Kettlebells - Recommendations?

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Lemur
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Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by Lemur »

So lucky me my employer offers half-off on exercise equipment up to $500 a fiscal year. For instance, if I buy $200 worth of Kettlebells, I get $100 off and still have $300 worth of credit left. I have to charge to the corporate card to make the deal (can't use cash). I'm choosing kettlebells for strength training, lower back rehab (after much research from a guy name Andrew Lock), and ease of transportation and they don't take up much space. They also appear to retain value very well seeing as on Craigslist I noticed most try to sell near market value.

So ... good quality is important here. After much research, I've read of cases of consumer buying say a 20kg kettlebell and come to find it weighs usually less than that, but sometimes more. Seems that about $2.00 per pound is the market for kettlebells.

Any recommended brands? Quality is a must...I read that Rogue Fitness is good but reality is you're just buying a sphere of metal with a grip - brand doesn't matter...but then again quality might.

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by jacob »

I'm prob 15 years out of date, but Dragondoor/RKC was the original in the US and was generally considered the "best" by default.

You're not just buying a ball with a handle. The shape of the handle is important for how the bell lands on your wrist, how well it rotates, etc. Some are more comfortable, etc. than others. The shape of the bell determines the center of gravity. Ditto the surface coating.

I have one 24kg RKC left (I sold the other parts of my "collection") and DW has a 12kg RKC and a cheap 10lbs from something called CAP(?). My 24kg is 16 years old and aside from a nick that shows some bare metal, it looks as good as new. So does DW's 12kg. The CAP KB has the coating chipping off in various places and doesn't look good. It still weighs the same though. This is probably not that relevant if you just want to lift something. I suppose it's similar to whether it's important to pay $$$ for an Eleiko barbell, whether York is better value/price, or whether WMT brand (I bet they have one) is okay. From my perspective, if something is going to be the mainstay of my exercise routine, I prefer to own topline stuff. If it was just a "fun" gimmick that was to be used once in a while (Kettlebell Tuesday?) I'd just get a cheap second-hand from PlayItAgain Sports or something.

Add: Whatever you go for, stay away from adjustable weight KBs or ones covered in plastic.

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by Alphaville »

OTOH Amazon Basics sells them now and their products are usually a decent value? I’ve given them more than one look in the past but will wait to work with a coach post-pandemic before I commit to buy anything, much less anything pricey.

Then again pricey stuff might retain more of its resell value if/when dumping... 🤔

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by jacob »

I was able to sell my other RKCs for more than half of the new price I paid on craigslist. Store-brand would more likely be sold at whatever PIAS pays per pound. Keep in mind that shipping costs when ordering online are craptacular and should figure into the "new price". It is fun to see a 70lbs package finally defeat the UPS delivery guys who usually run everything in no matter how big, like, "What @#$@#$ is in this thing if you don't mind me asking?"

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by theanimal »

Amazon basics has cast iron kettlebells that are cheaper than what you can likely find elsewhere if you are worried about price. I have 2 and the quality is high. I use them almost everyday.

ETA: Sorry, didn't see alphaville's post above. If you want a high end brand, Onnit/Rogue is the way to go. But I don't think it's necessary.

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Lemur
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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by Lemur »

Thanks all...quality matters much more than I thought upon further reading as well as what material is coated with. I found a brand that is a good mix of quality & price: https://www.repfitness.com/rep-kettlebells these are going fast but I'm glad to have picked up one 16kg / 35lb for $81 including shipping (but I'll only end up paying $40.14)

Not bad...just need one kettlebell for now to learn some of the movement patterns and also more for rehab purposes - and see if this is a mainstay for me before I invest more.

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Lemur
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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by Lemur »

Also for anyone who deals with lower back problems (lower back pain in general, disc bulges / herniations, stenosis, etc), from what I've read, kettlebell swings are very effective for strengthening and building muscle in the multifidus muscle - which has been shown to be weaker or compromised in people with lower back conditions. That has been my primary motivator for looking into doing kettlebell training as I've been dealing with chronic lower back issues for about a decade now.

https://www.ironedge.com.au/blog/the-ke ... -problems/
- By Andrew Lock

Lumbar multifidus muscle degenerates in individuals with chronic degenerative lumbar spine pathology:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5677570/

I find this research fascinating...because 95% of doctors would recommend that their patients "stay away from weights or weight training" but if you don't strengthen the weak areas of your body...places that cause you pain...you won't get better.
Last edited by Lemur on Fri May 22, 2020 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by Alphaville »

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Last edited by Alphaville on Fri May 22, 2020 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lemur
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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by Lemur »

@Alphaville

Library book I have "Kettlebells for sport, strength, and fitness by Scott Shetler...recommends 16 kg for beginner male and 8 kg for beginning female. Sounds about right - plus I'm a bigger guy..use to weight train sporadically but since COVID haven't done much of anything.

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by Alphaville »

oh you’re right! i misremembered

https://youtu.be/cKx8xE8jJZs?t=492

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by jacob »

Back in the good ol' days when KBs were still a novelty on American soil, the standard recommendation from Pavel ("the evil Russian") was 24kg for normal males and 32kg for strong ones with 16kg and 40kg being for dweebs or freaks respectively. I don't recall exactly what words Pavel used. Anyway, 24kg is the standard Russian military weight and 32kg is the competition weight. 16kg might be the everyman CYA recommendation. The 24kg recommendation dates back to when the sport was mostly pursued by crossfitters, military people, ... and the likes.

A good way to estimate it is to consider that a normal workout has 100ish reps from floor to overhead in it (or 200 from floor to shoulder), so 100x50lbs x overhead = is 5000 overhead pounds which is respectable for an in-shape guy, whereas 3000lbs is beginner-level... which you'll quicky grow out of. A 24kg you can keep forever as your only workout weight and just add more reps/less breaks as you get stronger, so the idea was really that you needed one weight for life. This philosophy is different from standard sports where you get a slightly bigger weight and do the same.

FWIW, the RKC certification was IIRC 32 snatches with one arm followed by 32 with the other arm with the 24kg with no breaks allowed.

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by theanimal »

I highly recommend checking out Keith Weber's content. He does the Extreme Kettlebell Cardio series. HIIT with a kettlebell. His standard for that is the 16kg and doing one hour of his dvd will cure anyone of the notion that 16 kg bells are for dweebs.

anesde
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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by anesde »

In addition to what Jacob said on shape, make sure there’s no weld seam on the handle. The cheaper ones tend to have one and they’ll cut up your hands quickly.

For what it’s worth I bought a PROIRON one that was only slightly more than Amazon Basics and it’s served me well for daily use. I use a free app (“Kettlebell”) that mixes up different full body exercises.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/PROIRON-kettle ... B07KK7BC9F

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by jacob »

theanimal wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 3:52 pm
... one hour of his dvd will cure anyone of the notion that 16 kg bells are for dweebs.
Hehe, are you saying that you use 16kgs? ;) :P

But yes, it depends on the exercise routine/goals. Another rule of thumb I remember is to pick the same weight as you usually use for dumbbells for a given routine. So if you work out for strength mostly with a pair of 50lbs DBs for sets of 8-12 reps and plan to work on strength with KBs, you should go with one 50lbs KB. If it's conditioning mostly with a pair of 25lbs and dozens/hundreds of reps, pick a 25lbs KB, and so on.

Add: It also depends on whether one is using one or two KBs. Two KBs puts the same stress on the shoulders and arms as one KB, but twice as much on the core and legs. So there's that. Double-wielding used to be more of a specialty event, like the long cycle competition.

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by theanimal »

How can you tell? 8-)

There's also the possibility of upping the ante by adding a second kettlebell. Of course you can do this at a higher weight too and you are of course more badass.

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by Scott 2 »

You can work around handle problems by cutting up a sock and using it to protect your hands:

http://tracysfoodandthought.blogspot.co ... -hump.html

You can also file off burrs and use sand paper to smooth the handles. I bought a bunch of power max kettlebells and had to do that.

Dragon door and rogue bells are both nice. Rep looks similar.

There are also competition kettlebells with bare metal handles. They are the same size for every weight. I don't like them as much, personally.

16k is a great starting weight. Even if you get real into it and want to go heavier, you'll still have uses for the 16k. I might even go for a second one before moving up in weight. Lots of cool stuff you can do with doubles. Presses, squats, renegade rows, carries, etc.


Learning to use the kettlebells from video and books is a pain. If you can figure out how to learn from someone that knows how to use them, it is a big help. Especially for the ballistic movements. Using the hips was not intuitive to me. The release/catch pattern on the clean/snatch is hard to figure out too.

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Re: Kettlebells - Recommendations?

Post by naturelover »

I've used kettle bells alot and highly recommend kettlebells USA.

Also second RKC.

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