The Powerblock Sport 5.0 (or 5.5) Stage II Kit is a little bit of a unicorn. Look for it on the Powerblock site and you won’t find it. Call Powerblock and — so I am told — they will tell you the only upgrade available for these blocks is the heavier core for $150.
Well some time earlier this year, in the February/March time frame, someone mentioned these to me as a comment on YouTube. I had not heard of this kit before, so I checked it out, and lo and behold, it was on clearance sale direct from Powerblock for $79! I immediately called up my local dealer (the same one I had used to buy the blocks) to see if they could order them for me (and save me the cost of shipping). Fast forward about three weeks, and now my Sport 5.5s go up to about 80ish pounds. Awesome!
The kit works by adding a metal bracket to the bottom of your Powerblock’s handle. Once this bracket is fastened securely, the entire handle (including all original weights) can then be dropped onto a set of three additional plates. These plates utilize a separate weight pin when you want to engage them. It’s a spring-loaded pin that actually overlaps the “stage 1 pin”, keeping everything securely in place. Basically, while it does take a bit longer to use the additional weights, it’s nice to have them available.
There are a couple downsides to these, though. The first is that you have to use the entire stack of weights, including the expansion, while the metal bracket is attached to your handle. This is because the handle no longer sits directly on the floor and the original weights won’t line up with their pin unless the expansion weights are underneath. I used to be able to grab 30 pounds of weights, switch weights between five and 30 pounds, and leave all the additional weights behind if I didn’t need them for the workout. Not with these expansions attached, though. This makes these things a little bit of a behemoth to move around, since 80 pounds isn’t exactly light.
Another small downside is the fact that these weights involve an additional pin to use, and it’s not as easy to move as the stage 1 pin. This isn’t too much of a negative, though, since the 5.5s really aren’t built for the additional weights. This set was more like an afterthought vs. the Sport 9.0 which is more easily expandable.
Finally, the biggest negative: the weight plates are really wonky in terms of actual weight! I weighed each of the plates individually on my bathroom scale and they were something like 7, 7, and 11 pounds. Huh? I’m not exactly sure how much weight is being added when I use the expansions. The 3 holes say 55, 65, and 75, but I believe these numbers are based on a Sport 5.0 as the base. Even then, I can’t quite figure out how that would work.
In other words, these expansions are not the polished product that you’d find in the typical Powerblock dumbbell units. I can’t complain too much, since it’s cool that they were made available at all, and I never planned on having the ability to go past 55 pounds. For $79, they were definitely worth the purchase. Too bad you’re going to have a heck of the time picking these up from here on out. By the way, I learned after the fact that the store I purchased these from actually ate the cost of shipping for me. They are an excellent source for exercise equipment, and I have to give them a big thumbs up if you are in the Northwest! Check them out: Exercise Equipment Northwest. I went to the Beaverton location; tell them “Luke the Powerblock guy sent me”…they’ll know what you mean. =)
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