Cast iron hex dumbbells have been a staple training tool in the exercise industry for many years. As an economical dumbbell choice for providing multiple dumbbell weight increments, cast iron dumbbells can be found in home gyms, new personal training facilities, and other health and wellness facilities on a budget.

What is a Cast Iron Hex Dumbbell?

Also known as grey hex dumbbells, hexagonal iron dumbbells are an inexpensive option to add versatile strength training to any home gym or fitness facility.

Each dumbbell consists of two weighted heads and a centrally located handle shaft. The dumbbell heads are where most of the weight of a dumbbell is consolidated to. The dumbbell heads are cast into the hexagonal shape to prevent rolling when placed on the floor, a dumbbell rack, or momentarily set on a utility bench, a feature that is requested in free weights used in some commercial gym facilities, cruise ships, as well as military ships and submarines.

Joining the two dumbbell heads is the dumbbell handle. The most common is the straight handle with diamond knurling, made from solid steel for heavier weight increments above 12 lbs. There are also a limited number of manufacturers who offer a cast iron hex dumbbell with a contour shaped ergonomic handles, such as manufacturer York Barbell. The contoured hex dumbbell handles feature bands of knurling instead of being fully knurled like the straight handles.

What exercises can you perform with cast iron hex dumbbells?

The "Big Three," squat, chest press, and deadlift, are essential compound strength training movements that can be performed with dumbbells. Dumbbell rows, military presses, snatches, and lunges are also popular compound exercises where hex dumbbells are utilized. For isolation exercises, standing bicep curls, overhead triceps extensions, flyes, dumbbell hamstring curls, and lateral raises are a few examples of bodybuilding exercises that can be performed with economy dumbbells.

Iron Hex Dumbbell Exercises for Home and Commercial Gyms

What are gray hex dumbbell made of?

Elemental iron (Fe), is a key component that makes up the broad array of iron materials utilized in fitness equipment. Cast iron is an alloy of iron and carbon, a combination of mostly these elements with a 2-4% proportion of carbon, and varying amounts of silicon and manganese. Cast iron is a key material manufacturers utilize for creating economy hex dumbbells due to its cost effectiveness and molding ability, making up the dumbbell heads as well as handles of some of the lighter increments.

Steel is also utilized in the manufacturing of the cost effective gray hex dumbbells. Steel is also an alloy of iron and carbon, but containing less than 2% carbon. With a higher tensile strength than cast iron, steel is utilized as the dumbbell handle material for the heavier hex dumbbell weight increments heavier than 12 lbs.

Iron Element Chemical Symbol for Cast Iron

Are all hex dumbbells made the same way?

Iron hex dumbbells can be categorized as both residential use and commercial use dumbbells.

Residential iron hex dumbbells are an "entry level" dumbbell designed to be as cost efficient as possible. Intended strictly for the home gym environment, dumbbells sets in this category will typically have lighter weights up to 12 lbs. fully cast as one piece. While heavier dumbbells will be manufactured typically with straight steel handles adhered to cast iron dumbbell heads, they can be prone to separation from dropping and knocking of dumbbells together. Warranty is minimal for residential hex dumbbells, typically a 30-day warranty from manufacturer defects but not from breakage due to use. Craters, chipping of paint, rough knurling, and wide deviations from the specified weight of the dumbbell are common with some manufacturers.

12 lb. Economy Hex Dumbbells with Straight Handles

Commercial iron hex dumbbells, such as the Iron Pro Hex Dumbbells by York Barbell have added safety for use in a commercial environment. With cast iron heads that are cast over the ends of steel dumbbell handles with "fishtail" ends, the dumbbell head/handle joint have greatly improved strength making it virtually impossible to separate. York commercial quality iron hex dumbbells also utilize an ergonomic contoured handle with a more refined medium knurling. For prolonged durability, York Iron Pro Hex dumbbells are manufactured with "softened" edges along the hex heads which decreases cracking and chipping. These commercial hex dumbbells will provide a more accurate weight as well, with York Barbell cast iron Commercial Pro Hex Dumbbells having only a +/- 3% deviation.

Do cast Iron Hex Dumbbells require any Maintenance?

Although lubricating, tightening of bolts, and other alterations do not apply to hex dumbbells, proper use and storage will keep them looking new. Harsh impacts from dropping, as well as "clanking" of dumbbells is best to be prevented as such collisions can crack and chip paint, and possibly lead to dumbbell failure with head detachment for residential dumbbells.

Dumbbells are recommended to used with rubber flooring to prevent scratching or chipping, or stored on a dumbbell rack. Dumbbells should be utilized in dry environments as moisture can lead to rust and accelerate pitting of the iron and flaking of surrounding paint. Enamel touch-up paint found at local hardware stores can be found to match many "gray" shades of cast iron hex dumbbells to provide better aesthetics as well as offset corrosion.

Upgrading to rubber coated hex dumbbells for the home gym or facility is the next level of upgrade to bypass issues of paint chips and rusting. Though the rubber coated and urethane coated hex dumbbells are not recommended to be dropped, they are more forgiving to impacts.

Types of Dumbbell Racks for Hex Shaped Dumbbells

For residential settings, a vertical style dumbbell rack, such as the CAP Barbell RK-12 A-Frame dumbbell rack, allows for 6 pairs of hex dumbbells between 5-30 lbs. to be stored with minimal floor space.

CAP Barbell Vertical A-Frame Hex Dumbbell Rack

Commercial settings using commercial hex head dumbbells are recommended to utilize a tray style dumbbell rack, such as the York Barbell 69128 2-Tier Tray Dumbbell Rack. Tray style dumbbell racks lessen than likelihood of fingers being pinched while providing easy access to the dumbbell handles with the set-back stadium trays. As an added benefit, the York dumbbell rack has the trays lined with rubber to prevent scratching and paint chipping.

York Barbell 69128 Two Tier Dumbbell Shelf Rack for Hex Dumbbells

Where can I obtain more information on affordable hex dumbbell sets?

Contact a sales representative at Ironcompany.com for further education on the various gray hex dumbbells available for home gyms and commercial use.

Need a quote on a custom set of hex dumbbells, a few pairs, or a single dumbbell?
Contact Sales Representative Jayson Operio at 888-758-7527 ext. 724 or email jayson@ironcompany.com.

About the Author
Jayson Operio’s certifications include: NASM CPT - National Academy of Sports Medicine - Certified Personal Trainer, ACIM CPT - American College of Integrative Medicine - Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and PEX CPT - APEX Fitness Group - 24/5 Complete Personal Trainer. Jayson previously was a personal trainer with 24 Hour Fitness, guiding clients to achieve their fitness and sport performance goals. He has almost twenty years of combined fitness industry sales experience with previous companies Busy Body Home Fitness, Precor Home Fitness, Polar Electro, and currently IRON COMPANY. His passion for fitness was set as a foundation at an early age. With his father in the military, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and running a couple of miles were the norm. It was cross training for physical fitness. Fast forward, and now with over fifteen years in the fitness industry, he has gained experience and knowledge about various products and training techniques, and how they can be utilized to better one's fitness level and/or sport performance. His personal performance goals to run faster, jump higher, cycle longer, and press heavier have influenced his commitment to find fitness solutions. Knowing how the right equipment with proper technique can lead to results first hand, he’s here to share my knowledge with others to find the right products at a great price. Contact Jayson here.