Before you begin training you will need to get your hands on some good quality kettlebells, there is a lot of variations in designs, types and weights of kettlebells. Read this page in full so that you get complete knowledge on exactly what you need to buy, before making a silly purchase you might regret.
There are two main categories of kettlebells
- Professional grade steel kettlebells
- Standard cast iron kettlebells.
Other than the material difference between these two kettlebells, they also vary in size and the finish of the handle.
- Competition kettlebells are the same size for all weights, the lighter weights are hollow to make up the size
- Competition kettlebells have a bare steel finish which rolls better in your hands, essential for big lifts like the snatch
- Competition kettlebells fit specified size criteria and handle shape, thickness and width
- Standard kettlebells are are made from solid cast iron, therefore the heavier bells are larger
- Standard kettlebells have a painted finish, and the metal is not as smooth as the competition grade bells
- Sometimes the hand shape, thickness and width varies between sizes and between manufacturers.
More on competition grade kettlebells
From the image above you can see that the 20kg and 28kg are more or less exactly the same in size, the size is actually consistent from 8kg to 48kg. Not only are they the same size, but the shape of the bell and handle are exactly the same.
They’re manufactured to meet the exact criteria because they are used for sport, and competitions, therefore it’s essential that athletes train using the exact same size bells, so they are able to travel and compete using the same equipment wherever the competition is held.
This is why equipment in all sports is standardised and kettlebell training is no different. Standardisation allows you to practice using the same dimension kettlebells, so your body can get used to the shape of the bell. For exercises like the kettlebell press, snatch and clean you need to position your body in a certain way to perform the lift. So the size and shape of the bell effects how your move your body. This makes it essential to have consistent sizes for kettlebell athletes.
However it’s important to bear in mind that competition kettlebells are not necessary for hobby lifters, and given that competition kettlebells are more expensive, it’s preferable to get the standard kettlebells.
The bottom line
Unlike the fitness equipment you currently have at home. The kettlebell has no moving parts, it will last for hundreds of years. If you are serious about lifting and getting fit, then get the best kettlebells that you can afford. The dragon door standard grade kettlebells have the best finish by far and I would highly recommend them. They will last a very long time as well. I’ve kept mine in my outdoor garden gym and they’re still going strong 2 years running.
The chart below indicates some rough kettlebell weight guidelines. Ideally you will need 3 weights, the heaviest will be for the swing, the lightest will be for the press, and the medium will be for the snatch.
Bear in mind that unlike body-building you will not outgrow these weights for years, kettlebell lifting is for endurance, not strength. Therefore you can use the same kettlebell for other exercises or just for more repetitions.
The weight below is a guideline for the “medium intensity lift” like the snatch. Add more weight for the swing, and reduce weight for the press.
|Below average fitness level||12-16kg||8-12kg|
|Average fitness level||16-20kg||12-16kg|
|Good fitness level||20-24kg||16-20kg|
Best standard kettlebell package for men
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