Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells

Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells

Authored by Marshall on August 19, 2022

While dumbbells and kettlebells have many similarities, they are quite different in function. Learn more about kettlebell vs. dumbbell workouts from your friends at Jack City Fitness—we’re experts!

If you’re in the strength training game, you’ve probably heard the debate about kettlebells vs. dumbbells. But they’re not in competition! While the kettlebell and dumbbell are not the same tool, they both deserve a spot in your home gym. 

At Jack City Fitness, we could never choose between dumbbells vs. kettlebells—we love them both and think they are exercise superstars. However, some athletes might lean towards one over the other, and that’s okay, too; it’s a personal preference. 

Today, our team will cover the main differences and similarities between kettlebells and dumbbells to help you decide if you want to pick one and stick with it—or train with both! 

Dumbbell and Kettlebell Workout Similarities

Before we dive into the differences between dumbbells vs. kettlebells, let’s talk about their similarities and why they are often compared.

  • They Were Inspired by the Same Tool

Both dumbbells and kettlebells are the descendants of ancient athletic tools called halteres, which were used by Olympians in ancient Greece. They were made of stone and typically shaped like a crescent moon. They came in pairs, and athletes swung them while performing still-popular workouts like the long jump. 

While the shape and construction of kettlebells and dumbbells are different, and both have changed over the last 2,500 years, the thread between them still feels very strong!

  • They Are Great for Strength Training

If you’re looking to build strong and powerful muscles, you don’t need to sweat too hard over the kettlebell vs. dumbbell dilemma. They are both fantastic training tools in this department. 

  • They Are HIIT Champions

While dumbbells and kettlebells both are generally associated with strength training, that’s not their only skillset. Both of these tools make a great addition to your HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) cycle. 

  • They Are Gym Staples

You’d be hard-pressed to find a modern gym that doesn’t have a selection of kettlebells and dumbbells for their athletes to use. They are so popular and versatile, athletes of every fitness level can use them. They’re also a hugely popular choice with coaches.

Dumbbells: Pros and Cons

What makes a dumbbell unique? We’ve broken down the key benefits of dumbbells (plus a couple of drawbacks). 

Dumbbell Pros

  • Targeted Training

Want to target specific muscles? With dumbbells, you can easily perform isolated training to condition exactly the muscle that needs it.

  • Great for Beginners

Dumbbells are fairly user-friendly, and we think that they make for a great entry-level piece of exercise equipment! A good fitness coach can help newcomers nail the form and technique so they can train their way to results.

  • Muscle-Building Master

If it’s ripped muscles you’re after, dumbbells are your best friend. Your upper body will look incredible after logging time with this piece of equipment; that’s why it’s been so popular for so many years.

Dumbbell Cons

  • Expensive for Home Gyms

When it comes to kitting out your home gum, dumbbells are on the pricier side. While that investment works for some athletes, many consider it a disadvantage. Our solution? Join a gym! 

  • Limited Weight Range

Dumbbells don’t have an endless range of weights and can’t be adjusted. This can be frustrating, especially for home gyms, where increasing weights might be a necessary part of training. 

Kettlebells: Pros and Cons

What are the pros and cons of using a kettlebell? We’ve broken down the most important ones to know about. 

Kettlebell Pros

  • Increased Athletic Levels

One of the biggest kettlebell benefits? Working out with this tool can make you an overall better athlete, thanks to its ability to increase skills like leaping and overall explosive strength. This is on top of the strength and cardio benefits offered by various classic kettlebell workouts, like the swing. 

  • Fun and Exciting

Never swung a kettlebell before? You’re in for a treat. It’s lots of fun! Lots of athletes are choosing kettlebells for how fun and dynamic it feels—and since they can be substituted in plenty of dumbbell-designed exercises, they can add some spice to tried-and-true routines. 

  • HIIT Champ

There’s a reason HIIT has become such a popular form of fitness…it delivers maximum results in minimum time. The kettlebell swing is currently one of the most famous HIIT workouts around.

  • Portable and Versatile

While kettlebells are, of course, rather heavy, their handle makes them easier to transport than other types of weights. They are also small and compact, making them a great choice for home gyms, or to tuck away in the corner of your car for workouts on the go.

Kettlebell Cons

  • Less Newcomer-Friendly

Kettlebells are fantastic, but they wouldn’t be our very first choice for beginners. If you are a gym newbie hoping to try some kettlebell swings, we definitely recommend doing so with a fitness coach. 

Can you do kettlebell swings with a dumbbell

Can You Do a Kettlebell Swing With a Dumbbell?

Yes! While it might require a bit of work to get the form and technique right, you can absolutely do a kettlebell swing with a dumbbell. However, if you plan to try this, we highly recommend that your first time is with a professional fitness coach by your side. They will be able to ensure that your form is correct and that you won’t risk injuring yourself and others. Once you nail the technique, the sky’s the limit! 

Can I Substitute Kettlebells for Dumbbells?

So, can kettlebells be used as dumbbells? Definitely! If you prefer kettlebells over dumbbells but like the traditional workouts associated with the latter, no sweat. You can use your kettlebells in any activity that usually uses dumbbells. This especially applies to workouts like curls, lunges, and lifts. 

While we wholeheartedly support using kettlebells for dumbbell exercises, it’s always best to triple-check in person with your coach that your chosen routine works with a kettlebell. Our coaches will be able to give you all the answers you need!

Explore Strength Training at Jack City Fitness

At Jack City Fitness, we have everything the Boise athlete needs to succeed. That means a range of fitness equipment, lots of exciting workout classes, and plenty of knowledgeable fitness coaches and nutritional counselors to offer support whenever needed. We also offer 24/7 gym access to all our Partners, so you can work out when it best suits your schedule and needs. 

Are you ready to get started? Contact the Jack City team by calling (208) 999-1111 today! Once we hear from you, you’ll be invited to our Boise gym for a FREE fitness consultation and a chance to tour our facilities and meet our coaches. Once you sign up, you can get moving right away.

We can’t wait to meet you and help you smash all your strength training goals!



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