Thursday, October 6, 2011

How to Select a Kettlebell

I know I want to try these workouts soon. When people describe a strength-building exercise as "fun" repeatedly (by different people), it definitely gets my attention!

There are a ton out there. Some are cute and comfortable, and some appear to be smolted straight from the Soviet Union. Some are filled with sand/water and some are truly 100% cast iron. Some even are adjustable with a slight they can expand from 5lbs-30lbs.

So, what is the right option for you? First, a few things to consider:

  • Vinyl coated kettlebells may have a nicer appearance, but they will not protect your floors if the kettlebell falls. Seriously, these suckers are heavy, and no amount of 5mm coating will protect anything...but they will wipe down nicely! I simply don't know why people think that they will do so. They are heavy. If they fall on your toes, you will be visiting the emergency room. If they fall on your tile floor, you will have a crack to contend with. If they fall on a wooden floor, you may have a dent.

  • Vinyl coated kettlebells will tend to slip more if you are sweating, so be warned. I think they have a nice feel to them and they would rotate more easily in your hand, but then again, I plan on doing these workouts inside on my tile floor, so the risk of slippage isn't worth it for me.

  • Err on the side of a lighter kettlebell. Seriously, you need to concentrate on proper form before using heavier weights. But, if the kettlebell doesn't exert any muscle burn, its not doing you any good. Kettlebells are designed to help you stabilize your body or your muscles. Men tend to overestimate their strength, while women tend to underestimate their purchase accordingly.

  • If you can do bicep curls with 5 lb weights, then get a 10 lb kettlebell and so forth, but never heavier. So, don't go for the 15 lb one just yet. You may grow out of that first weight within 2 months, but thats ok. Having one too heavy will hinder your progress and cause injury. So, if the first kettlebell you purchase is simply not right for your current fitness level, do not be too timid to return it for the proper size.

  • Buying individual kettlebells are fine, as you only need one at a time. So, don't succumb to purchasing a "set"

  • Sand-filled or water-filled kettlebells tend to be bulkier than their pound-equivalent cast iron versions, so they will be more awkward to work with

  • Buy a kettlebell that is part of a line that you will buy stick with a bigger brand thats easier to find. I personally would hate to have two kettlebells at home that don't match (but I'm anal like that)
So, after my research, I knew I wanted a compact ball, which leads me to the basic CAP kettlebell...simple is better. Whats even better about this brand is that they are sold via Amazon and Walmart. Walmarts typically do not have them in the store, but they will ship to your local store for no charge...but if its too heavy or too light, you won't need to pay for return shipping. That being said, Amazon ships free and also typically offers no sales thats probably the best option.

I ended up purchasing my 15lb kettlebell from Amazon. It arrived the following week, and I'm pleased with it. Its a heavy sucker, so I know it will work me, but its not so heavy that I will struggle and over-strain. Remember, most kettlebell exercises use two hands, so you rarely do exercises with just one arm/hand. 15lbs seemed appropriate for me. As for the finish, it definitely looked like a "serious" piece of workout if your brother is a personal trainer, he will not laugh at you! Its also very compact and stores in much less space than one of my other handweights. And because its only one piece (as opposed to storing two dumbbells), its easy to find a home for it.

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