T Nation

Experience with Kettlebells?


#1

Hi, are there any people who have tried kettlebells in spite of being sceptical about them? With kettlebells you seem to get either absolute love or hate, and I'm interested the opinions of people who are not on either extreme.

I realize they are just tools, but do you think they are worth the price?

I'm thinking about buying some, mostly just because it seems fun to swing an iron cannonball around. And right now I can use some fun in training to stay motivated. Also, I need a break from heavy (for me) lifting. But the price ...

Also, do you really need two KB's of each weight? Or are there enough exercises you can do with one? I'm thinking of getting a 24 and a 32 kg.

Any replies are welcome.


#2

My experience is this:

Anyone who swears by these and uses them obsessively is usually pretty small and weak.

I think they're a joke, personally, but it wouldn't hurt you to use them once in a while.

I just wouldn't be expecting anything great out of them...or really, anything at all.


#3

I think they're fun and quite versatile. The hate from some quarters is, I think, a reaction to over-hyping from some commercial promoters early on. I would advise an equipment priority list like this:

  1. Barbell and plates.
  2. Loadable DB.
  3. Junpstretch or IronWoody bands.
  4. Squat rack.
  5. Kettlebells.

I've got all this but the rack, which is why I still go to a gym, but I use the KBs frequently, especially for strength-endurance work. They are better for swings, cleans, and jerks than a DB. By better, I mean more comfortable in cleans and jerks, and the shape makes it easier not to clock your knees on swings. Many exercises are about the same as a DB, a few are harder with a KB, like curls.

If you want to buy them, just one will tell you if you like it, don't get two right off the bat. I'd wait just a little to get one, as there is very solid info coming my way that Lifeline USA is going to start selling them at a more affordable price than you're seeing now.


#4

depends what you are doing them for
as a speed training tool eg overhead throws, caber throws, they are quite
useful
and as a general warmup for throwing


#5

I enjoy kettlebells. One thing I learned about them is that they are great for rock climbers. They give you great endurance and strength in your forearms, shoulders, and back. When I was my best at climbing all I used was kettlebells and the wall. Good stuff.

One important thing to remember about them is that they are not the end all be all. People who bash them most likely haven't tried them. They give you a lot of exercise variation and give people a good break from the normal gym scene.


#6

If you have some 1" plates available, try starting with a Kettlestack. They are available from the Iron Woody company. You can do most exercises with them and adjust the weights.

I use one for swings, snatches and cleans when I'm in the mood. They work well for me when I need some variety, but I'm glad I didn't spend alot of money on a set of fixed weight Kbells.


#7

a useful training tool, but use in conjunction with other training tools.


#8

Like 'em. Better for swings, snatches, presses, and rows than DB. Like the fat handle for grip. Do you need them? No. But...

I do not regret my investment at all. They are helping me as Powerlifter and later i will use them for Complexes like row, swing, press, front squat, swing as a mainstay of my post PL conditioning.

jack


#9

thats pretty much exactly what i was going to say.....


#10

I like them for pull throughs, much better than a cable, can really nail the movement just right with them, I like a two handed grip on one heavy kB, just feels right.


#11

Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll go with the advice to just get one at first, a 24 kg. In Holland where I live they have only recently become available, but at a steep price.

Jack, I'm not a powerlifter but I'm curious. What KB exercises have you found useful for powerlifting? I know some of the Elitefts guys do Turkish get ups. Do you do anything else?

Thanks.


#12

Being in Holland, i'm not sure if this will be alot of help, but Mike Mahler [USA] will soon be releasing his own line of KBs.

They will be ALOT cheaper. And they should not sacrifice quality.


#13

Thanks. I like Mahler's take on kettlebells. He's clearly an enthousiast, but compared to Pavel he's the voice of reason. As he shows in the faq on his site, he loves them but doesn't claim they cure cancer.

www.mikemahler.com/exercises_page.html


#14

Hoffa,

i do arm bars, KB rows, one arm MP, bottoms up press, snatch, and swing. i have also done and will again use renegade rows, see saw press, and front squats. Alternating double cleans blow up my biceps but wear the skin off them.

i also throw them on my sled and pull them around.

i own 2 53s and 2 88s. Wish i had 1 88 and 1 106.


#15

I got a 24 kg a month or so ago, and i really enjoy it. i also got zech even-eshs dvd for combat athletes and he has some great stuff in it. Again like everyone else stick with the wieghts and use them in conjunction with a weight workout. I have noticed alot more power and size from my shoulders and traps since i got it. very happy with the purchase.


#16

KBs are fun. Nothing magical about them though, although KB flipping is an unbelievable dynamic grip exercise. In the US you can find them for much cheaper than what Pavel sells them for. Everything Track and Field has pretty good prices.

I'm wanting to get a 24 kg one and a 32 kg one, because the 16kg KB I have now isn't too challenging anymore for most things.


#17

Everybody, thanks for your replies. I found a place in Germany that sells them for half of the Dutch price, even with shipping (how did anybody ever buy anything before the internet?). I ordered a 24 kg, and if it works out, I'll get a 32 too.

I intend to try them for 2 or 3 months exclusively to get the hang of it. Then I'll go back to the gym at least part time, because I probably can't live without deadlifts. But I'm guessing and hoping that at least the change will help my motivation a lot.

If anybody is interested, I'll report back in a month or two on how they worked for me.

Thanks,
Hoffa


#18

They're a tool. I love them for throws. I love them for extra work...no changing of weights. If I walk into the garage, I'll pick one up and do some swings or something.

They are not the only tool one should use, but they are useful. Hey, if Dan John likes K-bells, then they are allllright with me.


#19

Slight hijack, but what do people think of plate loaded kettlebells as sold by Ironminds?


#20

I have KBs and love them.

They are expensive as hell, that's true, but don't try to pinch pennies if you decide to buy one (or two). I've used the KBs from manufactuers other than Dragon Door and they weren't nearly as good - the handles were too thick and/or the KB was not balanced. I'm not saying you have to buy a KB from Pavel, but at least you won't have to worry about the quality if you do.

As far as the plate loaded KBs go, it probably depends on what you are planning on doing with it. I can't imagine doing snatches, throws, or flips with it, but maybe you could - I don't know.