When you're attending a giant electronics extravaganza like CES, it's hard to find time to get a good workout in. (Why lift weights when you could be gadget blogging or sleeping?) Bowflex's ST560 adjustable smart dumbbells gave a chance to kill two birds with one stone; I was checking out something on the show floor, sure, but I was also catching up on my bicep curls and tricep extensions.
The ST560s aren't Bowflex's first set of adjustable dumbbells — those are the 552s — but they contain a few notable improvements over the company's old line. The dumbbells have a single point of adjustment in their grips instead of two on either end; they're square instead of round for easier floor-based exercising; they're a little smaller. Of course, the biggest difference has to do with that "smart" label: they're the world's first "smart" dumbbells. Credit the inclusion of an accelerometer in each weight that allows users to track the number of reps they've completed, the total weight they've lifted, and the caloric burn they've achieved.
The dumbbells come with dozens of pre-programmed workout routines
There are some neat features embedded within the ST560s that should appeal to neophytes and musclebound experts alike. The dumbbells track your first rep of a given exercise, and it'll only register future reps that match that first movement. If you start flailing and moving dangerously towards the end of your sets, the weights are going to encourage you to maintain solid form by ignoring your exercises. If you're unsure what kind of workout you want to complete on a given day, you can flip through dozens of included routines within the app that accompanies the dumbbells. (If you're going in with purpose, that's just fine — there's a sandbox mode too.)
The 60-pound base set of ST560s is going to cost $499 when the dumbbells hit the market in a few weeks. If you want to add the hemispherical stand featured in the video above, it'll run you an extra $149, and you can up the weight to 100 pounds for another $249. It's an expensive proposition, especially compared to the discounted, older, dumber version of the dumbbells, but there's no smarter way to feel the burn.