SWITCHING THE “DUMB” FOR THE “KETTLE”
OUR KETTLEBELL EXPERT BRANDON LARUE EXPLAINS THE 5 ADVANTAGES TO USING KETTLEBELLS OVER DUMBBELLS
Before anyone gets all bent out of shape, let’s agree that strength training and resistance training are kings of being physiologically superior in inducing the changes most people desire, and that’s get strong, build muscle, and lose fat. Whether it be dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, resistance bands, mace clubs, etc….use resistance and progressively overload the system.
There, now that we have that out of the way, we can move forward with why we believe kettlebells are superior to dumbbells.
Both the kettlebell and dumbbell are versatile, but which is more versatile? Let’s put it this way, with a dumbbell you can do hundreds of exercises, making it quite versatile. With a kettlebell, you can do every one of those exercises a dumbbell can do, plus another hundred that a dumbbell would be too cumbersome to accomplish. Can you get a lot accomplished with a dumbbell or set of dumbbells? Of course you can, but can you get more accomplished with a kettlebell or set of kettlebells? Of course you can.
From an economics perspective, good dumbbells and good kettlebells cost about the same. For about $2 – $3/lb brand new and many times you can find shipping included in the amount. Whatever you choose, make sure to buy American made. From an efficiency standpoint, which could fall under the category of economy, we don’t think there would be any argument as to what tool allows for more work to get done in a shorter amount of time. The design of kettlebells allows for smooth transition into multiple different movements patterns (100’s of exercises) and much of the kettlebell industry understands and programs according to being efficient with one’s time.
We don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but once again, you can develop power with both, but which is superior? Because of the ergonomics of the kettlebell, movements such as Swings, Cleans, and Snatches, which are typically considered the kings of power development in the strength training world are staples in kettlebell-land. Some may argue, “yeah, but you don’t use triple extension (referring to the ankle joint not extending with most movements) with kettlebells.” This may be valid for recreational athletes and fitness enthusiasts; however, you can most certainly do triple extension swings, snatches, and cleans with kettlebells. Additionally, no implement, that we’ve ever used allows more power access to the hips, with resistance, than the kettlebells.
Due to the ballistic and explosive nature of kettlebell training, and the fact that you have to hold onto them for most of these exercises, the grip gets trained better than anything we’ve ever experienced in strength/power training. Grab the forearms of anyone who’s trained with kettlebells and you’ll feel what we’re talking about. Better yet, shake their hands, you won’t find a lame-wristed hand-shake from someone who trains with kettlebells. Grip strength is one of the human performance qualities that just seem to make a human more difficult to kill.
Maybe dumbbells are just old news, although they are still very useful for many and can still produce great results for people, but kettlebells, even though they’ve been around just as long as dumbbells, have long been a training tool in Europe and only in the last couple decades have caught on in the USA. Go to a big box gym, and you’ll find all the “brad chads” doing bicep curls and shoulder flyes, looking for their 90 min pump for the day, and lo and behold in the corner, there’s a lone ranger busting out a training session with their pair of kettlebells in less than 30 minutes. All the “bodybuilders” are wondering, how’d they get done so fast, and how do they look so darn cool when they’re training???