“Which is better, a Kettlebell or a dumbbell?”
This age old question has been much debated over the years and the question requires a little refinement and a reasonably nuanced answer. Firstly what is the purpose of using either tool- what are you trying to achieve as an outcome?
Secondly, how well do you know how to use the tool you have selected?
Let’s put this into our modern context of Isolation life! You are training from home and trying to get a good all round workout with minimal equipment.
How can this best be achieved and which tool has more versatility / bang for your buck?
DUMBBELL PROS – Provided this fixed weight, single dumbbell is of a medium level of resistance appropriate to your level of strength it will give you a few options.
– Perform a variety of exercises for Hypertrophy Training ( muscle building)
– Develop your muscular endurance through various movements
– Suitable for smaller isolation exercises
– Easier and more accessible with less technical lifting required
– Improve your Strength but only up until a certain point and through a limited amount of movements.
DUMBBELL CONS – Working with a single Dumbbell has a reasonably short expiry date. Once you have exhausted your exercise options it will take some advanced levels of creativity to keep milking this single tool. Once you have adapted to the level of resistance this stimulus will no longer be enough to keep you progressing and a plateau is inevitable.
KETTLEBELL PROS – Provided this Kettlebell is an Appropriate weight that you can both press it and swing it you will have many options.
-Improve your Strength and Power (Myofibril Hypertrophy aka Muscle Density)
-Perform a variety of exercises for Hypertrophy Training (muscle building)
-Develop muscular endurance specifically through improved grip and core musculature
both front and back.
-Improve overall cardio vascular capacity with the use of longer sets of swings, cleans,
jerks and snatches.
-The kettlebell’s Unique design allows greater exercise variety for both pressing,
posterior chain development and hand eye coordination giving it greater longevity as an
KETTLEBELL CONS – The specific nature of the Kettlebell as a tool and the way it is best used is commonly misunderstood. The techniques required to get the most out of a single Kettlebell does take a degree of technical development. This often means people don’t perform some of the best moves as they seem too tricky meaning people miss out. Also these specific techniques performed incorrectly can a source of injury. While versatile the kettlebell is not appropriate for smaller isolation movements .
Double Impact- 2 is better than 1
Whether you have a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells your options have more than doubled and have definitely opened up the endurance and conditioning side of your training. Dumbbells are less technically demanding meaning you can very quickly ramp your workouts up without too much concern.
Kettlebells on the other hand require a little more practice and we encourage you to really hone your skills with 1 before you jump to working with 2 but once you are ready this will give you some next level stimulus to get fitter.
Admittedly as you are working with a fixed weight your maximal strength development will be limited using either tool.
Conclusion – For those of you out there living the Isolation life dumbbells are an easy entry point to get you moving and we recommend getting at least a matching pair- even better if they are adjustable. To ensure your physical progression and technical development as a lifter, definitely have at least 1 kettlebell in your home workout arsenal.
In truth having both would be best as this will allow you the best of both worlds especially if we are to continue getting fitter and stronger at home over the coming months. Both of these tools are simple and cost effective and if you would like a systematic approach to guide you check out our programs at