That, coupled with the new existential threats of daily existence under the pandemic, meant I was eating a lot of takes out, and food became a distraction from the casual terror of everyday life. Dan John's 10,000 Kettle bell Swing Workout has earned a reputation as a simple, brutal fitness challenge.
The swings are supplemented with squats, presses, or dips for four of the weekly training sessions. John claims that people who have taken on the challenge dropped fat while adding muscle, saw noticeable improvements in posture and body composition, and made significant gains in overall strength.
I wanted a program that didn't require regular gym access while still offering big results to combat my pandemic pounds and general malaise. By the time the challenge was finished four weeks later, I had dropped nearly all the pandemic weight and a quarter of my body fat.
Week 1 of the 10,000 Kettle bell Swing Challenge There are thousands of trainers on the internet insisting their programs are the absolute best way for people to lose weight. You need to expel more energy than you're putting in (this is called a caloric deficit).
That can happen through careful focus on diet, exercise, or most effectively, some combination of the two. To keep me accountable and make sure I actually finished the 10,000 swings, I asked longtime friend and collaborator Diego Lopez, a comedian and model in Brooklyn, to complete the challenge with me.
During the pandemic that's meant coaching clients through Zoom and training sessions in the park. For people looking to improve their fitness with minimal equipment, Lopez has been a strong advocate for kettle bells.
“The kettle bell swing is a phenomenal pattern to strengthen the upright human being,” said Lopez. The first day of training Lopez completed his 500 swings with a 70-pound bell, but struggled with his grip.
The first day of swings (I used a 54-pound bell, as prescribed in John's workout design) and presses took me 38 minutes to complete. By the end of the last set I looked like I’d just stepped out of the shower and every part of my body felt sore.
One of the hardest things about hitting 500 reps in a workout was maintaining good form. Focusing on the hip hinge and being consistent with the swings can get exhausting, but that's kind of the point.
Logging the calories and doing more or less the same workout each day wasn’t sexy, but it did give me a sense of control. With the beauty of hindsight I can understand what a success dropping three pounds in a week is, but it didn't feel that way at the time.
These feelings had more to do with the fact that a big assignment was ramping up at my day job than anything to do with diet or kettle bell swings. I had a huge project due that required late nights and multiple meetings.
My face looked noticeably thinner and clothes that had been feeling tight fit again. Getting a decent workout in at under half an hour was incredibly satisfying, even if I continued to look like Swamp Thing after I was finished.
He cut his record for completing 500 swings to an impressive 17 minutes, and dropped 10 pounds without tweaking his diet. My buddy, Diego Lopez, showing off his results from the program. I dropped 16 pounds in four weeks, going from 210 to 194.
While the 10,000 swing kettle bell challenge didn't leave me with visible abs or a superhero body, it did leave me in a significantly better body composition than when I started, which serves as proof of concept for Dan John's program. I kept hoping to come up with some kind of life changing revelation when I discussed the challenge with friends, but nothing profound came to mind.
If you make a plan, put in hard work, and remain consistent, you'll get results. So really, I think the challenge shows that you don't need a gym or personal trainer to get noticeable results from your workouts.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. The workout gets your heart pumping and uses up to 20 calories per minute: about as much as running a 6-minute mile.
Kettle bell workouts offer a lot of flexibility. Sign up for a kettle bell class at the gym or online to learn how to do the moves safely.
It won’t take long to understand why celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Biel, and Katherine Hall are huge fans of kettle bell workouts. You’ll work up a sweat doing a series of fast-paced cardio and strength-training moves like kettle bell swings, lunges, shoulder presses, and push-ups.
Most kettle bell workouts include squats, lunges, crunches, and other moves that work your abs and other core muscles. The kettle bell is used as a weight for arm exercises like single-arm rows and shoulder presses.
Lunges and squats are among the most popular moves in a kettle bell workout. Your tush will be toned by using the kettle bell for added weight during lunges and squats.
Using a kettle bell for a dead lift helps tone your back muscles. The kettle bell is an effective weight that will build muscle strength.
You may want to sign up for classes in person or online to learn the basics of a kettle bell workout. Yes, if you take a class or pick a DVD that's for beginners and use a lighter kettle bell.
Depending on the program, you may be getting both your strength training and your aerobic workout at the same time. If you choose a kettle bell that is too heavy or if you have poor form, you are likely to lose control of it.
This can lead to a serious injury to your back, shoulders, or neck. Start out with an experienced trainer who can correct your technique before you hurt something.
Adding a kettle bell to your existing workout is great if you want to burn through more calories in less time. This type of high-intensity workout is not for you if you would rather do a more meditative approach to body sculpting, or if sweating isn’t your thing.
With your doctor’s OK, you can include kettle bells in your fitness routine if you have diabetes. Muscle burns energy more efficiently, so your blood sugar levels will go down.
Depending on the workout, you may also get some cardio to help prevent heart disease. Continued Using kettle bells in your workout puts some serious demands on your hips and back, as well as your knees, neck, and shoulders.
If you have arthritis or pain in your knees or back, then look for a less risky strength-training program. If you have other physical limitations, ask an experienced instructor for advice on how to modify your workout.
Kettle bells are easy to store, relatively inexpensive, and provide an efficient way to work nearly every part of the body in a short period of time. They’re also great for supplementing movement rehabilitation work on a path toward injury recovery or performance improvement.
I’ve tested multiple kettle bells for this article, but to keep things simple I’m only listing the options that earned at least three stars and up. The finish on these kettle bells is extremely drippy with no seams or burrs anywhere on the handles or bodies, with a coating that feels like chalk to the touch.
Plus, I personally like the fact that these kettle bells are made in the USA by a small company. Rep Fitness doesn’t bundle shipping into the costs of their products, and their base pricing is very reasonable.
These kettle bells are a great value for the price, especially if you live close to Colorado to save on shipping costs. Rogue Fitness Powder Coat kettle bells are decent, but not standouts.
They are a pretty good deal if you live close to Ohio, otherwise the cost of shipping makes them much less appealing. If you have large hands and prefer an aggressive grip, Rogue powder coat kettle bells could be the right option for you.
However, they don’t really stand out enough to differentiate them from the rest of the color-coded powder coat kettle bells I’ve tested. There are better options in terms of grip and finish, and the non-standard colors they use for weights drive me nuts.
Bottom line, don’t pay full price for Perform Better kettle bells. My review criteria is primarily centered on kettle bells I can use at home and at work with minimal need for chalk.
If you’re interested in diving deeper I’ve written a kettle bell buyer’s guide that answers every question I had when I first started. It also goes into detail on the criteria I look for, but the short version is a clean finish, a durable coating, and a properly sized handle.
Cast-iron kettle bells are widely available at many price points, which I consider to be a very good thing. There are a couple of companies making steel competition-style kettle bells aimed at the home fitness market, which offer the benefit of consistently sized kettle bells without incurring the usual steel competition cost.
I’ve developed several kettle bell workouts for the club, ranging in intensity from beginner to high-level intermediate. All of my workouts are documented on their own page and I plan to add to the list as time goes on.
If you prefer to follow along to instructor-led workouts, I also highly recommend the well-designed program put together by Kettle bell Kings via their new Living. Fit online platform. The Living. Fit programs include workouts for all levels of kettle bell enthusiasts, from beginner to expert.
He describes an experiment performed using a do-it-yourself kettle bell made from parts found in the plumbing section at Home Depot. According to Tim Ferris the parts are supposed to cost under $10, not counting the weight plates.
First, it takes the guesswork out of deciding what size kettle bell to buy for two hand work. I was able to experiment with different weights to find a starting point I was comfortable with, eventually settling on 20 kg (44lbs).
If you don’t already have a background lifting weights or being active, or if you are out of shape, consider working with a certified kettle bell trainer to get instructed in proper technique. Plumbing parts weren’t designed to sustain a dynamic load swinging in an arc.
This puts stress on the metal that will eventually lead to fatigue and fracture. I’ll get into the details shortly, but I first want to comment on the excellent packaging they used to ship their kettle bells.
This is a far cry from other vendors like Rogue Fitness, who typically just throw the bell in a box with some cardboard shims and hope for the best ¯\_()_/¯ I took this kettle bell outside on a hot Texas summer day to use for an Afterburner workout from my list of Kettle bell Club workouts, and I was able to keep hold of it without resorting to chalk despite my hands sweating like crazy.
This is an important point because the factories where kettle bells are made are dirty, dusty places. There’s lots of dust flying around that accumulates on the surface of the bells while they sit patiently waiting for paint.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, very few companies take the extra step to clean the bells before paint because it adds time and expense to the process. At the time I published this article, Kettle bell Kings is likely the only vendor taking this extra step, which results in a very durable coating.
Most of the cheap kettle bells for sale on Amazon and other discount vendors fall into this category, I’ve even reviewed a few of them for this article. If you’re unfamiliar with Create, it’s an extremely durable thin-film ceramic coating developed primarily for use as a protective finish for firearms.
Create is extremely resistant to abrasion, corrosion and chemicals, and looks pretty cool at the same time. In recent years a little fitness equipment companies have started offering create as a coating option for barbells.
The create coating will cost a little extra, but the added durability means that kettle bell will last practically forever. Additionally, the create option allows for a nearly infinite amount of customization and personalization.
It looks like it could take a decent amount of abuse from a careless shipper, but the lack of reinforcement straps around the box could be an issue if the kettle bell has to travel a long distance. The finish on the Innit kettle bell is clean, although the textured coating is thick enough to potentially mask small imperfections.
Aesthetically, there are spots on the kettle bell where I can see how the coating application ran down the handle and dried, similar to how spray paint drips when applied too thickly. I thought maybe this was a fluke, so I intentionally banged the kettle bells together again with medium force and another chip flaked off.
The coating chipped several more times during the testing period through normal use, mainly from getting bumped against other kettle bells. It’s a small difference, but enough to force an adjustment of technique for exercises like the overhead snatch.
Innit Labs kettle bells are a good budget option, but not the most durable of the bunch. If you do buy these, take wonderful care of them because the finish is prone to chipping.
The finish on the kettle bell is very clean, and although the casting seams are slightly visible on the body due to how thin an e-coating is, they are not prevalent on the handle at all. The Matrix Elite Precision line of kettle bells have a reformulated e-coat intended to increase grip over a traditional e-coating.
The unique aspect of Matrix Precision Elite kettle bell is the redesigned handle. The increased height means the kettle bell will sit just a bit lower on the forearm rather than resting right on the wrist bones, which is more comfortable for some people.
The reformulated e-coat is stickier than the e-coats on the Dragon Door and even the Matrix Classic line. The friction is alleviated with light chalk use though, which is a small trade off for the durability and comfort the Matrix Elite Precision kettle bell provides.
The finish on the Rogue kettle bell is good, although I can feel a few small flecks of excess metal on the handle when I run my hand over it. The powder coat on the Rogue kettle bells is textured, with a feel of fine grit sandpaper.
The handles of the Rogue kettle bells are among the thickest of the test group, making them more suitable for people with large hands. The price is good too, especially if you live close to Ohio and can take advantage of a lower shipping cost.
They are a pretty good deal if you live close to Ohio, otherwise the cost of shipping makes them much less appealing. If you have large hands and prefer an aggressive grip, Rogue powder coat kettle bells could be the right option for you.
CFF offers a full line of athletic equipment, including kettle bells. The form-fitting foam is an extra level of protection that’s typically only used for shipping more costly competition steel kettle bells.
The coating has a slightly aggressive texture, which works very well for maintaining grip without needing chalk. The combination of finish and textured coating will hold a lot of chalk if needed.
It’s clear to me a lot of thought went into the creation of the K2 and it shows in every aspect of the design and packaging. I included Rep Fitness kettle bells in last year’s review, and they garnered four stars during testing.
Not content with that, the folks at Rep Fitness have upped their game by improving on the issues I noted in the previous review. The Rep Fitness kettle bells came well packed, with plenty of foam inserts and even bubble wrap on the 20 kg.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to take him up on this but it’s nice to see this kind of focus on customer service. The powder coating has a very smooth chalk-like texture that provides a decent amount of grip without the need for chalk.
The coating is also really durable, these kettle bells have withstood several hard blows without chipping. They offer an excellent value for the price, especially if you live close to Colorado and you can save on shipping.
Fringe Sport is a strength & conditioning equipment company based in Austin Texas. Since they’re local, I paid them a visit to pick up a few of their Prime Kettle bells to review.
Every Prime Kettle bell comes packaged in a form-fitting cardboard box and wrapped with reinforcement straps. The finish on the Prime Kettle bells is clean and the bottoms are ground completely flat.
The powder coat kettle bell is evenly applied and provides a decent amount of grip. The grip the is on par with the majority of powder coat kettle bells I’ve tested, providing a smooth yet “drippy” texture.
When I first got them, I was surprised at how much larger the handle diameters were when compared to similarly sized kettle bells from other vendors. I’m not a tall guy (5’8”) and many of the people I work with in my kettle bell club are even shorter than I am, both men and women.
The handles do run fairly thick though, so these are a great option for people with large hands. Fringe Sport runs frequent sales, so if you’re patient you could score a pretty good deal on these.
American Barbell is a strength & conditioning equipment company based in San Diego California. Their barbells have a solid reputation in the home gym community, and they’ve somewhat recently added kettle bells to their product lineup.
American Barbell kettle bells have a very clean finish and a slightly textured coat. The bottoms are ground flat and wider than most of the other options, making them a very stable base for exercises like renegade rows.
The handle dimensions overall are on the thinner side of the spectrum, making these kettle bells very comfortable for use by people with smaller hands. Price-wise, American Barbell powder coats are super-cheap, but that savings is offset by the cost of pricing.
For starters, the Titan Fitness kettle bell shipped in a single cardboard box with no padding or reinforcement whatsoever. The box and the plastic were worn away, and some damage had been done to the coating of the kettle bell as a result.
The Titan kettle bell is the absolute worst I’ve seen so far in terms of how bad the finish was. I really don’t understand how a big-name fitness company could even think about putting their brand on a product like this.
After contacting Titan customer service about a replacement and being told I wouldn’t be able to get one for two months, I simply sent it back. It’s so bad it has the dubious honor of forcing me to create a ‘zero stars’ rating, because it’s completely unusable.
The big draw is the price, I picked up a 35lb cast-iron kettle bell for $40 shipped, which is amazingly cheap. The bottom is not ground completely flat and the coating is just a glossy black paint.
I tried using it without any chalk and found that the tackiness made it more difficult for me to do snatches and cleans. The handle diameter is on the larger side of the options tested, although I no longer have it available to measure.
On the other hand, if saving money is your primary concern and you’re willing to sacrifice some quality, the Yes4All is hard to beat. I know this because they’ve started selling their own brand of Amazon Basics Kettle bells.
The only difference between them is that the AmazonBasics kettle bell has no branding whatsoever, only the weight stamped on both sides. Just don’t expect much for your money, since the Amazon Basics kettle bell is a cheaply made product.
The bottom is not ground completely flat and the coating is just a glossy black paint. Having said that, it’s still perfectly usable for swings, snatches, cleans, etc and I’d be hard-pressed to find a cheaper option for someone that doesn’t want to spend much on a kettle bell.
The tackiness of the paint makes it more difficult to do snatches and cleans with this kettle bell, but that’s nothing a light dusting of chalk on the handle can’t fix. The handle diameter is on the larger side of the options tested, measurements will be added later.
If saving money is your primary concern and you’re willing to sacrifice some quality, the Amazon Basics kettle bell is a decent option. CAP introduced a new powder coat kettle bell into their product lineup sometime within the last couple of years, and I’m finally including it in the roundup.
The finish on the CAP kettle bell is good, although I can feel a few small flecks of excess metal on the handle when I run my hand over it. The powder coat on the CAP kettle bell is textured, with a feel of fine grit sandpaper.
The handles of the CAP powder coat kettle bells are among the thickest of the test group, making them more suitable for people with large hands. I was learning how to perform the kettle bell snatch at the time I owned these, and the burrs kept digging into my palms during the transitions.
I toughed it out as long as I could but eventually used a metal file to smooth down the handle and make the bell a little more usable. I painted it with Mausoleum to try and stem further rust damage, which is why the kettle bell is colored brown in pictures.
The enamel finish on the large bell was extremely smooth and hard to hold once I broke a sweat. I don’t recommend CAP enamel coated or plain “cast iron” kettle bells for your home gym.
In fact, I actively recommend you stay away from them entirely because you will inevitably rue the day you purchased them. The recognition is reflected in the price because Dragon Door kettle bells are the most expensive option included in this review.
They don’t look great, but the coat on all of them is in okay shape considering they were stored year-round in a garage subject to three years of humid central Texas summers. The ROC kettle bells all have prevalent seams left over from the casting process on the handles.
These seams often pinched the skin of my palms, indicating a poor finishing and grinding process. That extra money is clearly not being invested back into quality control at Dragon Door.
In fact, several of the companies offer no guarantee whatsoever and will not accept a return at all unless your purchase is defective. I’m willing to give Dragon Door the benefit of the doubt and assume their newer kettle bells have a higher quality finish than what I currently own.
The best things Dragon Door ROC kettle bells offer is a 1-year satisfaction guarantee and a durable coating. However, given the quality of the competition these factors aren’t enough to offset their substantially higher cost.
Whatever it is, the coat provides just enough grip with low friction to allow for high rep work without needing chalk. The burrs only exist on the smaller kettle bells that I don’t use as much, which might be why they haven’t been an issue for me.
One minor nit to pick is with the quality of the paint job on the faces of the kettle bells. This is a purely cosmetic issue that doesn’t take away from the usability of the kettle bells at all, but it does detract from the overall perception of quality.
In case you didn’t know, prior to the pandemic pretty much every brand of kettle bells was manufactured in China. Then coronavirus hit, people were stuck at home, and supply chains out of China were disrupted.
This was the perfect storm for a massive run on fitness equipment, and several months later most companies are still having trouble keeping products in stock. Rogue Fitness has attempted to circumvent the supply chain issues by sourcing this new line of kettle bells from a foundry in Michigan, and I applaud them for doing this.
The handle of the Rogue E-Coat kettle bell is probably the thickest of the test group so far, making them more suitable for people with large hands. To be honest, I was excited to review this kettle bell since it’s the first one I’ve owned that is made in the USA.
As the name implies, USA-Iron is an entirely U.S.-based operation and is among the first few companies to manufacture their own line of kettle bells in the United States. In case you’ve been asleep for most of 2020, prepare to be rudely awakened…prior to COVID-19 most (if not all) kettle bells were manufactured in China.
Then the ‘RNA hit, people were stuck at home, and supply chains out of China were severely disrupted. This was the perfect storm for a massive run on fitness equipment, and several months later most companies are still having trouble keeping kettle bells in stock.
USA-Iron has stepped into the breach producing high quality kettle bells to make sure we can keep on swinging, and I’m very glad they did. The owner of USA-Iron reached out to me in the comments of this article and was kind enough to send me a set of 25lb and 35lb kettle bells to evaluate and review.
I was told by the company owner that the powder coat paint formulation was specifically chosen to provide some texture for improved grip, and that choice is evident during use. USA-Iron is one of the few companies I’m aware of that adds a separate wash step to the manufacturing process to clean dust off the kettle bell before the powder coat is applied.
This is an important step because the factories where kettle bells are made are dirty, dusty places. Lots of that dust settles on the surface of the bells while they sit patiently waiting for paint.
The end result is a very durable finish with a textured coating that will hold plenty of chalk if needed. I don’t knock them for this though, since the kettle bells are high quality and some people will really like the thicker handle size.
However, people with smaller hands may find the thicker handle size more difficult to hold during longer workout sessions. If that weren’t reason enough to support them, I like that the company is small and open to feedback, and the people there are very committed to producing a high quality product.
The handle dimensions are on the larger end of the spectrum, so if you have small or medium hands you may want to look at other options. The guy narrating the video, Pavel Tstatsouline, was affiliated with Dragon Door when the video was filmed so the process likely shows how Dragon Door kettle bells were made back in the day.
ExtremeKettlebell.com was formed in 2005 to help people in everyday life get stronger and faster with the most basic equipment on this planet. No need for fancy expensive equipment to lose weight or pricey memberships.
Unlike the big box fitness equipment stores, all equipment offered on this website are fully tested with the help of our partners and affiliates to ensure it meets their needs. Our goal is to give you the best product available at the very best price.
This one workout tool will help you transform your entire body and allow you to achieve all of your health and fitness goals. Kettle bells, which are essentially weighted balls with handles, provide the perfect workout by increasing strength, endurance, agility and balance while also challenging both the muscular and cardiovascular system with dynamic, total body movements.
Training with kettle bells will allow you to develop total body strength, generate fast weight loss to remove unwanted fat, restore youthful flexibility to reduce injury and improve mobility all while redesigning the shape of your entire body. Thousands of people have experienced the cardio and muscular endurance benefits of kettle bell training.
It’s for this very reason why low-carb dogmatists fail to accept the fact that high-carb diets work despite a truly staggering amount of opposing research staring them directly in the face. See, when presented with new information that directly contradicts something in which you’ve invested a great deal of time, effort, and money…it’s easier to turn a blind eye to support your preconceived notions rather than risk being wrong.
Because, when you associate a belief with your sense of self, being wrong is no longer a matter of little significance. To admit that an entire framework by which you associated your life success is inaccurate would be devastating.
Depending on the certification and instructor, there are numerous techniques touted as the “right” way to kettle bell swing. While the various camps will argue day-in and day-out as to which swing is “best,” the funny thing is they’re mostly similar hip dominant variations with relatively insignificant differences.
In the brief video below I demonstrate the major differences between the knee and hip dominant kettle bell swings. Beneath the video I go into far more detail, outlining several major reasons why the knee dominant swing should be included within your programs.
The hip dominant swing is not inherently dangerous for the lower back. The hip dominant swing is NOT inherently dangerous for the lower back.
Considering forward lean increases shear forces on the spine, it makes sense that the knee dominant swing which facilitates an upright torso would be far less likely to exacerbate lower back pain. What’s interesting is that any halfway decent coach would immediately nix the DL for a Trap Bar Dead lift when programming for an individual with previous back pain.
When coaching individuals with previous back pain/injuries, the knee dominant approach is usually the smartest decision. In recent years it’s become the cool thing for fitness pro’s to vilify the quads.
But strong quads are absolutely essential for high level performance in pretty much every athletic competition. Not only are the quads key players in sprinting and jumping performance, they’re also main contributors to all planting and cutting actions in sports like soccer, football, rugby, lacrosse, and quidditch.
Your Takeaway: Hip dominant swings drastically contribute to glute and hamstring strength which unquestionably aids numerous athletic qualities. On the other hand, knee dominant swings do a much better job of recruiting the quads which hold separate but equally important benefits in sports performance and injury prevention.
It makes sense, not only from a biomechanical perspective, but also from the simple knowledge that the quads greatly contribute to vertical jump performance and the knee dominant swing trains the quads more effectively. Your Takeaway: If improving your (or your clients) vertical leap is high on your to-do list, you’d be much better off training the knee dominant kettle bell swing.
As far as I know, there isn’t a single study comparing the differences in glute involvement between knee and hip dominant kettle bell swings. Speaking from personal experience, however, my clients and I have found time and time again that knee dominant swings target the glutes significantly better than hip dominant variations.
Remember, I don’t have a single shred of data to show you so take this for what it’s worth. Assuming you give it a fair chance, I bet you’ll feel your glutes light up like NYC on Christmas eve.