Which kettlebell sets are best?
Dumbbells and barbells have dominated gyms and home workouts for a long time, but in recent years kettlebells have begun to jump in popularity. They are named after their kettle like appearance—with a larger bell-like bottom and a thick handle on top.
Kettlebells offer unique benefits that other weights like dumbbells might not offer. While there are tons of great kettlebells on the market, the Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell really shines with its ergonomic handle and the ability to switch between 8-40 lbs on a single kettlebell, meaning you won’t outgrow it.
What to know before you buy a kettlebell set
Kettlebells are less beginner-friendly
Because of the design of the kettlebell, it is more unbalanced than something like a dumbbell or barbell (which has evenly distributed weight on both ends). Kettlebells can be handled with one or two hands, but the shape of the weight will be harder for absolute beginners to get used to.
Kettlebells are still great for beginners, but using proper form will be essential to both avoiding injury and getting the most out of a kettlebell workout.
Barbells might be better for building muscle
A lot of people ask if barbells or kettlebells are better for weight training. Both have their own advantages, but if gaining muscle mass is the main priority, barbells allow you to lift a heavier load than a kettlebell. This is because you can stack weights on both ends of the barbell. Most kettlebells just have one weight, and in fact, many kettlebells are made of just cast iron slab.
Kettlebells are still great for weight training, but bodybuilders might prefer to use barbells more often than kettlebells due to the variable weight.
Kettlebells are great for certain types of exercise
The most famous exercise with a kettlebell is a swing. They are also commonly used for squats, lunges and carries. Many kettlebell exercises are quick movements that initiate muscle contractions and burn fat and calories. Kettlebells offer a blend of weight training and light cardio. This can help you combine your workout and save you time.
The most popular kettlebell exercise is the kettlebell swing, but they are also great for squats, lunges and push exercises. A lot of these exercises activate back muscles, and due to the handle, kettlebells might strengthen your forearms more than other weights.
What to look for in a quality kettlebell set
The handle matters
Beginners may assume that all kettlebells are basically the same, but this isn’t true. It’s important to take a closer look at the handle of the kettlebell.
- First, assess the size of your hands. If you have small hands, a thicker handle is going to be harder to grip and more painful to use. If you have bigger hands, you may want a bigger handle. Some people want the extra forearm burn.
- Is the kettlebell one piece of cast iron or steel or is the handle welded on. If the handle is welded on, the kettlebell has a much higher chance of breaking.
- Thicker handles can also be harder to fully close your hand around. This will make doing exercises like swings where the kettlebell has a lot of motion much harder to execute.
- Competition kettlebells, which are made of steel, have a handle between 33mm and 35mm. Cast iron kettlebell handles will vary.
Cast iron or competition (steel)
One big advantage to steel is that it is harder than cast iron. They are more durable, but at the same time, they are also far more expensive. Steel kettlebells have the same dimensions no matter the weight, and they are great for one-handed exercises. The lack of versatility makes them less ideal for beginners and people who want to do two-handed exercises.
Cast iron kettlebells are not as durable as steel weights, and they are not suitable for competition use. However, they are much cheaper, and there is far more variance than with steel kettlebells. You can do two-handed exercises with cast iron kettlebells, and it is much easier to find a kettlebell that suits your needs. They can also come with different coatings that makes them easier to grip/
Choose the right weight
It’s really important to choose the correct weight for your skill level and the type of exercise you are doing. Kettlebells can be bought anywhere from 5lb to 100lb, and they tend to increase in increments of 4,5, or 9lb.
Make sure you consider your age, fitness level, the type of exercise you are doing, and how much experience you have with weight lifting. If you are not sure, you could go to the local gym or health store and try a few exercises with kettlebells to get a better idea of what weight you want.
Kettlebell set FAQ
What is the advantage of a coated kettlebell?
Some cast iron kettlebells are painted with a coating that makes it easier grip and more resistant to damage like scrapes and chips. A coated kettlebell is shot with a dry powder then heated to harden the coat and make it more protective.
Can kettlebells be used for cardio as well as weightlifting?
Adults are recommended to get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week and a kettlebell is a great way to mix cardio and weight training. Due to being lighter than a barbell, kettlebell exercises can be performed longer with more reps. Routines like exercising for 60 seconds with a 30 second break or just going for high reps will jack up your heart rate as well as burn calories. A kettlebell is a versatile weight that can be used for both cardio and weight training.
What’s the best kettlebell set to buy?
Top kettlebell set
What you need to know: This kettlebell has changeable weights from 8 to 40 lbs, and it takes up almost no space compared to other weights.
What you’ll love: This kettlebell is budget friendly, costing less than $200 dollars. The weights can be changed in mere seconds by turning a knob on the top of the weight. You won’t need to buy any other kettlebell if you own this.
What you should consider: The outside is made of a plastic outer shell, which is more breakable than cast iron.
Where to buy: Sold by Bowflex
Top kettlebell set for the money
What you need to know: This is a budget friendly kettlebell that is great for beginners that comes with a wider handle and a black paint finish.
What you’ll love: There are different set options from 10-30lbs. The wider handle will make it easier to do many two-handed exercises. There is no welding, and the handles are built right into the actual kettlebell.
What you should consider: The bottoms are slightly more rounded than other kettlebells, so they might not sit flat on all surfaces.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This adjustable kettlebell has 5-40lb cast iron plates and comes with a black powder coating and a handle with a wide grip.
What you’ll love: This is the only kettlebell you will ever need to buy thanks to the adjustable weight. It is cheaper than almost any other adjustable kettlebell on the market, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. The wide grip makes it very beginner friendly.
What you should consider: Weights must be taken out manually, and some people experienced pain when some of the top weights were missing.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Stephen Morin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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