T Nation

Don't get Kettlebells

The RKC claims that you can have it all with kettlebells. That just sounds too good to be true. The RKC says you can build massive amounts of power, strength, and endurance with them. It doesn’t make sense. To build power you have to have an adequate amount of weight to activate a large number of motor units. I can do KB clean with a 65lber and feel like I’m not even trying.

For power I think kettlebells aren’t that great. However, KB swings are good for developing power in hip extension. KB snatchs with heavy kettlebells generates a lot of power also.

I don’t see how KBs could be good for strength unless your your using 48kg kbs. Most gyms don’t have KBs that heavy.

I think kettlebells are probably best for endurance and calorie burning: light weight high reps. KBs are right at home for endurance training.

Maybe the exception is correcting muscle imbalances. Tsastsouline had perfect scores of Mike Boyles functional movement screen. So maybe that speaks for kettlebells if you know how to use them. Or maybe it just says Pavel is smart and knows how to train. Give me a kettlebell and I guarantee I’m not going to fix any of my muscle imbalances because I’m only going to do the shit I like.

I’m probably rehashing discussions that have already occurred. This is just the conclusion I came to after reading some of the RKC’s materials.

meahh.

Get kettle bells if you enjoy working out/warming up or training with them. Don’t buy if you feel they offer you nothing you can’t get from regular dumbbells.

No absolutes. Do what keeps you motivated.

They’re a tool, just like everything else. Don’t use a hammer as a screwdriver etc.

Archaic and not as versatile as standard barbells and dumbbells.

Most of the dudes at the gym who use them look like dorks anyway.

lol

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
They’re a tool, just like everything else. Don’t use a hammer as a screwdriver etc.
[/quote]

this. That’s like saying, don’t use machines, or don’t use DBs, etc.

I think they’re a great tool and wish my gym had heavy ones. that being said…

I really don’t get a lot of these programs that neglect major muscle groups. A program for a competitive olympic lifter may not have much chest work, but why would a sound general fitness program get so dogmatic? It seems like a waste of time to plug away hard at something that would give at best, mediocre results as far as strength and muscle.

to each their own I guess, everyone can’t be as perfect as us I guess ; )

I just use them on conditioning day, once a week. Great for warm up and hip workout. And that’s about it. They will never replace my DBs and BBs.

I recently built my own adjustable “kettlebell” with threaded pipe. It can hold six 25 lb plates. I have been doing swings lately and it is the best hamstring builder I have ever done. I think they have their place in some movements, especially if you go heavy.

I recently built my own adjustable “kettlebell” with threaded pipe. It can hold six 25 lb plates. I have been doing swings lately and it is the best hamstring builder I have ever done. I think they have their place in some movements, especially if you go heavy.

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
I recently built my own adjustable “kettlebell” with threaded pipe. It can hold six 25 lb plates. I have been doing swings lately and it is the best hamstring builder I have ever done. I think they have their place in some movements, especially if you go heavy.[/quote]

I’m interested in your adjustable kettlebell. Could you post a picture and a list of materials. Did it require extensive assebly? Did you have to weld things together or did you just screw pieces of the pipe together? I’d love to have a kettlebell with the option to go up to 150lbs. Just think of the power and hypertrophy I could build in my posterior chain.

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I use kettlebells for conditioning. They’re very versatile and portable, so I can take them into my gym’s cardio room and use them with the C2. Also taken them for outdoors/beach workouts etc.

Granted, a heavy BB is going to be the prime muscle builder. However, it doesn’t hurt to change things up and keep the program interesting.

I love them and use them for strength and conditioning. Heavy double kettlebell training will make you stronger. Are you going to put on a lot of size? No. I was the king of the 205 lb. bench press and had bad shoulders. I started using them 3 1/2 years ago and am stronger than I’ve ever been. You can use them for Turkish Getups, Double Military Press, Double Front Squats, Swings, Snatches, Loaded Carries, Rows and Complexes.

If you are looking to increase your bench and deadlift, it’s not the ideal tool. The nice thing about doing military presses is the weight is off center. Also, from the position in rack, your shoulders are in a much better position. Anyway, I’d recommend reading Mike Mahler’s materials on kettlebells.

irondwarf

kettlebells have been arund a long long time. hundreds of years…with the great marketing of crossfit these last 10 years, most gyms that never had bells carry them now. i agree, that MOST using them are not using them correctly, but there are a lot of guys , like myself, that use to do gymnastics, that are pretty good at working with the bells. i still havent seen a big bodybuilder at my gym do a turkish get up with even a lighter bell.they may be good at benches curls and other movements, but there are lots of movements they are not good at… even with a light bell. requires a lot of strength to do some of the bell exercises the correct way. not all that work with bells look like dorks. who looks like a dork, are the big bodybuilders who cant even do a few bell movements the correct way…

[quote]spk wrote:
irondwarf

kettlebells have been arund a long long time. hundreds of years…with the great marketing of crossfit these last 10 years, most gyms that never had bells carry them now. i agree, that MOST using them are not using them correctly, but there are a lot of guys , like myself, that use to do gymnastics, that are pretty good at working with the bells. i still havent seen a big bodybuilder at my gym do a turkish get up with even a lighter bell.they may be good at benches curls and other movements, but there are lots of movements they are not good at… even with a light bell. requires a lot of strength to do some of the bell exercises the correct way. not all that work with bells look like dorks. who looks like a dork, are the big bodybuilders who cant even do a few bell movements the correct way…[/quote]

Learning the KB is a skill. Comparing a untrained skill set in KBs is not really much of an argument. A BBer is not being assessed on their ability to wield a KB.

As for me, I BB, DB and KB all have space in a well designed program. I am considering KB for home use, daily swings and snatches to boost cardio, build hip movement/strength and get better in my grappling with consistent effort.

[quote]darkhorse1-1 wrote:

[quote]MytchBucanan wrote:
I recently built my own adjustable “kettlebell” with threaded pipe. It can hold six 25 lb plates. I have been doing swings lately and it is the best hamstring builder I have ever done. I think they have their place in some movements, especially if you go heavy.[/quote]

I’m interested in your adjustable kettlebell. Could you post a picture and a list of materials. Did it require extensive assebly? Did you have to weld things together or did you just screw pieces of the pipe together? I’d love to have a kettlebell with the option to go up to 150lbs. Just think of the power and hypertrophy I could build in my posterior chain.[/quote]

I used 1" galvanized threaded pipe. (2) 3" long for the handles (1) 12" long pipe for the plates (1) “T” coupling and (1) round flange at the bottom to screw on and hold the plates in place. Just screw the pieces together and it works fine. I used some duct tape on the handles because the threads cut into my fingers. It was just over $20 to make it.

[quote]pushharder wrote:
I too built a threaded pipe KB. Been doing swings with ~100 lbs, doing 5 x 10’s.

Do I think it’s effective? Yeah, but nothing special. Maybe I just haven’t done it long or heavy enough yet.

However, if I wanted to build significant power and hypertrophy in my posterior chain (like the previous poster mentioned) I surely would not rely on them. I’d do what I’ve been doing for years now:

Sumo and conv deads

Sumo and conv deads from a deficit

Heavy RDL’s in the 5 - 7 rep range.

Strict Good Mornings

Kroc rows[/quote]

I don’t know how they work for pure strength either, but they sure seem effective for size.

Unless you are a mutant, you can go far with a pair of 48kg kettlebells. double swings, double front squats, standing press or double clean and jerks will be a challenge for most. I have a pair of 55kg bells that are a little scary. IMO front squats with 2 48kg compare with a 300lb barbell front squat and prepare you better for what it feels like to lift unbalanced objects outside of the gym like bodies etc (I work in corrections and psych) doing double swings with the 48s i have been able to maintain 495lb deadlift without training DL and 315 barbell front squat from the KB front squats.

The ROM on a kettlebell press is better than with dumbells…I could go on and on but the kettlebell is much more dynamic because of the way it moves and if you have worked with them (especially with 2 bells at a time) you can appreciate what a cluster f it is to clean and press a pair of dumbells vs the fluidity of kettlebells.

Obviously if you want to do curls, benches and kroc rows you need some dumbells but kettlebells are incredibal tools. I could go on… greatest stuff in my gym…Kettlebells, sorinex 10inch strongman log, saftey squat bar, sorinex basecamp rack

If all you have is 65s try putting one in each hand and doing some double snatches…you can also swing two in one hand 130lb single arm swings or stack two and do presses though you need very strong grip…very versitile if you know how to work with them