Finally, we like that Kettle bells USA often has the Matrix Elite on sale for just a few dollars more than our budget pick. Besides, one of these things will basically last forever so it’s worth spending a bit more on something that’s a lot nicer to use.
Their unique shape and functionality give them many of the strength-building benefits of dumbbells while also providing users with the opportunity to do kettle bell -specific drills that involve a lot of movement, like the swing. The closed-loop handle of a kettle bell offers users a secure grip for movements with both hands.
Dumbbells are better suited to doing squats, curls, bench press, cleans, and other exercises that have less kinetic motion. That means you can fulfill all your workout needs with one simple tool that stows easily in a closet.
One important caveat to this endorsement of kettle bell training is that proper technique makes all the difference between effective and beneficial use and potential injury. You can also consult credible online tutorials, and many trainers will set up a Skype arrangement where you can send videos to them for feedback and coaching.
Dragon Door has the most resources in terms of kettle bell books and DVDs (at least in the “hard style” approach that I use) available. Finally, Steve Cotter is a master practitioner/teacher of competition kettle bell lifting techniques.
While many people recommend women starting with an 8-kilogram bell (about 16 pounds), I think that the two-handed lifts like squats and swings aren’t very well-served by that low weight. If you want to start modestly, my suggestion would be to get the 13-pound version of our budget pick and then order a larger, higher quality bell once you feel comfortable.
Both of these linked pieces reiterate my earlier point about seeking credible instruction before beginning an at-home regimen. Then there is the question about which kind of kettle bell you should buy: cast iron, competition, or adjustable.
Also, a major frustration with adjustable kettle bells is that they don’t offer a wide enough weight range to make them ideal for many. As it turns out, there’s not a huge amount of difference between these things because most of them borrow their design from the Dragon Door ROC.
Dragon Door was the first US company to run kettle bell instructor certifications (taught by famed instructor Pavel Tsatsouline) and have mass distribution in the US (Dragon Door started selling these bells in 2001). Dragon Door bells achieved great acclaim, but their high price point (roughly $120 each after shipping and handling, the highest in our test) invited lots of competition from other companies.
CAP is another popular fitness company that makes a good bell at a lower price point. For example, this Yes4All bell is one of the most popular models on Amazon, but its large, flat face is hard on the wrists in one-handed positions.
Although much more rare, some companies compete by distinguishing their offerings from Dragon Door’s with different designs. Perform Better at one point implemented a screw-on rubber skid plate on the bottom of their bells, but later on scrapped it due to negative customer feedback.
From left: Matrix Elite, CAP Cast Iron Competition, Rogue, Perform Better First Place, Dragon Door ROC. Photo: Anton BrkicOur testing group, which consisted of myself and five members of the high school varsity baseball team I coach, worked with all five bells at the beginner/intermediate level and did only two-handed moves (dead lifts, squats, presses, high pulls, and swings).
In fact, I wouldn’t use the CAP or Rogue bells for high-rep snatching because they have coarse handles and some tackiness from the painted finish. If you order through the company’s website and have a problem, Kettle bells USA will “make it right, period!” by sending a replacement and taking care of return shipping fees.
Photo: Mark Blythe Matrix Elite kettle bell has a slightly different handle dimension and more distance from the ball part of the bell to the handle to create a larger opening for more comfortable two-handed positions. The Matrix bell clearly outclassed the competition for two-handed work, as the smooth, e-coated handle with a wider grip was consistently easy on the hands, even when doing high repetition sets of 20-plus kettle bell swings.
Even when the user advances to the one-handed moves, both two-handed swings and goblet squats should remain essential parts of a kettle bell program. Any flaws in a kettle bell will be exposed when you use just one hand, but the attention to detail in forging a smooth, seamless handle was clearly on display with this bell.
Besides the handle shape, the Matrix Elite (right) looks almost identical to the Dragon Door ROC, which costs anywhere from $30 to $50 more. Photo: Mark BixbyAnother thing that sets the Matrix Elite apart from other kettle bells (including Kettle bells USA's own “classic” line) is the fact that it’s designed to have the same “rack” position (where the round part rests on your forearm) regardless of weight and size.
Most companies use standard molds repeatedly, and inevitably, residue from previous castings creates uneven surface textures like edges or gaps. Finally, Kettle bells USA showed awesome customer service throughout my process of testing.
If you're used to standard Dragon Door ROC kettle bells (or any of its many clones), the Matrix Elite's rack position might feel strange at first, since the ball part sits higher up on the forearm by comparison. If you see the bell offered at full price (with no discounted shipping), wait seven to 10 days, and you should find it available more cheaply.
If the Matrix Elite is unavailable, or if you just want a standard-shaped bell without the wider handle, the Perform Better First Place Kettle bell feels the same in use as the high-end Dragon Door, but costs about 25 percent less. In fact, its dimensions are identical except for the extra half inch of flat base diameter on the bottom of the Perform Better bell.
While Perform Better wouldn’t divulge what process it uses, I noticed that it’s somewhere between a matte powder coat and a glossy e-coat. Reading user reviews (see here and here) that slam performs Better for having noticeable seams on the underside of the handle or other defects isn’t helpful considering the construction specs on their bells currently.
The bell I received from them was really well-made, and it showed no signs of being defective in build or user experience. I contacted Perform Better about this discrepancy, and company reps explained that among other small changes, they’d since switched to a gravity casting process, which creates a more uniform surface, as you recall.
It’s also worth noting that Perform Better frequently has sales on its kettle bells, and while it’s usually cheaper to buy Perform Better bells directly from the company, it's worth checking Amazon and Strongest before buying to find the best deal. If budget is your bottom line, then we’d recommend the CAP Cast Iron Competition Bell.
But unless you really need to save a few bucks, it’s worth investing in our top pick, since these things last forever. In fact, none of the five baseball player panelists said they would pay extra for any of the other bells for the basic routines they were testing with.
The powder-coated CAP (left) and Rogue (center) bells are rougher than the e-coated Dragon Door (right). Photo: Mark Blythe CAP bell has a powder-coated matte finish and a slightly gritty (though it’s evenly dispersed grit) handle to provide a good grip (though a bit on the coarser end of those we tested) and a flat bottom so it doesn’t rock when used for push-ups or rowing moves.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Dragon Door ROC Kettle bell should feel pretty good about itself. Unfortunately for Dragon Door, other companies have been able to duplicate its design at a comparable level of quality for a lot cheaper.
Brett Jones, Strongest’s Director of Education, asked me to write an overview of Kettle bell STRONG! I was promoted to Master ROC in early 2010, just before the release of my book, Kettle bell Muscle.
A wrestler must train to overcome the effects of hydrogen ion and lactic acid accumulation. So my programming for performance has always been geared toward maximum force production and minimizing fatigue, regardless of the goal.
Both are designed to make your old 4RM starting weight feel like a toy. This does start to get mildly glycolysis, but if you choose the “Slow and Steady,” it is not intolerably so.
The majority of folks opt for the “Slow and Steady” for this reason. The third and final phase is a 5 to 8-week program that capitalizes on all the work you’ve done to date, and is focused on fat loss.
In fact, most people stop after the “Slow and Steady” and start over, using heavier kettle bells, with their leaner, more muscular bodies. It’s a conditioning program meant to be performed using the Double Swing.
Stay with the first phase of the program and recycle it with a heavier pair of kettle bells. Double or even triple the prescribed work sets over the course of time and use it as a pure A+A program.
Then, if you’re up for it, you should be fully prepared to run the last fat loss program. The “2020” AGT-friendly variation would simply alternate different cycles of “Strong!” and “One:” 8 weeks of the first phase of “Strong!” followed by 8 to 12 weeks of “One,” modified to a low-rep Mom program.
For Men: Hold half of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells in the rack position for 30s minimum. For Women: Hold a third of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells in the rack position for 30s minimum.
For Men: Press half of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells at least once. For Women: Press one third of your body weight with a pair of kettle bells at least once.
Use a pair of kettle bells you can press 5 times, but would struggle to get 6 reps with. Perform one clean, followed by the prescribed number of presses.
Session # 3: Perform a Rep Max (RM)* with the same pair of kettle bells you’ve been using. Session # 3: Perform a Rep Max (RM)* with the same pair of kettle bells you’ve been using.
Rest as much as necessary between sets to get the prescribed reps. Do light mobility work or walk on non-training days, but nothing else. Everything you need to know about the “Strong!” program inside Kettle bell STRONG!, how to modify it to meet your anti-glycolitic training goals, the qualification criteria for starting the program, and two different ways to prepare yourself to meet those criteria so you can reap the benefits from the program itself.
Sags can also master how to perform and teach doublekettlebell skills by attending their Strongest SFG Level II instructor certification. Our most recent program at Queensland Kettle bells has included a lot of floor presses, with good reason.
He’s been in the strength & fitness industry since 1993 and has worked as a personal trainer, Division 1 strength and conditioning coach (Rutgers University), a personal training business owner, and an education provider. He has trained people from all walks of life, from middle school athletes, to military special operators, to arthritic grandmothers in their 70s.
ULTRA, Kettle bell STRONG!, The Olympic Rapid Fat Loss Program, Six Pack Abs 365, The Permanent Weight Loss Solution, and Pressing RESET: Original Strength Reloaded. Geoff has presented workshops on advanced kettle bell training, body maintenance and restoration, and Olympic lifting all over the world, including the US, Europe, SE Asia, and Australia.
Geoff currently trains clients online and lives in Colorado with his beautiful wife and his two children who are growing like sunflowers. Here I discuss several benefits of doublekettlebell versus single kettle bell training.
If getting strong is your goal, your 16 kg kettle bell won’t do much in the way of strength development, no matter how much you slow down your reps for Goblet Squats, Dead lifts, and Strict Presses. This area of the body includes your chest, abdominal, back, hamstrings, and glutes (essentially the majority of your posterior and anterior chains).
Given that this is such a large, strong group of muscles, developing solid strength will require a lot of load. However, that assumes that your upper body is strong enough to maintain the rack position while descending into the squat, something that you may not have developed yet.
One of the key benefits of kettle bell training is the ability to develop power through ballistic exercise. However, if your form in any given exercise isn’t perfect, upping the weight of your kettle bell could be dangerous.
During the down swing in each ballistic exercise you’ll be required to provide a counter rotation of your body to resist the pull of weight on one side. If you are not ready to counteract that pull, you could put your back dangerously out of alignment.
Conversely, doublekettlebell ballistic exercises can help you build additional explosive power (especially through your hips) without as much risk of bad alignment. Since the weight is balanced, you will be required to counter rotate your body much less, assuming that your form is good and your timing with each rep is perfect.
The plus side is that you can always perfect your form with a lighter weight while still increasing your load slightly. Imagine that you want to perform heavier 1-Arm Kettle bell Swings in order to enhance hip explosiveness.
Both will increase your load, but one (the single heavy) will require much more grip and forearm strength to use. The benefits of a kettle bell complex are that you’re usually working the full-body in a very dynamic way with compound exercises.
Dead lift, hang clean, swing clean, swing, half snatch, press, return to the ground and repeat. Originally designed like a barbell complex by Sealant, modified and translated to kettle bells by Caveman training.
By Matthew Brandon Garner, a member of our Caveman Inner Circle. This is a great combo that one of our members suggested including in one of our weekly workouts.
This is a beast of a combo as it’s one explosive movement after the other, you’re pulling the kettle bells up, squatting, and then thrusting them up with the power of your legs. This complex is great to work on the hips, leg strength, core, and shoulders.
To move fluidly, effectively, and safely one needs to understand and have mastered the kettle bell fundamentals. Caveman training has created two kettle bell workout books that contain kettle bell complexes in full-blown workouts, available for direct download on our site and as paperback or Kindle on Amazon.
Taco Fleur Russian Gregory Sport Institute Kettle bell Coach, Caveman training Certified, IFF Certified Kettle bell Teacher, Kettle bell Sport Rank 2, HardstyleFit Kettle bell Level 1 Instructor., CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, CrossFit Judges Certificate, CrossFit Lesson Planning Certificate, Kettle bells Level 2 Trainer, Kettle bell Science and Application, MMA Fitness Level 2, MMA Conditioning Level 1, BJJ Purple Belt and more. Owner of Caveman training and Kettle bell Training Education.
There are benefits to using single and double kettle bells depending on your goals. Let’s explore which options are the best plus the types of exercises that lend themselves better to 1 and 2 kettle bells.
You can perform most of the exercises and produce some incredible results with just one kettle bell. Weaker or inexperienced women may wish to begin with a 8 kg and men can choose a 12 kg.
Using two kettle bells doubles the load so care needs to be taken to ensure you are capable of handling the extra weight. As well as adding extra weight using two kettle bells also enables you to train both sides at the same time, this can seriously cut down on training time but also makes the exercises more demanding.
The above exercises would be progressed over a period of months ensuring that you can perform 3 sets of each variation before moving on to the next one. I understand that when you are just starting out the thought of buying lots of kettle bells is daunting but ultimately, as mentioned earlier, you can get away with just one.
Once you decide you want to progress to doublekettlebell exercises, as demonstrated with the lunge above, then you don’t always need to use 2 kettle bells of the same weight. Let’s say you bought a 12 kg for lots of single kettle bell workouts and then later progressed to a 16 kg.
Holding a 12 kg on one side and a 16 kg on the other is an inexpensive way to begin doublekettlebell training. Later you could buy another 16 kg so you have 1 x 12 kg and 2 x 16 kg kettle bells, then you have lots of doublekettlebell training options.
There are lots more for you to try but these are the 3 that I would recommend you practice in order to get used to the feel of 2 kettle bells. Using two kettle bells enables you to perform shorter workouts while at the same time challenging your strength.
However, if you want to add lots of bulk then kettle bells are the wrong tool for you. If you want to build muscle fast and naturally, you want to mix up your workout routine and include some more out-of-the-box kettle bell exercises now and then to get you out of that rut you're stuck in.
The softer neoprene cover makes these 'bells less likely to chip hard floor and also more quiet to work out with. Unlike more traditional bodybuilding methods, kettle bell workout classifies as 'functional' training and is considered to build functional muscle mass as opposed to mainly the aesthetically pleasing variety the former does.
Since you are moving your arm around your head, kettle bell halo also improves shoulder mobility, something not many people pay attention to. When performing kettle bell halos, make sure you keep your core tight and focus on rotating the shoulders as opposed to your hips and upper body.
By keeping your core tight, you can reduce swaying and isolate the upper back and shoulder more efficiently. Sometimes also called the kettle bell high pull, this exercise works the same muscles as the standard kettle bell swing but by adding the horizontal pull movement, it also adds a bit more resistance to the movement and works the core, the shoulders and the upper back a bit more.
Turkish get ups are great full body exercises that work the core, the glutes, hips and shoulders the most. It's a real mystery why thrusters are not super popular: they combine two awesome exercises, the squat and the overhead press, into one perfectly smooth flow and work both the lower and the upper part of the body, not to mention the core which works twice as hard to stabilize the body.
You’ve breached the barbells and dominated dumbbells, but if you’re still steering clear of kettle bells you’re missing out on arguably the best burn at the gym. Think about a baseball bat, says trainer Jason C. Brown, creator and owner of certification program Kettle bell Athletics.
“Kettle bells create a longer lever arm, which requires you to use more force to move an equal weight the same distance,” Brown says. This recruits more muscles, challenges inter- and intramuscular coordination, and generally delivers one hell of a burn.
The dead lift is a multi joint move, so the average guy can probably handle 32 kg/70 lbs here to start, Brown says. Not only are your shoulders and abs working hard to keep you stable, but there’s more challenge to your grip since all the weight is in one hand.
Lopez actually makes clients ace all 14 steps while balancing their shoe on their fist before they’re allowed to try it with a kettle bell (you can opt for a two-pound dumbbell to save face at the gym). When you feel confident that you have the form down sans resistance, reach for a 12 kg/26 lb kettle bell.
Since form is so imperative here, Lopez says you shouldn’t move up a weight until you’re able to maintain perfect vertically with your arm, keep the elbow fully locked throughout all 14 steps, and feel comfortable going slow (most people rush due to discomfort). But because it doesn’t require swinging momentum or extension, a carry has a lower risk of injury than other kettle bell moves, which means you can go a bit heavier.
Grab a kettle bell that’s the equivalent of half your body weight to carry in each hand, Brown recommends. This article will provide you with all the information you need to pick the correct kettle bell weight and perform exercises with proper form.
And to make things easier for you, we have included a simple 15-minute kettle bell workout video to get you in the best shape of your life. There are a few problems with picking a kettle bell weight depending on your training experience.
I need you to throw away your current perception of weight training, and look at the kettle bell as something new and different. While you may not think you need to, having at least one session with a trained kettle bell professional will make an enormous difference in your results.
You’ll be using multiple muscle groups at the same time through ballistic, full-body movements. A kettle bell professional can show you the basics; like, the Clean, Swing, Goblet Squat, Windmill, and Turkish Get Up.
When performed properly, kettle bell movements will improve your body control, shorten your workout time, and give you functional results (and physique). The core movements in kettle bell training have exploded into hundreds of new exercises and techniques.
When done properly, kettle bell movements will improve your body control, shorten your workout time, and give you functional results (and physique) unlike anything you’ve been able to achieve in the past. A big mistake is selecting a weight that is too light (again, assuming that you have trained with a kettle bell professional).
Areas of your core (back, abdominal, and upper legs) will be on fire during your first session. To maintain proper form, you need a weight that is in proportion to your skill level, which may be low initially.
Men who have never used a kettle bell are especially susceptible to muscling through a movement, rather than performing it with proper form. You will hear this term used more in CrossFit boxes and by most traditional kettle bell instructors.
Innit Kettle bells are made with a high-quality, chip-resistant coating that’s strong enough to endure your most punishing workouts. 1) A chip-resistant coating, smooth enough for stamina-building work sets without irritating your hands, yet with just enough texture to take gym chalk.
Whether you’re a trainer or fitness enthusiast the kettle bell should have a place in your training for the results it can deliver in less time. Whether you decide to use your kettle bell to supplement your training or as a stand-alone tool you will gather the exact system on how to do so.
The benefits of the kettle bell are immense and with this single tool one can create incredible strength, power output, and stamina if used to its potential. At the Innit Academy we believe the kettle bell can create powerful athletes regardless of your chosen sport and with this system you will have everything they need to do just that.
Given that we’re looking for exercises that fit kettle bells the best, you have to start with the question of what that means, and then choose the most effective movements accordingly. So let’s walk through that discussion and I’ll share what I believe to be the three most effective kettle bell exercises for the advanced trainee.
For those wanting some research that is a little more modern and Western, there is ample evidence to back up the use of faster eccentric training for muscle growth. If you’re after big arms and shoulders as well as some serious strength endurance, then long cycle may be the best kept secret in the training world.
Having had the luxury of being around the kettle bell scene for quite a while, I can remember a time when the famous “program minimum” (what would later become Pavel’s Simple & Sinister) did not include the get-up. It was the bent press and the snatch, not the swing and get-up, that were regarded as being the two most essential exercises, provided you had the requisite shoulder and hip flexibility.
But the thing to remember about steroids is that while in the right dose they can help deliver powerful athletic performances, they can also give you cancer and you can die. In other words, the windmill and bent press are more powerful than the get-up as exercises and train more components of movement to higher degrees, but for many people they may be too much to begin with.
Strength pioneer Bob Hoffman wrote in 1938, “The bent press is the making of a lifter. It promotes efficiency in all lifts, and its practice will promote a great increase in strength development.” To perform the bent press, and its earlier progression the windmill, you will need a good hip hinge and flawless thoracic rotation.
Exercises like farmer walks and rack carries are a fantastic way to develop real-world core strength and stability. But not many people have access to a free-range style of gym like mine at RPT, and they lack the space to effectively carry.
The anterior load makes squatting better easier, as it forces the abdominal to engage fully, which in turn allows the hips to free up and work better. That placement of load also allows for a more upright torso angle, meaning there is less stress on the lower back.
Speaking of your back, the lats, which are an essential element to core stability, will have to fire up like crazy to stop you dropping the bells in front of you as you squat. Kettle bell expert Artemis Scandalizes has said, “The doublekettlebell front squat allows you to train a decreased load for the same physiological effect.
Even large humans who can seemingly squat Ohio will find this variation challenging. The windmill and bent press include high degrees of hip and shoulder mobility and stability, which will injury-proof you and keep you supple and strong.
He is both a black belt and an Iron man and has been honing the craft of training for over twenty years. Having trained alongside industry leaders in everything from Taekwondo to Brazilian Jim Jitsi to boxing, as well as kettle bells, running, triathlon, and weightlifting, Andrew has a wealth of experience to draw from. In today’s world we spend the majority of our days doing things in front of us with terrible posture.
This overuse of the muscles on the front side of our bodies is called “anterior dominance” and it is plaguing our society. Anterior dominance results in imbalances in our muscles causing us to move and perform at sub-optimal levels.
It will allow you to loosen your tight hips and strengthen your butt so that you’ll develop the rear end of an athlete. It will bulletproof your low back by creating an armored brace around your midsection, and it will get rid of that paunchy gut.
Push your hips back keeping your butt high and bend your knees slightly. Always making sure your shoulders stay above the level of your hips, “hike pass” the kettle bell through your knees by contracting your lats.
When you push your hips back keeping your butt high and your shins vertical, you are hinging. This is good because most people today are hip flexor and quad dominant (your anterior muscles), so learning how to load and use your posterior chain creates a natural balance between front and back that will help in preventing knee and hip issues.
Imagine that you are growing roots through your feet and grab the ground with your entire foot. Getting proper instruction from an expert so that you can MASTER THE KETTLEBELL SWING is the best thing that you can do for your training regardless of your goal.
If you want to build strength, kettle bell swings will forge a grip of steel and will add pounds to your dead lift & squat. If you want to boost your athleticism, kettle bell swings will make you more powerful and add height to your jump and shave seconds off your sprints.
If you want to pack on muscle, swinging a heavy kettle bell will build an intimidating upper back & set of shoulders. And if you want to shed body fat, swings will incinerate blubber like butter melting in an iron pan.