Kettlebell Vs Dumbbell: Which Is Best?
Most gyms include a selection of both kettlebells and dumbbells and each have their merits. Most people have used dumbbells before and grown to trust them, but also have an inkling awareness of the dynamic, full body workout that kettlebells can offer.
A comparison of kettlebell vs dumbbell is difficult, though, because the choice of which is best will usually come down to personal preference. The truth is that, unless you have to choose between the two, for example because of a lack of space in your home gym, you can get the greatest benefit through a combination of both of these pieces of equipment.
Advantages Of Dumbbells
Dumbbells are found in most gyms, including those in hotels and in home gyms. They are relatively small, easy to store, come in a variety of weights, and they allow the user to target specific muscles and muscle groups.
- Easy availability is perhaps dumbbells’ biggest advantage. You can find them in commercial gyms everywhere. They are also easy to find in smaller gyms, like those in hotels, and you probably even have one or two in your home gym.
- For beginners, there’s less chance of injury. With dumbbell exercises, your stance typically remains static, which reduces the risk of hurting yourself. Unlike kettlebell exercises, which require movement of the full body.
- Dumbbell exercises offer unilateral training of specific muscles. This enables the exerciser to train both sides of the body equally. Do 10 reps of the same weight with both arms, and they both receive the same level of training. In comparison, using kettlebells typically requires the use of both sides and the body will naturally compensate by using the muscles on the dominant side more.
- They are a convenient piece of equipment that are easy to hold. The handle is wide enough for hands of any size, and the bar is easy to grip. Kettlebells take practice to master and some people struggle to grip and rotate the handles as required.
- Dumbbells are cheaper to purchase. A set will typically include two bars and a selection of weights that can be added and removed. Although adjustable kettlebells do exist, the dynamic and ballistic movement of some bell exercises means that adjustable models are not usually considered suitable. Good quality dumbbells are made from a single piece of cast iron and buying a set means purchasing half a dozen or more of these items. The cost soon adds up.
Advantages Of Kettlebells
The health benefits of doing kettlebell exercises has made them increasingly popular. There is barely a gym or personal trainer that doesn’t use them in some way. They are very popular in crossfit but have pervaded into other forms of strength and cardio training too. Exercisers need to master the training movements required for this type of equipment, but doing so offers the following benefits.
- Kettlebell exercise regimens require full body movements. Even the most basic of exercises, the kettlebell swing, requires the user to move their full body. This makes kettlebell exercises better for cardio workouts than dumbbells.
- A lot of the movements used in this type of exercise are fluid, whereas dumbbell movements tend to be quite staccato. Fluid movements are easier on the body and they put less pressure on the joints and muscles. In fact, injured athletes use kettlebell training in their rehabilitation because they enable the working of important muscles without putting too much strain on them.
- Some users find the grip of a kettlebell to be an obstacle, but once mastered, the thickness of the handle can improve the user’s grip.
- Training functional strength means training muscles and movements that people use in everyday life. While dumbbell curls are not necessarily beneficial in everyday movement, kettlebell swings and other exercises mimic real life movements so can improve everyday strength. If functional strength training is more important to you, kettlebells win the day.
Kettlebells Or Dumbbells?
There is no single best piece of training equipment. Dumbbells and kettlebells both have their merits and they offer different styles of exercise. They can be combined with other equipment like resistance bands and slam balls, in a workout regimen that will help you to build and tone muscle throughout your body. However, if you have limited room and want a single type of weight, the flexibility and versatility of kettlebells makes them a good choice. If you have limited budget, then dumbbells tend to be cheaper and could be the better option for you.