Growing up, you may have watched a cartoon or tv show that portrayed a strongman in the circus.
You know, someone usually in a striped singlet with a powerful looking mustache and a physique that matches?
Strongmen have been around for centuries and it is evidence that there is something special about witnessing the upper potential of human strength.
One of the most common movements performed by strongmen is raising anything extremely heavy overhead.
Nowadays, you typically see people do this with barbells, or even logs (known as the log press).
But in history, being able to lift a really large dumbbell or kettlebell overhead with one hand was something that was very popular and was used to win the crowd over.
This really heavy dumbbell, otherwise known as a circus dumbbell, is something that has been recently lost in strongman competitions and is mostly seen as an antique in the past.
However, being able to lift a heavy dumbbell with one hand is still a great way to gauge strength, build muscle, and overall, add some spice to a monotonous lifting routine.
So today, we will be discussing the Titan Fitness 12” Circus dumbbell.
We will go over what it is, what you can do with it, it’s specifications and my final take.
What is the titan fitness circus dumbbell?
The titan fitness circus dumbbell is a 12” circus dumbbell that comes in the box weighing 94 lbs but can be loaded with plates to weigh even heavier.
It is pretty much a more modernized version of the circus dumbbell discussed in the introduction.
A lot of its features which we will be going over next have kept true to the traditional circus dumbbell in that it is very long, the grip is very large, and there is no knurling.
These features add to what makes lifting the circus dumbbell an impressive feat.
What can you do with it?
The circus dumbbell is a regular dumbbell but a lot larger.
Although it is mainly used for single-arm overhead pressing, it can also be used for a variety of other dumbbell exercises.
Some examples of such exercises are farmers carry, dumbbell swings, two-arm dumbbell bench press (one arm if you can handle it), dumbbell rows, etc.
However, keep in mind that these exercises will be a lot harder to perform with the circus dumbbell which is what makes it such unique exercise equipment.
The enlarged grip makes it harder to keep hold of so you might be held back by your grip strength in some exercises.
In that case, you can continue to use this dumbbell to train your grip, or use straps to add more support.
Titan Fitness Circus Dumbbell Cost
The Titan Fitness Circus Dumbbell price is $179.99 (with free shipping) per dumbbell.
Titan Fitness Circus Dumbbell Specifications
- Empty Weight: 94 LB
- Length: 30.125”
- Loadable Sleeve Length: 10.75”
- Dumbbell Diameter: 12”
- Handle Diameter: 3”
- 1.9” Tube allows for Olympic Weights under 12” in diameter to be placed inside the circus dumbbell to easily increase weight.
- 3” diameter handle.
- 10.75” loadable sleeve length.
- Comes with a pair of weight retainers.
Titan Fitness Circus Dumbbell Dimensions
The first thing to note about this dumbbell is its enormous length.
At 30.125”, it stands 2.5 ft tall.
This is about the average height of a 2-year-old.
The enormous length is what adds to the difficulty of using this dumbbell as you attempt to maneuver it over your head.
As stated before, without any additional weight added on, the circus dumbbell itself is 94 lbs.
At a 12” diameter, it can be loaded with 25 lb plates and under to increase its weight.
The diameter of the handle itself comes in either 2.5” or 3” depending on which model you choose.
The thicker the handle, the harder it will be to lift it which can be great for training your grip.
Pros and Cons of the circus dumbbell
- Accurately mimics the circus dumbbells used in the past
- Can be loaded to made even heavier
- Great for training grip strength
- Coated with black oxide to prevent rust
- Does not come in with an option to add knurling to the handle
- Does not come with different length/size options
Common complaints of circus dumbbells
Little to no carryover to other exercises
One common complaint I hear about training with circus dumbbells is that they offer little to no carryover to any other exercise.
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, if you want to be better at a movement (ex: the bench press), you should be doing exercises that are more similar to the bench press as it will help train the movement and result in more carry over even if the exercises work the same muscles (ex: paused bench vs dumbbell fly).
The same argument is usually made with the circus dumbbell. How many strongmen competitions require you to perform a single armed overhead press with a huge item?
Not very many.
And unless if your daily life requires you to lift enormously large and heavy objects overhead with one arm, you might not see any reason to use a circus dumbbell.
Nevertheless, using a circus dumbbell can help make training more fun, giving you a new hurdle to try and overcome.
In addition, it still is a tool you can use to build muscle and grip strength.
At the end of the day, the enjoyment and satisfaction you get from training is important as well.
Increased risk of injury
Another argument made against the circus dumbbell is that it increases the risk of injury due to the nature of the lift.
And with that, I say that it might seem like it has a greater risk of injury but that is natural due to how difficult the lift is.
In most cases, people get injured because they are performing the lift incorrectly. This also happens with any other exercise considered “safer” such as the squat, bench press, or deadlift.
If you are performing an exercise incorrectly with improper form, you will eventually get injured.
And because of how the steep learning curve of the circus dumbbell, that may be the reason why more people experience injuries using it.
But, as long as you are going slow, listening to your body, and using the right technique, I don’t think there is a greater chance of injury using the circus dumbbell than using a regular dumbbell, or a barbell.
A circus dumbbell is a very unique training tool that has been seemingly lost in history.
However, it might just be making its comeback thanks to the help of fitness equipment manufacturers who are looking to fulfill this small niche.
Though we may never go back to the glory days of wearing striped singlets, and lifting in front of a large audience, we can simulate the movement, actions, and performance of the action of our ancestors.
Though this dumbbell might not be the best tool if your goal is to get stronger, it still is a fun tool to keep in your garage and bust out for everyone to enjoy at your next barbeque.