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Which One is Better? Kettlebells or Dumbbells for Home Gym Workouts

Kettlebells or Dumbbells

Do you want to get healthier, stronger, and fitter? It's time to get familiar with kettlebells and dumbbells! These two popular types of gym equipment are well-loved by fitness experts and beginners. They're also both great options to incorporate into your home gym workout. 

It's essential, however, to choose the right one based on your personal goals and workout preferences. Both kettlebells and dumbbells can help you achieve your fitness goals, but first, you must learn about them!

It's also essential to remember that variety is the key to a long-term sustainable fitness program. Doing bicep curls five days a week isn't get you a strong, healthy, well-rounded body. 

When you incorporate multiple training approaches and use different workout equipment (like kettlebells and dumbbells) to train in various ways, you'll be well on your way to achieving your goals!

This article will explore the unique advantages and differences between the two so you can learn everything you need. Get ready to expand your mind and strengthen your body!

Advantages of Kettlebells for Home Gym Workouts

Kettlebells are free weights that are used for resistance training. They have a unique shape where the center of mass (a circular shape) is at the bottom, and the handle is at the top. Imagine it as a cannonball with a handle on it. This unique shape requires a more significant amount of stability to control. 

Their unique shape also allows for both swinging exercises and rotational exercises. Regardless of the movement, more stability and, therefore, more of the muscles associated with stability are required. Kettlebell movements allow for greater mimicking of real-world activities and real-world velocities. Movements like this are commonly referred to as functional movements. They have a variety of benefits, including: 

  • They improve hip rotation.
  • They improve core strength.
  • They improve mobility. 
  • They improve overall body force production. 

These physical benefits are essential for improving your fitness and overall health. 

Now that you know the basics about kettlebells, 

Let's explore some examples of exercises you can do

  1. Kettlebell swing.
  2. Kettlebell clean.
  3. Kettlebell snatch.
  4. Kettlebell lunges.

These are great exercises to start getting used to adding kettlebells into your routine! But how heavy should you go? The good news is that you can find kettlebells in various weights. It's best to start with a lighter kettlebell and work your way up. 

  • Beginners should start with an 8-12 kg kettlebell.
  • Intermediate athletes should begin with a 12-16 kg kettlebell.
  • Advanced athletes should go for a 16+ kg kettlebell.

Our kettlebell basics program is a great way to get started.

Advantages of Dumbbells for Home Gym Workouts

What are Dumbbells?

Dumbbells are another type of free weight that can be used for resistance training. 

Dumbbells are incredibly versatile and can be used to strengthen all muscles in your body. Specifically, you can target the prime movers for building power and strength: glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and pectorals. 

Another great benefit is that you can use dumbbells for unilateral strength training. For example, you can use a dumbbell to perform single-arm exercises, improving your balance, coordination, and stability. 

Here are some examples of exercises you can do with dumbbells

  1. Dumbbell curls.
  2. Shoulder presses.
  3. Dumbbell lunges.
  4. Dumbbell rows. 

Try This Dumbbell workout


Just like kettlebells, you can find dumbbells in various weight classes. Once again, starting on the lighter side is best if you're a beginner and working your way up as you get stronger. 

  • Beginners should start with 5-10 lb dumbbells.
  • Intermediate athletes should begin with 10-20 lb dumbbells.
  • Advanced athletes can use 20 lb and above dumbbells.

Check out our wide range of dumbbells here.

Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells: A Comparison Table

Comparison Table

Choosing the Right Equipment for Home Gym 

Now that you know about kettlebells and dumbbells, you might wonder which one you should use in your workout. Here are some tips to help you decide!

1. Identify your fitness goals and preferences. 

Everyone has different goals for working out. For example, some people want to get stronger overall, whereas others might have a specific part of their body where they want to put on muscle. 

Kettlebells and dumbbells can play a role in anyone's fitness routine and can help you achieve various goals. Think about your biggest goals with your at-home gym routine, and consider how each type of equipment can help you get there!

It's also important to consider your preferences when working out. For instance, you might prefer to avoid specific exercises, such as kettlebell swings or single-arm bicep curls. 

Consider purchasing a light kettlebell and a set of light dumbbells, then incorporate a few exercises into your weekly routine. Assess how the exercises feel and whether or not you enjoy doing them. 

Remember: if you experience pain or strongly dislike doing a particular exercise, you should listen to your body and stop. Training through pain often results in an injury, and there are countless exercise options you can do. Make sure to choose the ones you like and can do safely!

2. Assess your space, budget, and workout frequency at your home gym. 

You should also consider these three essential factors when choosing the right equipment for your home gym. 

First, think about your space. Do you have a small corner in your living room to work in or an entire home gym? An exercise like a kettlebell swing will require more space than a shoulder press.

Research the exercises you'd like to try and ensure you have adequate space at home to perform them.

Next, you should think about your budget. How much money are you willing to spend on your new equipment? There are many affordable options for kettlebells and dumbbells on the market. 

If you have a larger budget for your equipment, consider purchasing something like a dumbbell set with multiple types of weights!

Lastly, consider how often you work out in your home gym. Will you use this equipment once in a while or five days a week? How much wear and tear will your gear be going through? 

A helpful tip is to purchase a cost-effective version of the equipment and replace it with a better-quality version once you know you'll use it frequently.

3. Understand the versatility and potential limitations.

Like any workout equipment, kettlebells and dumbbells have advantages and possible limitations. It's essential to understand everything about the two before you make your decision. 

For example, if you're brand new to lifting weights, kettlebells can be challenging to get the hang of. It may be less intimidating to start with a pair of 5 lb dumbbells and familiarize yourself with basic exercises like the ones we listed above.

Once you feel comfortable performing these movements, add a kettlebell into your routine and add moves that require more stability.

On the other hand, if you've been lifting weights for a few years and are familiar with using dumbbells, a pair of 5 lb dumbbells might not be challenging enough. In that case, you might look for a couple of heavier dumbbells in the 15 lb - 20 lb range or consider adding a kettlebell or two to your home gym workout routine. 

Have an open mind, do your research, and always remember to have fun with it! And remember: you don't have to decide only to use kettlebells or dumbbells. A balanced training routine should make room for both.

Creating an Effective Home Gym Workout Plan

Since kettlebells and dumbbells have advantages, you should add both to your routine for a balanced training program. 

You can use kettlebells for full-body workouts and dumbbells for targeted muscle training. 

This strategy is great because it adds variety to your workout routine and keeps your body guessing. Switching up your training style has also been proven to help avoid plateaus, which nobody wants!

Still, trying to figure out where to start? Look for a specific program with the exercises outlined for you, such as a kettlebell workout program or a dumbbell workout program.

Home Gym Weight Loss Workouts 

If you want to lose weight, kettlebells and dumbbells can help you get there. Incorporating cardio and exercises that yield a higher calorie burn would be best.

Here are some examples of exercises you can do:

  1. Kettlebell swings with intervals of high-intensity bodyweight exercises.
  2. Dumbbell thrusters combined with jumping jacks.
  3. Kettlebell snatch and goblet squats in a circuit.
  4. Dumbbell burpees and mountain climbers for high-intensity cardio. 

Other Workouts to do in Home Gym

Need more ideas on how to use kettlebells and dumbbells in your home gym? Here are some additional exercises you can try depending on your goals.

If you want to strengthen your core, try…

  • Kettlebell Turkish get-ups
  • Dumbbell side bends and Russian twists 

If you want to improve your flexibility and mobility, try…

  • Kettlebell halos and figure-eight exercises
  • Dumbbell shoulder dislocations and tricep stretches

If you want to build upper body strength, try…

  • Kettlebell renegade rows
  • Dumbbell chest press and lateral raises 

Benefits of Kettlebells and Dumbbells in Workout Routines

If you still need to start using kettlebells and dumbbells in your workout routine, these benefits might change your mind! 

  • They enhance functional fitness. A strong, stable body allows you to easily get through daily life and activities.
  • They improve your posture, mobility, and overall body coordination. Who can say no to that?
  • Kettlebells are an excellent option for a quick and effective daily workout. If you're short on time, kettlebells are your friend! Check out our accessible kettlebells for beginners' Ebooks to learn more.
  • Dumbbells are the perfect choice to strengthen and tone specific muscles.

Home Gym

Adjusting Workouts for Progression and Challenges

When you start using weights during workouts, it's important to continue challenging your body. The best way to avoid plateaus and see the results you want. 

  • Try progressive overload. When you gradually increase the intensity of the exercise over time. You can do progressive overload by increasing the weights you use, the number of reps, or the number of sets. For example, in Week 1, you could do three sets of 10 reps of bicep curls with a 5 lb dumbbell in each hand. In Week 2 or Week 3, you could increase the weights and start using a 7.5 lb dumbbell or increase the number of reps or sets you complete. Check out this video for an in-depth description of progressive overload.
  • Incorporate advanced exercises and movement variations. The great thing about working out is there are always ways to switch things up! You can challenge yourself with more complex exercises, such as the ones in our kettlebell advanced course. You can also adjust your movement variations, like performing a kettlebell curtsy lunge instead of a reverse lunge.
  • Listen to your body. It's easy to go overboard when you start an exciting new workout program. But you'll be much more prone to injuries if you overwork your body. Focus on working slow and steady and, most importantly, using proper form. 

Progressive Overload Explained

Maintaining Consistency and Motivation in Daily Workouts 

It's easy to stay motivated at the beginning of a new workout plan, but that energy can slowly dwindle. How do you stay on track? Here are five tips:

  1. Set realistic goals. Remember that changes to your body and fitness levels take time. Try setting SMART goals (ones that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely). 
  2. Track your progress. Consider finding a way to track your progress with lifting weights. You can write down your workouts in a notebook or create a spreadsheet to track how much weight you lift, how many reps, and the exercises you do. 
  3. Find support. Working out can be even more motivating if you do it with a friend! Find someone with similar goals and work out together, or do a weekly check-in about your recent workouts. You can also find an online community for support, like the Living.Fit Instagram community!
  4. Celebrate along the way. Remember to celebrate the small wins! Did you buy a heavier kettlebell because your old one started feeling too easy? That's worth celebrating. When you break your goals into small, achievable milestones, you'll feel much more satisfied and rewarded.
  5. Stay committed. Remember: a fitness journey is for life. It would help if you view this as a long-term investment in your health rather than a short-term fix. Think about how improving your health will benefit your overall life and the lives of those around you!

Conclusion 

Overall, kettlebells and dumbbells deserve a spot in your at-home workout routine! They're versatile, easy-to-use weights that can help you achieve various fitness goals.

Whether you want to improve your overall strength, flexibility, and mobility or target specific muscle groups, kettlebells and dumbbells can help you get there. A balanced, well-rounded workout routine has room for both! 

Adding different types of strengthening workouts with various equipment into your fitness journey will make you much more likely to stick to it and achieve your goals. Remember: a well-rounded fitness approach is the best way to achieve better health and well-being. 

By adding different types of strengthening workouts with different equipment into your fitness journey, you’ll be much more likely to stick to it and achieve your goals. Remember: a well-rounded fitness approach is the best way to achieve better health and well-being. 

Helpful Resources:

  • Be alerted when we publish more like this to our blog here
  • Daily workout plans here
  • Fitness Equipment like dumbbells, resistance bands, etc here
  • Free dumbbell workouts here
  • Follow along with $1 video workouts here

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