An early version of the dumbbell existed in India about a thousand years ago. The version was called an Indian club. The size is between the barbell and the ordinary dumbbells of today. It was used by the body guards, athletes and individuals to strengthen or gain muscles as well as by those who wished to improve and tone their muscles. At that point in time it was known as the Nai.
The word dumbbell came from the colloquial expression from Tudor England in the 16th century. This came about because the so called “bells” were actually part of a church bell. Aristocrats saw the object’s capacity to improve muscle structure and installed similar devices in their homes, minus the bell of course. The metal weight was fastened to a string and a pulley was pulled by the men as an exercise. This is where the word dumbbell came. It was indeed a “dumb bell” because it does not have or does not produce any sound. The fad on the dumbbell with a string died down but the use of the weight still remained minus the strings and the pulley.
It was in the 18th century that the dumbbells as weights reached America. It was during the 19th century that the appearance of the modern day dumbbell design came out. It was no longer the crude type but a metal with two equal weights on each side.
There are currently two types of dumbbells to date. One is the fixed dumbbell and the other one is the adjustable dumbbell.
An adjustable dumbbell is made up of a 14 inch steel bar which is an inch in diameter. At first glimpse, it looks like a miniature barbell. The center of the adjustable dumbbell has a crosshatched design to enable proper gripping. Iron plates or discs are slid into the outer portions of the dumbbells. The weights are locked into place with clips which are to be screwed into place. The iron will vary from 1 to 40 kilos in weight. The user can adjust the desired weight as he pleases.
On the contrary, the fixed dumbbell has a fixed weight and cannot be altered in anyway. Expensive fixed dumbbells are usually made of cast iron which is rubberized for safety purposes. Cheaper models are plastic coated concretes.
The dumbbells are essential in most resistance weight trainings to produce outstanding effects on the triceps and the biceps.