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Which kettlebell should I choose?

Eleiko·5 min read·Guides

Guide on Choosing Between Competition Kettlebells and Training Kettlebells.

Kettlebells have become a popular and versatile tool for strength and conditioning training. When deciding between competition kettlebells and training kettlebells, it's essential to consider various factors to ensure you choose the right option for your specific needs. This guide will walk you through the design differences, use cases, and what to look for when selecting the ideal kettlebell for your training needs.

Design Differences

Competition Kettlebells

These are the official bells used in kettlebell sport. They have a uniform size and handle diameter regardless of weight. This allows athletes to maintain the same technique when transitioning between weights. Typically made from steel, competition kettlebells are hollow and filled with a specific weight, ensuring accuracy across various sizes.

Training Kettlebells

These come in a wider variety of shapes and sizes. The handle diameter and width usually increase as the weight gets heavier, making them more comfortable for two-handed exercises.

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Use Cases

Competition Kettlebells

Ideal for experienced lifters who compete in kettlebell sport or train for high-repetition exercises like snatches and cleans. The consistent size and handle facilitate smooth movement transitions and weight progressions and minimize grip fatigue.

Training Kettlebells

Great for beginners and general fitness enthusiasts. The larger handles and varied sizes cater to different exercises and grip strengths. A wider range of weights with smaller increment jumps is available in training kettlebells, so they can be appropriate for more people and easier to progress. These factors make them a great option for home gym setups and general fitness routines where the emphasis is on diverse workouts.

Things to Consider

  • Training Goals: If you're aiming for competition, competition kettlebells are necessary. For general fitness and strength training, training kettlebells are more versatile.

  • Experience Level: If you are starting your kettlebell journey, the weight increments and smaller bell sizes in training kettlebells make them a good choice.

  • Handle Size: The benefit of the competition training kettlebells is the consistency across the handle size, keeping technique and grip consistent as you progress or using different weights for a more consistent training experience. On the other hand, training kettlebells provide a wider range of handle sizes and diameters scaled to the weight of the kettlebell, making them suitable for more users and experience levels.

  • Weight Ranges and Increments: Start light and gradually increase weight as you progress. Training kettlebells have a lower overall starting weight and increase in smaller weight jumps compared to competition kettlebells. Remember, consistency is key!

  • Single Kettlebells or Pairs: If you plan to train using two kettlebells at once, the larger bell size of the competition kettlebells can be more challenging to navigate, whereas the training kettlebells' smaller size bells at the lighter weights make them less cumbersome when used as a pair.

  • Buying a set or slowly building a collection: Single kettlebells offer flexibility to tailor your collection based on specific needs or exercises, staggering investments over time, adding kettlebells as strength and skill progress. Alternatively, investing in a set provides a comprehensive range of weights, accommodating your progress and ensuring you have the appropriate weights to challenge all types of movement and training for improved development and consistency in your workout routine.

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Pros of Each Type

Competition Kettlebells

  • Consistent bell and handle size for smooth transitions between weights

  • Consistent handle size can reduce grip fatigue during high reps and/or with heavier bells

  • Smoother handle compared to training kettlebells, which will save your hands doing longer sets or high-volume training

  • Official bells for kettlebell sport

Training Kettlebells

  • More comfortable for beginners and two-handed exercises

  • Wider range of handle and bell sizes, smaller weight increments giving users more options

  • Versatile for various exercises and fitness goals

  • The textured surface in the handle can make it easier to maintain a firm grip


Ultimately, the choice between competition kettlebells and training kettlebells depends on your specific goals, preferences, and the nature of your training routine. Consider the design differences, how you want to use the kettlebells, and what factors matter most to you to make an informed decision that aligns with your fitness objectives. Remember, proper form and technique are crucial for safe and successful kettlebell workouts, regardless of the type you choose. Read more about kettlebells and movements in Kettlebells for Strength and Fitness.

Bonus Tip: If uncertain, attend a kettlebell class or consult a certified trainer for personalized recommendations. Don't forget to sign up for our upcoming webinar on Kettlebells!

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