Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells - Which One is Right for You?

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Do you have a hard time deciding between kettlebells or dumbbells? Whether it is for your home gym or workout plan, continue reading to make the right choice for you. 

Both kettlebells and dumbbells have their benefits and are great in different ways. With that in mind, it can be hard to come down to which one is the right fit. As a manufacturer of both, we get this question all the time and are ready to "assist" you when choosing between these strength pieces. 

Below you will learn:

  • The benefits and differences between kettlebells vs. dumbbells
  • When to choose a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell or vice versa

What is the Difference between Kettlebells and Dumbbells?

The difference between kettlebells and dumbbells is the weight distribution, the shape, and the types of exercises you can do most optimally (kettlebell swings vs. bicep curls).  

Here is a helpful cheat sheet to learn the physical differences: 

Kettlebells

Dumbbells

Weight distribution

Below the handle

Evenly displaced on both sides

Handle

Can use one or two hands on handle more comfortably 

Can use only one hand on handle to be safer

Shape

Sphere with a handle extending from the top

Center bar with weights on each side

These physical differences affect your training by manipulating the amount of stress being put on your muscles and joints. This is why curling a dumbbell feels completely different than curling a kettlebell. Choose the right one for comfort and optimal performance. 

Use this quick reference guide to see what key areas kettlebells and dumbbells excel over one another. 

Kettlebells

Dumbbells

Improve Your Grip Strength

X

Pressing Exercises

X

Isolation Exercises

X

Explosive Exercises

X

Beginner

X

Dynamic Movements

X

Basic Movements

X

Small Progression in Weight

X

Build Muscles Mass

X

Coordination X

Unilateral Training

X

Bilateral Training

X

High Intensity Weight Training

X

Challenge

X

 

Building Core Strength

X

X

Athletic Movements

X

Most Versatile

X

Smaller Footprint

X

Greater Fat Loss

X

X

Lower Price

X

 

When To Choose A Kettlebell Instead Of A Dumbbell

You’ll want to choose a kettlebell over a dumbbell if your goal is to build dynamic strength. By performing the more popular kettlebell movements like swings and snatches, you will have multiple muscle groups working harder together than with dumbbells as they are easier to work out with. 

If you have been lifting weights for a while and need to challenge your workouts, pick up a kettlebell and put down the dumbbells. Kettlebell swing around while having more impact on your body weight which results in high-intensity and calorie burning sessions. Plus, because kettlebells usually have a thicker handle, your grip strength will improve compared to the dumbbell. 

For sports-focused training or if you are competing, opt for a kettlebell rather than a dumbbell. Kettlebells provide the challenge to stabilize the weight while lifting it at the same time compared to the dumbbell where it's easier to lift the weight. 

 

When To Choose A Dumbbell Over A Kettlebell

Choose a dumbbell over a kettlebell if you are looking to simply lift weights and gain strength. With dumbbells, you can do basic movements like bicep curls and still gain strength while with a kettlebell, it is more challenging to perform. The shape allows for more smooth and isolated movements helping you to focus on specific muscle groups. According to one study, there were significant improvements in strength found using dumbbells compared to doing dynamic movements with kettlebells. If you don’t have plans to perform more challenging movements and just want to focus on strength goals, then dumbbells are good enough.  

Dumbbells may also be a better choice than kettlebells if you are trying to reduce your risk of injury. In many cases, dumbbells can be easier to work out with and on your connective tissues because you’re focused on controlled movements while isolating specific muscles. Your muscles don't have to work too hard together as they would be with kettlebells. If you are a beginner, it is best to start with dumbbells and as you gain more strength and experience with proper form, then you can focus on kettlebells. Dumbbells are more simple yet still effective. 

In other words, choose based on your goals and fitness level when it comes to kettlebells or dumbbells. They are both great and have amazing benefits. If you’d like more guides like this, join our newsletter here or follow us on Facebook.  

 




Johana Hernandez

Author



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