Competition Kettlebell Handles Too Small?

Exploding the Myth that Competition Kettlebell Handles are Too Small for 2 Hand Swings

Kettlebells USA® Kettlebells

One of the most frequently asked questions we get at Kettlebells USA® is “Aren’t the handles on competition kettlebells too small for 2 handed swings?”

Well actually the handle space (distance from the top of the bell portion to the bottom of the horizontal portion of the handle and the horizontal distance between the inside edge of the handles) on competition kettlebell handles is more often than not LARGER than this same space on cast iron kettlebells.

Kettlebells USA® Paradigm Pro® Elite Competition Steel Kettlebells Two Hand Swing

To begin with all competition kettlebells regardless of weight have the exact same dimensions. Cast iron kettlebells increase or decrease in size (including handle size) as the weight goes up or down.

In this photo we have two identical weights of kettlebell. On the left is a 16 kg - 35 lb Metrixx® Classic E-coat, cast iron kettlebell and on the right is a 16 kg - 35 lb Paradigm Pro® Elite competition kettlebell.

As you can clearly see the side to side distance is EXACTLY the same on both types of kettlebells and the top to bottom distance is almost identical with the cast iron kettlebell distance being greater by only 6 mm or 0.24 inches!

The other myth about competition kettlebells that just won’t seem to die is that the handle thickness is too thin compared to cast iron kettlebells, and therefore will not work your grip to the same level as a cast iron kettlebell. If only people would just check the facts. Using a calibrated digital micrometer we get the following measurements:

  1. Handle diameter of 16 kg Metrixx® Classic E-Coat, cast iron kettlebell = 36 mm (1.42 inches).
  2. Handle diameter of 16 kg Paradigm Pro® Elite competition kettlebell = 35 mm (1.38 inches).

Wow a whopping 1 mm difference! Now let’s keep rolling with the facts…cast iron kettlebells SMALLER than 16 kg - 35 pounds will have SMALLER handle diameters and inside dimensions while the competition kettlebells will remain the same. So an 8 kg - 18 lb kettlebell has a lot LESS space to fit your two hands in it for swings than ANY size of competition kettlebell! Myth busted.

Another interesting thing happens with cast iron kettlebells as they get larger; the ratio of iron in the handle to the bell portion of the kettlebell simply cannot increase in a consistent ratio to its weight otherwise the handle diameter would be so thick few people would be able to actually grip it. I’m not going to list all the dimensions but as you go up to 70, 80, 88, 97, 106 pounds the handle thickness stays almost the same thickness and the space inside the handle is reduced. Some of the larger kettlebells such as 88, 97 and 106 pound have really quite small and stubby handles attached to rather bulbous bell sections. That is simply the way they are.

If you really want to work your grip and think cast iron kettlebells are the only way to go then I suggest you look at Kettlebell Sport athletes and see if they have good grip strength or not. To learn more about kettlebell sport check out the Ice Chamber.

Kettlebells USA® manufactures a variety of cast iron and competition kettlebells for every need. We are not trying to convince you to buy one over the other but we just had to set the record straight.