It's definitely worth seeking advice at your gym on the correct form to avoid injury. These compact weights are small enough to fit into even the smallest rooms and the majority of workouts require just one kettle bell, meaning you could enjoy some fat-torching training time from the comfort of your own home for less than a tenner, as long as your home has literally enough room to swing a cat (NB: don't actually swing a cat in order to ascertain this).
Those venturing out into the world of kettle bells for the first time should go easy on the weight, as the grueling sessions will prove impossible if you can't lift the bloody thing above your head. That said, opting for a puny 2 kg kettle bell could mean you're not facing enough resistance to thoroughly challenge the muscle.
If you're really short of space, you could check out the Växjö KettlebellConnect, which is a digital play on Bow flex Selected Dumbbell, offering a spread of weights in one neat package.e Where vinyl 'bells could save you a few quid, they can be prone to cracking and splitting, plus the handle seams on cheaper models can be scratchy and uncomfortable.
A solid cast iron kettle bell — or, even better, those with smooth steel handles — tend to be the most comfortable and are also sturdy enough to survive a nuclear attack. Finally, it's also worth noting the handle clearance from the bell (or 'window', to give it the correct title) and its diameter.
Larger hands could find certain 'bells difficult to grip and comfortably on the forearm, which is required in burly overhead press exercises. Its products are reasonably priced — definitely on the cheap side — but represent a good quality and are highly functional.
They are made of cast iron and come equipped with a thick handle, the former being great for durability and the latter for improving grip. The neoprene sleeve over the cast iron body will help keeping the floors intact too.
A small pointy bit on the handle can result in a bruised palm after a grueling kettle bell swing session. They all sport flat, non-wobble bottoms, color coded handles and an engraved logo at the front of the kettle bell.
The difference is mainly felt in your wallet: while you will have to pay the premium price Tax kettle bells, the Gym reapers variety will a bit of extra money in the pocket. Signing up for stock alerts and visiting the Gym reapers website often is highly recommended.
Admittedly the Bow flex Selected 840 Kettle bell looks more like an actual kettle than a home weight, but don't let the looks deceive you. As in the case with most one-size-fits all solutions, the Bow flex Selected 840 Kettle bell is trying to appeal to all whilst fails to please the individuals; it is definitely more space-saving than having six different kettle bells lying around in your one-bed flat, but it is also rather bulky, making it a bit less convenient to work out with doing one handed moves.
Some might feel a bit less inclined to use the Bow flex Selected 840 Kettle bell for overhead exercises due to the bottom of the being open — exposing the weight plates inside — you can doctor this by holding the handle firmly and pointing it away from you as you move the kettle bell. Reasons to avoid You may have noticed that a number of dumbbell manufacturers have started offering selectable systems that negate the need to fill your house with a spread of weights.
Well, Växjö has taken this idea one step further with its electronically-adjustable kettle bell system, which offers a spread of 5 kg-19kg in a singly, albeit slightly bulky, unit. It sits on a neat base — that is either plugged into a wall or charged up for workouts on the fly — and users simply toggle a button to quickly swap between the required weights.
In addition to this, it can be synched via Bluetooth to a smartphone app that offers a bunch of different workout guides and advice on what weight to select for individual exercises. Plus, you'll have to invest in two of these if you want the ultimate kettle bell workout (squats, two-hand overhead press etc.
The king of suspension weight training has long sounded the bell for kettle bells, as the lumps of iron make the perfect companion to spruce up any dangling Suspension Trainer workout. It also results in that lovely, flat bottom, which makes it's easier to rest the kettle bell on the floor when switching hands during an arduous squat routine.
Tax has added a splash of color to the handles, making it simple to spy the correct weight if swapping between kettle bells mid-workout. I'd say the 16 kg unit is the one to go for if you're a bloke in reasonable shape, but there's a good spread of weights, making this one piece of fitness equipment that will likely outlast the fickle New Year's resolution to shed a few pounds.
Wilkerson Fitness has harnessed its many years of experience in knitting out the UK National Kettle bell Teams when designing and producing its range of superior quality 'bells. Modern casting methods means each bell is formed out of a single piece of metal, meaning no joins or welds, while a distinct lack of cheap plastic handles ensures they come with a lifetime guarantee.
Don't fret, if these prove a little daunting to the introductory kettle bell lifter you can always check out the slightly less hardcore range, which is still brilliantly constructed. The perfect antithesis to the digital delights of the aforementioned Växjö is a good, old-fashioned selection of kettle bells.
Rebel kettle bells don't come cheap, but they are engineered to last, fashioned from premium-grade Iron Ore, not scrap iron (as with cheaper alternatives) and using a one-piece cast mold to ensure the kettle bells feel well-balanced in the hand and built to last. The powder coated finish means they won't flake, chip or rust when covered in sweat, too.
We don't know many professional kettle bell athletes, but we are pretty sure they are very aware of Gorilla Sports and its range of competition-spec swingers. With very strict regulations on dimensions and the aperture of the window (the handle, to you and me), these solid steel numbers are really only for the very serious enthusiasts out there.
Each solid steel unit is individually priced, with the weedier 12 kg model costing around £50. Reasons to avoid It's not always a good idea to go out and blow a large sum on workout equipment on a get-fit whim.
If you're new to the whole kettle bell thing, this vinyl number from Opt is a real bargain, with a cheap but substantial finish proving enough for most novice swingers. The 10 kg maximum mass could feel a little light in time, but for those starting out, or who don't require massive heft from their 'bells, this is great.
The compact size makes it perfect for stashing away at home for the odd impromptu session. Reasons to avoid The vinyl coating swaddling these cast iron weights is a handy addition for anyone worried about damaging their parquet, yet the unit remains robust and a much more long-term option than cheaper all-vinyl offerings.
Body power also offers a very impressive range of weights, with the option to package them up into a small set of, say, 6 kg-12kg increments. That's not a huge maximum weight, obviously, but it allows lighter users to switch between high-resistance and low-resistance/high rep workouts with ease, for not much money.
The vinyl coating may feel cheaper than the cast iron and steel suggestions on this list but all three of these will set you back half the price of a single kettle bell from some other brands. It's simply a solid lump for lifting above your head while screaming like a hungry caveman.
It's also one of the cheaper 16 kg weights on the market, making it very tempting to splash out on a couple to create a pretty awesome home gym set-up. Kettle bell training can be an excellent way to boost your strength considerably, conditioning as well as cardio fitness and just like an adjustable dumbbell, they don’t take up a lot of space, so they are the perfect piece of equipment for a home workout too.
As with all things exercise related, start out with a sensible and measured approach and you can build from there as and when your body tells you it’s time to go heavier. Right now the most important thing is to start incorporating from kettle bell work into your current training program to fast track those fitness results.
Choosing the right kettle bell for you though can be a bit daunting, and you don’t want to splash the cash on something that’s just not suitable weight wise for the results you are looking to achieve. As little as ten years ago your options were reasonably limited when it came to purchasing kettle bells, but these days, plenty of companies do their own versions.
So let’s take a look today at some Best Kettle Bells which will you swinging your way quickly to that honed and toned physique you’ve been struggling to acquire up till now. They are constructed from a single cast without any welded parts, and each individual weight is color-coded with a ring at the base of each handle.
They feature a flat-bottomed design which makes them perfect for a range of exercises including push-ups and renegade rows as well as being easy to store. It has an ergonomic handle that is designed to fit most hands and it feels very similar in terms of resistance.
This Tone Fitness Vinyl Coated Cement Filled Kettle bell Weight is a device that enables you to achieve flexibility, strength, endurance, and stability in your muscles as well as a lifetime of general physical well-being. It is capable of taking on every part of your major body muscles to give you that agility, poise, energy and general fulfillment.
Constructed from a cast-iron molded cement coated with vinyl, its flat bottom ensures stability and guarantees the user a firm grip. Its workout functions include applications in snatches, squats, get-ups and other fitness endurance muscle toning exercises.
It comes in a variety of weights to Improve strength, stamina, and coordination whilst increasing the lung and heart capacity. As a result, it helps enhance agility and speed and will improve significantly cardiovascular disorders, is the preferred choice in workouts to prevent such conditions as heart attack or strokes.
With its wide range of weights, the Yes4All Powder Coated Kettle bells is a professional and amateur companion, to derive the maximum from your fitness exercise and training sessions. Made from a hard cast iron anti-corrosive material, it comes off as a superior quality — a solid sturdy, seamless and dependable piece of equipment devoid of welds to answer every one of your major your muscle building activities.
It is prominently color coded and doubly marked in both imperial and metric system units and lets you identify the different weights without difficulty. This little piece of equipment will boost your power, stretch, strength, and endurance and is ideal for use in swings, squats, lifting, and dead lifts.
The Kettle Grip itself weighs less than a pound so is the perfect lightweight solution to back in a bag. It’s a portable, adaptable, and economical solution and a great option for a home gym or for anyone who frequently travels.
Made from vinyl leather and filled with sand, it weighs an impressive 20lbs, which is enough to give you a serious workout. Unlike cheap kettle bell handles, you won’t experience cramp after a couple of reps. Add this to the offset center of gravity and you can perform large movements with superior control.
As a general rule of thumb, if you are a novice to using kettle bell ’s and about to get started out, then the following weights are recommended to get you into the swing of things so to speak! Remember that the action of using a kettle bell is far more dynamic and creates a lot more velocity and movement than working with static dumbbells so even as a slighter framed woman, you’d be surprised at what you can manage to start with versus when you first started out lifting weights.
If you do know that you are committed and will want to incorporate kettle bell training into your program long term then a set of three is a good option so that you have ongoing progression and regression if you ever need it too. Make sure that the seams are smooth as even if you are wearing weight training gloves, uneven handle edges can be a pain and will hinder your enjoyment which will affect your performance.
There is a heap of benefits that come with kettle bell training which is why they’ve risen in popularity in gyms globally as well as in home setups. Firstly, they help to torch fat and burn calories in a big way.
Depending upon your body shape and size and the effort you are putting in, you should be able to blast up to 20 calories a minute which is the equivalent of the rate you’d be burning if you were fit enough to run a 6-minute mile! Best of all, kettle bells deliver the complete package, and by that, we mean that they improve fitness, strength as well as flexibility.
It’s a ballistic and totally effective way of exercising that sees results in record time. They also require functional movement, the kind that replicates what your body carries out on an everyday basis so again, this makes them highly practical and hugely popular.
The unique shape and design of kettle bell also affect their center of gravity so in order to really complete the exercises correctly you are absolutely required to engage your core and your glutes in stabilizing your body. Because you are involved in mostly dynamic swinging actions, kettle bell training also requires you to be very mindful of what your body is doing.
While we have mentioned progression and increasing your weights and also doubling up for some exercises, the beauty of starting out with kettle bell training is that you really only do need the one, so it’s a small investment overall. For most other types of weighted exercises, you really do need to work out with pairs, for example, dumbbells in each hand or plates either end of a barbell.
Find something you love, switch things up a bit and you just know that you are going to see, feel and experience results. Perhaps one of the biggest concerns that people have when started out kettle bell training is hot to ensure they do it safely without risk of unwanted injury.
There’s no point steering away from the truth if you do perform your exercises incorrectly you could end up putting unnecessary strain on your lower back and shoulder and perhaps also your hips and knees as there are the most vulnerable areas. The great news though is that by following a few essential tips, you can perfect your kettle bell form and have lots of fun safely working out.
Don’t be tempted to stand with your legs too far apart thinking that this will create a more solid base as it will in fact put more strain on your lower back so get into a proper stance with your feet about hip width apart and make sure you start out with a sensible weight. The trick is to build up your strength and endurance so don’t go too heavy to start, especially while you are still honing your technique.
So engage that core, lift with your hips and ensure that your spine is a nice neutral position which again will significantly help to minimize unwanted injuries. Your regular running shoes are not the best choice as they will elevate your heels off the ground which is not a good position for kettle bell workouts.
These will give you a better grip and stop the kettle bell from potentially slipping out of your hand, and you got it, landing on that toe we just mentioned! This unique design, as distinct to a dumbbell, means that the weight is not evenly distributed and this delivers instability, creating counterbalance and the need to really focus on your core while training with this piece of equipment.
A: We highly recommend, as do my professional PT’s and athletes, that you do incorporate kettle bell training into your ongoing fitness program. Incorporating some kettle bell based exercise into your workouts is seriously going to affect your body in nothing but good ways.
They require your hips and legs to generate the force and momentum of the swing while your entire core including your abs, back, and shoulder girdle are called upon to stabilize your body and control your balance and posture. A: The great news here is that yes, you will definitely lose weight, body fat and increase muscle mass by working out with kettle bells.
The kettle bell is ideal for weight loss as its low impact and can really help to torch the fat and accelerate your results and gains. You’ll build solid lean muscle mass and strength while at the same time giving your body a proper cardiovascular workout.
There’s little wonder then than kettle bell training is loved by so many and seen as a bit of a 1-stop-shop for increasing your fat loss results and delivering definition. Ben Coleman is our resident sports and fitness product expert who offers a wide range of information in this field.
Unlike a treadmill or elliptical, kettle bells probably aren’t going to become an eyesore in the corner of your bedroom and still provide a few heart-pounding workouts. They’re more versatile than the same old hand weights, though, so you can create an exercise regime that’s tailored to your specific fitness goals.
Buying a kettle bell probably doesn’t seem that difficult, but many factors actually affect how well this equipment fits into your workout routine. Finding the right model means knowing what materials to look for, what type of handles best meet your needs, and the proper weight to give you the best workout.
There’s good reason why they’ve become such a popular workout tool in recent years. When you swing them, you can elevate your heart rate quickly and burn up to 20 calories per minute, which is often more than you’d do in a cardio class at the gym.
The workouts utilize smooth, swinging transitions so your shoulders, elbows, and knees don’t take as much of beating as they would with jump training. Kettle bells can be worked into a variety of exercise forms, too, so you can use them with strength and power training, as well as with traditional cardio workouts such as running.
You can easily stash your kettle bells in a closet or under the bed, and still get the same intense workout you’d get from a five-minute sprint. However, the vinyl coating is prone to cracking and peeling, and the weight of the kettle bells is often inaccurate because the iron beneath may contain holes that are filled with another material.
“One-piece cast kettle bells are more durable than two-piece assemblies, as the juncture between the ball and handle is solid and more resistant to cracking.” When the iron is cast for the kettle bells, a seam is left across the center of the handle’s underside.
Higher end brands will file down the seam to create a smooth, even surface. Inexpensive kettle bells often don’t have this seam removed, which leaves a sharp edge that can cut your skin when you grip the handle.
Some exercises may require placing both of your hands around the handle, so you don’t want the fit to be too tight or uncomfortable. While most kettle bells are made of cast-iron or vinyl-coated cast-iron, their handles are available in several types of finishes, including bare iron, enamel, powder coating, and vinyl.
Bare iron provides a good grip, so you don’t have to worry about the equipment flying out of your hands. Powder coating has an even rougher texture, so this type of finish is a good option if you find that your hands get very sweaty during workouts.
Vinyl handles are best avoided because they don’t offer a good grip and have a tendency to crack and peel. Once you’ve chosen a kettle bell with the material, construction, and handles that you prefer, the most important question to answer is what size to get.
If you want an extremely well-made kettle bell that’s comfortable to grip and will stand up to intense workouts, opt for a model that’s approximately $25 to $28. “Exercisers experience an average heart rate of 93% maximum during a kettle bell workout.”
While kettle bells can provide effective aerobic exercise during a workout, they also cause a prolonged anaerobic burn after you’ve completed your routine. A kettle bell workout usually burns approximately 20 calories per minute, which is the equivalent of running at a six-minute mile pace.
For exercise, the Shaolin Monks in China lifted large padlocks that were very similar to modern kettle bells. However, it’s a good idea to have kettle bells in a couple of different weights so you can scale your workout up or down, depending on your goals.
From a weight training perspective, kettle bells can target most of the major muscle groups. Depending on your routine, you can work out your back, shoulders, arms, abs, hips, glutes, obliques, and/or legs.
The frequency of your routine will depend on the intensity of your workout, so it’s a good idea to consult with a trainer or fitness expert for advice. In general, working out every other day is a good average intensity program for beginners.
Well, anytime you want to know about a piece of equipment, a good place to start is asking “what do the pros use?” Take a look: However, there are some important things that they can teach us as we explore the pros and cons of the different options.
You don’t want an awkward shape with sharp corners, edges, welds or seams that are going to scrape your skin or be uncomfortable. An added bonus to professional-grade steel competition kettle bells is that all the different weights are the exact same size and shape.
This allows for a consistency that is very important at high levels of performance, but may not be a factor when you are just starting out. It is so that any paint chips, which will happen over years of use, do not affect your grip and tear at your skin.
Cast iron kettle bells are the most common type on the market and what we recommend you start with. They are what you will see most commonly in gyms, as well as what you would have seen on a Russian farm three hundred years ago.
No matter which style of kettle bell you choose, if you find the right brand they can be of extremely high quality and last you your entire lifetime. This is the first big question and it can be a tricky one to answer, since everyone's body and level of fitness is different.
Typically, for men, it is recommended to start with a 12-16 kg, depending on fitness and strength level. For women, I recommend starting with a 8 kg or 12 kg, then move up as you get fitter, stronger and more technically proficient.
There will be other exercises that are a bit more technical like the snatch, that you will need to perfect using the lighter option for a period of time. It still works out very affordable to buy a couple of them when you think about the huge variety of exercise you can perform with them.
Kettle bell exercises are widely diverse and normally focused on both high or low numbers of reps so just one or two can turn into months of training before you will need to think about the next weight. The cast iron kettle bells that are made from a single mold, can sometimes have a sharp seems under the handle so be sure to check for that if you can.
These days, many kettle bells are being sold with ‘sleeves’ around the body of the bell to make them more comfortable to use. Don’t worry if you can’t tell for certain if it has been welded or molded, as long as it feels solid, secure and there are no seams or burrs to pinch and scrape your skin, you’re on the right track.
This is to prevent rusting and to create smooth surfaces for your skin that can provide just the right amount of grip. Some companies bake their paint on, others use a powder coating process, and others use epoxy.
The important thing is that the finish does not cause blisters or pain when sliding in your palms repeatedly. Some users prefer a texture that is like a very smooth sandpaper, usually achieved by powder-coat paint jobs.
The rougher surface means less movement, and fewer blisters on sweaty hands than a smooth polish. It will minimize the risk of you losing grip and hurling lump of metal across the gym.
If you are able to do a hands-on inspection with your kettle bell, it is good to test that it rests completely flat on the floor. It should provide a stable base upon which you could put part of your body weight without worrying about it tipping to one side or the other.
You are going to want to do push ups or renegade rows in your training, for example, and you don’t want them tipping over and damaging your wrist. While adjustable kettle bells have come a long way since the first rickety designs, there are good reasons why they still aren’t used in many gyms or by coaches often:
— There are so many ways to use a kettle bell that when you have mastered basic exercises and are feeling stronger, there are always harder variations you can move onto with the same weight. — Kettle bell exercises require the bell to touch your body in a number of ways for up to 80 reps in a set.
While adjustable kettle bells are more often rounded in shape and attempt to take this into account, most brands still come with slots between weight plates that make them uncomfortable to use. Classic kettle bells are basically cannonballs with handles; they are one of the most durable pieces of equipment you can find.
The more moving parts introduced into an adjustable system, the more likely they are to wear down over time creating wobbling weight plates or all out malfunction. It is important to note that in the past couple of years, adjustable kettle bell technology has come a long way and will continue to do so.
If you weigh these pros and cons, do a little research and find a brand that you think is right for you, it may be the cheapest way to get a ‘full set’. The higher prices usually mean that the manufacturer has been able to be more precise and to take more care in producing the finished product.
I have tried to pick high quality brands that don’t break the bank for this whole guide. Kettle bells are a great bit of kit; they can combine strength, flexibility and endurance into one workout.
Though they were a little known and seldom seen piece of equipment just ten years ago, lately the kettle bell has become popular around the world. The simple piece of equipment, which originated on Russian farms around the 1700s, can do a surprising array of things for your body.
Kettle bell workouts are dynamic and often ballistic in nature, so they work multiple muscle groups at once in ways that mimic and support real world motion. Its wider handle makes it easier to grip with two hands (for the classic swing move), and its smoother finish is less likely to injure your skin over time.
Dragon Door was the first company to popularize kettle bells in America, which is why the most other brands simply copy that shape down to the millimeter. The Matrix Elite looks the same at first glance, but it features a slightly wider handle that won’t pinch your pinkies in two-handed positions.
It’s also designed so that kettle bells of different weights will rest on the same place on your forearm, regardless of their size—this is preferred by advanced users for one-handed work. Finally, we like that Kettle bells USA often has the Matrix Elite on sale for just a few dollars more than our budget pick.
It also has a slightly wider base that makes it more stable to hold in a plank position—something that advanced users will appreciate. If the goal is to learn kettle bell basics and use two-handed techniques, all of these bells are quite suitable, and being budget conscious (finding sales/free shipping) isn’t a bad route.
We (Keira and I) have trained more than 800 clients in kettle bell techniques since 2008, and we’ve taught multiple instructor certifications in the US and abroad. Kettle bell exercises combine cardiovascular and resistance training in one exercise—which means you’re improving conditioning (and burning fat) while building muscle.
While they’ve been around since the early 18th century (the word first appears in a Russian dictionary from 1704), kettle bells have experienced a huge resurgence in the fitness industry in the past 10 years. (Most recently, as the coronavirus pandemic forced people to work out at home, significant stock shortages have become the norm.)
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.
My wife, master ROC trainer Keira Newton, has an awesome YouTube page with all kinds of tutorials/workouts for kettle bells. In terms of credible resources on kettle bell techniques and workout ideas, here are a few great sources available digitally and/or in print:
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.
With these three, all kinds of single and double kettle bell work is easily achievable and scalable. 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. Cast-iron bells are more comfortable for two-handed grip positions, which beginners should master before moving onto the more challenging one-handed exercises.
It’s not worth paying extra unless you actually plan on competing—a slim minority of home kettle bell users. Photo: Mark BixbyUnlike with dumbbells, adjustable kettle bells aren’t a good buy.
A kettle bell should be capable of being thrown, dropped, and even juggled, so I would opt for single-forged metal that can stand up to a beating—and stay together in the process. 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. Vinyl-covered bells were created to protect floor spaces in commercial gyms and homes, but more often, the vinyl is there to smooth over the defects of a cheaply cast bell, and they often get criticized for very uneven handles that cause hand pain and tearing.
They were extremely uneven in terms of metal handle quality, had limited weight options, and they weren’t significantly cheaper than the budget options we ended up testing—you don’t even save money on shipping. 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). However, if a person is interested in exploring the full range of what kettle bell exercises have to offer (including the kettle bell snatch, which in lab testing has yielded a remarkable rate of burning 20.2 calories a minute over a 20-minute workout—the same rate of caloric burn as a 6-minute mile pace), a premium bell like the Matrix bell is definitely what they should opt for.
A poorly produced handle can rip callouses off the hands during snatching, and this test is where the bells differentiated themselves. 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. This means it performs identically, but is easier to hold in a push-up position for the sometimes-precarious renegade row —typically done with two kettle bells of the same size.
Like the Dragon Door and Matrix Elite, the First Place has a smooth, seamless handle, few surface defects, and a high-quality finish. 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. Interestingly, the Rogue bell has a 4.9-star rating on its website, with more than 100 reviews at the time of this guide's publication.
Chad Settler, John Forward, Carl Foster, and Mark Andes, Kettle bells: Twice the Results in Half the Time?, ACE Fitness Matters With the explosion of kettle bell training over the last 10 years there are now many shapes and sizes available to buy.
Common kettle bell exercises involve swings, lifts, and presses, but unlike weightlifting or powerlifting, kettle bell training can be performed bilaterally and unilaterally in all planes. The Single Arm Dead lift exercise can be performed with any type of kettle bell :
As you can see from the competition kettle bell image above the handle is much smaller and is squarer in design. The advantage of these types of kettle bells is that your hand doesn’t slide around due to the limited space plus you can get used to the size even when the weight changes.
If you choose to go for the cast iron kettle bells then there is still a few more things that you need to know before you buy. Make sure you don’t buy a kettle bell with a handle that’s too thick.
A kettle bell with a handle that is too thick is going to quickly tire out your forearms and finishing repetitions of an exercise can be very tough. The bottom of the kettle bell should have a natural flat but it shouldn’t have an attached rubber or plastic base.
Bases can be good for preventing marks on your floor but unfortunately they’re going to really dig into arm and into your body when you’re using the kettle bell. The fourth thing is to make sure that there are no sharp edges on the kettle bell handle.
Look out for kettle bells that have sharp bits of paint and also check where the handle meets the body that there are no small nicks that can cut into your hands. Avoid a kettle bell that’s a round ball with a big, sharp handle stuck on the top
There should be a nice smooth bit of continuity with the kettle bell from the body into the handle. If the handle spacing is too small you’re going to find it really digs into your wrists when in the racked position or overhead.
If it’s too big, then the kettle bell will lie too far down on the arm and it’s going to dig into your forearm. It seems to be trendy to coat kettle bells in vinyl or plastic to avoid marking floor etc.
However, due to the huge rise in popularity there are now many weight sizes in-between the ones listed above. The great news is that if you make the right purchase you will only need to buy a few of the best kettlebells, and they will last you for a lifetime.
8 kg (17lbs) — perfect starting weight, great for learning the basic movements and later Turkish get ups 12 kg (26lbs) — used for the two handed swing to begin with and then later many other exercises 16 kg (35lbs) — perfect progression for the two handed swing when more advanced to compliment the 12 kg If you feel that 8 kg is too heavy for a starting weight then you need to understand the type of exercises you will be performing.
12 kg (26lbs) — perfect for beginners with no weight lifting experience, great for beginner Turkish get ups 16 kg (35lbs) — starting weight and great for swings and most single-handed exercises 24 kg (53lbs) — great progression for the two handed swing and later other single-handed exercises At a later date more experienced kettle bell practitioners may work on overhead presses with the 32 kg plus may need to bridge the gap between the 16 kg and 24 kg with a 20 kg for single-handed exercises.
I have to say that I’ve learned the hard way and bought lots of kettle bells that turned out to be completely useless. Here are one brand that I have consistently used over the past few years without any problems, they are very reasonably priced and available on Amazon.com in the USA:
For those based in the UK, head on over to Wilkerson Fitness and check out their black series of kettle bells. Cast Iron kettle bells are the most diverse and excellent for beginners and almost anyone not interested in going in to competition.
If you are more advanced and want to focus on purely single-handed exercises than the competition kettle bell may be for you. I’ve also outlined above what size kettle bell women should use and also the recommend starting weights for men too.
Four testers were chosen (two females and two males), all of whom had a good amount of experience in the use of kettle bells. We then tallied the scores from the three raters on each of the following categories: appearance, use for the swing, value, durability, and use for the snatch and clean.
Thus, there are some omissions such as Dragon Door’s kettle bells, which used to be known for excellent quality (I used older ones a few years which were great). We also omitted the cheap, no-name brand kettle bells that we had accumulated over time (and usually sat in the back corner as no one wants to use them).
They have a great surface that holds chalk for competition-style usage, but the handle also provides enough grip. The color stripe around the handle allows for quick identification of the weight.
The Again Faster and Perform Better kettle bells were at the bottom of the appearance list as they look quite similar, except the rubber plate on the bottom of the Perform Better bell (these are the kettle bells Clark Kent would use; mild-mannered but effective). Many people just learning the kettle bell use it primarily for a two-handed swing movement or some sort of dead lift.
The Valery Federico is a competition-style kettle bell and has a handle made for one-handed movements. The Rogue kettle bell is a bit rougher and might be easier to keep a grip on when hands get sweaty.
It has a notch on the top where the forearm sits, which just calls for you to clean it when you take it out of the box. It was created for competition-style lifts where a person is performing many cleans or snatches, and as such it excels in this category.
The Perform Better and Again Faster kettle bells matte finish may feel good initially, but the smoothness can become almost sticky and lead to ripped callouses. The Perform Better kettle bells were a bit higher priced, but there are often better deals ($89.99 + $37.14 shipping for a 24KG).
The Valery Federico kettle bell ($221.00 with free shipping for a 24KG) is a high-end model and the cost reflects it. Again, if Bruce Wayne were equipping his garage with kettle bells, cost would not be an issue.
The Valery Federico kettle bell is made to be sanded and painted. Summary : A competition style kettle bell with great looks and durability.
Cons : A competition style does not allow for two handed grip; expensive. Cons : Matte finish can be tough on grip, rubber plate on bottom can snag ground.
Kettle bells have become a popular fitness tool over the last decade, and for good reason. I’ve learned through trial and error that kettle bells are not all created equally.
It’s important to consider several factors when choosing a kettle bell, which is why I put together this guide to answer common questions. Competition kettle bells are typically differentiated by color coding.
Both types of kettle bells will work for general home fitness purposes. The main advantage of classic cast-iron kettle bells is a lower overall cost.
The main advantage of competition steel kettle bells is the consistent size. These kettle bells aren’t designed to be used in competitions, so they don’t have to meet stringent weight tolerance requirements.
They can therefore be offered at a lower cost than true competition kettle bells while retaining the benefit of consistent sizing. They tend to be cheap and well reviewed on sites like Amazon, but don’t be led astray.
There are a few companies making kettle bells with faces on them, like monkeys, zombies, skulls, etc. However, competition steel kettle bells shouldn’t be ruled out altogether.
Rapid progress can be made with competition kettle bells, which may justify the higher cost. One is referred to as “hard style” training, which emphasizes powerful movement in a short period of time.
I own and use several types of kettle bells on a regular basis Kettle bells generally range in weight from 8 kg (18 lb) to 48 kg (106 lb). It’s important to choose the right weight to start with in order to learn proper technique.
However, such broad advice isn’t helpful without a baseline description of what ‘average’ is. If you’re a healthy and active person under 40 years of age with no history of injuries or back pain, the standard advice will probably apply.
If you spend a lot of time sitting, are above 40, or have a history of injuries or back pain you may benefit from starting with a lower weight. As you advance in your training there will always be more challenging ways to use your first kettle bell.
The kettle bell surface and handle should be smooth and free of artifacts left over from the casting process. You should not have to file or sand down the handle — this is indicative of a low quality kettle bell.
Imperfections on the handle can pinch or cut skin during movements, and a wobbly bottom hinders the kettle bell from providing a stable base for exercises that require the bell to act as a platform. For cast-iron kettle bells, the coating on the handle must provide enough traction to keep hold of with minimal need for chalk while still allowing the handle to rotate smoothly in the palm with minimal friction.
Handle diameters for competition steel kettle bells will be a uniform size regardless of manufacturer, which is good and bad. In that review, I make a point of discussing handle dimensions for each brand.
I don’t recommend buying an adjustable kettle bell as your first purchase. You can always reconsider a quality adjustable kettle bell later if you decide it will help you achieve your ongoing fitness goals.
I’ve had the opportunity to work extensively with kettle bells from many major manufacturers. For simplicity’s sake I’m going to focus on a handful of companies making some of the best kettle bells available.
These recommendations come from my personal experience in seeking the best kettle bells for home use. Third, and most importantly, the Matrix Elite Precision line is designed to rest on the same place on your forearm regardless of size.
Kettle bells USA also makes a Classic E-coat that is similar in style and coating to Dragon Door kettle bells, but with a higher quality finish and much lower price. The main benefit of a powder coat over an e-coat is a reduced need for chalk.
I train with kettle bells primarily at work and at home, and I can’t use heavy chalk at either location. The powder coat finish on the Kettle bell Kings Powder Coat kettle bells provides just enough texture to maintain a good grip with sweaty palms without needing chalk.
The feel of the kettle bell was a prime consideration for the design and the care that was taken with it definitely shows. The finish is very clean and slightly rough, with one of the most durable powder coatings I’ve seen.
The combination of the finish and coat result in a handle that will hold a lot of chalk, but you’re probably not going to need it unless you sweat buckets. The intent is to increase comfort while holding the kettle bell overhead and in the rack position.
I’ve found the curve of the handle to have a noticeable difference on my training. The curved handle fits nicely in my palm and I can definitely tell my grip strength lasts longer when I use this kettle bell.
The Paradigm Pro Elite kettle bells are designed from the ground up to be high precision fitness tools. These kettle bells are cast as a single piece of steel with no seams, burrs, or welds and no filler material.
This is just an all around well-made kettle bell that is very comfortable to use for long periods. The handle window is wide enough to fit two hands in, which is great for two-hand swings.
There are no surface imperfections visible to the eye and the handle are very smooth to the touch. This type of coating allows for high-rep snatch and swing sessions without the need for chalk.
These kettle bells are weighted in five pound increments rather than kilograms, removing the need to do kilogram-to-pound conversion math in my head. There are several factors to consider when choosing a kettle bell, and this guide should answer most common questions.
I sincerely hope you’ve found this kettle bell buyers guide to be useful. If you have questions that I didn’t cover, add them in the comments and I’ll do my best to address them.
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.
But resistance is assistance, so going too light or too heavy can compromise technique — not to mention increase your risk of injury with the added momentum of most moves, Brown adds. The general rule of thumb is the more joints involved, the heavier the kettle bell weight you can use.
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.
“Most use a goblet squat solely as a mobility exercise — they get low and do a hip pry. “It teaches a powerful hip snap and can be a great bicep and PEC builder — but it’s difficult to master the clean unless you really have your swing dialed-in,” Lopez says.
Turkish Get-Up This move involves a lot more than just lying down and standing up with a weight overhead. “The get-up is known in most training circles as the perfect exercise because the whole move — all 14 steps — includes every possible human movement pattern,” Lopez explains.
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.
Assuming you’ve been to at least one session with a kettle bell professional and are ready to get started, here is what I recommend based on gender. A new female kettle bell trainee might pick up the weight, and automatically try to perform a 1- arm upright row (without one thought of lifting technique, mind you), and immediately exclaim, “I can’t lift that!”
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).
If you do this, you will never perfect your form, you will never progress to heavier weights, and you will not achieve the real benefits that kettle bells have to offer. Unlike women, most men will look at the 16-kg kettle bell starting weight and say, “That’s way too light!
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.
Some other aspects of kettle bell design to consider are: grip diameter, grip width, ball diameter, and the distance from the top of the ball to the bottom of the handle. This workout will make you so beefy, Hollywood would be crazy not to cast you in the next Marvel movie!
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.
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.