Finding The Best Kettlebells for At-Home Athletes
Being a beginner in the world of fitness is hard enough as it is – let alone when you’re working out at home all by yourself. I’ve been there. What’s the right equipment for your needs? How should you use all those tools to get the maximum benefits? And if some are so praised, how can you know which are the best kettlebell for your needs?
This guide won’t create the perfect solution that will put you in shape instantly. However, it will answer your most important questions, tips and tricks and honest product reviews. Working out at home can be both fun and effective, so let’s dive in!
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What are the advantages of at-home exercising?
Many athletes prefer exercising at home. If you exercise at home, you don’t have to deal with the time and expense of working out at a gym. At home, you can workout on your schedule. You don’t have to wait for equipment to be available. Also, some gyms only allow people 16 years and older to use their equipment. At home, anyone can work out, regardless of their age. Finally, when you workout at home, you avoid the anxiety and embarrassment some people experience at the gym (1).
Is kettlebell training a good additional exercise?
At home kettlebell training makes for a great cross-training exercise. Endurance athletes, like runners, swimmers, and cyclists, can use kettlebell training as a combined cardio and strength training workout.
Non-endurance athletes, like football, soccer, and basketball players, can also use kettlebell training to build their strength. Kettlebell training is a way to break up the monotony of traditional strength training workouts.
General benefits of kettlebell training at home
Kettlebells are the perfect piece of equipment for training at home because:
- You can use them for both cardio and strength training
- You don’t need a lot of space or equipment to get a good workout
- They help improve your grip strength and stability
- They can be used for a fun and unique workout
The risks of kettlebells training at home
Before you start kettlebell training at home, you should be aware of the potential risks. Some kettlebell exercises (like kettlebell swings) require a lot of space. If you don’t have enough space, you might accidentally hit objects around you. Also, when you work out at home without a trainer, you might not perform the exercise correctly. Or, you might not use the right amount of weight or you might workout too long. These scenarios could all potentially lead to serious injuries (2).
Most useful exercises for at-home kettlebell training
Kettlebells are a useful piece of equipment because you can use them for a variety of exercises. Some of the most useful exercises that can be done at home with kettlebells are (3):
- Swings: Swings can work your shoulders, back, glutes, core, quads, and hamstrings. To complete the swings, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the kettlebell with both hands and bring it behind your back (through your legs), Swing it out in front of you to shoulder-level. For more of a core workout, only hold the kettlebell with one hand.
- Halo: Kettlebell halos are an intense shoulder workout. Hold the kettlebell handle with both hands and bring it around your head in a “halo” formation.
- Lunges: Kettlebell lunges can work your core, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. For this workout, hold the kettlebell to your chest and step back into a lunge. You can also hold kettlebells during side lunges for an extra challenge.
- Presses: Presses work your shoulders, triceps, glutes, and core. Kneel or stand should width apart. Hold the kettlebell in one hand near your shoulder. Press your arm straight up and bring it back to your shoulder.
- Squats: Kettlebell squats can work your core, triceps, shoulders, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Similarly to lunges, simply add a kettlebell to a traditional squat for a more intense workout. Hold the kettlebell to your chest as you squat down. As you stand up, press the kettlebell with one hand above your head.
Main types of kettlebells available right now
Before you select the best kettlebell for you, make sure you understand the different varieties available. Kettlebells vary in their weight measurements, castings, and finishes (4).
Kettlebells are available in pound or kilogram measurements. Essentially, there are no major differences between pound or kilogram kettlebells. You just need to decide what is more comfortable for you.
PROS of Pound Kettlebells:
- If you are American, you are probably more familiar with pound weight measurements
- These usually increase in 5-lb increments
CONS of Pound Kettlebells:
- Kilograms are more common internationally
- Kilogram kettlebells are used for competitions
PROS of Kilogram Kettlebells:
- These are available in more weight increments than pound kettlebells
- These are used in international kettlebell competitions
CONS of Kilogram Kettlebells:
- Americans are less familiar with kilogram weight measurements
In addition to the weight measurements, kettlebells are available with different castings. The two main types of castings are multicast and single cast.
Multicasting is the less precise way to cast kettlebells. The handle and bell are cast separately and attached later.
- Often have accurate weight and dimensions
- Typically have a smooth finish
- The handle can crack and separate from the bell
Single casting is a process where a single piece of metal is molded into the kettlebell shape.
- Single-mold kettlebells are very durable
- Weight is usually very accurate
- There are often imperfections if molded by hand instead of a machine
Finally, kettlebells are made from different materials and finishes. These include cast iron, steel, powder coatings, plastic, and rubber.
Cast Iron: This is the traditional type of material used for kettlebells.
- Not as aesthetically pleasing as other kettlebells
- Not always well made
Steel: The common alternative to cast iron kettlebells.
- More durable than cast-iron
- Used in competitions
- Often made with a sawdust filler, which can get damaged over time
- Often more expensive than other kettlebells
Powder: A durable type of paint that is often added to cast iron kettlebells.
- Smooth finish
- Allows for a good grip
- If they are not made properly, the powder can crack
- If they are not made properly, the finish won’t be very smooth
Rubber: This is a common coating for cast iron kettlebells
- Thin handles
- Designed to protect your workout space
- Handles might be too thin for some people
- Handles can rust over time
Plastic: The most basic kettlebell coating option.
- Perfect “first-timers” kettlebell
- Not as good for experienced kettlebell athletes
- The cheapest (and sometimes lowest quality) kettlebells available
What is the criteria for choosing a kettlebells set?
First, you need to decide your workout intention. Are you interested in becoming a kettlebell athlete or do you simply want an alternative at home workout? Serious athletes should consider steel kilogram kettlebells. For example, at-home athletes will get a great workout from rubber-coated cast iron kettlebells. This material produces considerably less noise, so you won’t disturb your neighbors or family while training. Furthermore, rubber prevents the floor from scratching regardless of which exercise you perform.
Also, make sure the handle feels good in your grip. You don’t want it to be too smooth or too rough. You should have enough space to grip the handle without your hand touching the ball of the kettlebell.
Finally, decide what weight will work best for you. We don’t recommend adjustable kettlebells. Instead, start with one weight. You can later purchase a second kettlebell (in a higher or lower weight depending on your needs). For beginners, men should start with a 12-16kg kettlebell and women should start with an 8kg kettlebell.
The Best Kettlebells
Kettlebells are a helpful piece of equipment for at home exercising because they can be used for efficient cardio and strength workouts. They are a time and money-saving option because you don’t need to pay for a gym membership to get a decent workout.
There are a lot of kettlebell options available, which is why we researched the best kettlebells for at home exercising. We looked at weight measurements, casting, and coatings before making our selections, so now let’s have a look.
The Pink CAP Kettlebell is an 18-pound weight. Although this is heavier than we recommend for beginners, this is a decent kettlebell for competitive athletes. It is a powder-coated cast iron weight.
There is plenty of space between the handle and the bell. The grip is a texturized power-coat, which allows for a solid grip. The pink color helps you easily recognize the weight of this kettlebell, especially if you own multiple kettlebells.
- Smooth powder coating covers the cast iron
- Made from a single-mold of cast iron
- Color-labeled so the weight-level is easily identifiable
- Some people might find the texturized handle is uncomfortable
The Amazon Basics kettlebell is available in a variety of weights, ranging from 10lbs-60lbs. This is a single-mold cast-iron kettlebell. It is painted to avoid rusting. The wide handle is textured to help improve grip. This is a basic kettlebell that is perfect for any workout level – whether it may be beginner or advanced. It is inexpensive and comes with a 1-year warranty. It is a simple but effective kettlebell.
- Made from a single-mold of cast-iron
- Painted to help prevent rust
- This kettlebell is available in a variety of weights
- Simple kettlebell that is not intended for competition
REP Fitness offers kettlebells ranging from 1kg-44kg. This is a single-mold cast-iron kettlebell. The handle is lightly texturized and covered in a SmoothGrip matte power. At the base of each handle, a color coating is used to label each weight. This helps if you own multiple kettlebells.
This kettlebell comes with a 90-day warranty. Also, each weight is labeled with both kg and lb measurements.
- Made from a single-mold of cast iron
- Marked with both KG and LB measurements
- A texturized powder coated handle helps improve your grip
- Rust easily develops when the powder flakes off
The Yes4All kettlebell is a single-cast iron kettlebell. It is covered in a vinyl coating. The wide handle is smooth and slightly-textured. It is available in a variety of weight measurements ranging from 5-50 lbs. This vinyl-coated flat-bottomed kettlebell is perfect for the at-home athlete. You won’t need to worry about damaging your flooring with this kettlebell. It also comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
- Made from a single-mold of cast iron
- Vinyl coating and flat-bottom protects your floors
- Wide and textured handle helps improve grip
- Only available in lb, not kg, measurements
Perform Better offers a variety of kilogram kettlebells, ranging from 8kg-40kg. These single-cast kettlebells are made from steel, not iron. The colored paint helps distinguish the different weight measurements. The handles are unpainted. This is a more-expensive kettlebell than others we reviewed. But, if you are looking for a competition-style kettlebell, this might be the one for you.
- Steel kettlebell that is ideal for competitive athletes
- Painted coating to help distinguish weight measurements
- Wide handle is sanded and unpainted
- The handle needs additional prep to feel comfortable
All of the kettlebells we reviewed could be useful for at-home athletes. These are all single-mold kettlebells available in a variety of weight measurements. However, after reviewing the kettlebells, we selected the REP Fitness Kettlebell as our favorite.
This single-mold cast iron kettlebell is marked with both lb and kg measurements, which is useful for competitive and at-home athletes. It also offers a textured wide-grip handle. This kettlebell is available in a variety of weights and is an affordable option for anyone looking to improve their physical condition.
Now you can start an effective cardio and strength exercise routine from the comfort of your home!