What are the Different Types of Kettlebell Weights?

Matthew F.
Matthew F.
American kettlebells feature a ball-shaped weight.
American kettlebells feature a ball-shaped weight.

Kettlebell weights are popular lifting accessories that are used for a variety of fitness programs. The different types of kettlebell weights include the American kettlebell, the Russian kettlebell, and the plated kettlebell. These of weights can be used for wide ranging exercises, and can be combined into a number of comprehensive workouts.

One of the most common kettlebell weights is the traditional American kettlebell. American kettlebells feature a smooth handle with a soft ball-shaped weight that generally varies by 2 or 4 pound (0.9 or 1.8 kg) increments. A number of moves may be performed with these weights, such as the clean and pull and a variety of rows and cardio workouts.

The traditional Russian kettlebell weighs about 35 pounds.
The traditional Russian kettlebell weighs about 35 pounds.

Russian kettlebell weights are similar to American weights in that that feature the small handle, suited for a one hand grip, and a large attached ball. The Russian weights usually come in heavier weights and feature a more squared off bottom on the weight so it can be more easily set down during heavier workouts.

The third most common type of kettlebell weights are the plated dumbbell kettlebells. These weights, like straight bars and curl bars, can easily be adjusted to support a variety of different weights. Less common and more expensive than the typical American and Russian kettlebells, these eliminate the need for a large number of weights to do different lifts and exercises.

Some athletes consider kettlebells an alternative to the more commonly used dumbbells.
Some athletes consider kettlebells an alternative to the more commonly used dumbbells.

Plated kettlebell weights usually feature a standard weight with a limited ball shape, and are generally smaller than most other kettlebell balls. Plates are added to each side of the kettlebell to increase its weight. The ball is then made wider with the plates; the heavier plates get progressively smaller from the inside out to form the ball shape of the kettlebell.

Improper use of kettlebell weights may result in injury to the back.
Improper use of kettlebell weights may result in injury to the back.

With the variety of home kettlebell routines that can be done, it is not usually necessary to own all three types of bells. The American is popular for those lifting lighter weights and who use the balls in a variety of routines that force them to move it around their body and limbs. These lighter and softer weights can come in contact with a body without hurting it and can be placed on the ground without ruining something that they might roll into. The Russian kettlebell weights are heavier and easier to place on the ground with their flat bottoms.

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    • American kettlebells feature a ball-shaped weight.
      American kettlebells feature a ball-shaped weight.
    • The traditional Russian kettlebell weighs about 35 pounds.
      The traditional Russian kettlebell weighs about 35 pounds.
    • Some athletes consider kettlebells an alternative to the more commonly used dumbbells.
      Some athletes consider kettlebells an alternative to the more commonly used dumbbells.
    • Improper use of kettlebell weights may result in injury to the back.
      Improper use of kettlebell weights may result in injury to the back.
    • The recent trend of kettlebell workouts in the United States has made many types of ball-shaped weights popular.
      The recent trend of kettlebell workouts in the United States has made many types of ball-shaped weights popular.