Adjustable hand weights are pieces of strengthening equipment that can be adjusted quickly and easily to become heavier or lighter, depending on the exercise being done and the fitness level of the user. A variety of different styles, weights, brands, and designs exist, but they are generally all based off the same concept: the adjustable hand weights allow the user to select how much weight he or she wants to lift by selecting a different number of weighted plates to be attached to a central barbell. Adjustable hand weights usually come with a stand that accepts the unused weights as well as the other weights once they are done being used.
Older versions of adjustable hand weights worked a bit differently. Free weights slid onto either end of a barbell — either meant for use with one hand or a longer bar meant for use with both hands — and were locked into place with a threaded locking or similar locking clip. This method is still commonly used in gyms and fitness centers. The reason the new designs became popular was space: adjustable hand weights ensure that all weights are contained within a compact stand when not in use, preventing a mess of weights being strewn about. Adjustable hand weights also do away with the need to have individual dumbbells of specific weights, which can also take up a significant amount of room.
Current designs use different securing systems, but the idea is the same: the central bar has a pin or other securing feature on either end, which can be quickly and easily adjusted to pick up a different amount of weighted plates. The unused plates stay in the cradle, while the selected weights are attached to the bar and lifted from the cradle for use. The weight of each plate depends on the specific weight system being used, and beginners can choose a system that uses less weight, while more advanced users can choose a system that allows for more weight to be lifted.
Adjustable hand weights are often targeted toward everyday consumers rather than people who work out regularly at a gym. They often come with padded bars for hand comfort, as opposed to the bare metal bars common in gyms and on other weight lifting systems. Some are designed to look sleek and professional so they don't stand out too glaringly in the home. Larger adjustable weight systems may come on a movable, wheeled rack to make use in the home easier and storage simple.