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PowerBlock Sport 5.0 Dumbells
Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Review of the PowerBlock Sport 5.0 Dumbells

powerblock

Many of our reviews are of hunting products that can help you in the field.  This review is not actually a hunting product, but the use of this product can definately help you in the field.  The Powerblock Dumbell system has been around for several years but when I heard about the Sport 5.0 model, I immediately saw a use for those hunters who care about their fitness. 

Some of you may be asking yourself, what does this review have to do with hunting?  I’ll provide two examples of how strength and fitness can aid in your pursuit of wild game.  The first is a story that Dan will not be happy with me sharing.  It was the first week of November and Dan had just arrowed a nice 8 point.  He needed help since the location of his quarry was a good 1.5 miles from home.  After the celebratory photos and high fives, we set out to drag this deer home.  Without razzing brother Dan too much here, I’ll just say that he could of used some time with the weights prior to that drag.  There were times when I thought it would be best to drag the deer home myself and then go back for Dan!  Dan has since realized the importance of “working out” and holds his own on most of our deer drags now :-) 

The next example is one of climbing into a treestand.  Dan and I hang most of our stands together and sometimes the placement of the treesteps are a little……well, let’s just say….”spaced too far apart” for other hunters.  We of course don’t realize this when we’re hanging the stand but sometimes when we arrive at the stand in late November and we’ve got twice as much clothing on, it becomes apparent that the steps could have been placed a little closer together.  We had one friend that actually could not get up into one of our stands because of this situation.  Upper body strength may have just aided him in that instance, and certainly helps us when we climb into that stand with “misplaced” steps. 

Of course there are countless other examples of how fitness and strength training can aid in hunting, from drawing your bow to dragging out deer to hanging that ladder stand all by yourself.  The PowerBlock Sport 5.0 should be on your short list of equipment to acquire in the pursuit of getting or staying in shape for your next hunt.

The obvious advantage of the PowerBlock Dumbell system is that it is an “All-in-one” Dumbell replacing 10 pairs of regular dumbells.  On the Sport 5.0 model, the weight can be changed from 5 pounds to 50 pounds (per dumbell) in 5 pound increments with the quick switch of a two-pronged magnetic pin system.  I’ve been into fitness and weight training since college (although I’ve somehow lost that 6 pack!) and have used a variety of strength equipment over the years.  I have never used a better balanced dumbell, nor a piece of equipment that saves as much space as the PowerBlock system.  Other than maybe a cheap bench (although a picnic table or chair could suffice) you litteraly would not need another piece of weight equipment to keep your muscles in shape. 

Let’s take a look at the PowerBlock 5.0 Dumbell

The PowerBlock Dumbells are delivered to your door in two seperate boxes (with handles) and have the following weight increments: 
5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 lbs per hand. The 5.0 can be further expanded to 65 lbs per hand with the optional Sport 5.0 Set 20 lb cores.  The Sport 5.0 model is valued at $299 per set. The cost per pound on the Sport 5.0 (replaces 550 pounds) is 54¢. Compare that to regular hexagon dumbells at 99¢ a pound costing $544. Powerblock offers their dumbells in a variety of weight ranges shown here

changing-pins

Changing Weight is as easy as sliding a specially designed pin system

In order to thoroughly test this system, I decided to use nothing but these dumbells and a bench this summer to see if they truly are the only piece of equipment needed in your home gym.  Below are some of my favorite exercises done with these Dumbells.  As you can see from the photos, I could use some work on the treadmill as well!  Photos of each exercise below description.

Incline Bench (CHEST): If I had to choose only one chest exercise, it would be the incline bench press with these dumbells.  With the bench inclined slightly, press the dumbells upward and bring your pink fingers together at the top (and squeeze the chest muscles). 

bench

Lateral Raises (SHOULDERS): This movement is great for hitting those delts and feels especially good with these dumbells because of their balance.  Sit straight up on the bench/chair and raise your elbows up toward the ceiling.

shoulders

Bent Rows (BACK): I find this movement not only works my back muscles, but also helps works those muscles involved in drawing my bow.   Back should be parallel to the ground and simply raise your elbow back as far are you can, squeezing the back muscle at the top of the movement.

back

Seated Curl (BICEPS): I like doing this movement with both arms at once, which helps me stay in control and perform the movement correctly.  One arm at a time is fine, just be careful not to swing the dumbell and lose your form.

biceps

Behind the Head Raise (TRICEP): The PowerBlocks are perfect for this movement because the square nature of the dumbell allows you to push them together to maintain stability as your raise and lower them.  Just remember to keep the removable pin system on the outsides. 

triceps

Power Walk (LEGS): Holding a Dumbell in each hand, lunge forward and bend the lead leg so that your thigh is parallel to the ground.  Then walk in this fashion for as long as you can (Back and forth if need be)

legs

Undoubtedly, there are many more exercises that can be done with the PowerBlocks but try the ones listed above and see if you can get in shape for the upcoming hunting season!

Two things that greatly impressed me with these dumbells were #1 The Balance that they had and #2 The tough compact design.  Not only were they the most well balanced dumbell I’ve ever used, they were perfect for “Drop-sets” (decreasing weight immediately after a set without rest to really blast the muscle). Changing the weight was quick and easy and my workout time became more efficient.  I didn’t have to mess with unsrewing the ends of the dumbells.  Another attribute of these dumbells is that they are extremely portable.  No need to miss a workout on that family vacation!

If you’re thinking of getting in shape for that next Elk hunt or if you’re looking to save some space in the workout room, give the PowerBlock Dumbell system a try.  Whether you’re the high rep / low weight type or the powerlifting type, PowerBlock has a set of dumbells that will suit your needs. Throw the PowerBlock dumbells together with a cheap adjustable bench (Probably you could find this at a Garage Sale) and a treadmill (for those hills) and you’re ready to mold your body into a hunting machine! Not to mention the health benefits you’ll acquire to help you hunt even longer into old age. 

Our Marks on the PowerBlock 5.0 Dumbells

Design: 5 out of 5: These dumbells are extremely well balanced and the quick and easy weight change system is second to none.

Durability: 5 out of 5: I’ve never been one to throw the dumbells down on the mat after a set but the PowerBlock Dumbells held up great with the regular punishment that I gave them over the course of my summer workouts and the selection pin system still works perfectly.

Function: 5 out of 5: Hey, they’re dumbells!  They work as well you make them work. Seriously, the balance of these dumbells are awesome!

Overall Value: 5 out of 5: The PowerBlock replaces a rack full of dumbells for a fraction of the cost.  

The Powerblock gets all around 5’s in this review.  What can I say, these dumbells actually make me want to workout!

Two Wrongs Equal One Right
Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Two Wrongs Equal One Right
By Bob Peck

From 15 feet up in the tree it looked like a perfectly straight branch but it had an odd shape to it.  It was one of those days in the deer woods when you’re fighting the notion you can nod off for a few minutes but scared silly if you do you’ll be hanging from your safety harness or you’ll miss the only shot you’ll get that day.  James kept doing the hard blinking routine and forced himself to scan his kill zone and beyond.  He even got out his range finder to range distances he knew very well and had marked with trail tape but his attention always came back to this particular branch on the forest floor.  Some would say it’s rare to have a public land hunting location that doesn’t get much pressure but James would disagree.  This particular spot took over an hour to get to and required some serious effort through thick brush and near vertical terrain to get to.  In 20 years in the same spot on opening day of bow season he could only recall one other hunter he had passed years ago not more than 100 yards from the parking area and only 15 yards off the main trail.  He felt bad walking through the guy’s set up but that passed quickly.  Wouldn’t anyone hunting that location need to pass by the same bowhunter?  Unless they were hunting in the parking area the answer was yes.

So on it went for hours with gray squirrels, screeching blue jays and an occasional tick, tack, plunk of an errant acorn dropping from the adjacent oaks providing the only entertainment. James figured he’d pack it in and still hunt his way back to the truck.  When he stood to gather his gear he could see a doe through the metal mesh platform of his ladder stand directly under him.  She was rubbing her neck against the tree bark and completely unaware that 15’ above her was a bowhunter now on full alert and full of adrenalized lethal intent.  It took nearly 15 minutes for the doe to browse her way out of a sheer vertical downward shot.  Wait …. Wait …. Wait.  We all know the routine. 

We’re taught shot placement from the moment we pick up a bow or at least we should be taught this way.  James would come to full draw at least three times and then need to draw down as the doe would be broadside then not.  He would later recount it was actually a blessing to be able to take all the time he needed to get his heart rate and breathing under control.  The only shot that presented itself was a high risk shot directly to the chest which was repeatedly exposed as the doe did the fake bob-n-weave thing with her head looking for danger and scent checking the air. 

James could continue to wait it out or take a shot he’d been practicing all summer.  It was a steady bead and a cautious, methodical and practiced squeeze of the release that sent the arrow flying.  The impact was just under the jaw in the soft part of the neck and the angle was just right as a full pass through could plainly be seen exiting the guts underneath.  The doe went down immediately, got up a few moments later and wobbled 5 yards and expired.  The plan worked, there would be no tracking and James had his first deer of the bow season which he always donated to the local venison donation program.  Woo Hoo!

As he field dressed the deer and prepared for the long drag he caught a glimpse of that tree branch he had been studying all day.  He stopped what he was doing and approached, bloody hands and all.  It was a 12 gauge slug gun partially covered with leaves, fully loaded and with the safety off.  James resisted the impulse to pick it up to examine it closely but did kneel down to inspect this unusual find.  It had clearly seen many months in the woods as surface corrosion was everywhere including the brass casing on the slugs still in the gun.  All in all though, the gun looked to be in excellent shape.  He stood looking at his deer, looking at the shotgun, looking at his deer, looking at the shotgun.  He decided with fading light to leave the shotgun where it lay and drag his deer out. 
 
His final act was clicking the safety on, on the gun and while doing so took note of the odd safety button which was colored pink with a tiny happy face hand painted  in the middle.

“Hmmm … now that’s odd.  ” he thought to himself.  Some heavy work was ahead dragging the doe out and processing the meat.  James left the shotgun where it lay.

It would be three weeks later until James was hunting in that same location again and oddly, since he was running late to the location, his only thoughts were climbing into the ladder stand and letting things settle down.  Then the realization came to him in this all too familiar spot that something was wrong.  His ladder stand was missing and his trail camera was not on the tree he always used to monitor the trail.  Anyone who has experienced this kind of thievery understands that pit in your stomach.  You’re full of anticipation for what the hunt may bring in a place you’ve claimed as your own only to find out that the evil we experience in the outside world also exists in the deer woods. Being stunned and speechless is quickly replaced with seething anger.

When he sat down on the forest floor to contemplate his next move he actually sat on the shotgun he’d forgotten about.  It was still exactly where he’d left it with the safety on and that dang pink safety button with the smiley face.

He emptied the gun, put the slugs in his backpack and decided he was too deflated to continue with the bowhunt.  He strapped the shotgun to his backpack and left that location forever.  He never went back.  James wanted nothing to do with the taint of thievery in a place he imagined to be his own.

Author’s Note:
This is part one of a two part Ethics Check.  The details of the second part are contained in this first part.  Some of the ethical dilemmas should already be clear, some are yet to come.

Two Wrongs Equal One Right – Part 2
By Bob Peck 10.29.09

James strapped the shotgun to his backpack and left that hunting location forever.  He never went back.  Even if it was public hunting land he had felt a sense of entitlement since he rarely, if ever ran into another hunter.  After his treestand and trail camera were stolen from his favorite spot James wanted nothing to do with the taint of thievery in a place he imagined to be his own.

$150 and nearly 6 months after he left the woods with the shotgun James recovered from the forest floor the shotgun was restored to near mint condition.  The gunsmith working on the gun asked James what the story was behind the smiley face on the safety.  James just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I honestly don’t know but don’t clean that off.  Just leave it.” 

James had no plans to hunt with this shotgun.  It reminded him that the one public land hunting spot he called his own wasn’t.  He lost a trail camera and treestand in that location but on the other hand gained a “free” shotgun in the process.  From time to time over the next 2 years as the gun sat in his gun case he would often wonder what the story of the gun was.  He’d fretted over handing it over to the game warden or the local police department but reasoned ultimately the owner would never be found and the gun would be destroyed.  James even thought of advertising his find in the paper but never seemed to get around to doing much of anything except thinking of all the possibilities of who owned the gun and why it lay loaded on the forest floor that day. 

 James finally decided to sell it at a local gun show.  Gun shows are always part carnival, part serious people with a depth of knowledge and part history lesson.  Just about every conceivable and inconceivable firearm would be offered for sale from working Civil War relics to modern AR15 style hunting rifles.  “Where to begin?” he thought to himself as he wandered what felt like 2 football fields worth of tables and booths.  He decided he had to start somewhere so he walked up to a hulk of a man he guessed to be 6’4” and about 290 lbs. with a long, white but neatly trimmed ZZ Top style beard.

“Excuse me sir.  I’m not sure you can help me but would you have any idea if there’s anyone here you could recommend that might be interested in buying this shotgun?”  The man tilted his head from side to side like a dog does when it appears to understand what you’ve said but isn’t sure what to do next.  James was sure he had heard the question but it seemed like forever for the answer to come.  “Shogun? You’ve got a Shogun sword?”  Oh boy…. 

“No. Sorry.” said James “I’ve got a shotgun to sell?”   The light bulb went off…  “Oh man, I thought you said Shogun.  I’m a knife and sword dealer.  My niece has a booth over on B-18 near the exit sign over there.  She might be interested.”

And with a quick handshake of thanks James was off to B-18.  He found a simple picnic table with a gun rack behind it and a hand painted sign above it “Shelly’s Shotguns”.  A very small woman (presumably Shelly) sat at the picnic table filling out paperwork for a customer who had just purchased what looked to be an old Iver Johnson single shot break action shotgun.   A few short minutes later it was James’ turn.  “Shelly?”  The woman looked over the top of her glasses.  “No. Shelly is my Dad. He passed away this past year.  I’m his daughter Amy. How can I help you?” 

James explained he had this shotgun for sale, didn’t know a lot about the gun, had paid to have it restored and had never used it.   “Let’s take a look.”  Amy blurted as if there were more important things on her mind.  Both people laid the shotgun on the picnic table on top of the chamois covering used to prevent scratches and sat simultaneously. 

Amy turned the gun this way and that and repeated the process for what seemed like 10 minutes but was probably more like 2-3 minutes.  Not a word was exchanged as the inspection continued.   Amy did the obligatory check to see if the gun was loaded, sighted down the barrel taking aim at a moose mount on the opposite wall and in general went through all the motions of someone who had clearly seen, used, bought and sold literally thousands of shotguns.  

James figured he’d break the silence.  “Your uncle the sword guy referred me.”  Amy lifted her head and absent mindedly uttered “Hmmm.  Uncle Dan?”   She continued the inspection and didn’t seem to care to have her question answered.

When it came to inspecting the trigger on the gun Amy froze.  Her eyes didn’t blink, her hands stayed still and she stared intently at the smiley face painted on the trigger.  Tears began to stream down her face and she gently lowered the gun to the chamois cloth, eyes still transfixed on the gun safety.  Without so much as turning her head Amy asked in a barely audible tone “Where did you get this gun?”

“Believe it or not, I found it.”

Still focusing her eyes on the smiley face and tears continuing down her cheeks Amy, again in a barely audible and dead pan tone “Found it?”

“Yeah, it’s a weird story but I found this gun on the forest floor in my favorite hunting spot.  It was loaded and had the safety off.  I had just shot a doe with my bow and while I was field dressing the deer noticed the shotgun.  I had my hands full with the deer.  I don’t know why, force of habit I suppose but I clicked the safety on and left the gun where it lay.  Three weeks later I was back to the same spot and some scum bag stole my tree stand and trail camera.  I sat down in the leaves and literally sat on the gun.   A voice in my head told me to take the gun.  So I did.”

Finally Amy looked up and into the eyes of James.  “That was no scum bag.”  This statement wasn’t connecting.  James politely asked “The person who took my stuff?”  Amy wiped the diminishing tears.  “I took your tree stand and trail camera and I’m no scum bag.”

“When my Dad passed away it was very tough on all of us especially me.  He had always wanted a son but the Lord delivered 3 daughters into his life.  I’m his oldest.  So, he put a lot of effort into me to make sure the “skills” as he called them, would be passed down.  I hunted with my Dad for many years and then along came my marriage and kids.  Dad was on his own for several years and hunting in a spot in the High Tor State land he called “heaven.”  He’d go on and on about this spot as if he were the first human to ever set eyes on it.”

James had no idea where this was going but he was about to find out.

“This shotgun was a gift from my Father when I turned 16.  He painted a smiley face on the safety to remind me that happiness was a safe gun. He’d always say that, happiness is a safe gun.”

James felt like the ZZ Top bearded guy, Uncle Dan.  All he could think to say was:

“Why did you take my stuff?”

Amy answered the question with a question:

 “Why did you take my gun?”

Perplexed James could only think of one response “I took your gun because it was abandoned.”

Amy said “I took your stuff because I followed a GPS waypoint to my Dad’s spot in the High Tor public land he called “heaven”.  I thought it was his stuff.  I put my shotgun down to dismantle his stand and trail camera.  It got dark and I got scared and couldn’t find where I put my shotgun.  I must have been back to that spot 10 times. “

The stolen shotgun was returned to the rightful owner that day amid more tears, apologies and loving memories of a Father who invested time in his children.  The treestand and trail camera returned a few days later after they were pulled out of a garage attic. 

The two acts of thievery equaled one act of incredible kindness bathed in fond memories of a place two hunters called their own but which neither owned.

When the trail camera pictures were examined by James a close up of a much younger Amy was in one of them with a big smile on her face.

Author’s Note:

It’s funny and often too ironic the twists and turns that life and our ethical decisions take.  I am a person of faith.  I don’t believe things “just happen” or that there is good luck or bad.  I believe we are guided in silent moments of debate that often rage in our heads.  We land on this side and that side of the debate and over time I believe we hone our ethics skills.  We may not start out knowing what is right and what is wrong but over time I believe God’s will is done on Earth as it is in the real heaven.

James took a shot that for some that was highly unethical as it technically a low percentage, high risk, high pressure shot. None of that mattered to James as his decision to shoot was based on practicing this shot hundreds of times.  If he missed or needed to track that doe he may very well have never found the shotgun.  If he had left it there it might be there still.

Amy found the place that resonated with her Dad just as it resonated with James.  She collected the gear she believed belonged to her Dad without ever thinking it was a shared place.  She stored the gear just as James had stored the shotgun.

When I retell this story in hunting camps around the U.S I’m always asked if Amy found her way to this place because technology had captured it’s exact coordinates or because the Lord guided her.  I say there is no such thing as luck and all aspects of this story are divine. 

P.S

James and I finally returned to his favorite spot last February after the hunting season was over.  We made a tin sign and nailed it to the tree he used to hunt out of. 

The sign read “This is Heaven.  Signed, Shelly”

click-here-ethics-check

Team FieldTrips Video Contest – 2009 / 2010
Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Here’s How To Enter Our Team FieldTrips Video Contest


CONTEST ENTRY DEADLINE: JUNE 1st, 2010
We created Team FieldTrips as a way to showcase and preserve our hunting heritage and are looking for people who would like to do the same with theirs.  Although we may not always acheive lofty goals with each episode, we try and produce FieldTrips with an entertaining and informative take on hunting.  Now we’re looking to expand our Team with this video contest.  Show us why you deserve to become part of Team FieldTrips and have your videos featured on our site.

Submit a video of yourself (or you and your hunting buddy) doing what you do during your hunting seasons.  If  you’re a hunting duo (yourself and a buddy) both of you will become members of Team FieldTrips, if selected.  Whether you’re a hardcore Deer, Turkey, Duck, Elk, Bear or Moose Hunter, the video you submit should showcase how you hunt and your personality while doing it.  Although we’re not looking for a comedy, we like a sense of humor, so don’t be afraid to “cut-up” a little on your footage.  Our FieldTrips episodes are anywhere from 3 – 10 minutes so try and pack as much information, entertainment and hard-core hunting action into your submissions as you can.  Your video submission should be NO LONGER than 10 minutes so show us your best stuff.  Remember, the videos that are interesting and informative will get the nod from Dan and I as the newest member(s) of Team FieldTrips.  Shooting an animal on video is NOT a requirement for this contest.  If you’ve got good encounters on video, or you’ve got a great teaching segment on how to hang a treestand safely and properly, that might be enough to win.  Who knows, your personality on video might be what we’re looking for!  We’re looking for a couple more “Average Joes” like us who like to video their hunts and maybe take them to the next level. 

So go ahead, scour your existing footage and put your thinking caps on for this season’s footage yet to be filmed.  Be safe and start recording!  We assume no responsibility for the creation of your video. You are totally responsible for the production of your submitted video and the results of filming it.  When you submit your video, you agree that it becomes the property of Heritage Hunters LLC and you authorize us to use it on our website, on television, or in any other public medium we choose. Videos must not contain any ads or commercial content. We reserve the right to edit your footage, add a head and/or tail as well as our contact information to the videos before posting them online.  If your video is selected, you will win the following:
* Membership to “Team FieldTrips” and the opportunity to showcase your hunting videos on www.theheritagehunters.com
* Team FieldTrips Swag (including Team FT Hat, Truck Decal, T-shirt and Sweatshirt)
* Sling Shot Hunting Pack by Sportsman’s Outdoor Products (http://www.sophuntinggear.com/hornhunter.html)
* Waterproof Scope Cover also by Sportsman’s Outdoor Products
* 1 Pair of Numa Optics Sunglasses (your choice of style) (www.numaoptics.com)
* A brand new Roscoby Riser Cam (www.roscoby.com)
* Opportunities to receive gear from our sponsors

General:
We want you to show us who you are, how you hunt and some of the heritage behind your hunting style.  We want to see average Joes like us trying to lay down footage of their hunting exploits.  The footage does not have to be edited, but 10 minutes of nicely edited footage will certainly help your chances of winning.  Remember, we’re looking for new members of Team FieldTrips that can record AND produce hunting footage to be featured on our site in our FieldTrips video section.   Make sure you don’t have any copyrighted material on your footage.  If you’re using music of some sort, make sure you’ve got permission to use it. 

Format:  Please either submit finished videos that we can upload directly to YouTube such as QuickTime .MOV, Windows .AVI, or .MPG files ON 1 DVD or Data Disc, or send your raw footage to us on a mini-DV tape. 
Also, an outline of what is on the footage must accompany the tape or DVD.  The outline doesn’t have to be real detailed but something for us to go by when we’re viewing the footage or if we decide to watch a segment of your footage again to decide the winner (In other words, tell us what’s on your footage in order).  Make sure to include your contact information (name, address, email, and phone number) on the outline that accompanies the DVD or Mini-DV tape so we can get in touch with you if you win. 
 
Send Your Data Disc, DVD or Mini-DV to:
Heritage Hunters Video Contest
152 Montgomery Street
Canajoharie, NY 13317
 
The Fine Print:  We reserve the right to accept or reject submissions based on the suitability for display online. Our decision is final.  All material submitted become the property of Heritage Hunters LLC, and will not be returned. So if you’ve got keepsake footage on the tape or DVD, MAKE A COPY before sending it out to us.  By submitting your material you authorize Heritage Hunters LLC to use your content online, or in any written or digital media such as but not limited to online applications and television.  By sending us your footage, you are agreeing to take part in a phone interview if your footage is selected as the winner.  We will send the winner of the contest the prizes and an acceptance letter to Team FieldTrips after we have reviewed all the submissions.   The acceptance letter will outline all video responsibilities for being part of Team FieldTrips. Winner will be announced on www.theheritagehunters.com 
Videos that are not selected may still appear on our site for a period of time. 

Please Be Safe! Heritage Hunters will not be held responsible for anything related to the creation, or distribution of any material submitted in this contest.

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