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kettlebells vs dumbbells

Kettlebells vs Dumbbells: Pros and Cons

Dumbbells or kettlebells: it’s the perennial debate playing out at any gym you can find. Some prefer kettlebells since they offer more variety for workouts. Others prefer dumbbells since they’re easier to find. So which fat-busting, muscle-building gym equipment is better?

kettlebells vs dumbbells pros cons
Photo by: Mads Eneqvist, Unsplash


The main advantage of including kettlebells in your workout is that it allows for a wider range of movement. For example, you can swing kettlebells across vertical (sagittal) and horizontal (transverse) planes. That swinging action usually belies more fluid movements for your body, which causes less strain. 

The dynamic movements of a kettlebell swing can actually activate the entirety of posterior chain muscles. There’s a 20216 study that found that kettlebell training can help treat lower back pain. Great news for those of us that’s been slumping in our bed during work from home.

And who says you can’t increase your heart rate with kettlebell movements? Explosive movements, like snatches and swings, can actually help develop full-body strength because you need to control all that momentum.

The Pressing Times

Not to mention, pressing movements with kettlebells can help enhance stability and control for your shoulder blades. These kettlebell exercises often need your shoulders to depress and retract—downwards and towards the posterior, as your shoulders squeeze together around your spine.

This can be difficult when using a dumbbell since the load is spread out to both ends of the handle. It’s a bit dangerous to press a dumbbell overhead too. It arches your back or press towards the front of your torso, which can place excess stress on your shoulder joints. 

dumbbells or kettlebells
Photo by: Sam Moqadam, Unsplash


You can find dumbbells in almost every gym. They have their own range of exercises too. For those just starting out, dumbbells pose a lesser risk of injury. Dumbbell exercises are usually more static and have more basic movements. Dumbbells are often easier to hold too. This means that beginners can grasp the basics of strength training better. You can even expect improved physical performance.

If you’re looking to work on your bicep curls, the dumbbells can help you better explore the nuance of bicep curls. Dumbbells are great for working your forearms too. It’s more effective as it trains your grip, that you have to grip the weights with all your fingers. Most people only squeeze the index fingers and middle fingers but relax the little fingers and ring fingers. Improved grip strength might be another secret to living longer too.

A piece of more versatile fitness equipment, you can use them for nearly any workout you want, from squats to rows. You can test heavier weights in smaller increments too. If you’re taking on more weight, just remember to keep your elbows tucked close to your body.

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Why not both? After all, adopting a more holistic approach to your workouts and strength routine will help you build the body that you want. If you don’t know where to start, you can look at the basics of weight training first as you craft your fitness goals and the improvements in strength you want.

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Terence is Tropika Club Magazine's deputy editor who loves learning about animals and their behavior. He is also an anthropologist, so he is very interested in how different cultures interact with animals. He has worked in the publishing industry for over 10 years, and have been lucky enough to work with some amazing authors and editors.