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18" or longer dumbbell handles?

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:09 am
by PeterP
Where can I buy 18" long standard 1" diameter adjustable dumbbell handles?

I want to conserve space in my home and avoid using a bar as long as possible. So, I do all my exercises with standard size dumbbells including deadlifts and squats. I need some heavy dumbbells for those exercises. I tried 25# plates on my 14" dumbbell handles but the plates interfered with the exercises (they were rubbing against my side and legs). So I decided I should use no bigger than 10# plates with my dumbbells. Problem is, I can only get 8 10# plates on each dumbbell for a total of 160#s for deadlift and squat.

I see some 16" dumbbells for sale online. I think that would get me up to 240# total with 2 dumbbells.

I also see "prostyle" dumbbells in really long sizes (18" and more) ... but my understanding is that I can't use those as adjustable dumbbells.

I wish I could buy 18" adjustable dumbbell handles somewhere. That would get me up to 320# and if I wanted to go higher I'd buy a bar.

Any advice or links to stores?
Is it impossible to use those pro-style dumbbell handles with 1-inch spring collars?

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:58 pm
by Hoister

I had the same dilema, so i made my own. I actually made mine in two iterations.

I found 1" steel pipe at the local scrap yard and used a hack saw to cut them to desired length. Worked well until i dropped one and it landed no the pipe-end and bent it.

The next iteration was the same deal, except this time i found 1" rolled steel bar and did the same.

For both iterations i bought four collars (the steel kind with set screw locking nuts) for each dumbell handle and voila. Also - you can by black pvc plumbing pipe and make sleeves to slide over the bars for rotating handles. I also used pipes of varying diameters to build up the handles to thicker diameters for grip training.

This method was very cheap in comparison to buying the same through the internet or at any retailer. In the case of the pipe, i got that for free - the collars cost me a total of $5. THe rolled steel bar cost me $7.50.

Best of luck,

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:18 pm
by TimD
Hi peter. Over at the sell what they call "Big Boy" handles. I don't know if they are standard or OLY siz, but they are 24 " long, and they state they canhandle 10 10lb plates/ side, meaning you can load them up with 200 lbs plus bar weight per DB. They are rather expensive (189 USD/pair) and I would definately go with Hoisters recommendations, but they are available.
I have a pair of Oly handles, as my weights are all Oly diameter, and I just slap on 25's. They aren't so crazy in price/

Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:35 am
by PeterP

Can you tell me more? Where did you pick up the rolled steel bars? Also, I didn't quite understand how you made the thick handles can you explain that a little more? Where did you get the materials?


Thanks to the link to IronMinds. I see that they have both 18 inch and 24 inch dumbell handles for a big price. Some of the 18 inch ones are on sale for just over $100.

Making my own sounds like a good idea.

Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:59 am
by Hoister

Finding Barstock/Pipe:

I found the rolled steel bars at a local steel retailer. I literally found them in the yellow pages of my local phone book. However, when i was at the local scrap yard and found the pipe i had originally used, i had found the rolled steel barstock there as well, however, the lengths weren't correct. So you have two options to find what you are looking for. (Easiest - go to your local hardware store or scrap dealer with a sample of your plates and ask them to fit you with a bar that you can use. Chances are, they can cut them to length for you).

Making thick handles:

Take your barstock to the local hardware store, scrap dealer, metals retailer, etc and find:

-Pipe with internal diameter (ID) slightly larger but as as-close-to your barstock diameter. You can use this as your sleeve.
-Pipe next size up that is will fit over the first pipe.
-Next size pipe that will fit over the second pipe
(Repeat until desired thickness is used).

What i used is exactly this:

-1"barstock as basic handle.
-Black pvc plumbing pipe to fit over the barstock
-Muffler extention pipe to fit over the black pvc pipe
-Took it all home and sized it using my hacksaw.
-I use standard collars to hold the pipe on and a second set to hold the plates on. Works very well. I have also used hose clamps for collars - these work very well as well, but are subject to wear and tear if you are taking them on and off frequently.

I have a set of dumbell handles that are 20" and 30" (just measured them). I use the 30" set for farmers walks only. The 20" set is perfect for piling on the 10's and 5's.


Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 11:23 am
by PeterP

Thanks for the extra details ... now I understand your handle setup. Great idea.

Once I get my 16" handles in the mail (see my journal link below) I bet they will suffice for awhile. When I outgrow them I'll make my own 20" handles like yours. I have no idea at this point how long it will take me to outgrow the 16" handles.

And just so everybody understands ... I'm no superman ... I'm using these things for deadlifts ... that's why I need so much weight on a dumbbell. And its only a small warm up deadlift compared to what most of you guys can pull. I have a long way to go ... but the future is bright.


Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 11:29 am
by Matt Z
Keep in mind dumbbell lifts aren't directly equivalent to barbell lifts. You could probably pull more weight with a barbell (once you got used to it) than you can with a pair of dumbbells, just as you could almost certainly bench press more with a barbell than you can with two dumbbells (again after a brief period of adjustment).

Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:00 pm
by Hoister

Hence the advantage to dumbell training! I personally have found that training certain lifts (not all) with dumbells has very positive transfer to the barbell equivalent. I.E. - i find that i can significantly improve my barbell overhead press by training with dumbells, same with the deadlift - the dumbell version is much more difficult but, i find the same weight on a barbell flies up.

In my competitive days, I used to train exclusively with dumbells in the weeks prior to to competition for this reason.


Every superman has his kryptonite - ego. Patience is the key. Keep doing what you're doing and it will pay off soon enough. In my competitive days i was snatching body weight, cleaning and jerking 1.5 x bodyweight, deadlifting/squating in the 2.5-2.75x bodywt and then i got a little too "motivated" by impatience and ego and damn near crippled myself. I've had to go back to square one as a result. Take your time and it will come before you know it. (Should listen to my own advice).


Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 7:08 pm
by Matt Z
What were you competing in? Olympic lifting?

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:50 am
by Hoister
Yes, Oly, strongman, endurance lifting, a varition of power lifting where overhead pressing replaces the bench press. Used to have a blast doing it. Then i got marrried, had little ones and don't have the training time any more - especially for the endurance lifting competitions.

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:12 am
by Matt Z
There seem to be a lot of injuries in strongman competitions. Do you think it's because the events change from contest to contest?

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:16 pm
by Hoister
I think that could be part of it. The thing about strongman that i really enjoyed was the variety. The thing that i really hated about strongman, was the variety! It is difficult to do well in those comps if you don't train the events or something close to the events - especially if you don't know what the events are until you have signed-up.

Anyone considering competing better start buying/making the implements and PRACTISE them forever, before considering competing.

Many of the injuries i observed at my level of competion (under 200lbs, amatuer/exhibition) were due to lack of knowing HOW to lift the weight. IF you haven't trained roundback lifting, stay away from these comps because the atlas stones/stones will squash and/or cripple you. If you haven't trained lifting AND carrying ODD OBJECTs in DIFFERENT POSITIONS, don't bother. A clean and press of 150lb barbell does NOT make it EASY to clean and press a 90lb sandbag, holding it by its folds of fabric.

The point is - odd object lifting is NOTHING like lifting barbells and dumbells. If all you do is train on machines, you are the MOST likely to get hurt.

I haven't even touched on the conditioning needed for this type of competition - it is absolutely brutal.

My fellow competitors have always joked that the bodybuilders are the easiest ones to pick out in the strongman comps, especially at the amatuer/open comps - they are the ones usually with their shirts off and their tans-a-glowin' - laid out in the first aid/medical tent.

If you can do it, it is definitely a whole lot of fun. Tough, but fun. The hard part might be convincing your wife that you should live on a junkyard so that you have all of the training aids at your disposal.


Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:23 pm
by Matt Z
I don't think I'd do too well in a strongman competition. Short arms and stubby fingers would be a big disadvantage in a lot of events.

Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:26 pm
by Matt Z
Plus my medical insurance sucks.

Posted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:33 am
by Matt Z
Tell me more about endurance lifting. That sounds interesting.