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Kettlebells are a piece of incredibly popular workout equipment. However, not every single gym has kettlebells on hand. And having kettlebells at home for a home workout isn’t always an option – especially if you’re not intending on using the kettlebell much.
In fact, my old gym didn’t have any kettlebells, which was a bit of a drag. Anyway, I would see kettlebell swing videos and hear about why kettlebell swings are so good for you, and I’d wonder, “can you do kettlebell swings with dumbbells?”
Well, in this article we’ll go over using dumbbells in replace of kettlebells for swings and other kettlebell-related exercises.
Can You do Kettlebell Exercises with Dumbbells?
Yes, almost every exercise you can do with a kettlebell can be achieved with a dumbbell. While it may not give you 100% of the benefit that a kettlebell will have, re-using your dumbells for basic kettlebell exercises is a cheap alternative.
How are kettlebells different from dumbbells?
Besides the obvious visual differences, the only main difference will come from the distribution of weight. A kettlebell is designed to have an unbalanced and eleven distribution of weight. The handle part of the kettlebell is directly above the weighted ball of the kettlebell. This makes certain movements more challenging but is perfect for continuous and dynamic movement link swings.
Compare this to a dumbbell, where the weight is evenly distributed on either side of your hand.
For most exercises like Turkish Get-Ups, this won’t be too much of a problem.
In fact, having the weight evenly distributed on a dumbbell will make a Turkish Get-Up easier to do, which is great for beginners to focus on getting the correct form.
However, for Kettlebell swings, you’ll need to change your technique a little.
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Can You do Kettlebell Swings with Dumbbells?
Completing a kettlebell swing with a dumbbell is possible. It just means that you’ll have to do something different. First, you can turn your kettlebell so it’s vertical and hold it from one of the weighted ends as opposed to holding the dumbbell by its handle. This gives you the imbalance you’d usually get from a using a kettlebell.
This may be a little awkward to hold as opposed to a kettlebell, but it’s good enough to get by.
As you can see in the video, this isn’t as natural to hold as a kettlebell for swings (especially if you’re swinging heavy). If your dumbbells are large, then it may be awkward to hold.
However, if you’re just doing a few swings and looking to get started, you can certainly use your dumbbell for kettlebell swings.
There are also tools called the Kettle Gryp which you can buy. These are handles that you can attach to a dumbbell and turn them into a kettlebell.
These grips are somewhat inexpensive (compared to buying a kettlebell anyway) and are great if you’re an infrequent kettlebell user and already have the dumbbells to use.
These tools are also a lot better if you want to do other kettlebell exercises like the clean and press and the kettlebell snatch. Doing these with a regular dumbbell is certainly possible, but it’s not the same as doing it with a kettlebell.
One of the main benefits of doing something like a clean and press is the extra rotation you put on your arm to stop the kettlebell from smashing against your forearm.
Without that, you’re just doing a dumbbell clean and press.
Kettlebells are Still Better
While you can do kettlebell exercises with a dumbbell (or even a dumbbell grip), there’s no real substitute for using a dumbbell when you’re completing any dynamic exercises made for kettlebells.