Tag Archives: resistance exercise

Product review: PowerBlock Sport 2.4 Dumbbell

If you are looking to incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen, but don’t want to join a gym or break the bank on an expensive weight set, the PowerBlock Sport 2.4 Dumbbell is worth a look. I bought mine and have no ties to the PowerBlock company. Since it’s an adjustable dumbbell set, it’s a great space saver and money saver. Its strange design kind of makes it look like a dumbbell from an alien planet. It adjusts from 3 to 24 lbs(1.3 kg to 10.8 kg) in 3 lb increments, which should be sufficient for most people starting a strength-training regimen, including jogglers. There are much heavier PowerBlock adjustable sets for those who are into bodybuilding, or need heavier weights, however, I only have experience with the PowerBlock Sport 2.4, the lightest set(they all have the same basic design).

The concept of combining light weights to form a heavier weight isn’t exactly revolutionary, so it’s not unique to the PowerBlock. A similar product that I almost bought is the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells(50 lbs each at maximum weight), and you can read an excellent review of them at All Seasons Cyclist. I have a little experience with the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, but mostly at sporting good stores – they seem a little sturdier than the PowerBlock. The main reason I got the PowerBlock was because the lightest version of the BowFlex is much heavier and more expensive than the lightest PowerBlock, and the PowerBlock was on sale at the time. Back then when I was comparing products, I didn’t believe I needed to lift 50 lbs(22.6 kg), but I was wrong, since it would eventually feel like I was lifting feathers when lifting the PowerBlock Sport 2.4 at maximum weight. Several months after purchasing the Power Blocks, instead of getting the heavier PowerBlock Classic(50 lbs each) or BowFlex, I settled on much cheaper resistance bands.


Quickly adjusting the PowerBlock’s weight is simple enough if you have an IQ higher than a rock. You just put the long selector pin into the desired color-coded weight slots so you end up grabbing all the weights you want to lift(the default position of the selector pin is at the bottom, which allows you to lift the entire unit). You may occasionally have trouble putting the selector pin into the right slots, but it shouldn’t be a big headache once you get used to it and use it on a hard, level surface. The color-coding is a good feature, though it seems the color-strips could easily come off. A more serious flaw is that the welding where the bars are attached to the side weight plates seems a bit unfinished(observe the space between the plate and bar in the picture).IMG_0621

Although it feels sturdy enough for now, it seems with enough usage the bars may become detached. I only occasionally use the Powerblocks these days, since they don’t provide as much resistance as my set of resistance bands. The main advantage of the resistance bands is their portability and that they can be used for leg-strengthening. A big disadvantage of resistance bands is the difficulty of knowing how much weight you are pulling, since it can change a lot with how you position them. Resistance bands also do not last more than a few years.

A common concern some people(myself included) have about the PowerBlock is that the weights may come lose while doing exercises with it, resulting in serious injury. So far, this has never been an issue for me, though it does seem like a possibility if they are not locked in properly. Always make sure you lock the weights in properly with the selector pin before lifting.


If you are not a bodybuilder, the PowerBlock Sport 2.4 Dumbbell should be sufficient for building strength, along with good old calisthenics. You can find some good deals on Amazon, which is where I bought mine.

Since I am a joggler and not a bodybuilder, my upper body muscles only need to be so big, but this doesn’t mean that strength-training is unimportant to me. Strength-training 2 to 3 times a week makes it easier for me to juggle for long periods of time. Also, strength-training doesn’t just build strength, it may also be helpful for diabetics and prevent or treat other diseases related to aging. I believe a fitness routine is incomplete if it doesn’t include strength-training, besides coordination-training and brain-fitness which Wild Juggling also emphasizes.

Green space beneficial for health

It’s always sweet when something we intuitively know gets verified by science. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that science has found that living near green space is associated with better health, even after controlling for socio-economic factors. So if you have a significant amount of parkland or woods nearby, consider yourself lucky, even if bears or wolves live in them.

According to J Epidemiol Community Health. 2002 Dec;56(12):913-8.- Urban residential environments and senior citizens’ longevity in megacity areas: the importance of walkable green spaces.


Living in areas with walkable green spaces positively influenced the longevity of urban senior citizens independent of their age, sex, marital status, baseline functional status, and socioeconomic status. Greenery filled public areas that are nearby and easy to walk in should be further emphasised in urban planning for the development and re-development of densely populated areas in a megacity. Close collaboration should be undertaken among the health, construction, civil engineering, planning, and other concerned sectors in the context of the healthy urban policy, so as to promote the health of senior citizens.

One of my favorite parks

One of my favorite parks. It is also a supermarket to me, since I love to gather edible plants from here when they are in season

There are few things as refreshing as going to the park to relieve stress, to observe wildlife, to exercise, to meditate, to get bitten by bugs(not very refreshing unless you’re a masochist) or just to explore. As I always say, the larger the park, the better! Besides beautifying neighborhoods, trees also remove CO2 from the air. This is one of the reasons parkland is so essential for human health.

When it comes to exercise, nothing beats a park. If you don’t like indoor gyms(like me), just bring some resistance bands with you to the local park and you can do a total body workout there, besides of course juggling, running, or joggling around it.

”Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.” -Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

This subject is related to my earlier post – The effects of air pollution on exercise

Whatever you do, try to promote green space wherever you live. Get involved in park activities or community gardens, plant trees, or even start a garden(indoor or outdoors) to help clean the air. Do it for your own health and for the health of your community.

Fidget off the fat, research says

This sounds almost too good to be true, but research suggests that people who fidget a lot tend to be slimmer than those who do not fidget. 

What this means is that every little bit of exercise helps. Even if you are sitting, tapping your feet or moving around a lot can help burn calories. If possible, stand rather than sit. Losing weight is easier if you approach fitness as a lifestyle, not as an activity. 

Other ways to make fitness a lifestyle and not just an activity:

Take the stairs instead of the elevator

Walk instead of taking the car

Can’t or don’t want to go to a gym? Use resistance bands. You can even bring them with you to work(along with your juggling balls), where you can do a quick resistance workout that is practically the same as if you are lifting weights.

I also think it is important to avoid negative people who may try to sabotage your weight-loss efforts.

Of course twiddling your thumbs or taking the stairs can’t replace the recommended 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise we need to be fit and prevent disease. And you don’t even have to do the 30 minutes all at once either. You can divide it up – 10 minutes in the morning, 20 later in the day. 10 minutes seems to be the magic number for a bout of cardio to really count as exercise, so if you divide your time for exercise, do at least 10 minutes at a time.

Above all, make sure you enjoy your exercise. Do not think of it as punishment. You were born to move!