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Kettlebell Q for Mike Mahler

Hiya! I recall on one thread that you mentioned you preferred the old-school cannonball types over the adjustable kettlebells that can take regular weight plates. May I ask why? And for anyone who uses this type of equipment, I’d like a range of opinions. I ask because it seems easier to have gradual weight progression with the adjustable kinds, but of course I have no experience with either. Thanks in advance!

One of the major reasons is the rounded shape of the dragondoor models. It is easier to absorb shocks that come with cleans and snatches with a nice round shape with lots of surface area as compared to the adjustable models where your arms and wrists will be hit with the sides of the plates (less surface area).

Jason took the words right out of my mouth. I agree and the dragondoor ones are just much more user friendly. The plate loading ones might be beneficial for pressing since going up gradually is possible with the plate loading one. The plate loading one will get the job done and is an okay option if you do not have much money. However, the dragondoor ones are far superior and much more fun to throw around.

If I may be so bold to jump in here, I just wanted to add that Mike and Jason are 100% correct. Dragon Door’s are much more comfortable, and as Mike said, “fun to throw around”.


Having said that, I wrote an article that shows you how to make a plate-loaded one for an insanely low amount of money. Follow the link: http://xtremeconditioning.com/ Equipment/Kettlebell.htm (remove space before Equipment)

I agree with the others. The dragondoor kbell is more comfortable and easier to use…in a way. I am using Renegade Training, so I do kbell swings, snatches, cleans and jerks each day. At the gym, I use a dumbbell. At home, I use my kbell. I’ve noticed that the dumbbell hits my wrists and is quite uncomfortable compared to the kbell. The thing that makes the kbell more difficult is the thicker handle, but that’s a good thing in the long run. I would imagine the plate-loading kbells are more like using dumbbells and thus are a little more uncomfortable.

I was wondering what weight kettlebell you guys are working with. I don’t want to give up my first born for a full set at dragondoor so I was thinking about investing in the adjustable handle. Are you guys mainly using a light one for lots of reps or is it more beneficial to use one of the heavier ones?

I use an 88lb kettlebell and 2 70s for all of my exercises. The 70s are really light for me for high rep work(I can do 20 snatches with the 88lb) and oftern use the 88lb bell for most of my work. OF course, I do like the 70s for double presses, double swings, double cleans and presses etc(By double, I mean 2 kettlebells at one time)

I have a 16kg kbell (~35lbs). I do it for reps in some exercises (one-arm snatches), and for lower reps in others (one-arm military press). I haven’t made the jump to th 24kg kbell because it may be too much of a jump for me. I’ll consider it later down the road. I still get a great workout with the 16kg kbell.

I’ve just started using the 36 lb kettlebell. For high rep circuit work, it is great. I’ll probably pick up a 53lb kbell at Mike’s Santa Monica workshop coming up. Right now, since I’m using kbells only on off days for conditioning, I’m ok with the 36 pounder, but if I was planning to do a lot of my training with kbells, I’d definitely need the heavier weights.

How much of a difference is there between kettle balls and dumbbells? I am considering buying some, but am unsure of what weight to purchase.

Ko from what I know about your strength, I think that you would do well with a 53lb bell. Depends on what you want to do with it. Feel free to send me an email to mahler25@yahoo.com and give me some details on your current strength and I will be able to offer more insight. Feel free to post here of course as well.