Product Review: Power Blocks

By Phil Kaplan


If you’re ever still awake at 5 AM after a long night, or if you’re up before the birds and you happen to hit the “Power” button on your remote control, you’ve seen those infomercials promising the new fitness solution has now arrived.  Whether it’s in the form of a delicious shake, a bottle of colorful capsules, or a piece of equipment developed with some new revolutionary technology, the miracle promises to be quick, to be easy, and to work like magic.  The little battle rages in your head.  The little angel says, “c’mon now, you know none of these things work the way the shows promise.”  The little devil then jumps in with, “but what if it does work . . . it’s only $19.99 a month (for the next 14 years of your life).”

Here’s the sad reality.  Those few products that really are exceptional, those that really can play a dramatic role in changing people’s bodies and lives, do not fit neatly into that marketing package that gets infomercial producers all fired up.  The Power Blocks are such a product, an exceptional innovation with great value.  The unfortunate things is, far too few people know about them . . . which is precisely why I chose them for this issue’s product review.

The first essential fact a wise fitness consumer will understand is that there are few (if any) substitutes for adjustable weights in helping improve body composition, metabolism, performance, and function.  Weight training is and has always been a vital piece of the physical improvement puzzle.  The problems, historically, with bringing weights into the home or office, revolve around the issues of convenience and space.  A rack of dumbbells ranging from 5 pounds to 125 pounds can certainly provide enough resistance for anyone seeking improvement, but unless you own a gym, who has room for a rack of dumbbells?  If a full rack is not a possibility, an alternative has been the 110-pound assortment of plates and bars.  Every basement home gym has adjustable barbells and dumbbells with the little collars that you have to screw on and off with a little wrench.  Show me an adjustable dumbbell set that’s been used for any period of time and I’ll show you stripped screws, rusted collars, and metal plates in disarray.

The Power Blocks actually eliminate the need for adjustable dumbbells and they completely replace an entire rack of dumbbells.  From overhead presses to bicep curls, from rear tricep extensions to chest presses, from one-arm rows to squats and lunges, this ingenious unit fills the bill.  With its stand it’s about the size of a dishwasher and fits in a 2-foot square.  The “blocks” are an evolution in adjustable dumbbells.  They might actually be referred to as “selectorized dumbbells.” 

Envision a health club machine with a weight stack.  You stick a metal pin in the hole that corresponds with the weight you’ve opted to use and the selected number of weighted squares rise as you perform the movement.  Now imagine that the weight stack became portable and can fit in your hand.  You’re imagining a Power Block.

The Power Blocks are actually two square dumbbells, each one made up of a stack of weighted  boxes that fit neatly inside each other.  The core has a neoprene coated handle and you use a pin to determine the number of plates that you lift when you lift the core out of the nested weights. 

A single unit (two Power Blocks and a stand) can replace more than 20 pairs of dumbbells and with an adjustable bench you can replicate any exercise you can perform in a health club in your home, office, dorm, or exercise facility.  Far be it from me to endorse anything I wouldn’t use.  I’ve used the Power Blocks to train at home, I’ve transported them in an SUV to provide Personal Training workouts in limited space, and I use them daily in my Personal Training studio.

Are the Power Blocks going to arrive at your home to provide quick, easy, magic for $19.99?  Not likely, but I can promise if you invest in a pair, you’ll have an exercise tool you can use for the rest of your life, one that can take you to virtually any level of fitness you desire and when you compare the price (depending on the options you can invest from $120 - $700+) to what it would cost to fill your home with dumbbell racks, or to buy a recurring gym membership, it will likely prove to be the exercise investment that brings you the most long term value. 

Click here to order the Sportblock set (3-21 pounds each)

Click here to order the Personal set (5-45 pounds each)

Note: Powerblocks can be used with any of Phil Kaplan's Programs

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