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As one of the cornerstones of the new Savasa women’s fitness line of gear, the hand weights show off an interesting twist in design and aesthetics.
Savasa (by Bell Fitness) has approached all of its new 2009 products with its eyes on the women’s demographic – women who want to get fit but aren’t nuts about it, who want their gear to look nice without being too cute, and want some design flair.
The hand weights fit that bill. If you look at them from the end, you will see they nestle together a bit like the yin-yang symbol’s two halves because of the similarly curved design of the ends. The bars themselves are more of a half-circle. Together, those design elements allow them to not only snug together neatly for storage (they won’t roll around because the ends interlock), but to also fit quite comfortably into the palm of a hand – particularly a smaller woman’s hand – because of the bar’s half-circle. One personal trainer who sized them up for us said: “They are really cool, good fit in the hand and you can double them up really easily.”
In addition, the flat side of the ends and bars allow a user to lift them closer to the body without being forced to take into account normally bulky plates.
Since a lot of women, especially at home, don’t necessarily wear gloves, these also have a unique texture. The grips are not the cold, hard metal of most bells nor are they uncomfortably rough. The cast iron weight has a slightly cushioned neoprene wrap that is just barely roughened for grip but not rough enough to cause discomfort without gloves. The wrap provides cushion in case you’re wearing rings, and it makes the weights feel soft and easy to lift. Said another tester who is a beginner at weight lifting: “They are much more lady-friendly than the gym-rat free weights I’ve used and seen. I will use these on a more regular basis.”
The how-to info that comes with them needs some work, though. The Quick Start brochure is so short as to be not worth much – with some poor-quality photos to boot. There are few recommendations on warming up, stretching or basic workouts. The accompanying DVD could not be opened on either a PC or an iMac.
Our beginning tester found she needed to go back and forth between a 3-pound and a 5-pound bell for the workout and suggested the company do packages of two sizes.
One problem is, they don’t look quite like the photos that are on the website or even on the sites of where they are sold (top photo, right). Instead, we were told, due to manufacturing costs, the cast iron is simply coated all over with a light gray neoprene with small colored logos on the ends. Certainly not as pretty as the photos but workable, and if we hadn’t seen the other photos we would never have longed for the bright and shiny colors.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.0 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $14.99 (3 pounds), $19.99 (5 pounds), $24.99 (7 pounds)