A brief scientific overview:
To start with, let’s have a look at neoprene as a material. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that was invented through the necessity of a natural rubber shortage after WW1. It was developed by DuPont in1930 and has since become a mainstream natural rubber alternative. Neoprene is a member of the polymer family. A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. Neoprene is produced by the polymerization of chloroprene which binds all the elements at a molecular level, creating polychloroprene chips. These chips are then heated to melting point. At this stage different additives are mixed in to improve the overall properties of the final neoprene, this also includes color pigments. The final product is a neoprene sheet. OEM manufacturers who produce products that include neoprene can purchase neoprene in either solid or liquid form.
How is neoprene added to dumbbells?
The majority of dumbbells are cast iron that are either cast as a single piece, or a steel handle is attached to each of the cast iron heads. Neoprene coated dumbbells nearly always have a solid cast iron core which is dipped into liquid neoprene to give it the required finish. As the cast iron dumbbell is dipped, the liquid neoprene adheres to the metal surface because neoprene has excellent bonding characteristics to metal. This makes the finished neoprene dumbbell very robust and solid with good tear and rip resistance properties.
Why is neoprene good for dumbbells?
Neoprene is a perfect finish on dumbbells as it does not get slippery when wet, which is often the case when you are working out and getting sweaty. The advantage of having neoprene dumbbells is you will be assured of a comfortable grip throughout your workout. The smooth soft feeling of a neoprene dumbbell also gives you confidence in your dumbbell grip, making sure you do not drop the dumbbells during your workout routines.
As neoprene is a synthetic rubber, it is very good at absorbing energy, in particular, impact energy, so when you do drop your dumbbell, the neoprene coating will absorb the shock from the drop and will protect the surface it was dropped onto as well as protecting the cast iron core from any damage.
Another benefit is it has excellent noise dampening characteristics. Unlike cast iron dumbbells, when banged together, they make a lot of noise, neoprene dumbbells are virtually silent. This is an advantage when neoprene dumbbells are being re-racked in their mass storage racks or in weight segmented bins.
Neoprene is generally stronger and harder than natural rubber and more resistant to water, oils and solvents. This is another advantage of having neoprene dumbbells in your collection.
Neoprene has excellent color
Neoprene has the ability to be accurately color matched during the mixing stage of the neoprene production, therefore, it is possible to have specific colored dumbbells at different weights. It is common for manufacturers to have a set color range for their different weights, however, each manufacturer could have their own set of colors.
The color coding of different weights allows you to easily identify the correct weight you want to work out with which is very useful during quick and rapid cardio workout routines as well as pyramid or drop set training.
Another advantage of neoprene is that it can have clear weight indicators which allow easy visual recognition of each of the weights. Again these can be brightly colored.
What sizes do neoprene dumbbells come in?
Neoprene dumbbells generally start at 1 lb and increase by 1 lb, up to 15 lb, so a full neoprene dumbbell set would have 15 pairs from 1lb to 15lb. It is common however to find smaller dumbbell sets for sale with an ‘A’ frame rack to hold 3, 4, or 5 pairs.
For fitness centers and personal trainer style gyms, you will often see larger sets of neoprene dumbbells in large storage racks; these can have 40 or 50 pairs of dumbbells and are focused more towards group training sessions or aerobic type classes. This is where the color identification for each weight comes in useful if you need to quickly pick up a specific weight.
ConclusionNeoprene dumbbells are single cast iron fixed weight dumbbells with a neoprene coating that gives you excellent grip with softer, more comfortable handles than you find with metal handled dumbbells such as rubber hex or cast iron dumbbells.
A set of neoprene dumbbells will generally range from 1 lb to 15 lb in 1 lb increments, giving you a 15 pair dumbbell set if purchased in this configuration. Another very popular sight would be for larger sets of brightly colored neoprene dumbbells in group workout facilities and fitness centers where aerobic classes are held. These sets can have 50 or more pairs of different size neoprene dumbbells allowing for each class member to have the same size weight.
To read more about neoprene dumbbells and to see if they are right for you, we have included them in our buyers guide, which you can find here.