag of apples, using gym-quality weights are way better, especially if you want to establish a disciplined routine.

There are a number of brands of these free weights to choose from, and often, Bowflex is one of the top choices, with the SelectTech 552 being the very popular variant. But of course, there’s always room for more hence, the release of an
updated model, which is the Bowflex SelectTech 1090. 

The SelectTech 1090 is similar to its predecessor in more ways than one; physically, it retained its durable molding and premium look.  It also uses the same
adjustable dial mechanism that allows the user to vary the weights for more

After all, this feature was what made the older version a successful product.  However, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 has several more features that up the ante. 

One of those features is its heavier weight resistance of 90 pounds, which is almost 40 pounds more than the 552 model.  Adjustable dumbbells with this maximum amount such as the SelectTech 1090, will offer a wider range of exercises that will be great for strength training.  

You can cater to the different muscle groups of your body by switching the dial to adjust the weight, without the need to work with many individual dumbbells.

I was able to personally get a pair of these amazing weights and have had them for over a month now.  I would then like to share my experiences with them, so that those interested will have a better idea how they actually perform.

bowflex selectech 1090 benefits
Adjustable Dumbbells provide you with all sorts of benefits to make your home gym more efficient with regard to cost, space and use of time.

A brief look back

For those who are familiar with the SelectTech 552, remember how it became an instant hit the moment it launched more than 10 years ago?  It was a groundbreaking piece of equipment at the time, and that was because of all the different weights found in just one compact dumbbell. 

Want a heavier lift? You can simply turn the dial and there you have it – easy peasy!

The SelectTech 552 used this dial system that changes the weight from 5 pounds to about 52 pounds, without having to replace metal plates just like on a conventional barbell.  While this innovative attribute made this product a best-seller in the adjustable dumbbell category, it is not without a flaw.

Remember I mentioned that its maximum adjustable weight is 52 pounds?  And you
know what that means – it’s practically nothing to an iron-pumping bodybuilder. 

The bracket device of this Bowflex is fixed such that, you can’t go more than its 52-pound limit, which is only a matter of adding a higher weight plate when you use a regular hex

So when you think about it, what’s the point of getting this Bowflex dumbbell if it couldn’t meet the demands of its target customers?

Thankfully, Bowflex addressed the issue years later, when they came up with the SelectTech 1090.  Weightlifters, personal trainers, and fitness buffs have never looked back since.

The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 at a glance

This latest Bowflex version is much improved and can cater even to the most advanced heavy weightlifter. It has not 60, not even 75, but this time, it maxes out at 90 pounds strong.  And that’s only just one adjustable dumbbell.

So, if you lift a pair of these bad boys, you have a total of as much as 180 pounds.  That’s like lifting an adult male kangaroo over your head.

Each SelectTech 1090 piece begins with a minimum weight of 10 pounds.  You can
increase the weight 5 pounds at a time. As such, it’s comparable to having 17 individual barbells with varying weights. 

However, there is a slight advantage for the older SelectTech 552 in terms of lower weight increments.  You can increase your free weight by 2 and a half pounds unlike with the current Bowflex.

But then again, this is negligible compared to the fact that the
SelectTech 1090 has a significantly higher max weight, it seals the deal. 

Since the rousing success of the original Bowflex, other brands have come up with their own versions of adjustable dumbbells, which even has the same 2.5 pound-increments and more maximum resistance. 

But those small increments have no bearing to a heavy weightlifter or a top athlete.  So the five-pound increments on a Bowflex SelectTech 1090 are just fine as they are.

Specs and highlights of the Bowflex SelectTech 1090

  1. Product dimensions in inches: 17.5 X 10 X 10
  2. Weight increments of 5 pounds
  3. A total of 17 weights that begin with 10 pounds (4 kilos) and maxes out at 90 pounds (41 kilos)
  4. Contoured grip that prevents
  5. Compact and stores easily
  6. 3 year warranty
  7. Guaranteed results in 6 weeks or your money back
  8. Bonus workout DVD to get you started

Ingenious dial adjustment mechanism

With just a dial click on the Bowflex SelectTech 1090, you can go from 20 pounds to 60 pounds in a heartbeat.  If you switch weights using old school dumbbells, you bring down the 20-pound weight, and then fetch the higher one.  It‘s just as simple, right? 

Yeah, maybe, but don’t forget, that also means you have 17 dumbbell pieces taking up a lot of space in your already tight home gym.  And the beauty of this exercise tool is that you can use it even if you don’t have a lot of room in your place.

You may wonder, how does this adjustable system work on a dumbbell?  Each piece
has a dial, which you use to go from one weight to another, and a bracket.  Now the latter component is the one that picks out the metal plate that corresponds to the weight you have chosen. 

bowflex selectech 1090 adjustable dial
The bowflex adjustable dial makes switching wieght sizes quick without the need to manually add or remove plates.

As an example, if you switch the dial to 40 pounds, the brackets function in such a way that it will lock in the plates that would equal to 40 pounds.  And when you, say, increase it to 55 pounds, you will then have 55-pounds worth of metal plates accounted for. The process is that straightforward, nothing complicated really.

Another part that is unique to an adjustable dumbbell such as Bowflex SelectTech 1090 is its cradle.  It is where the dumbbell rests, and also holds the metal plates in place.  That said, you have to place your dumbbell here whenever you will adjust the weight. 

The Bowflex dumbbell has a safety feature that when it is not resting on the cradle, the dials are inoperable. As such, you can continue to use it without bothering your exercise, or worse, something falling off while at the peak of your workout.

Product quality and integrity

The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 is a great adjustable dumbbell just like its older brother, the SelectTech 552.  Its stylish look and well-designed features make them excellent space savers.  It also has a durable feel given the industrial strength metal hardware. 

The metal plates even have a plastic lining for smoother transition during weight switches.  This also helps the plate prevent easy wear and tear, as well as those loud clanking sounds that can be distracting.

Meanwhile, the user has to be very careful not to drop these dumbbells accidentally because, it will compromise, if not break the many embedded small parts that make the dial system work.  Other than that precaution, I must say, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 is worth every penny.

A warranty for 3 years and then some

This adjustable dumbbell comes with a parts-and-labor warranty that you can count on for the next 3 years.  So you will feel confident in buying this equipment, more so with the additional money-back fitness clause. 

It simply states that if you don’t get the results you are expecting out of using the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 in a span of six weeks, you can return the product and get a 100% full refund. 

That kind of guarantee tells me that Bowflex is a company that operates with integrity and values customer satisfaction.  This is also one of the reasons I factored in with my purchase. 

The Bowflex in action

We know how amazing these dumbbells are by now, but how do they actually fare when it comes to its use?  Well, let me be the judge of that.  For one, each dumbbell is not only considerably bigger, but also quite longer than the typical kind. 

It’s quite easy to understand why that is so – the adjustable feature and bracket design will require the size to remain consistent regardless of resistance settings. As such, even if you’ve set the weight to the minimum ten pounds, the length is still the same given the vacant spots where the metal plates are added as you increase the resistance.  

This longer size can be a bit awkward, but overall, it is deemed a minor issue.  I
would say, it is just a matter of getting used to, which is about where I am at
this point with my own Bowflex.  As a matter of fact, I find that the length is actually helpful in balancing out heavier weights. 

Truth be told, there is a barely noticeable imbalance on either side of each dumbbell given the offset weight selection.  One side would be about less than 2 pounds heavier than the other.  This could still be an advantage and even required in some exercises. 

When you do lateral arm raises and reverse curls with palms down, having the heavier side near your thumb balances it out nicely.  And because of this, you can do other forearm exercises properly as well.

bowflex selctech 1090

Truth be told, there is a barely noticeable imbalance on either side of each dumbbell given the offset weight selection.  One side would be about less than 2 pounds heavier than the other.  This could still be an advantage and even required in some exercises. 

When you do lateral arm raises and reverse curls with palms down, having the heavier side near your thumb balances it out nicely.  And because of this, you can do other forearm exercises properly as well.

As this Bowflex variant has 5-pound weight increments, not having a smaller one like the 2.5 pounds that the older model has, is not a problem if you are lifting above 25 pounds anyway.  That’s especially if you do complex moves like presses and squats. 

I would say it only matters if you lift using a lower resistance for simpler routines like tricep extensions, or bicep curls where the smaller increments are preferred. 

I’ve heard from a friend of a friend of a friend – well, you know how this goes.  Anyway, there was apparently an instance when the metal plates were said to have fallen off the dumbbells in the middle of a workout. 

This is very alarming indeed, but if you consider this as an isolated case, given the numerous positive feedback this product has on Amazon, then something may have gone really wrong with its usage. 

We know there is a safety feature where the resistance settings are locked once the dumbbell is taken out from its cradle.  I’m thinking that it’s possible this untoward incident occurred because the dumbbell may have been dropped at one point, getting internal damage as a result, but was presumed to be all good because there is no apparent breakage on the exterior. 

And besides, Bowflex has been adamant about avoiding this even in their instruction manual.  While lifting weights have always been anything but gentle, you just have to be conscious about not dropping your Bowflex dumbbells.

More from my personal experiences

We do know that nothing is perfect, so don’t be disappointed that this is the case with the Bowflex SelectTech 1090.  Although it’s supposedly an improved version of the 552, you will still find some concerns with it. 

Don’t mistake this with me saying that I am unhappy with this product, actually, I am satisfied with it regardless of its flaws, which are much fewer compared to the many positives it has. 

While we’re at it, let’s have a dig then.  I already mentioned the bulky and awkward
long size, but it serves a good purpose. This has been the complaint even with the best-selling SelectTech 552.  But a lot has been said about the troublesome grip on the handle. 

I’ve read the comments of other users that have issues with the grip not being comfortable because its neither padded nor made of rubber.  I agree with them on
this.  The textured metal has these baby spikes that feel like acupuncture needles on my grip, except it’s not therapeutic.  I have thick and rough palms, which would somehow be numb to this situation, but i feel the discomfort.  It gets worse if it’s in the heavy setting. 

Some users recommended using a rubber spray coating or sanding it and applying bed liner coats, which are said to improve comfort in the grip.  I opted to cover the handle with rubber tape instead, and it solved my painful grip problem.

As for its cost, buying a single Bowflex 1090 dumbbell at almost three hundred dollars seems excessive.  But considering it is the equivalent of 17 hex dumbbells with different weights, it will come down to more than half of
the cost in savings. 

However, only one person can use the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells at a time, unlike having individual pieces, which can allow many people to use alongside each other. It’s not so much of a negative, it just makes the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 ideal for personal use.


Let’s recap this article by pointing out the benefits and the things we wish they could work on.

The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 is definitely an upgraded version, especially with its increased maximum resistance that’s short of 100 pounds. 

With the adjustable mechanism, you will get an equivalent of a suite of 17 dumbbells, but can be stored neatly anywhere, without taking up a lot of space.  You can make any area your home gym with these around and do your exercises quietly. 

The product itself is made of high-grade materials with durable construction.  It
is also cost efficient when you’re talking about buying 17 single dumbbells, which will prove more expensive than buying the adjustable Bowflex.

The SelectTech 1090 is perfect to use during circuit trainings and full bodyweight
workouts as shifting to different weights is faster and will not break your adrenaline rush.  As such, you are able to focus on toning and muscle-building.

As for the things I wish were better, the long and bulky size that makes for awkward handling depending on the exercise routine, is my main criticism. I am quite iffy with the extra care it requires, but this is acceptable, I guess.  And besides, most items are not meant to be dropped anyway so there.

Should you buy the Bowflex Selecttech 1090?

With everything that I have shared with you, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 is a great addition to your personal gym equipment with its sleek aesthetic, innovative features, and reliable performance. It caters to different types of user, from a workout beginner to an advanced weightlifter.  

And with the backing of a three-year warranty and money-back guarantee, you need not worry if you encounter a problem during the covered period.  The plethora of positive traits of this adjustable dumbbell more than out-weigh the negative ones.  So yes, it is a keeper.

Check out the Bowflex Selecttech 1090s here on Amazon

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