PowerBlock Pro EXP Dumbbells Review: What You Should Know

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By Alex
Last updated on

In this PowerBlock Pro EXP review, I will tell you everything you need to know about this brand new addition to the PowerBlock dumbbells product lineup.

I know you may be just be here for a quick summary of the Pro EXP to find out if it’s the best adjustable dumbbell for you. If that’s the case, just look at my overview in the table below:

ModelPros & ConsRating

PowerBlock Pro EXP
PowerBlock Pro EXP DumbbellsCheck Price

  • Expandable to 90 lbs per dumbbell
  • Urethane coated plates make it the most durable & robust, and the quietest PowerBlock set
  • Weight blocks have a non-welded "flex" design to better withstand impact if accidentally dropped
  • Open handle with "wedge" handle shape gives more space for hand/wrist movement than any other model
  • Auto lock adjustment for securing adder weights
  • Colored weight indicators on both sides
  • Most expensive home-use PowerBlock set
  • No stage 4 kit to expand to 125 lbs like on the now-discontinued U-90 set, which the Pro EXP replaced

Rated 5 out of 5 in Adjustable Dumbbells
5 Stars

Pro EXP Stage 1/2/3 Sets & Expansion Kits

There are 3 stages of the PowerBlock Pro EXP Set. You can buy any of these stages as a Set (i.e. handles + all weight blocks included in one product SKU). For example, if you want the heaviest dumbbell right now, you would buy the Stage 3 Set.

Alternatively, you can buy one of the lighter stage sets now, and then upgrade to a heavier stage in the future, if you want. For example, if you buy the Stage 1 now, you can upgrade it later by buying the Stage 2 Expansion Kit and then Stage 3 Expansion Kit, which are sold separately.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the sets and expansion kits:

Pro EXP Stage 1 Set:

PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 1

The Pro EXP Stage 1 is the base set. It includes the pair of handles plus the weight blocks to make each dumbbell go from 5-50 lbs per dumbbell in 2.5 lb increments.

If you buy the Stage 1 Set now, you can upgrade it to the 70 lb Stage 2 Set later by purchasing the Pro EXP Stage 2 Expansion Kit (50-70 lbs) separately. And then upgrade it again to the full 90 lb Stage 3 Set by purchasing the Pro EXP Stage 3 Expansion Kit (70-90 lbs) separately.

Pro EXP Stage 2 Set:

PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 2 Set - 5-70 Lbs

The Pro EXP Stage 2 Set includes the pair of handle plus the weight blocks to make each dumbbell go from 5-70 lbs per dumbbell in 2.5 lb increments.

If you buy this one now, you can upgrade it later to the 90 lb Stage 3 Set by purchasing the Pro EXP Stage 3 Expansion Kit (70-90 lbs) separately. The Stage 3 Expansion Kit includes the weight blocks shown below:

Pro EXP Stage 3 Set: 

PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 3 Dumbbells - 5-90 Lbs

The Pro EXP Stage 3 Set is final form of the Pro EXP line. It includes the pair of handle plus the weight blocks to make each dumbbell go from 5-90 lbs per dumbbell in 2.5 lb increments.

PERSONAL NOTE: This is the one I bought — It was well worth it for me to get the full 90 lb set right away; as opposed to getting the Stage 1 or 2 and upgrading later. I wanted the heavy weights right away! 😀

Expansion Kits

I’ve already discussed the expansion kits above. However, I wanted to also include some photos to show you which weight blocks each expansion kit comes with:

Stage 2 Expansion Kit

PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 2 Expansion Kit

The Stage 2 Expansion Kit includes a pair of the yellow and blue weight blocks. This lets you go from 50-70 lbs per dumbbell.

Stage 3 Expansion Kit

PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 3 Expansion Kit

The Stage 3 Expansion Kit includes a pair of the yellow and blue weight blocks. This lets you go from 70-90 lbs per dumbbell.

Adjustment Mechanism & Process

Adjusting the weight on the PowerBlock Pro Exp dumbbells is a fast and simple process.

There are actually two types of weight adjustment you can make:

  • Macro-adjustments: Any adjustments that are multiples of 10 lbs, involving adding or removing one or more of the main weight plates/blocks.
  • Micro-adjustments: Any adjustments of 2.5 to 5 lbs, involving the adding or removing one or both of the adder weights from the dumbbell handles.

Depending on the current dumbbell weight and amount weight of weight you want to use, you may have to make just a macro-adjustment, just a micro-adjustment, or both.

Before I list the steps for adjusting, you should first understand the color-coded weight setting graphic that’s printed on top of each handle — it’s pretty straight forward:

PowerBlock Pro EXP Color Coded Weight Settings
PowerBlock Pro EXP Handle - Closeup

The important things to understand are as follows:

  • The numbers on top are in pounds; the bottom numbers are in kilograms.
  • Each weight setting corresponds to the color on the side rail of each weight block. (Exception: the first weight setting [10 lbs/4 kg] doesn’t have a color; it refers to just the handle, with no weight block attached).
  • IMPORTANT: The weight settings shown in the graphic assume that BOTH adder weights are added to the handle. If you don’t have both adder weights in, here’s how to determine the dumbbell weight:
    • If you have just ONE adder weight in the handle, then the total weight will be the number shown minus 2.5 lbs (~1.1 kg). Example: If you put the selector pin at the green setting with one adder weight in the handle, the total weight is 47.5 lbs (50 lbs – 2.5 lbs = 47.5 lbs), or approx. 21.9 kg (23 kg – 1.1 kg = 21.9 kg).
    • If you have NO adder weights in the handle, then the total weight will be the number shown minus 5 lbs (~2.2 kg). Example: If you put the selector pin at the green setting with no adder weights in the handle, the total weight is 45 lbs (50 lbs – 5 lbs = 45 lbs), or approx. 20.8 kg (23 kg – 2.2 kg = 20.8 kg).
Adder Weights for PowerBlock Pro EXP Handles

Keeping the above in mind, here’s the step-by-step adjustment process:

  1. With the dumbbells in their stand or flat on the floor, remove the selector pin from its current position.
  2. If you need to add or remove adder weights to make a micro-adjustment (i.e. 2.5 or 5 lbs less than the weight setting printed on the color-coded graphic), then do the following:
    • Remove the handle portion from the weight stack.
    • Pull the lever down on the side of the handle to unlock the hollow cylinders that hold the adder weight weights.
    • Add or remove the one or both of the adder weights as needed.
    • You can pull the lever up now to lock the adder weights into place. OR, simply place the handle back in the weight stack, and the lever will automatically be pushed back into the locked position (this is the “auto-lock” feature).
  3. Insert the selector pin through the weight stack and handle at the desired plate setting. The selector pin is two-pronged, with each prong being split into a top and bottom portion. The top portion of each prong insert in the handle slot directly above the plate’s side rail; the bottom part of each prong inserts in the slot directly below.
    • Example: For 50 lbs, you’d insert the pin around the side rail of the green-marked plate, such that the top portion of each prong slides over the top of the rail and the bottom portion slides under the bottom of the rail.
  4. Remove the dumbbell from the weight stack by grasping the handle grip and pulling the dumbbell directly up.

The above is my admittedly long-winded description of the adjustment process — It may look like a long process based on the amount of text I used. However, the process is actually quite rapid in practice.

Check Current Price – PowerBlock Pro EXP Dumbbells »

Urethane Coating

The PowerBlock Pro Series, which includes the Pro EXP sets, is the only line of home use PowerBlocks currently in production that feature Urethane coating on weight plates.

The Urethane is a major upgrade over the Elite/Classic Series, the Sport Series and the PowerBlock Series dumbbells; all of which have powder coated steel plates with NO urethane coating.

The benefits of the urethane coating include:

  • Greater protection of the plates against minor scrapes and bumps from normal use. Urethane is significantly more scratch resistant than powder coated steel.
  • Greater protection of the plates and dumbbells as a whole against accidental drops or any other impacts (which, as mentioned above, you should always try to avoid if possible). Urethane is HIGHLY superior to steel when it comes to vibration- and shock-absorption.
  • Greater reduction of noise. The PowerBlock sets with steel plates aren’t even that loud during use, but they’re not completely silent since there is very slight movement between the plates during use; plus you do get some steel on steel contact when taking the dumbbells out of the stack and putting them back in. Well, with the urethane-coated Pro EXP dumbbells, that minimal amount of noise reduced even further. The urethane almost completely muffles any noise during use and moving the dumbbells in and out to the stack.
  • Complete resistance to rust. The entire part of the weight block that’s covered with urethane simply won’t rust. Whereas, if the powder coating on the steel plates is scratched or chipped, the exposed steel will rust easily.

Weight Blocks Have Non-Welded “Flex” Design

The non-welded “flex” design of the weight brackets is another design element, along with the urethane coating, that is completely unique to the Pro Series dumbbells.

You can see exactly what I mean by “flex” design in the image below:

PowerBlock Pro EXP Block Rails Have Non-Welded Flex Design

The ability of each end of the weight block frame to flex side to side like this makes the dumbbell MUCH more resistant to damage from short drops or other impacts.

The frame can “give” a little bit on impact, effectively absorbing the force without causing permanent damage. You’d need a much greater impact force to cause deformation to the frame with this flex design, compared to the welded/non-flexing plate design seen on all other PowerBlock dumbbell lines (i.e. Elite/Classic, Sport, PowerBlock).

Open Handle Design

The Pro EXP dumbbells have an “open handle” design. This means that there are NO padded wrist supports at the top/opening of the handle. Padded wrist supports used to be the default on all PowerBlock dumbbell series.

However, over the past couple years — starting with the new Sport Series in late 2016 — newer models, including the Pro EXP dumbbells, have switched to the open handle design. The only dumbbells currently in production that still have the padded supports on the handle are the Elite 50/70/90.

Open Handle vs Closed Handle Design

The benefit of the open handle design over the closed handle design is that you have a lot more room for you hand, which is especially great if you’ve got larger hands. Second, and just as important, is that the wrist supports don’t get in the way of your wrists/forearms on exercises like biceps curls where your wrists flex.

While some people like the padded wrist supports or at least don’t mind them, many people found it to be a slight annoyance. The open handle gets rid of them completely, which gives you a more natural dumbbell “feel.”

The Pro EXP’s handle has more room inside of it than ANY PowerBlock dumbbell handle, from side to side and front to back.

It even has more room than the other open handed dumbbells (i.e. the Sport & PowerBlock Series). Unlike these other open handed models, the Pro EXP has a “wedge design.” On both sides of the handle, the top portion is angled down and in, toward the center of the handle. This forms a sort of imaginary “V” or wedge shape, as shown in the photo below:

PowerBlock Pro 90 Commercial Set Side View Shows Wedge Design for Extra Room in Handle

Note: This photo shows the Pro 90 Commercial Set, which is visually almost identical to the Pro EXP Stage 3 Set, minus the knurled steel handle shown in the image (though you can now upgrade the Pro EXP with knurled grips). It also has two pairs of handles (5 lbs and 10 lbs) instead of adder weights… And a MUCH higher price tag.

The wedge design gives you significantly more front-to-back space in the upper portion of the handle…

Wedge Handle vs Non-Wedge Handle Design

…Why is this extra space in the upper handle so useful? Because it enables significantly more range of motion for the wrist to move the forearm back or forward (or for the dumbbell to tip forward/back, moving itself closer to the forearm).

When would you need extra room for your forearm in the front or back? Most notably, it could be potentially useful in any exercise where some degree of radial and/or ulnar deviation occurs as part of the movement, or is otherwise likely to happen incidentally:

Radial and Ulnar Deviation
PowerBlock Pro EXP Wedge Shape in Handle - More Room for Forearm

This happens most commonly on (but is not limited to) any exercise where you hold the dumbbells in a neutral grip (i.e. palms facing in). Some example include:

  • One arm rows
  • Hammer curls
  • Overhead triceps extensions
  • The setup part of dumbbell bench press or seated shoulder press (i.e. when you bring the dumbbells up from your knees to your upper torso)
  • Neutral grip bench press
  • Neutral grip shoulder press
  • And many others…

When using the Pro EXP dumbbells, your forearms will rarely even touch the front or rear edges of the handle thanks to the extra room from the wedge design. Whereas, with any non-wedge PowerBlock model, your forearms bump into the edges much more frequently.

If your forearms do run into either end of the Pro EXP handle, they’ll be up against the flat wedge surface that’s angled in the same direction that your forearm is angled; in other words, it won’t cause any pain or discomfort. Whereas, if you press into the either end of any non-wedge PowerBlock handle, your forearm will be pressing into a corner edge, which could certainly cause some disconfort or at worst slight pain if you’re using a lot of weight.

That all said, this wedge design shouldn’t be a make or break feature when choosing which PowerBlock you want — It’s minor compared to the big features like urethane coating or the non-welded “flex” weight plate design. Still, it’s a noteworthy upgrade from other handles; it’s one more small detail to put in the “plus” column when considering the Pro EXP vs other sets.

Check Current Price – PowerBlock Pro EXP Dumbbells »

Handle Grip

PowerBlock Pro EXP Handles


The grip portion of the handle has a contoured shape, meaning it’s thickest in the middle and becomes gradually narrower toward the ends. The idea behind a contoured handle is to be more “ergonomic,” or to better fit into into shape of person’s hand when grasped onto…

PowerBlock Pro EXP Handle Grip

…That’s the idea at least. I know some people prefer the contoured handle because they find it to be more comfortable and easier to hold onto. However, I’m usually a fan of a straight handle. It just feels more natural to me. Contoured or straight — it comes down to a personal preference.

Even though my preference is for a straight handle, I can still grasp onto a contoured handle just fine. It just takes a little bit of time before you get accustomed to the feel. Handle shape is factor to consider, but it’s not a make or break feature.

For the record, the only PowerBlock models with a straight handle are the Elite and the Pro Commercial (more on this one in the sub-section below):

Grip Material

PowerBlock Pro EXP Handle Grip - Closeup

The handle grip is made out of a thick durable plastic compound, covered by a rubber coating. This is strong and “grippy” enough for most scenarios.

However, knurled steel is superior, in my opinion.

After years of customer requests for knurled handles, PowerBlock has given the people what they asked for! You can now upgrade your Pro EXP handles with knurled steel grips.

PowerBlock Knurled Handles - Stainless Steel Finish

I own these and they are very high quality. They have an aggressive, volcano-style knurl pattern that’s a little sharp but not overkill. This gives you incredible grip quality that comes in handy when hand/forearm fatigue sets in on heavy sets, or when you have very sweaty hands.

While the rubberized grips are adequate and some people actually prefer them for comfort, I find the steel grips to be a significant improvement overall.

The PowerBlock Pro knurled grips are made of carbon steel with electroless nickel plating, which is one of the best finishes for corrosion resistance outside of stainless steel. Plus, it maintains a pretty natural (non-slick) feel compared to other finishes.

PowerBlock Knurled Handle Grips - Knurling Closeup

Still, stainless steel would have been ideal, but the electroless nickel grips are still great overall. Not just in quality, but in value — the price is very competitive compared to third-party alternatives like the Bare Steel Equipment knurled grips. The PowerBlock versions are half the price, though it’s worth pointing out that the Bare Steel Equipment grips are stainless steel.

PowerBlock has two options for purchasing the Pro knurled steel grips:

  • Just the grips: Buy these if you want to simply swap out your old rubberized grips and replace them with the new knurled steel grips. Installation is required, but it’s fast and easy.
  • Full handle assembly (handle blocks + grips): You get a new pair of handles (and adder weights) that come with the grips pre-installed. Surprisingly, this option isn’t that much more expensive than the grips-only option. This is a great choice if you want one pair of handles with rubberized grips and another with knurled grips. Also, you can keep adder weights in one, but not the other — allowing you to simply swap handles for faster 5 lb weight changes.
PowerBlock Knurled Handles - Grip Installation Process

Check out my PowerBlock knurled grips review if you want to learn more about these.

It’s worth noting that Pro Commercial 50 & 90 have always come with knurled steel handles by default. They also come standard when you buy the set; whereas, you have to buy the grips separately for the Pro EXP. Plus, the grips on these commercial models are made from stainless steel, rather than electroless nickel-plated carbon steel.

These two Pro Commercial sets are similar to the Pro EXP in terms of look and basic design:

PowerBlock Pro 90 Commercial Set with Knurled Steel Handles

I would only recommend the Pro 90 Commercial Set since it goes up to 90 lbs per hand. The Pro 50 Commercial set only goes up to 50 lbs. That isn’t nearly heavy enough for serious lifters.

Another key difference between the Pro EXP and Pro 90 Commercial is that the Pro 90 Commercial doesn’t have adder weights. Instead, it comes with 2 pairs of handles: a 5 lb pair and a 10 lb pair. You swap them as needed to achieve as little as 5 lb increments (versus as little as 2.5 lbs for the Pro EXP).

Also, the Pro 90 Commercial comes with its own weight stand included.

The Pro 125/175 Commercial Sets unfortunately do not have a knurled handle. Like the Pro 90 Commercial, the 125/175 comes with 2 different handles to achieve as small as 7.5 lb increments (vs 2.5 lbs for the Pro EXP and 5 lbs for the Pro 90 Commercial). It also comes with its own stand.

If you need super heavy weights, the Pro 125/175 may be the choice for you. Neither the Pro EXP nor the Pro 90 Commercial can go beyond 90 lbs. Just know that Pro 125/175 sets are much bulkier than the Pro EXP and Pro 90 Commercial sets.

The major negative when it comes to any of the Pro Commercial sets is their price: They’re expensive.

The Pro 90 Commercial Set is $1429, which is over $520 more than the 90 lb Pro EXP Stage 3 Set! That’s a lot of extra dough. It’s hard to justify when the main reasons you’d get it is for the knurled steel handle — And now that PowerBlock offers a knurled handle upgrade for the Pro EXP, there’s even less of a reason to go with it.

The Pro 125 and 175 sets are even more expensive, costing $1749 and $2129 respectively.

Selector Pin with “Flex” Design

The selector pin is made out of a durable plastic composite with flexible properties. Its ends can bend significantly in either direction without breaking, and they’ll always come back to the same position.

Flex Pin for Selecting Weight

This is an upgrade over the older pin styles which were made of metal. While metal may seem better than a plastic composite, that’s not the case for this application. Sure, metal would hold up better in a direct impact scenario, but that’s not something that would happen with this piece of the PowerBlock.

The main damage risk for the selector pin is bending. The plastic compound that the pin is made of, is designed specifically to bend. It can flex many degrees — much further than it should ever need to — and will always come right back to a straight position.

Whereas, the metal pin isn’t meant for flexing. The metal can bend slightly, but if it bends beyond a very limited range, it will be permanently deformed.

The flexibility of the new pin design also makes it easier to use and faster to adjust. You don’t have to align it perfectly parallel to the weight setting slot before inserting. You can slide it in at more of an angle.

The only thing to be careful of is to make sure you don’t accidentally insert one side into a higher weight setting slot, and the other into a lower slot.

The other major difference in the new flex pin’s design is that the two prongs are split into a top and bottom half:

PowerBlock Selector Pin

On the old metal pins, each prong was just a single (non-split) metal rod, which inserted in just one slot beneath the desired weight plate setting. This new and improved design feature offers two big benefits:

  1. It has the ability to be put in any direction. That is, there is no upside down; either way you flip it, it’s right side up. With the old metal selector pin, there was only one “right side up.” It was possible to accidentally put it in upside down if you didn’t see the up arrows. The new flex pin can never be put in the weight stack upside down.
  2. It is basically twice as secure as the old steel selector pin design. This is because the split prongs give the flex pin four points of contact on the side rails: both prongs are above AND below the side rail thanks to split prong design. Whereas, the old steel selector pin design only has two points of contact on the side rail: both prongs below the rail.
    • Side Note / Fun Fact: For the new flex pin design to work, the PowerBlock handles also had to be redesigned from an older handle design that worked with the old steel selector pins. The reason for the handle redesign was to allow for the flex pin to have its four points of contact on the side rail vs. the steel pin’s two points of contact.

Unrelated to the “flex” part of the design are the magnetic blocks in the front of the pin. The magnetized part engages on to the front side rail, locking the pin in place during use. I’ll discuss this feature more later on the review.

PowerBlock Selector Pin with Magnets on Inside

This flex pin technology was originally developed for the “Urethane Series,” which was the immediate predecessor to the Pro Series. It has also been adopted by all other in-production PowerBlock dumbbell lines, including the Classic/Elite, Sport & PowerBlock Series.

Check Current Price – PowerBlock Pro EXP Dumbbells »

Auto Lock Mechanism for Adder Weights

I’ve already mentioned the “Auto-Lock” mechanism describing the process of adjusting the adder weights. However, it’s a noteworthy feature, so I’ll give it its own section here.

The auto-lock features ensures that the handle’s hollow cylinders holding the adder weights automatically close up when the handle is placed in the weight stack; thereby locking the adder weights inside.

This is done by having a lever controls whether the cylinders are open or closed. If you push it down, the cylinders open and you can add or remove the adder weights as needed. If you pull it up, the cylinders close off and prevent the adder weights from falling out if they’re in…

PowerBlock Pro EXP Handles - Open vs Closed Autolock Lever Postion

…The “automatic” part of the auto-lock feature is build into the design: If the lever is in the down position (i.e. open), it will necessarily be moved into the up position (i.e. locked) when you put the handle back into the weight stack. This is because the lever lines up with side rails on the weights. So when you’re pushing the handle down into the weight stack, the weight stack is effectively pushing up against the lever and flipping it to the locked position. Very smart design!

Of course, you could simply lever to the locked position manually, but that’s one more step. The auto lock feature makes an already rapid adjustment process that much faster.

NOTE: There is one time where you do have to remember to manually lock the adder weight lever — And that’s when you’re lifting just the handle with one or two adder weights loaded (i.e. 7.5 or 10 lbs per dumbbell).

The Auto-Lock mechanism isn’t unique to the Pro EXP dumbbells. It was first introduced to the newest version of the Sport EXP dumbbells, which came out in late 2016. And the feature has since been adopted all other new models/series since then, including the PowerBlock Series and, of course, the Pro Series dumbbells. The Classic Series (i.e. Elite 50/70/90) has the old manual style adder weight lock mechanism.

Compatible Accessories

The accessories are a big reason to go with the Pro EXP vs other sets if you’re on the fence about them.

The Pro EXP dumbbells are one of few PowerBlock models currently in-production that work with the accessories listed below.

  • EZ Curl Bar Attachment: Only compatible with the Pro EXP and Pro 50, as well as the now-discontinued Urethane Series U50/U70/U90.
  • Straight Bar Attachment: Only compatible with the Pro EXP and Pro 50, as well as the now-discontinued Urethane Series U50/U70/U90.
  • Kettlebell Handle Attachement: Only compatible with the Pro EXP, Pro 50, Pro 50 Commercial and Pro 90 Commercial, as well as the now-discontinued Urethane Series U50/U70/U90.

UPDATE – October 2019: The EZ Curl Bar, Straight Bar and Kettlebell Handle attachments have been updated. The changes were cosmetic for the Straight Bar and EZ Curl Bar. There were bigger changes for the Kettlebell Handle. I’ll discuss all differences between versions in the following sections.

PowerBlock Pro Series EZ Curl Bar Attachment

With the Pro Series EZ Curl Bar Attachment, you can convert your pair of PowerBlock Pro EXP dumbbells into a truly adjustable EZ curl barbell set.

PowerBlock EZ Curl Bar - without Weights Added

The attachment includes a steel bar, which is permanently attached to two empty handles of its own (one one each end). The handles fit perfectly inside the nested weight stack of your Pro EXP set.

PowerBlock EZ Curl Bar - with Pro EXP Weights Added

Adjusting the weight is the same process as with the dumbbells. That means increments are in as little as 2.5 lbs using the adder weights (for even loading between left and right side, the minimum increment would be 5 lbs).

PowerBlock EZ Curl Bar Weight Chart

The sticker says it’s for the U-90, which is the dumbbell model that the Pro EXP replaced. The numbers are still correct, though.

The minimum curl bar weight with just the bar and empty handles is 20 lbs. If you have the Pro EXP Stage 3 set, you’ll be able to max out the curl bar at 190 lbs! Good luck ever curling that much.

As mentioned earlier, the PowerBlock EZ Curl Bar design has since been updated to be have black handles instead of white handles. I believe they also updated the stickers so it no longer references the discontinued Urethane Series line. If you buy the EZ Curl Bar now, it will look like this:

Updated PowerBlock EZ Curl Bar Design

Check Current Price – PowerBlock Pro Series EZ Curl Bar »

PowerBlock Pro Series Straight Bar Attachment

With the Pro Series Straight Bar Attachment, you can convert your pair of PowerBlock Pro EXP dumbbells into a truly adjustable straight bar set.

This is NOT to be confused with an Olympic barbell. Rather, a straight bar refers to a short barbell (i.e. ~4 ft) typically used for curls, triceps work, some shoulder work and light lower body work. This PowerBlock Straight Bar attachment is 55 inches long, so a bit over 4 feet long.

PowerBlock Straight Bar - Without Weights Added

The attachment includes the straight steel bar itself, with its own PowerBlock handles permanently affixed to each end. The handles are designed to fit right inside your Pro EXP’s weight stack.

PowerBlock Straight Bar - with Pro EXP Weights Added

Adjusting the weight on the straight bar attachment is the same process as with the dumbbells. That means you can achieve as little as a 2.5 lb increment using one adder weight on one side. Though if you want even distribution between the left and right side, the smallest possible increment would be 5 lbs.

PowerBlock Straight Bar Weight Chart

The sticker says it’s for the U-90, which is the dumbbell model that the Pro EXP replaced. The numbers are still correct, though.

It weighs 25 lbs at its lightest, with just the bar and empty handles. Assuming you have the Pro EXP Stage 3 set, you can go all the way up to a maximum weight of 195 lbs! That’s way more than the typical fixed straight bar sets you’ll find at commercial gyms, which usually top out at around 110 lbs.

As mentioned earlier, the PowerBlock Straight Bar design has since been updated to be have black handles instead of white handles. I believe they also updated the stickers so it no longer references the discontinued Urethane Series line. If you buy the Straight Bar now, it will look like this:

Updated PowerBlock Straight Bar Design

Check Current Price – PowerBlock Pro Series Straight Bar »

PowerBlock Pro Series Kettlebell Handle

With the Kettlebell Handle attachment, you can convert your PowerBlock Pro EXP dumbbell set into an adjustable kettlebell system.

Before I continue, let me note that the PowerBlock updated their Kettlebell handle attachment since I originally bought mine. Unlike the new versions of the Straight Bar and EZ Curl Bar attachments that only changed in terms of their color, the new Kettlebell attachment has some more substantive differences compared to the older version. I’ll outline all differences in the list below:

  • The new version is officially called the “Pro Series Kettlebell Handle.” The old version was called the “KettleBlock Handle.”
  • The new version has no adder weight ports, and thus can’t accept adder weights. This means the smallest increments are however much each weight block weights (e.g. 10 lbs for the Pro EXP; 5 lbs for the Pro 50). The old version had 2 adder weight ports, which allowed for increments as small as 2.5 lbs.
  • The new version weighs 10 lbs when empty. The old version weights 15 lbs when empty.
  • The new version is black. The old version is white.
  • The new version has updated stickers compared to the old version.
PowerBlock Pro Series Kettlebell Handle - Black
The new PowerBlock Kettlebell Handle (“Pro Series Kettlebell Handle”)
KettleBlock Handle without Weights Added
The old PowerBlock Kettlebell Handle (“KettleBlock Handle”). This is the one I own.

The Kettlebell Handle is just a typical looking PowerBlock handle but with a kettlebell grip permanently built in to it.

The handle is made to fit right inside the weight stack on the Pro EXP, Pro 50, Pro 50 Commercial and Pro 90 Commercial sets (as well as the now-discontinued Urethane Series U50/U70/U90 sets).

When using the Kettlebell attachment on the Pro EXP, it’s really only practical to use on exercises like kettlebell swings with the stage 1 set weights on, as shown below:

KettleBlock Handle with 55 lbs Added

…However, it can actually work with ALL of the weight plates on a complete Stage 3 set, meaning the max weight is actually 90 lbs (or 95 lbs if you have the old version like I do)!

KettleBlock Handle with 95 lbs Added

Of course, the more weight you put on the KettleBlock, the longer it gets and the more awkard it is to use — After a certain point, you may not be able to do many exercises because the kettlebell is too long. Just take a look at the image below to see what I’m talking about:

KettleBlock Handle with Max Weight of 95 lbs
Old version of the Kettlebell Handle attachment weighing 95 lbs. The set shown is the U90 Stage 3, which has since been replaced by the Pro EXP Stage 3. Image source: n1 qualified man

Check Current Price – PowerBlock Kettlebell Handle »

PowerBlock Pro EXP vs Other PowerBlock Models

I’ll tell you about the main differences between the Pro EXP dumbbells and some of the other PowerBlock sets that you might be considering. I will not discuss all the other sets — only the ones that are comparable in terms of max weight capacity (i.e. only models going up to 90 lbs per dumbbell).

Pro EXP vs Sport EXP

FeaturePro EXPSport EXP
Plate CoatingBlack urethaneGrey powder coat
Plate FrameNon-welded, “flex” frameWelded, rigid frame
Plate DesignRounded top, flat bottom; PowerBlock logoRounded top, concave bottom; no logo
Weight indicatorMachined steel, powder coat that shows weight setting, located on both side rails of each block, with color coded ringsSnap-on band that shows weight setting, located on side rail on just one side of each weight block; no color coding
Handle DesignOpen handle with wedge designOpen handle design (no wedge)
Dimensions (LxWxH)Stage 1 (50 lbs): 12.5” x 7” x 7.25”
Stage 2 (70 lbs): 14.75” x 7” x 7.25”
Stage 3 (90 lbs): 17” x 7” x 7.25”
Stage 1 (50 lbs): 12” x 6.5” x 6.5”
Stage 2 (70 lbs): 14” x 6.5” x 6.5”
Stage 3 (90 lbs): 16” x 6.5” x 6.5”
PriceStage 1 Set (50 lbs): $509 + S&H
Stage 2 Set (70 lbs): $708 + S&H
Stage 3 Set (90 lbs): $907 + S&H
Stage 1 Set (50 lbs): $409 + S&H
Stage 2 Set (70 lbs): $588 + S&H
Stage 3 Set (90 lbs): $767 + S&H

Pro EXP vs Elite 50/70/90

Feature Pro EXP Elite
Plate CoatingBlack urethaneBlack powder coat
Plate FrameNon-welded, “flex” frameWelded, rigid frame
Plate DesignRounded top, flat bottom; PowerBlock logoSquare shape (flat top, flat bottom); no logo
Weight indicatorMachined steel, powder coat that shows weight setting, located on both side rails of each block, with color coded ringsSnap-on color coded band located on side rail on just one side of each weight block; entire length of indicator band is colored; doesn’t show actual weight number
Handle DesignOpen handle with wedge designPadded wrist supports at top makes it a closed handle design
Dimensions (LxWxH)Stage 1 (50 lbs): 12.5” x 7” x 7.25”
Stage 2 (70 lbs): 14.75” x 7” x 7.25”
Stage 3 (90 lbs): 17” x 7” x 7.25”
Elite 50 (50 lbs): 12” x 6” x 6”
Elite 70 (70 lbs): 14” x 6” x 6”
Elite 90 (90 lbs): 16” x 6” x 6”
PriceStage 1 Set (50 lbs): $509 + S&H
Stage 2 Set (70 lbs): $708 + S&H
Stage 3 Set (90 lbs): $907 + S&H
Elite 50 (50 lbs): $419 + S&H
Elite 70 (70 lbs): $608 + S&H
Elite 90 (90 lbs): $797 + S&H

Pro EXP vs PowerBlock EXP

FeaturePro EXPPowerBlock EXP
Plate CoatingBlack urethaneBlack powder coat
Plate FrameNon-welded, “flex” frameWelded, rigid frame
Plate DesignRounded top, flat bottom; PowerBlock logoRounded top, concave bottom; no logo
Weight indicatorMachined steel, powder coat that shows weight setting, located on both side rails of each block, with color coded rings Snap-on band that shows weight setting, located on side rail on just one side of each weight block; no color coding (all indicator bands are red)
Handle DesignOpen handle with wedge designOpen handle design (no wedge)
Dimensions (LxWxH)Stage 1 (50 lbs): 12.5” x 7” x 7.25”
Stage 2 (70 lbs): 14.75” x 7” x 7.25”
Stage 3 (90 lbs): 17” x 7” x 7.25”
Stage 1 (50 lbs): 12” x 6.5” x 6.5”
Stage 2 (70 lbs): 14” x 6.5” x 6.5”
Stage 3 (90 lbs): 16” x 6.5” x 6.5”


Stage 1 Set (50 lbs): $509 + S&H
Stage 2 Set (70 lbs): $708 + S&H
Stage 3 Set (90 lbs): $907 + S&H
Stage 1 Set (50 lbs): Check price
Stage 2 Set (70 lbs): Check price
Stage 3 Set (90 lbs): Check price


The PowerBlock Pro EXP has a 5 year limited warranty. This is the same standard warranty that ALL other non-commercial PowerBlock models have…

…It should be noted that the Classic Series and Sports Series used to have longer warranties (10 and 15 years, respectively). However, as of recently, ALL new PowerBlock dumbbells sold have a 5 year warranty. I mention this in case you see other literature online stating that these other models have longer warranties — If you see that, it’s outdated information.

While a 10-15 year warranty would be awesome, a 5 year warranty is still VERY good when it comes adjustable dumbbell sets. Most other companies selling selectorized dumbbells have a 1 year warranty or less.

In terms of what the warranty covers and what it covers, here’s the basics:

  • It does cover any defects in materials or workmanship
  • It does not cover design defects, normal wear and tear (e.g. chipping or scratching of powder coat; dings in the steel), and any problem that is caused by abuse, misuse, alteration, improper handling or storage, any improper assembly or attempted repairs by you or a 3rd party, or acts of God (e.g. flood).
    • Example of abuse: dropping the dumbbells from a height of 12 inches or greater.

Tips for Proper Adjustment & Use

I’ve already described the adjustment process step-by-step, above. It’s fast and pretty straight forward.

However, there’s a few things to avoid to ensure each adjustment is done correctly. This way, you’ll ensure handle and weight plates remain securely attached from weight selection through completion of the exercise:

1. Insert Pin Evenly (Do Not Cross)

Make sure the pin is set at the same setting on both sides of each handle. Don’t use the dumbbells if the pin is crossed. See the photo below for the right and the wrong way:

Inserting Pin PowerBlock Pro EXP - Correctly vs Incorrectly

2. Insert Pin All the Way to the Other Side

Slide the pin all the way through the handle. You’ll know it’s all the way through when:

  1. the front of the pin, which is magnetized, attaches on the front side rail, which is of course magnetic.
  2. you can see the ends of the pin coming out the back side of the dumbbell, just slightly beyond the rear side rail — as seen in the image below:
Selector Pin Ends Coming Out Back of Dumbbell When Fully Inserted

3. Never Remove (or Damage) the Tether Cord

The tether cord should always be secured between the first weight block and the selector pin. Do not remove the cord or damage it…

Tether Cord MUST Stay Attached to First Weight Plate

…It’s there for two important reasons:

  1. To prevent the selector pin from getting lost.
  2. As a safety precaution to prevent the pin from falling out in the unlikely scenario that the pin loses magnetic contact with the front side rail (e.g. if you accidentally hit the weights against each other or other equipment, in just the wrong way).

4. Lift Dumbbells Straight Out of the Stack (Do Not Rotate)

Pull the dumbbells straight out of the weight stack (i.e. perpendicular relative to the surface they’re stored on).

How to Remove the PowerBlock Dumbbells from the Weight Stack

Don’t rotate them to the side as you lift them out. This can cause unselected weight plates to stick to the selected weights. You may accidentally pick up one or more extra plates that could fall off during use.

Even if you don’t pick up extra plates, the selected weights could still be jammed together; and if they “un-jam” during your set, this could potentially knock the pin loose.

5. Lift Dumbbells Out of the Stack with the Handle Grip Only

You should only ever lift the dumbbells out of the weight stack with the center handle grip. Do NOT grab them by the weight brackets, as this could cause the pin to move out of place and the weight plates could potentially fall.

6. Inspect Pin Before Completely Removing Dumbbells from Stack

Give a quick glance to both of the dumbbells before pulling them all the way out of the weight stack. Specifically, make sure the magnetic front part of the selector pin is engaged on the front of each dumbbell.

Also make sure the ends of the pins pop out the back of the handle, just past the rear side rail — See the image below (which I already showed for tip #2, but it’s worth showing again):

Selector Pin Ends Coming Out Back of Dumbbell When Fully Inserted

7. Avoid Hitting the Dumbbells Together, Against Your Body or Anything Else

If you accidentally hit dumbbells together lightly, chances are nothing will happen.

However, you should just make it habit to avoid any type of impact of the dumbbells (against each other, yourself, other equipment or anything else). Hard impacts, or impacts near any exposed part of the selector pin, increase the likelihood of the selector pin to dislodging.

8. When Removing Adder Weights, Hold Handle Up Before Moving Lever to “Open”

If you have the handle upside down (i.e. the opening of the hollow cylinders is pointed to the floor), then the weights fall right out onto the floor — or your foot — if you move the lever to the open position.

You can easily prevent this by simply positioning the handle right side up before opening.

9. Ensure Adder Weights Are Locked Before Use

This isn’t something you usually have to think about since the “auto-lock” feature ensures the lever is automatically moved up into the locked position when inserting the handle into the weight stack.

However, if you are just using the handle (for 7.5 or 10 lbs), then you have to manually pull the lever up into the locked position. Otherwise, the adder weight(s) will drop or fly out during use.

10. Don’t Drop the Weights (Especially from 12″ or Higher)

The PowerBlocks are tough. Especially the PowerBlock PRO Exp sets; they’re the toughest of all the models.

That being said, they’re not designed for throwing around or constantly dropping. Sure, they’d likely survive accidentaly drops, but it does elevate the risk of damage. And drops from a height of 12” or higher will void the warranty if you damage them.

If you do drop the dumbbells, always inspect the before using again to make sure selector didn’t get knocked out of place (or for any other damage).


…All in all, the PowerBlock Pro EXP dumbbells are an excellent product. They’re by far the best overall non-commercial PowerBlock model you can buy, in my opinion.

The only question for you is your budget. Are you willing to pay extra for more features, quality, durability, and the option to get the EZ curl/Straight Bar/KettleBlock attachments that are only compatible with the Pro EXP?

Or would you rather get the Sport EXP, Elite or PowerBlock EXP, which are all excellent sets and cost somewhat less, but lack some of the key features or capabilities that I’ve discussed throughout this review.

I strongly recommend the Pro EXP, and believe they are worth the higher price — even if that means buying the base set first, then getting one or both of the expansion kits at a later date if your budget budget is tight.

I bought a set of the Pro EXP Stage 3 dumbbells for myself in early 2019. I absolutely love them! They met, and in some ways, exceeded my high expectations.

PowerBlock Pro EXP Stage 3 Dumbbells on Stand - Side View

I hope this PowerBlock Pro EXP review has helped you make an informed decision on the best adjustable dumbbell for you. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

Check Current Price – PowerBlock Pro EXP Dumbbells »

Alex from King of the Gym
Hey! My name is Alex and I'm the founder and author of King of the Gym. I've been lifting weights seriously since 2005 in high school when I started a home gym in my parents' basement. I started writing about fitness in 2009. Then, in 2014, I got into writing home gym equipment reviews and I haven't looked back. My current home gym is in my own house and it's constantly growing and evolving. My goal is to help you build the home gym of your dreams! Read more about me here.

67 thoughts on “PowerBlock Pro EXP Dumbbells Review: What You Should Know”

  1. Thank you for the information. I am considering purchasing a set of PowerBlocks. My dilemma is that I need to purchase a set that exceeds the 90 pound limit. In your opinion, do I need to explore the commercial series PowerBlocks and if so which would be the best?

    Thank you in advance

    • Hi Todd,

      You have a few options:

      1. If you get the commercial version, you’ll have to get the Pro 125 or the Pro 175. FYI, if you get the Pro 125, you can get the 125 to 175 expansion kit later on if you want. NOTE that you can’t get the Pro 90 Commercial Set, since it is NOT expandable beyond 90 lbs. While either the Pro 125 or Pro 175 commercial sets will work for your needs, they will not be cheap — That said, I don’t know your budget, and the prices may be well worth it for you.
      2. Buy one of the recently-discontinued U90 sets. You can’t get them from PowerBlock.com, but it looks like a couple places still have the Stage 1 set (5-50 lbs) — try this place or see if you can find a pair on eBay or Craigslist. THEN, you can buy the expansion kits you need from PowerBlock.com since they still carry them, and likely will for a while since other people who bought the U90s in the past can still upgrade their set. Here’s links to the different expansion kits you would need: U90 Stage 2 Kit, U90 Stage 3 Kit & U90 Stage 4 Kit. This option will get you 125 lb dumbbells at a much lower cost than option 1. The only possible downside is I’m not sure how the warranty would work with the buying from a 3rd party–so maybe consider asking the 3rd party retailer about that before you buy from them.
      3. Lastly, did you consider getting the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells? The main set starts at 75 lbs with stand included for approx. $650 — Then you buy add-on kits to increase it first to 120 lbs per hand (and even as high as 165 lbs per hand with their second add-on kit). You could get up to 120 lbs per dumbbell for less than the first 2 options. Of course, these aren’t as rapid change as the PowerBlocks, though you can beat em up a lot more than PowerBlocks… it’s a trade-off. You can read my Ironmaster review here if you’re interested.

      Hope that helps!


      • Alex,

        I’m so glad I stumbled onto your blog and reviews. They’re excellent! I’ve read the powerblock pro exp and the ironmaster reviews in depth. It’s likely my shortcoming, but I still don’t know which if there two are you preferred adjustable dumbbells. I’m really struggling in making the choice. I haven’t lifted for a while and want to get back into it. I’ve historically been a gym man, but with kids, I have less time on my hands and so want the flexibility of a home workout whenever I can squeeze one in. Ironmaster is appealing as its form is so close to a normal dumbbell. But powerblock pro exp will allow a quicker shift in weight. I’ve read powerblocks have more plastic and components so are more likely to potentially fail over time? But the big one for me is which is better for use and good form. For e.g. I can’t work from watching videos of bicep curls and overhead tricep curls as to whether they are as effective with the powerblocks vs ironmaster given that powerblocks have the strange box form. Generally speaking, are certain exercises better with one over the other? Finally, I want to invest in kettle bells and am unsure if I should allow this to be a factor as I may just get traditional kettle bells seperately instead of trying to use the powerblock or ironmaster to do everything.

        Your thoughts on which you really do prefer for all standard dumbbell exercises would be great!


        • Hi Naeem,

          Sorry for the late reply, I just saw your comment now.

          It’s really not a case of one being better overall than the other. The PowerBlocks are best if you care most about the ability to save time in your workouts because of the rapid adjustment, which is my number one priority right now. Also, you avoid some of the clutter you inevitably with storing and moving around the Ironmaster plates during your workout.

          That said, if you want to do every dumbbell exercise exactly like you would with a traditional dumbbell, the Ironmaster is best. It feels the same in terms of balance and size, and has a natural knurling feel to the handle. There’s also no clicking at all (which you get with the PowerBlocks depending on how fast you lift the dumbbells, but it’s not actually loud or disruptive to the movement).

          In terms of movements that you’d have to do differently, it’d just be a few exercises for the PowerBlocks — namely, anything where you’d normally grab the dumbbell end by both hands (e.g. two-handed overhead dumbbell triceps extension, dumbbell pullovers). However, you can easily do a workaround for these by grabbing the dumbbell by the two adjacent columns on the outside of the handle.

          If you want to get more serious with kettlebell training, it’s probably advisable to get a traditional set. If it’s a less serious part of your training either the PowerBlock or the Ironmaster kettlebell adapters will do the trick. They’re different shaped than traditional kettlebells so their size and balance will be different than a round kettlebell. But I’m a casual user, so the PowerBlock works for me great; and whenever I visit my folks’ house, the Ironmaster kettlebell works great, too. In terms of which kettlebell is better between the two, I have to give the edge to the Ironmaster since it maintains the same, relatively small width as you add weight (though it gets longer); whereas, the PowerBlock gets significantly wider as you add weight, making impractical to use for certain kettlebell exercises beyond a certain weight (though the PowerBlock one has a heavier max weight by 15 lbs — 95 lbs vs 80 lbs).

          Hope this helps and doesn’t just confuse you more. 😀


  2. Alex

    Thanks for the detailed review. I was wondering if the powerblock Pros would hold up to an exercise like a renegade row where the handles would be supporting my body weight? I weigh about 165 lbs. I’d appreciate your thoughts on this knowing that you don’t speak for Powerblocks.


    • Hi Charles, I’ve personally used mine for push ups many times — And I weight 215 lbs right now. They’re super sturdy. As long as you don’t slam them against the floor on renegade rows, you’ll be fine.

      If you look at the image below, you’ll see that the handle is has plenty of strength to hold against your bodyweight — the large steel bolt in the center goes through the side of the block and into the grip handle, providing a lot of support:

  3. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for your very detailed and informative review.
    I am currently with the Elite 90, everything is fine, only complain about two things:
    1. noise during use or take up/ down from the stack.
    2. feel little movement between plates during use
    May I know if the these two issue are improved on Pro PowerBlock Pro EXP model?

    Another question is I check Powerblock online store, the Pro series has expandable and non-expandable model, are there any different between them, like durability or comparability?

    • Hi Kelvin, yes, the Pro EXP is much better in both of those ways.

      • First off, the steel plates are covered in a protective urethane coating (a type of durable rubber polymer). This means there is no steel-on-steel contact, which is where most of the noise comes from on your Elite dumbbells.
      • Second, there’s zero movement between the plates on the Pro EXP. The only movement you may feel is between the handle block and the first plate (there’s maybe 1/8″ of room between them). However, it really only happens on movements where you’re somehow turning the dumbbell (e.g. biceps curls) or if you’re doing explosive reps (e.g. dumbbell push press). And when it does happens, it’s not at all a loud noise since it’s rubber-on-plastic (it’s almost a *click* noise) — You can hear it, but it’s not loud or distracting. It’s not something I notice or think about during my workouts.

      As far as the non-expandable models (Pro 32, Pro 50) vs the expandable models (Pro EXP Stage 1, Stage 2 & Stage 3) — the durability is similar between all of them. However, there other key differences:

      • First off, the MAJOR difference is that the non-expandable models (obviously) can’t go any higher in weight; so you’ll never be able to buy an expansion kit to make the Pro 32 dumbbells go higher than 32 lbs, or the Pro 50 go higher than 50 lbs. Whereas the expandable models (Pro EXP sets) can be expanded to a max weight of 90 lbs (i.e. Stage 3). For example, if you get the Pro EXP Stage 1 now, you’ll have 50 lb dumbbells at first, but if you want more weight in the future, you can buy expansion kits from 50-70 lbs and from 70-90 lbs. This alone makes one of the Pro EXP (i.e. expandable) sets the best choice if you’re serious about strength training.
      • The Pro 32 has 4 lb increments with no adder weights. The handle weighs 4 lbs, and each of the 7 plates are 4 lbs. There are no unavailable increments between 4 and 32 lbs.
      • The Pro 50 has 2.5 lb increments with 2 adder weights per dumbbell. The handle weighs 5 lbs, and each of the 8 plates are 5 lbs. There are no unavailable increments between 5 and 50 lbs.
      • The Pro EXP sets have 2.5 lb increments with 2 adder weights per dumbbell. The handle weighs 5 lbs and plate weighs 10 lbs (the stage 1 set has 4 plates; the stage 2 set has 6 plates; the stage 3 has 8 plates). There are a few unavailable increments on the Pro EXP sets (from 5-50 lbs: 12.5, 22.5, 32.5 & 42.5 lbs are unavailable; from 50-70 lbs: 52.5 & 62.5 lbs are unavailable; from 70-90 lbs: 72.5 & 82.5 lbs are unavailable)
      • Only the non-expandable Pro 50 set and the expandable Pro EXP sets are compatible with the EZ Curl Bar Attachment, Straight Bar Attachment and the Pro Series Kettlebell Handle (formerly the “KettleBlock Handle”). The Pro 32 is NOT compatible with these attachment — and neither is any other PowerBlock model currently being sold (Elite, Sport, etc.).
  4. Hi Alex, great review! I am interested in the Pro 125 because I have outgrown my Elite set at 90 lbs per hand for presses. I and was wondering if the straight bar and ez curl bar fit the Pro 125/175 models. Of course I cannot imagine loading anywhere near that much weight for skull crushers or whatever, but I would like it if I could have the bar also.

    • Thanks, Kirk! Unfortunately the Pro 125/175 aren’t compatible with the straight bar and EZ curl bar. It’s just the Pro 50 and Pro EXP that work with that handle geometry on these bars.

      If you really want to go over 90 lbs and be able have the EZ curl and straight bar option, I recommend looking at the Ironmaster Quick-Lock dumbbells. They can go up to 120 lbs with the 75-120 lb add-on kit, which you can actually increase to 135 lbs with their new heavy handle plate kit (or you can even go to 165 lb with their custom 165 lb add-on kit, which you have to custom order). They have an EZ curl bar and straight bar, which hold the quick-lock plates, and close with a spin-lock collar. The EZ curl bar has a max weight of 165 lbs and the straight bar has a max weight of 228 lbs.

      The trade-off, however, is that you lose the main benefit of the PowerBlocks, which is the very rapid weight adjustment. The Ironmaster dumbbells aren’t slow too adjust, but they do take significantly longer than the PowerBlocks. If you do prefer the PowerBlocks, I’d say go for the Pro 125 — then buy a cheap but decent EZ curl bar like this one from Titan to use with your Olympic weight plates (assuming you have those weights in your home gym).

      If you’re interested in the Ironmasters, I’d recommend you read my review of the Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells here for more information.

      Hope this helps!


  5. Great article!
    I’ve owned a set of classic 50 pound powerblocks for about 20 years. I’ve wanted to upgrade and get a set with the kettlebell handle and straight bar attachment.

    I have an opportunity to pick up a set of 50 pound urethane powerblocks with stand and 2.5 add on weights for $300.

    I loved the idea of saving money, but they use the old method of locking in the 2.5 pound weights (they don’t automatically lock), they also have the older style handle (wrist pads at the top). I think the new features in the Pro were great additions.

    Do you think the those features are worth spending the extra $140? (And I’ll be getting 5 year warranty versus buying used)

    • Hi Brian, yes I personally think those features are worth the extra $140. The auto-lock makes adjustment easier, so you save a couple seconds every single time you adjust…it makes each workout that much more seamless. Also, the open handle is just more comfortable. Since you’ll be using these a long time, the extra price is very small, especially when you consider it over the long term.

  6. Hey Alex,
    I was just wondering how is the durability of your pro exp dumbbells holding up so far? For the last couple weeks I’ve been researching every type of powerblock trying to see which one i want to purchase. I came to the conclusion that I was going to go with the elite 5-90 ones but they are currently sold out everywhere and wont be available for who knows how long. I called the powerblock customer service number and they said the earliest they would be available is 3 months from now in June and that is not guaranteed. I am going to be a lot busier in the upcoming months and won’t be able to go to the gym as much as i do now(5 times a week). Due to this I want to purchase a pair in the next week but was just curious about this “non-welded flex design”. I know in your review here you said it seems very strong but I don’t see how there is any way hard plastic could be any stronger than a steel on steel weld, like all the other residential models have. At this point my options are the exp model, the sport model or the pro exp model since the elite are not going to be done for months upon months. Affordability is not really an issue, if I’m going to have something for at least 5-10 years i don’t mind spending an extra $200 on the pro exp, I’m just worried about this “non-welded flex design”. Another question I had is how is the open handle design on this pro exp? I read reviews on the newer regular exp model that the handle sits very low to the adder weights and some peoples hand sit against them and it is uncomfortable. I’m not sure if the handle is more in the middle of the pro exp model compared to the exp model. At this point i was leaning more towards the Sport model or the pro exp models. Just trying to get all the input i could get before i make my final decision.

    • Hi Frank,

      The non-welded flex design on the Pro EXP does NOT actually involve plastic components. It’s still all steel. The difference vs the welded units is that the steel rod on goes through the end steel plates (which of course are urethane coated) and is secured with a permanent bolt, as shown below:
      PowerBlock Pro EXP - All-Steel Non-Welded Flex Design
      The bolted rods are what allow the Pro EXP plates to have few degrees of flex, which makes them more likely to survive accidental drops than the welded units, which would be more likely to deform (since they’re completely rigid and have no “give”).

      As for the handle’s position, there’s no issue with it sitting too low. It’s almost exactly at the midpoint within the handle block. My knuckles aren’t close to hitting the adder weight tubes; there’s plenty of clearance, and I definitely have larger than average hands.

      I’ve included an image below showing:

      • a measurement of the handle block so you can get an idea of the handle grip position.
      • how much clearance there is between my knuckles and the adder weight tubes.

      PowerBlock Pro EXP Handle Height & Room for Hand

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have more questions or want to see other photos.

      • Awesome! Thanks for the detailed the response and pictures. This is exactly the information I was looking for. You addressed all my concerns with the pro exp’s. I think you made up my mind on what choice I’m going to make! This is greatly appreciated and thank you again.

        • Alex, I believe this is not correct. I previously owned the U90s and they are in fact welded by plastic not steel. If you close the rod is connected by plastic as confirmed as my set broke over several years. As much as I love the look and design of it, it is no where near as durable as the steel welds. I had my u90s for only couple years until it break similar to the pros I believe. I have pro Rexan set that lasted over 20 years

          • Thanks for the comment, Maru. I’m pretty sure the Pro EXP dumbbells don’t have any plastic in the rod. From what I can see, like I said, is that there’s a steel bolt going through the urethane coated plate, which then inserts into the steel rod on the other side of the plate. I’m not sure how it was with the (now-discontinued) U90 model, though.

            That said, I’ll try to reach out to PowerBlock directly to see if they can shed some light on this topic.

            UPDATE: I spoke to my contact at PowerBlock. I showed him this comment thread and he replied with the following:

            Maru is correct in that the ear to plate connection is not metal to metal, but you [Alex] are also correct in that there is no plastic. Our plates are overloaded with Urethane (hence the original ‘Urethane Series’) even though everyone still calls it the rubbery set. Ultimately the ear that connects the plate to the rail is all urethane which is how it flexes in the event of a drop or really aggressive use, this feature is key as to why we’re in top level commercial environments. As always there should be no concern over quality either way, it’s hard to argue with the classic set up of a fully welded set but for anyone thinking ‘whats the best’ it’s definitely the Pro. The rigidity of the all steel design can be a negative in some cases if they’re dropped since the plates will be permanently bent, we don’t recommend customers try to repair on their own incase they don’t line things up correctly.

          • I just ordered Pro EXP set before realizing that the connection is not all metal. What happens if the urethane degrades, as many people have reported happening with the earlier urethane sets? Is it fixable? I know manufacturer is against people fixing connections themselves, but broken welded steel connection can at least be fixed.

            I’m having second thoughts about my order now, especially since I’m pretty careful with my stuff and not planning on dropping the bells, so the flex might be a bit pointless function for my use.

            Great review though!

      • Hey this photo is perfect it seems like there is about 2.4-5 inches from the top of the handle to the top of the cage (without the wedge). Could you please tell me the same dimensions on the Sport EXP model? I know they don’t have wedges, so the measurement would be I guess a bit higher, maybe attach a photo!

  7. Dear Alex,

    The review that you made is just great and because of it I am going to buy the Pro Exp dumbbells. I want to ask you few things:
    1. Have you used the curl bar with the dumbbells and if you are, do you think that the shape of the dumbbells is unbalancing the curl bar.
    2. Have you used the straight bar and do you have any thoughts of it?
    3. Have you used or do you have any thoughts on the powerblock bench and the extensions – dips and pull up ?
    Based on what you said, I understood that the pro EXp are the best fast adjustable on the market.

    Thank you in advance !
    Best regards

    • Hi Valentin,

      Thanks, and I’ll try to answer your questions as best as possible:

      1. Yes, I own and use the EZ curl bar regularly. And it’s overall great. However, it’s not perfectly balanced in every position due to the nature of the PowerBlock design. But you can learn how to use it to minimize or eliminate any feeling of imbalance. Basically, you’ll only notice an imbalance if you rotate the bar during the exercise, such that the blocks on each end turn from being rightside up to being sideways or upside down — the way to avoid this on exercises like curls where you have to rotate the bar, is to choose the right starting position (generally, this is where the blocks will be rightside up/parallel to the floor, or slightly tipped forward). Writing this all out makes this seem more complicated than it is. Once you start handling the EZ curl bar, you’ll very quickly get an intuitive understanding of where to grip the bar.
      2. Yes, I also own and use the straight bar. I also enjoy using it a lot. The same things I mentioned about balance for the EZ curl bar apply to the straight bar as well.
      3. I haven’t used the PowerBlock bench and dip/pull up attachments, though I have read good things from other users. The only other bench I might consider looking into that also has these attachments is the Ironmaster bench — You can read my Ironmaster Super Bench Pro review here.
  8. Thank you! It’s so strange that there aren’t any videos in youtube, that show these things with the straight and the curl bar.
    I think I will get the dumbells and the bench with ext, but for the bars, I think that before trying them, I won’t be completely sure.
    Maybe wit the dumbbells is going to be the same, but based on your review, the feeling of the dumbells for every exercise is closely the same.

  9. Hi Alex,
    Awesome review. I managed to snag the pro exp 90 with the ez curl, barbell, and ketel attachments recently in spite of them being sold out and back ordered everywhere with this virus scare. I was initially concerned with the u90 label and conversion elements for the two bars but am thrilled to have it confirmed by you that the measurements are accurate to the pro exp 90 series. My concern is the that the weight conversion numbers for the ketel attachment appears inaccurate for the pro exp series. Do you know the proper conservation? Also, the bars and kete attachments l I received from johnson fitness were the white variety, not the newer black model. Quality-wise Is everything the same about them other than the color? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Keith, you’re right that the weight chart sticker on the old white kettlebell handle is not correct for the Pro EXP dumbbells – Rather, it’s only accurate for the U50/U70, for which it was originally designed (though it is mostly accurate for Pro 50; at least for the first four out of five settings — see this comment for more on that)…

      …Of course, as we both know, the Pro EXP is still compatible with the old white kettlebell handle. So, what are the weight increments when using the Pro EXP with this kettlebell handle? I created the chart below to show you:

      PowerBlock Kettlebell Weight Chart for Pro EXP - Older White Kettlebell Version

      Comparing the old and new version, yes, they’re comparable in terms of their quality/durability. But there are 3 main differences:

      1. The color (as you mentioned)
      2. The new (black) kettlebell handle has no adder weight tubes (and thus no open/close lever), so there are fewer possible weight increments than on the old (white) kettlebell handle.
        • Unfortunately, no. It only fits on the following PowerBlock dumbbell models:

          • Pro 50
          • Pro EXP
          • Pro 50 and Pro 90 (Pro Commercial Series)
          • U50, U70, U90 (Urethane Series)
          • Thanks for the great info.
            Does this reply go for the PowerBar as well? I am in the process of purchasing the straight bar, but now I am not sure if the Powerbar will work with the Powerblock Sport 24 that I have. Could you confirm?

          • I assume that when you say “PowerBar” you mean the straight bar attachment (since that’s the only straight bar attachment that PowerBlock makes). This attachment only works for the Pro Series dumbbells (specifically the Pro 50 and Pro EXP models) and the now-discontinued Urethane Series dumbbells (specifically the U50, U70 and U90 models). Unfortunately, it won’t work with any other series/models, including your Sport 24 dumbbells.

  10. So did you actually weigh anything to make sure the product meets the specifications as advertised? I only measured 2 out of 10 weights to be correct with my Pro EXP set with Stage 2 and 3.

    • Great question, Mike. The individual weights themselves are not all exactly 10 lbs. The longest plate (grey) is heaviest, with each shorter one getting slightly lighter. However, they’re all reasonably close to 10 lbs each (the gray was exactly 10.0 lbs for me and the black was 9.20 lbs, or 9.57 lbs with the attached selector pin included).

      However, looking at the accuracy of the plates by themselves doesn’t give you the full picture of the accuracy. It’s more helpful to look at the actual weight with different plates selected. So, I tested that out, going from all the weight selected (including the adder weights) to just the empty handle weight (including the adder weights). My results are below, and they’re extremely accurate for all but the lightest weight settings:

      Actual Weight / Stated Weight / % Deviation
      90.68 lbs / 90 lbs / +0.75%
      80.54 lbs / 80 lbs / +0.68%
      70.47 lbs / 70 lbs / +0.67%
      60.61 lbs / 60 lbs / +1.02%
      50.80 lbs / 50 lbs / +1.6%
      41.00 lbs / 40 lbs / +2.5%
      31.32 lbs / 30 lbs / +4.4%
      21.82 lbs / 20 lbs / +9.1%
      12.25 lbs / 10 lbs / +22.5%

      NOTE: To compare this to the accuracy of most fixed dumbbells, note that the typical hex dumbbell is usually only within 5% of the stated accuracy and the expensive rubber-coated fixed dumbbells are within 2% of their stated weight.

      You may be wondering why the lightest weight settings are (relatively) less accurate. I found that this was because the empty handle is actually heavier than the stated 5 lbs. It’s closer to 7.5 lbs. This was likely done to offset the individual plate weights being gradually lighter than 10 lbs the shorter they get — so as to make the total dumbbell weight more and more accurate as you select heavier weight.

      It should also be noted that a small difference in absolute weight can make the percent deviation much higher when the stated weight is low in absolute number. So, even though the empty handle (with both adder weights is a full 22.5% higher than it should be, it’s also only 2.25 lbs heavier than the stated weight, which is a pretty small difference in absolute terms.

      IMO, it’s much more important to have better accuracy at heavier weights than lighter weights, since you’ll notice even slight weight fluctuations when you’re trying to do heavier lifts. Also, not many people will need to do exercises with just 5 lbs.

      • Yes! Thank you for addressing this….I thought I was going crazy when I measured my weights. They are all over the place. Some weigh heavier than stated, some weigh lighter. I found until you get to the green plate, it’s much closer to the listed weights with one adder weight rather than two.

  11. This is very helpful! I’ve been trying to find more info on the kettlebell handle and am having trouble. I understand that as it gets heavier it becomes wider. At what weight would you say that it becomes too wide to use for kb swings for the average person. I’m hoping to do kb swings at up to 70lbs, maybe even 80lbs. I’m trying to figure out if this attachment would be sufficient. Thanks!

    • Correct, it gets wider as it gets heavier. Below, I’ve included the length of the Pro EXP with the kettlebell handle as each weight block is added on:

      @ 10 lbs = 8 1/2″ (no weight blocks added; KB handle only)
      @ 20 lbs = 9 1/8″
      @ 30 lbs = 10 1/4″
      @ 40 lbs = 11 1/4″
      @ 50 lbs = 12 3/8″
      @ 60 lbs = 13 1/2″
      @ 70 lbs = 14 5/8″
      @ 80 lbs = 15 3/4″
      @ 90 lbs = 16 7/8″

      In my opinion, 50 lbs is probably the max practical weight for doing kettlebell swings using a relatively wide (but reasonable stance); maybe 60 lbs for taller guys using a wide stance. Technically, you could use more, but your stance would be so wide it wouldn’t make sense. That said, it’s still useful at heavier weights for other exercises like one arm kettlebell rows, 1 arm carries, etc.

      Definitely refer to measurements above and do an at-home test to see if a given measurement could fit through your stance.

      P.S. Note that the new Pro Series kettlebell attachment is slightly different than the one shown in this review. The new one is black instead of white. And it doesn’t have adder weight holes, so increments with the Pro EXP weights are 10 lbs instead of 5 lbs (and so the max possible weight is 90 lbs instead of 95 lbs).

    • Unfortunately, no. They have slightly different dimensions.

      UPDATE: The Pro EXP expansion kits DO fit on the U90 dumbbells. Originally, I heard from PowerBlock they were incompatible. However, some readers have since tested this and confirmed that they are compatible.

      • This is not true. The Pro EXP stage 3 expansion slides right over the U90 stage 2. I have the U90 stage 2 and ordered the whole Pro EXP kit with stage 2 and 3. The first thing I did when I got them was slide the old U90 right into the new stage 3 kit. Now I have 2 sets of powerblocks; 1 set with closed handles and the other set with the new open handle design.

        • Hi Mike, you’re right on this. PowerBlock originally told me they were incompatible — However, I found out they indeed are compatible a few months ago from another reader. I thought I updated all my previous comments were I had the outdated/incorrect information. But I missed this one. Sorry for any confusion — and thanks for replying to this comment thread!

          • I did call PowerBlock to see if compatible and the person was so nice. He said “off the record and unofficially they will fit, but officially I can’t tell you that they are compatible”. I don’t understand why PB would not make them that way in the first place or at least offer a set, plus if they are why wouldn’t they advertise it that way (sounds like they want people to upgrade for no reason). I have had mine for about 15 years and they have been awesome, my boys are now older and starting to push up heavier weights so wanted to expand…thankfully I got an honest rep at PB that gave me the correct info.

  12. Hi,
    Do you have any experience with the power block column stand vs the foldable stand for the pro exp? I saw some reviews saying it wasn’t stable and others saying it was super stable. Just wondering if you have had 1st hand experience or what you’d recommend. I have a hard time buying the foldable since I worry about it collapsing.

    • I have the foldable stand, which I use for my Pro EXP Stage 3 set. I’ve never had any issues with it tipping or being wobbly. That said, I’m sure the column stand is more stable, since it’s overbuilt. But the compact foldable stand does the trick for me without any issues.

  13. Hi Alex,
    I love the detailed review on every model of powerblock that you provided and I appreciate it.I I just wanted to know what the main differences are between the Pro 90 and Commercial Pro 90 in terms of build quality. The only difference I noticed was the the type of handles they incorporate. I was interested in the Commercial Pro 90, but after reading this review I don’t really see a big difference between the two. I also know that the commercial pro lacks the 2.5 adjustment bars and they instead have a pair of 10 lb and 5 lb handles, which limits the adjustments to 5 lb increments. In my opinion this is more convenient and for people who have been lifting for a while the 2.5 adjustments don’t provide that much more of progressive overload. I’m a calisthenics athlete and 90 lbs is plenty of weight for me so I won’t looking at the 125 lb model (even though it could later be expanded to 175 lbs) as I simply won’t be lifting that much. Is there more to it? Is the build quality different? Is it worth the extra $600+? Is the Commercial Pro more durable than the Pro EXP series?
    Stay safe and thank you again for these awesome reviews.

    • The durability between the Commercial Pro 90 and the Pro EXP are comparable.

      You already mentioned one of the main differences between the two models: That the commercial version has 2 different handles for 5 lb increments with no adder weights vs 1 handle with 2 adder weights for 2.5 or 5 lb increments. Even though you lose out on the smaller increments with the commercial version, it is a bit easier/faster to change weight when switching handles compared to adding/removing adder weights.

      Here are the other differences:

      • The Commercial Pro 90 handle is knurled, made of steel and is straight in shape. Whereas, the Pro EXP is a rubberized (thus, non-knurled; though still has some grip to it) and contoured in shape. The knurled steel handle will feel nicer in your hand — more like a “traditional” dumbbell. Having the knurl will give you even more grip.
      • The Commercial Pro 90 uses stainless steel hardware, which you can see on the bolts at the end of the side rails. Whereas, the Pro EXP has painted steel hardware on the ends of side rails. While stainless steel is an upgrade in terms of build quality, the painted steel will provide plenty of protection against oxidation for just about everyone. So, IMO, this difference is minor.
      • The Commercial Pro 90 selector pin is made of Zytel, whereas the Pro EXP’s pin is made of polypropylene. I don’t really know the difference here, but I’m assuming Zytel is slightly better. That said, I have the Pro EXP and the pin is plenty sturdy.

      Since you don’t care about 2.5 lb increments — Whether the Commercial Pro is worth it, comes down to how much you want the knurled steel grip handle and having 2 handle blocks for easier increment adjustment…

      …If you simply want the best of the best, go with the Commercial Pro 90 for sure. But for most people who can go without these features, it’s not worth the big price jump. Of course, part of this depends on your budget and how expensive $600 is for you in terms of your financial position.

      Hope that helps!

      • Hi Alex,

        Is the other “advantage” to the Pro Exp over the Pro Commercial, is that the Pro Exp is compatible with the EZ Curl and Straight Bar? In fact, out of all PowerBlock’s lines, I think these bars are only compatible with the Pro Exp line. Or am I wrong?



        • That is (almost) correct, Andy. The Pro EXP is compatible with the EZ Curl and Straight Bar, while only the Pro Commercial 50 and Pro Commercial 90 are compatible. However, the Pro Commercial 125 and Pro Commercial 175 are NOT compatible with the EZ Curl and Straight Bar.

          The only other PowerBlock dumbbells (besides the Pro 50 and Pro EXP) that are compatible, are the U50, U70 and U90 from the now-discontinued Urethane Series.

  14. Hi Alex,

    This is an awesome write-up. Thanks so much for doing this. I also read your awesome write-up on the IronMaster’s. From the pictures, it shows that you’ve definitely used those IronMaster’s “well” over the years. Unless they are pictures of someone else’s.

    The level of detail and consideration is amazing ! Now, I just wish we could actually get our hands on them, given the current back-log due to the pandemic impacts.



    • Thanks, Andy! Yes, those photos are mine. I’ve put my Ironmaster’s through many grueling workouts.

      Hope you can get yourself a pair — whether Ironmasters or PowerBlocks — soon.

  15. Huge thanks for writing this review. Would you recommend pro exp over the support model? If so what would be the reasons. The sport model looks to be more compact so I’m wondering whether to go for a more compact model. But will be good to get your advice on whether sticking with the pro model is better.


    • They’re both great. But I’d personally go for the Pro EXP. The main reasons are that the urethane coating makes it more durable and quieter to use than the Sport EXP. As far as compactness goes, the Sport is a little more compact, but not by a large amount.

      Specifically, the Sport EXP Stage 3 (at 90 lbs) is 16″ x 6.5″ x 6.5″ while the Pro EXP Stage 3 (at 90 lbs) has slightly larger dimensions of 17″ x 7″ x 7.25″. You can see compare the dimensinons at 50 lbs and 70 lbs by referencing the PowerBlock comparison chart on this page: https://www.kingofthegym.com/powerblock-dumbbells/

  16. Hey Alex,

    I just wanted to thank you for helping me land a pair of Powerblock Pro Exp Dumbbells yesterday. Like a lot of us, I have been trying to buy a pair of adjustable Powerblocks or Ironmaster dumbbells to outfit a garage gym during the pandemic. As you know, that has been nearly impossible since the COVID outbreak began–equipment sells out the moment it becomes available. I just happened to be on your review site when I decided to re-read your Powerblock Pro review; that’s when I saw your notice that Powerblock had the Pro Exp in stock. I clicked the link and was lucky enough to place a successful order. They are on the way as I write. I had the original Powerblocks that lasted me 15 years until I handed them down to my daughter and her husband two years ago–they still function perfectly. Today, I had another stroke of luck when I visited Rep Fitness’ website and saw they finally had the AB-3000 FID bench in stock–ordered that on the spot and it, too, is already on its way to me. They sold out in less than an hour. Anyway, thanks to your post I have a much needed set of Powerblocks coming to me. I appreciate it.

  17. Hey Alex,
    I was speaking to someone at Powerblock about the U90 #3 Expansion set and he told me that there was another model (I believe he said the Pro) that is compatible with the U90 dumbbells. I can’t get a straight answer out of anyone else about this other than they are sold out.

    I was hoping you can shed some light on this. Do you know if there are any expansion sets that are compatible with the U90 dumbbells? I’ve been looking for U90 Stage 3 70-90lbs since April but no luck.


    • Unfortunately the Pro expansions are NOT compatible with the U90 (and vice versa). You’ll have to keep looking for the U90 Stage 3. Wish I had better news!

      UPDATE: The Pro EXP expansion kits DO fit on the U90 dumbbells. Originally, I heard from PowerBlock they were incompatible. However, some readers have since tested this and confirmed that they are compatible.

  18. I have Urethane U90 Stage 1 and looking for Stage 2 expansion however it isn’t available anymore… Pro Exp Stage 2 kit looks almost same as U90 Stage 2 (even colors match!). I wonder if anyone tried the new expansion kits on the old Urethane 90?

    • YES, the Pro EXP expansion kits work on the U90. Originally, PowerBlock said they were not. However, other readers have since tested and confirmed that they are.

  19. Thank you for your outstanding review. I was able to snag a pair of Pro EXP 5-50 and a column stand from Schells online. We have used this COVID period to get in much better shape. It is past time to add some strength training …. furnishing a mountain lake house gym … a spring CXMAS with so much equipment being delivered: REP fitness PR5000 V2 rack, lat/low attachment, multi-grip pull up bar, J-cups, flip-down safeties, landmine, storage pins, AB 5200 bench, EX stainless power bar,Urethane Equalizer plates (?) and Regupol Aktiv 3/8″ rubber flooring rolls. These items will join a Concept2 rower, ski erg and bike. Your site is a tremendous source of information. Thank you for your efforts!

    • Thanks, James! That’s awesome you were able to snag a pair. And all of that other equipment you’re getting is going to make for one high quality and well-rounded setup! Enjoy.

  20. I was able to get a screaming deal on some pro exp on facebook a couple days ago. I appreciate this write up showing all the differences they have to other powerblocks.

    One thing I can not find any information on is if you can use the powerblocks by holding the adder weight tubes. I can definitely fit my hands on them and hold well but I wasn’t sure about the stability of them. Can you shed any light?

    • Hi Brice, nice job on snagging the deal on the Pro EXP! I’ve held onto the adder weight tubes for exercises like rows (holding the block upside down, grabbing onto the tubes), as well as overhead triceps extensions with no issues. The tubes are connected pretty securely to the block, and it looks pretty sturdy if you look closely.

  21. Thanks for your thorough review. Since you mentioned you’ve used the straight bar with the powerblocks, do you find it comfortable to do exercises like dead lifts, bench press, squats and rows with it?

    • Generally, yes, it’s comfortable. Just know there will be a bit of rotation that you’ll feel if the dumbbells aren’t positioned properly. You’ll get a good idea of how to position them to minimize rotation during movement pretty quickly once you start using them. But it’s pretty easy to get used to.


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