What Is the Difference between Cast Iron & Competition Kettlebells

Competition or Cast Iron Kettlebell?

Kettlebells USA® Kettlebells

Competition Kettlebells, sometimes called “Pro Grade Kettlebells” or "Sport Kettlebells", are always the exact same size regardless of the weight. The only thing that changes is the weight of the kettlebell. This means that whether you are using an 8 kg - 18 lb kettlebell or a 32 kg - 70 lb kettlebell, it will always rest on your forearm in the exact same place. This ensures that your technique stays consistent regardless of the weight you are using. Traditional cast iron kettlebells get larger as they get heavier, and each size rests in a slightly different place in the rack position on your forearm. The handle diameter never changes with competition kettlebells and neither does the space inside the handle. This means that your “hand insertion” on a competition kettlebell never changes so that you can concentrate on technique, the most important aspect of kettlebell training.

Competition kettlebells are made from steel, not iron and this makes them slightly more durable than iron kettlebells. This is not to say that our cast iron kettlebells will fall apart, it just means that steel is stronger than cast iron and therefore more durable. The type of steel we use in our Paradigm Pro® Elite Precision competition kettlebells is a special high tensile strength alloy that is slightly more porous on the handle portion of the kettlebell so that it can absorb weightlifting chalk more easily. The handles are designed to prevent lateral slipping and minimize fatigue with high repetition sets. A competition kettlebell will look a little “fat” when compared side by side to a cast iron kettlebell. They have a larger mass in the ball of the kettlebell, imparting different, and many think, better ballistic properties due to this larger center mass. Kettlebells USA® manufactures two types of competition kettlebells, Paradigm Pro® Elite Precision 33mm handle diameter and Paradigm Pro® Elite Precision 35mm handle diameter.

A popular myth is that competition kettlebells are only for people who are competing in, or training to compete in, kettlebell sport competitions. This could not be farther from the truth. The same design characteristics that were developed for kettlebell competitions also make competition kettlebells ideal for “fitness” kettlebell lifting and working out. The wide, flat base of competition kettlebells makes them more much more stable for kettlebell floor exercises such as Renegade Rows and kettlebell push-ups. Cast iron kettlebell bases get smaller as the weight decreases and on really small kettlebells, the base is not as stable as a competition kettlebell base. All Kettlebells USA® kettlebells have machined flat bases, unlike many of our competitors, however, a competition kettlebell will always be more stable on the floor.

Another popular myth is that competition kettlebell handles are too small for two handed swings. Kettlebells USA® sets the record straight. Click here for the full article on this subject.