Kettlebells and dumbbells are both considered to be portable weight training equipment that can be incorporated into various exercise moves. Apart from the obvious difference in their shape, what exactly is unique about each of these fitness tools? Is one better than the other? We will take a look at the kettlebells vs. dumbbells conversation to determine which one you should be using.
Kettlebells are round weights with a flat bottom and a handle on the top. They are designed so the handle is lighter on one side. Because of this imbalance, the kettlebell will want to continue moving in the direction you initially swing it, so you have to use greater strength to change direction. This makes it a great tool to combine with aerobic exercise, allowing you to burn calories while building strength. Kettlebells also work the larger muscles in your body since they require the use of multiple joints.
Here are two examples of kettlebell exercises:
- Shoulder-to-Shoulder Press – Hold the kettlebell in front of one shoulder with both hands. Extend your arms up to lift the kettlebell overhead, then lower so it rests in front of the opposite shoulder.
- Kettlebell Deadlift – Start with the kettlebell on the floor and squat, reaching down to grasp the kettlebell’s handle with both hands, and stand up.
Dumbbells consist of a straight bar with evenly balanced weights at either end. Some dumbbells have interchangeable plates, which you can add or remove to change the total weight. Others are a part of a larger set that has one dumbbell of each weight, so you change weight by simply picking up a different dumbbell. Since they are evenly balanced, they lend themselves well to both single- and double-hand use. This allows you to focus on one side of your body at a time if you wish, making dumbbells a good tool for correcting strength imbalances.
Some common dumbbell exercises include:
- One-arm Press – With your palm facing away from you, hold a dumbbell at shoulder height. Bend your knees and then push upward, straightening your arm and raising the dumbbell overhead.
- Lateral Arm Raise – Hold one dumbbell in each hand, with your arms down at your sides. Slowly raise your arms so they are parallel to the floor. Lower them with control.
And the kettlebells vs. dumbbells winner is…
When it comes to the kettlebells vs. dumbbells battle, the result is a draw. Both can be used to complete a good workout and both are used to build strength and for aerobic exercise. Since kettlebells require fluid movements and use multiple muscle groups, they are better for toning and adding definition to muscles. Dumbbells, on the other hand, focus on one muscle group at a time, making them better for building muscle. If you want a good aerobic exercise that tones your muscles and helps you lose weight, kettlebells win out. If you want to bulk up, stick with dumbbells.
Kettlebells and dumbbells engage your muscles in different ways and can be used for a range of workouts. Determining your fitness goals and learning how each piece of equipment is used can help you create the ideal workout and settle the kettlebells vs. dumbbells dilemma.