AtivaFit Adjustable Dumbbell Review DT1166
If you’re like me, you understand the importance of a good set of dumbbells in your fitness routine.
The challenge, however, is often about finding the perfect balance between cost, convenience, and quality.
That’s where adjustable dumbbells come into play, aiming to offer the best of all worlds.
I was fortunate enough to be gifted a set of AtivaFit Adjustable Dumbbells (the DT1166 model, to be precise) in exchange for my honest review and a video demonstration of me putting them to the test.
I’ll be sharing my experience using them over the past three months.
Read on to find out whether these are the right adjustable dumbbells for you!
The Specific Model Under Review: DT1166
Before diving into the details, it’s important to note that the specific model I’m reviewing is the AtivaFit Adjustable Dumbbells DT1166. This particular model offers a weight range that goes up to 66 lbs per dumbbell, which is a respectable weight for most home workouts.
Weight Range & Other Models
For those looking for something a bit heavier, there is another model—the DT1188—that goes up to 88 lbs.
Unfortunately, that model wasn’t available for shipping to my location in the UK, so I can’t speak to its performance or features, but I would expect it to be exactly the same, just offering more weight.
For users like me, who live outside the United States, it’s crucial to check the shipping availability before setting your heart on a particular model.
Limitations for Heavy Lifters
One thing I’ll point out upfront: if you’re looking to push some heavy weight in exercises like dumbbell presses or rows, you might find the 66 lbs per dumbbell to be a bit limiting.
However, you can still get a solid workout by increasing the number of reps and adopting a slower cadence during your sets, training to failure when appropriate. You’ll see that this is what I did in my video demonstration.
Durability: A Highlight Feature
What initially caught my attention was AtivaFit’s claim that this model is more durable than similar adjustable dumbbells on the market. Durability is not something to overlook when it comes to gym equipment.
After three months of usage, the DT1166 has stood the test of time and proven to be a reliable piece of equipment. More on this later.
In terms of what you actually get, the dumbbell set includes a sturdy base plate, a pair of handles, and steel weight plates.
Changing the weights is a breeze; you’ll just need to use the red button and twisting dial mechanism to lock in your desired weight. I’ll elaborate on this in the “Ease of Use” section.
So, let’s move on to the nitty-gritty details. Is the AtivaFit DT1166 model worth your hard-earned money?
Initial Impressions and Unboxing Experience
My initial impressions were very good.
The dumbbells came very securely packaged in two huge boxes. They had plastic strapping around them to ensure no mishaps in transit. The dumbbells were each encased inside some thick polystyrene protection inside the cardboard boxes.
There did not appear to be any signs of damage, which is reassuring.
There is no assembly required. You do not have to put the plates in place. Everything is simple to just set up and go. You just set the dumbbells on the base plate (one included for each dumbbell) and away you go.
Comparing the Weight Limitation
One of the critical factors to consider when choosing a set of adjustable dumbbells is the weight range they offer.
In the case of the AtivaFit DT1166 model, the upper limit is 66 lbs per dumbbell.
For some, this might raise a question: Is 66 lbs enough for a solid workout, especially when it comes to heavy-lifting exercises like dumbbell presses and rows?
If I could have had the 88 lb model, I definitely would have chosen it. There are no options for anyone needing more weight than that, so alternatives like Ironmaster should be looked at if you want more weight.
For me, these dumbbells are useful as a second pair for movements where I want to go lighter and I can enjoy the ease of use that these offer with their quick convenient weight changing mechanism.
Adequacy for Different Exercises
From my experience, the 66 lbs weight range can feel limiting if you’re used to lifting heavier weights for compound exercises like dumbbell presses and rows.
These are exercises you should be prioritising if you’re looking for hypertrophy or strength gains. Even if you don’t at first, you will probably find the upper limit constraining eventually. Most people will max these out within 1-2 years of training.
For comparison, dumbbells at a standard gym often go up to 100 lbs or more, which provides a greater scope for progressive overload.
Workaround Strategies for an Effective Workout
However, all is not lost. If you find yourself in a situation like mine, where heavier models are not available or you’re limited by other factors, there are strategies to still make your workouts effective.
- Higher Reps: One of the most straightforward adjustments you can make is to increase the number of repetitions in each set. Instead of going for a low rep range of 6-8 for strength, aim for a moderate to high rep range of 10-15, or even 20 for endurance and muscle toning. Studies have shown there is no difference for hypertrophy with higher rep sets (even up to 35 reps per set) as long as the set is taken to failure.
- Slow Cadence: Another effective technique is to slow down the speed at which you perform each repetition. This increases the time-under-tension for your muscles, which is a key factor in muscle growth and endurance. Try a 4-1-4 tempo: four seconds to lower the weight, a one-second pause, and then another four seconds to lift it. This is the strategy I employ in my 20 Minute Muscle system to get more done with less time.
- Training to Failure: If you’re employing the above two strategies, you will probably want to train to failure. As mentioned, higher rep sets are just as effective for hypertrophy as lower rep sets as long as you train to failure. This means performing an exercise until you can’t complete another rep with good form. It’s an excellent way to ensure you’re pushing your muscles to their limit.
By employing these techniques, I’ve been able to get a satisfying workout in, despite the weight limitations of the AtivaFit DT1166.
While it’s not a complete replacement for a fully stocked gym, it serves its purpose well for home workouts.
Durability: Claims vs Reality
Durability is a non-negotiable factor when it comes to investing in a set of adjustable dumbbells.
Given that these are not just a one-time purchase but an essential part of your fitness journey, you’d want them to last.
The AtivaFit DT1166 model particularly caught my attention because the manufacturer claims these dumbbells are more durable than similar adjustable options in the market.
But how do these claims stack up against real-world use?
The company touts these dumbbells as more robust than most competitors, specifically those that feature plastic components.
The AtivaFit dumbbells come with metal plate-holding inner discs and steel weight plates, which promise higher durability and a premium feel.
The Fragility of Quick-Change Dumbbells
Before delving into my experience, it’s worth noting that “quick-change” adjustable dumbbells like those from Bowflex, which are probably the most well-known in this category, are often criticised for their fragility.
Most quick-change dumbbells come with explicit warnings about not dropping them, as they might break or suffer from other forms of wear and tear.
My 3-Month Experience
I’ve been using the AtivaFit DT1166 model for about three months now, and I’m happy to report that they’re holding up exceptionally well.
While I’ve been cautious not to drop them (and you should too, regardless of the brand or model), I’ve subjected them to regular use—racking and unracking, switching weights frequently, and even occasional bumps here and there.
So far, they show no signs of damage or wear and perform just as well as the day I got them.
Metal vs Plastic
The metal components indeed seem to contribute to their overall durability.
I’ve used adjustable dumbbells with plastic components in the past, and those often showed signs of wear much quicker.
Whether it’s the locking mechanism getting loose or the plates developing small cracks, plastic just doesn’t hold up as well over time.
Conclusion: Reality Checks Out
So, in terms of durability, the AtivaFit DT1166 dumbbells live up to their claims.
They offer a more robust build quality compared to other quick-change dumbbells I’ve experienced, making them a reliable choice for anyone looking to invest in a long-lasting home workout solution.
If you want the ultimate durability: The most durable adjustable dumbbells around are Ironmaster ones. You can drop these. They even survive wildfires! They also go MUCH heavier than other models (up to 165 lbs per dumbbell!). The downside is the cost and the fact they’re not as quick to change weights (still much quicker than spinlock dumbbells though).
Ease of Use and Features
It’s really easy to change weights quickly. It takes about 3 seconds.
Just make sure you have the dumbbells inserted into the base plate correctly.
Press the red button, then twist the dial at either end to select the weight you want.
Release the red button, then lift the dumbbells off the base. The required amount of weight should come with it.
You can see this process in the video below.
The speed and ease of this means I’ll often reach for these dumbbells when doing lighter exercises that don’t require more than the 30kg weight capacity.
As great as the Ironmaster dumbbells are, they are more cumbersome and slow to change weights – meaning I will avoid using them for lighter movements after my heavy compound movement of the day. It’s easier to just leave the heavy plates on them for next time, then switch to the Ativafit dumbbells for my lighter isolation work.
Here’s a super quick push workout I did with my AtivaFit DT1166 dumbbells. You can see how easy and fast it is to change weights.
The other benefits of adjustable dumbbells generally (not limited to these) are the amount of space you save vs. a full rack of fixed weight dumbbells, and the amount of money you save too!
These DT1166 dumbbells currently cost $400, and the 88 lb model costs $600 (for a pair). This is considerably less than getting a rack of fixed weight dumbbells (which will run into the thousands).
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
These are great dumbbells for the beginner that will allow you access to a wide selection of weights and help you to easily fit in quick workouts. You won’t waste time unscrewing spinlocks and arranging plates.
They should stand up to careful use for a long time, but eventually you will probably outgrow these and possibly even the 88 lb model too.
For more advanced trainees they are excellent as a second paid of dumbbells for lighter work.
If you want to check them out, go here. You can get 10% off with my code (ROB10).