Craigslist Hunting or Hunted?

Posted by on July 9, 2012

One of the four issues I need to address before I am ready for my first 50 miles ultra is some kind of upper body and core workout. I don’t want to gain a lot, if any, weight but I need to convert some upper body fat to muscles. It would help me accomplish this if I had some equipment that I could access at the house.

I was close to buying a rack system a few months ago but never pulled the trigger. I also looked at a few different dumbbells systems that allows you to dial the weight needed. The dumbbells are expensive! $300 each in some cases. Another $200 for a dumbbell rack and another $200 for a bench. We are now looking at a cool grand. A grand that I know my wife would say we could spend on something else and she is right (this time). A little too expensive but the adjustable dumbbells would be perfect since I don’t have any real dedicated space for some workout gear yet. If I can’t buy new maybe I could find something Craigslist?

At the end of last week I only found two Craigslist postings in Des Moines for adjustable dumbbells. One listing was only a week old. The second listing was over a month old. If you know anything about Craigslist you know things move fast. Well, that and it is filled with serial killers and hookers. I didn’t have much hope with only two listing.

The newest listing ended up being sold. The week old posting wanted $160 for a dumbbell system that costed $650 new. A dumbbell set with no rack or bench. The 160 price was perfect but it sold. The second listing that was a month old had no photos and was not very detailed. They wanted $300 obo for a set of Bowflex dumbbells, a stand with wheels and a bench. Being a month old I was sure it was sold but I emailed them anyway. I waited for a response.

While I waited on a reply I looked up the Amazon prices. I assumed the stand and bench were also Bowflex. Here is what I found on Amazon.


That comes to about $1000 if the stand and bench were indeed Bowflex. I started to get a little excited. I also started greasing the skids with the wife as I waited for over 24 hours on a reply. Without a reply the next night I was about to give up. Then I get a reply that only said, “Still available”. I replied and asked for a photo and if it was the Bowflex stand and bench. I also asked where he was located since I wanted to come look at them. 24 hours passed and no reply. My mind started to think I was dealing with a serial killer.

I finally got a reply but he didn’t answer any of my questions. He just told me what part of Des Moines he was in. Okay, this started to sound fishy. Was the guy trying to lure me in, kill me, and make furniture out of my body parts? That or it was just a really good deal. I couldn’t tell which so I finally got his number and called him on Saturday. He said something about his work schedule and if I want to look at everything I could come out today.

It turns out he lives in a sketchy part of town and my wife said I would show up and probably get robbed. So I did what any red-blooded man would do. I made her and my son go with me.

I showed up and my son and I followed a guy into his garage thinking we are about to get jumped. The guy only has one eye and said he has not pulled it out of the garage yet. The garage is filled with all kinds of junk. To make a long story shorter we help the guy move all kinds of crap and sure enough it is the real deal. Bowflex adjustable 1080 dumbbell set, Bowflex stand, and Bowflex bench. All it looks like it is new and not used much at all.

Only problem is that he is missing 2 of the smallest plates. He apologies about wasting my time. I ask what he wants for everything and as he is thinking and I say,”How about $200?” He agrees and we load it up and get out of there.

After cleaning everything up in the 100 degree weather on Saturday it is pretty much brand new. I got $1000+ worth of gear for $200 plus the cost of some 409 to clean it up.  The range is 5 to 52.5 pounds for each dumbbell.  The two missing 2.5 pound plates will cost me $20 each off eBay.

Check out the after cleaning results.








I am going to put together a dumbbell route to burn some upper body fat along with a core workout. I am looking forward to switching up my routine with a little dumbbell action after my 50k next weekend.  This was an excellent find and I really couldn’t have found a better deal.  It paid off to do a little Craigslist hunting.

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One Response to Craigslist Hunting or Hunted?

  1. Tyson H.

    I have wanted a set of Powerblocks for a long time now. But having the small but good enough fitness room at the office has worked for me (since it’s 8 minutes away). They have a full two rack set of rubber coated tri-grip dumbbells going up to 75 lbs a Smith machine with plates, rack of barbells, 2 benches, and EZ-curl bar.
    But for sure take a close look at the Powerblocks if you haven’t already. They have the smallest footprint, awesome build quality, and you can get a kettlebell handle for them.