22 Jun
2010

Powerblock Sport 5.* Stage II Kit

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. =)

13 thoughts on “Powerblock Sport 5.* Stage II Kit

  1. I’ve seen both your vids on the PowerBlock Sport 5.5… I noticed in the first vid you say that you returned the 90lb set for the 55lb set for the ease of adjusting in 5lb increments. Then in the next video you are buying the upgrade to 85lbs.

    I’m going to buy a set of PowerBlocks. I was looking at the U-90 set, but was leaning toward the U-50 set for the same reason you got the sport 5.5… For the ease of the 5lb increments.

    So here’s my question… Do you still recommend the 50lb set for the 5lb increments? Or did you outgrow the 50lb set and need to upgrade yours?

  2. Actually, I only bought the expansion because it was on clearance at a cheap price and I wanted to grab it before it wasn’t available any more. I haven’t had any need to use it yet, but I like knowing I have it if I ever need it.

    Thus, I would still say either the Sport 5.5 or the U-50 are the best overall values in my opinion. The U50 has a few updated features, but provides 5 fewer pounds and at a slightly higher price. It’s really up to you to decide if those new features are worth it.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Is this kit numbered. Was there a part number for it when you ordered it. i’m interested in the sport 5.0 but only if its expandable beyond 65lbs per with the 20lb core. Thanks.

  4. @scott Nope. I really doubt you’ll be able to find them again unless a local place has them on clearance, or maybe Ebay.

  5. Since the expansion isn’t likely to be found I wonder if there are other upgrade possibilities:

    -Use the 9.0 (or other) upgrade on the 5.0 or 5.5 unit
    -Use the 20 pound core on the 5.5 set

    I’ve only seen the 50 pound classic so I don’t know if the sizes are close enough to swap out pieces from different set. Maybe you have a bit more knowledge on the compatibility.

    Also, you’ve had the upgrade for over a year. Have you used it yet?

  6. Hi Luke,

    On the strength of your recommendations I bought the powerblock 5.5 instead of the 9.0. I really love the neatness of the design and ease of use, however I have already outgrown the 55lbs for certain exercises and fear I will soon outgrow that weight for several others as well.

    Since the 5.0 stage II set is no longer available, do you think there is any point at all in upgrading the 5.5’s using the 20 lb cores for the 5.0?

    As I understand it the cores of the 5.5 already weigh about 10 lbs (including the adder weights) so by going to the 20 lb cores you only gain 10 additional lbs per dumbbell and at the same time you’d be losing the ability to switch in 2.5 lb increments. I’d just like to know if I am understanding that correctly and get what your opinion is on that.

    Great site btw and great videos!

  7. @MCToon: The 9.0 upgrade won’t work on the lower models, as you need extra holes for your pin on your handle to use them (like the 9.0 has). The heavier core, to me, seems like kind of a pointless upgrade, since it adds very little flexibility to the set. My add-on kit is still in storage and I have not used it yet — for P90X and Supreme 90 Day (which I’m doing now), I haven’t found the need to go heavier than around 40 pounds.

    That said, if you are finding 55 pounds to be not enough, I’d recommend upgrading to the 9.0 since the add-on kit is no longer available. If you’re lifting that much weight, you likely don’t need to small/quick weight changes the 5.5 provides. Hope this helps!

  8. @Tadgh:

    See my reply to MCtoon above. Since the add-on kit is no longer available, I’d recommend upgrading to the 9.0 if you outgrow the 5.5. Actually, having both sets together might make for an extremely complete gym (since the 5.5 still does smaller weight changes more quickly up to 55 pounds).

    Good luck!

  9. I recently purchased a new pair of Sport 5.0.
    I’ll be ordering the 20-lb cores to take the set up to 65-lb max.

    Anyone knows how much more restricted is the space for your hand in the 20-lb cores compared to the original 5-lb cores?

  10. @JLMA: I have not seen the cores in person, but based on the images on the powerblock website I’d say that the core is the same with metal plates on the sides…probably not reducing your hand space by very much, if any…

  11. Confused. Is the 5.5 the same thing as the 5.0? Want to get this for my son and need the 2.5 lbs increments.
    What is the difference between the two?

  12. No, the 5.0 does NOT have the “adder weights” in the handles, so it only goes up in 5 lb increments. If you need the 2.5 lb increments, go with the Sport 5.5, or choose one of the newer urethane-series models. Personally, I think the 5.5 still looks like the best value as long as you don’t need to upgrade to a heavier weight later.

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