Kettlebells v/s Dumbbells : We'll Help You Choose

Choosing which cardio machine to jump on is pretty simple.

Want to run? Hit the treadmill.

Want to climb stairs without actually going anywhere? Get on the stair master.

Pretty straightforward, right?

But this isn’t the same for weights. Picking between kettlebells and dumbbells can be tricky since they are built differently, but can often serve similar purposes, and can also be used for the same exercises – it all depends on what you need.

Both dumbbells and kettlebells have their roots in Greek history. They share their DNA from the same ancient tool called halteres, a crescent-shaped stone with handles. Olympians used to lift these and swing them to enhance performance in the long jump for over 2,000 years ago.

Halteres are proof of why dumbbells can be your perfect training tool. But hold up, kettlebells have joined the bandwagon! They first gained popularity in the ’90s when trainers heard kettlebells were the training weapons of choice for the Russian special forces. This training equipment has become mainstream due to the rise of functional fitness. They are more exciting than dumbbells to some, but both are versatile and have many uses.

Differences Between Kettlebells & Dumbbells

You shouldn’t simply base your choice on your preference but rather calculate your fitness needs. Both kettlebells and dumbbells suit different needs and should be used accordingly.

The below table will show you how they are different from each other so you can make the right decision based on your workout preference, style, and goal.




Shape & Weight Distribution

They are spherical in shape, with a handle on top of the sphere – just like a bell. All the weight of this product sits below the handle.

They have a handle in the middle with equal distribution of weights on each side, and they come in a variety of shapes like hex, round, square, etc.


The handle can accommodate one or both of your hands depending on the move you need to perform.

The handle can only accommodate one hand. You can also use a dumbbell with two hands holding one of the heads.


You can do bilateral training with kettlebells where more than one limb is used. You can also use two kettlebells, one in each hand, and mimic the actions that you can perform using dumbbells.

With dumbbells, you can do unilateral training, where each side must do the work for itself, preventing overcompensation issues. Bilateral work can be done using dumbbells in both hands.


Typically, these are suitable for intermediate and advanced levels.

These are suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced.


Kettlebells are constructed with materials such as cast iron and steel and are often coated with rubber or silicon on the base. The ones made with steel are also known as competition kettlebells. You can find cast iron and steel kettlebells on our site.

Dumbbells are made of cast iron, rubber, and plastic. There are some made with steel handles as well. You can find top quality hex dumbbells on our site.


They tend to be slightly costlier compared to dumbbells.

They are relatively inexpensive compared to kettlebells.


They are an excellent choice for powerlifting and plyometric improvements.

Easier for beginners, they are suitable for gradual progression.


They are available offline and online. You can buy competition and cast iron kettlebells on

Even they are available offline and online. You can find top-quality hex dumbbells on

Everything You Need to Know About Dumbbells

Also known as hand weights or free weights, dumbbells are weights designed to be used without an exercise machine. They are shaped with a short bar in the middle and two wide discs or weight masses sitting at each side of the grip bar. Wrapped around in different materials, from cast iron to rubber, you can find them in various materials, shapes, and sizes.

Since dumbbells are available in different weights ranging from as light as 0.5 kg to as heavy as 55 kgs and more, they create a great space for gradual progression. Moreover, they are suitable for everyone who desires to do weight training - from a beginner to a professional or athlete. Dumbbells help to strengthen your body and tone your muscles.

Types of Dumbbells

The greatest part about dumbbells is that they range in various shapes, sizes, weights and materials. Before buying, consider factors such as price, storage space required and your fitness goals and levels.

You can purchase individual, a set, or adjustable weight dumbbells, and based on your preference and fitness needs, you can help determine which type of dumbbells you should buy. There are various types of dumbbells available, and we have covered almost all types in one of our blogs written previously, you can visit here to learn more.

Do you think dumbbells are something that will suit your needs? If yes, and if you are considering buying them, visit , where you will find top-quality hex dumbbells available in various sizes.

Common Exercises to do With Dumbbells

Dumbbells are typically used to strengthen your body and tone the muscles. Various exercises have been created using dumbbells, each designed to target a specific group of muscles or for different full-body moves.

  1. Bicep Curls

    One of the most common weight exercises, bicep curls, targets a host of bicep and arm muscles. This exercise targets and stimulates the growth of the front, upper and lower arm bicep muscles and gives you sculpted arms.

  2. Tricep Overhead Extension

    Triceps are important muscles for controlling your elbows. This exercise activates all three heads of the triceps, allowing your entire tricep to become stronger. It also gives minimal strain on your wrists, becoming an ideal choice for people suffering from wrist pain.

  3. Shoulder Press

    The shoulder press focuses primarily on two portions of the shoulders and also works other sets of muscles like the trapezius, triceps, and rotator cuff. This exercise works your stabiliser muscles and gives you stronger shoulders.

  4. Lateral Raises

    Lateral raises have been a favourite among bodybuilders. This exercise emphasises the outside rotor of the muscle and is the key to building strong shoulders. Keep your motions small and careful, and let your elbows lead the way.

  5. Chest Press

    The chest press is a classic upper body strengthening exercise that works your chest, shoulders, and triceps. For best results, maintain a good form and apply proper technique.

  6. Chest Flies

    The dumbbell chest fly is a traditional way of strengthening your chest, shoulders and triceps. This exercise is a great way to reduce upper back pain, increase range of motion, and reduce tightness in the upper body.

  7. Bent Over Rows

    With this classic muscle-building exercise, you can improve the strength of your upper and lower back, glutes, hamstrings, laterals, and shoulders. It is an amazing tool for targeting the muscles and portions of the lift that help break through plateaus and improve your strength for pull-ups, muscle-ups, and even pushing exercises.

  8. Back Flies

    Dumbbell back flies train the back parts of your body and help you maintain a better posture. It strengthens your posterior muscles and not only helps you shape your body but also keeps your back problems at bay.

  9. Squats

    Dumbbells squats are great for beginners looking for some squat variation in their daily workout routine. They help strengthen your lower body and core while increasing activation in your posterior chain muscles, like your hamstrings and glutes.

  10. Lunges

    The main target of lunges is the quadriceps muscles. You use these muscles to straighten your knee from a bent position and help keep your kneecap in a proper position. This exercise employs the glutes of your buttocks, the adductor magnus of the inner thigh, and the soleus of the calf as well.

  11. Calf Raises

    Calf raises are the best way to stabilise your feet and ankle to ensure that you have a proper balance and help you accentuate your lower body performance.

  12. Russian Twists

    This exercise involves a twisting motion that helps in working the core muscles. Russian twists are known to be great calorie burners that can take care of your muffin top and strengthen your rectus abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques.

  13. Weighted Sit-ups

    The major benefit of a weighted sit-up is that it makes the exercise more challenging, which is great if you are looking to grow your muscles by increasing the volume of work that your muscle has to do.

Common Kettlebell Exercise You Can do With Dumbbells

We assure you that pretty much you can do every kettlebell move with dumbbells. But you have to be careful and spend your major time learning the correct forms. If you feel confident in using dumbbells without experiencing pain or discomfort, go ahead and pick those up!

Here is a list of common kettlebell exercises you can perform with dumbbells:

  1. Dumbbell Swings
  2. Goblet Squats With Dumbbells
  3. Sumo Squats
  4. Turkish Get-ups With Dumbbells

Everything You Need to Know About Kettlebells

You probably have seen kettlebells swing up and down everywhere over the internet and in your gym and might wonder how that equipment will benefit you? Well, there are so many advantages to this cast-iron fitness piece.

Kettlebell offers a dynamic twist to your everyday strength training. These spherical pieces of equipment have a handle on their top, giving them a bell-like appearance. Kettlebells are used by intermediate and advanced level fitness enthusiasts and generally lie on a slightly costlier side of the scale than dumbbells.

Types of Kettlebells

As the market grows further, the creativity of kettlebell construction will also increase. But as of now, there are two basic types of kettlebells - cast iron and competition. They are mainly spherical-shaped, flat-based equipment with a handle on top. There are some brands that make different designs in the base, just to add an element of fun and style.

Cast iron kettlebells are the ones you will commonly see in any CrossFit boxes and gyms. The body of this type of kettlebell is typically wider than its handle. In contrast, competition kettlebells have skinnier and slimmer handles to allow more seamless movements. Due to the American Kettlebell Alliance, all competition kettlebells require a 35mm diameter – which means, they are the same size no matter what the weight. These are used by professionals, but a lot of boxes and gyms also prefer these for their clients.

If you are searching for durable and top-quality kettlebells, SF HealthTech offers three kinds - Hollow Competition Kettlebells, Cast Iron Kettlebells, and Cast Iron Kettlebells 2.0.

Common Exercises to do with Kettlebells

The next you go to the gym, do try out these amazing kettlebell exercises to amp up your workout routine!

  1. Kettlebell Swings

    They are pretty much good for everyone looking to build muscle, boost their cardio workouts, strengthen weak muscles, build functional strength, improve their posture and flexibility, boost their body balance, and improve their heart health. A kettlebell swing is the most common workout move done using kettlebells.

  2. Single-arm Kettlebell Swings

    The single-arm swing works on improving your grip strength and endurance. With the help of this exercise, you can efficiently monitor and control your breathing, which helps keep you steady and provide a sufficient flow of oxygen to your muscles and brain.

  3. Goblet Squats

    This exercise works on all of your major muscle groups of the lower body, including the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Moreover, it engages your back and forearms' core and spinal erectors.

  4. Sumo Squats

    You get to really target your inner thigh muscles with sumo squats. Due to the extra-wide stance, you are forced to keep your upper body upright, which engages your core muscles throughout the movement.

  5. Turkish Get-ups

    This exercise helps in targeting almost every major muscle group and puts a strong focus on the core and the stabilizing muscles of the hips and shoulders. Since you are holding the weight over your shoulder while also stabilizing the weight to prevent injury, you are engaging your shoulder, triceps, and upper back.

  6. Plank Drags/Plank Passes

    If you aim to have amazing sculpted abs, the kettlebell plank drag is the best exercise to fulfil this goal. It helps strengthen your core muscles and your obliques. These areas allow us to maintain a proper lifted alignment through the spine in daily posture.

  7. Kettlebell Clean

    This is a powerful exercise that combines your upper and lower body strength and power to build stronger shoulders, improve your core, enhance your grip and forearms.

  8. Windmills

    With this exercise, you are stretching your hip and your hamstrings, which ultimately increases your hamstring mobility. It also strengthens your shoulder and scapular stability and activates your glutes, reducing your back pain.

  9. Figure Eights

    This exercise targets your glutes, erector spine, hamstrings, quadriceps, and biceps and activates your calves, shoulders, and upper back. Moreover, with figure eight, you can improve your functional strength to do everyday activities such as picking up items off the floor.

  10. Kettlebell Halos

    Incorporating this exercise in your workout routine can help loosen up your shoulders and thoracic spine, making them stronger and more resilient. It also increases your core stability, which is essential for maintaining a proper balance.

Common Dumbbell Exercises You Can do With Kettlebells

You can do almost every dumbbell exercise with a kettlebell but be careful and before you start, learn the correct postures to avoid any injuries. Also, one more thing to keep in mind is that you need to see that these exercises are gentle on your wrists. If you feel like you can use kettlebells without any pain or discomfort, you can use them to do these common dumbbell exercises:

  1. Squats
  2. Lunges
  3. Presses
  4. Rows
  5. Snatches


Which is Better for Beginners – Dumbbells or Kettlebells?

Dumbbells are suited better for beginners, but now you can see that trainers even use kettlebells to train their clients at the starting stage. However, beginners find it easier to start their weight training with dumbbells. But this remains subjective. If you are comfortable starting your training with kettlebells, go for it, and if not, dumbbells are always there!

Can Beginners Train With Kettlebells?

Earlier kettlebells were not preferred for beginners, but now trainers have started using them with their clients after judging their preference and comfort. However, we would always recommend being careful.

Can You Perform Kettlebell Exercises with Dumbbells and Vice-Versa?

Yes, you can! Scroll above, and you will find a list of kettlebell exercises that you can do with dumbbells and vice versa.

Which One is Better for Total Body Fitness?

Both are great for total body fitness, depending on your fitness aim. If your goal is to build muscles and add size to your arms, chest, and shoulders, dumbbells are your right pick! Similarly, kettlebells are great for you if you want to strengthen your posterior chain and increase the intensity of your cardio training.

When to Choose Dumbbells?

If your goal is to build muscle, train muscle endurance, and start strength training, dumbbells are your ideal choice. Moreover, if you are looking forward to doing more isolation training, they prove to be of great help. You can do the same with kettlebells, but the dumbbells are constructed with one weight on either side of the handle, which forces supination and gives you a better balance.

When to Choose Kettlebells?

Again, this decision varies depending on your goals. If you are looking forward to doing more pressing movements and are running behind strong, powerful, boulder-shaped shoulders, kettlebells work better. You can get this with dumbbells as well, but kettlebells provide more shoulder-blade stability and control.