What Are the Differences Between Competition and Standard Style Kettlebells?
This is one of the most popular questions asked when first buying your first kettlebell set. Even if you are only buying 1 or 2 at a time, you do not want to get invested in the wrong style of kettlebell and figure out that you needed a different style.
Competition kettlebells are always the same bell size. This also includes the same flatness of the base. Your 15lb kettlebell will look the exact same as your 70lb kettlebell(excluding color). The reason for this is because when you are moving up in weight you want to make sure you have the exact same form throughout all your exercises, no matter which weight you use. Having the same size kettlebell allows for traveling kettlebell lifting competitors to have a standardized industry so they can use the provided equipment. This allows everyone to use the same size kettlebell and no one having an unfair advantage *cough Tom Brady cough*. Competitors don’t have to lug 300lbs in their carry on now!
Now because of this, some smaller competition kettlebell weights will have hollow spaces inside the bell part. Don’t worry though, I have never heard about anyone dropping their weight hard enough to actually crack the bell. Another small difference is that competition cast iron kettlebells kettlebells tend to have smaller handles in terms of diameter. And again, across most weights the handles will generally be the same. This can be a nice feature for small hands or people will exceptionally poor grip strength. The handles on competition kettlebells are also very consistent. As you can see in the picture, they have a flat squarish handle. Competition kettlebells usually cost more per lb than standard cast iron kettlebells.
If you are interested in competition or heavy body building, you might want to consider competition style kettlebells. Using a consistent size will help keep your form and technique clean while giving you the ability to move up in size with ease.
Standard kettlebells are what 95% of the population pictures in their head when they think of kettlebells. Unlike competition kettlebells, they vary in size. The heavier they get, the bigger the size. Many cast iron kettlebells are dipped in vinyl or rubber to protect floors, last longer, and look pretty.
The handle diameters increase in size as you move up in weight. This can help you increase grip strength as you move up in size. Almost every manufacturer these days use more rounded shaped handles. This is so lifters can easily slide two hands inside comfortably in for double handed exercises. The majority of kettlebell enthusiasts will want to use standard kettlebells for the versatility to use them in almost any exercise.
The majority of people will want to use standard size kettlebells. They cost less and provide the same if not better workout. They smaller size allows for more agility workouts and you can bring the weight closer to your body..