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Why We Focus on Competition Kettlebells (vs. Classic)
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Why We Focus on Competition Kettlebells (vs. Classic)

· · Comments

With the explosion in popularity of kettlebells in the last few years, there is now a wide range of types of kettlebells in the market – competition steel kettlebells, cast iron kettlebells, adjustable kettlebells, gorilla kettlebells, Darth Vader kettlebells… you name it.

Which begs the question: why does 100Strong focus on selling just competition kettlebells? 

Simply because they do everything a classic kettlebell can do – and more. 

Competition Kettlebells vs Classic Kettlebells

Competition kettlebells were originally designed in Russia by athletes competing in kettlebell sport. Being a sport of extremely high-repetition sets (often in the hundreds of reps per set), kettlebell sport required each of the kettlebells to be completely standardised in shape, grip and fit, no matter the weight being used. Each had to be optimised for maximum comfort and performance.

Much like a minor hip misalignment or slightly less than perfect running technique may not be problematic when we're going for a 10 minute run, we can’t say the same when running or training for an ultra-marathon. At such high volume of repetitions in kettlebell sport, dimensions that are just slightly off can cause an athlete a lot of trouble both in training and in competition. 

Classic kettlebells – better known as cast iron kettlebells – are your standard, black kettlebell which usually has a handle wider than the bell itself. This is what most people are familiar with – mostly because it is what’s found in most gyms around the world. What you see on the right of the photo below is a classic kettlebell, and on the left is the 100Strong competition kettlebell.

Comparison of competition kettlebell and classic cast iron kettlebell


Standardised Size and Shape

You’ll notice that competition kettlebells are the exactly the same size and shape, from 8kg all the way through 48kg. This is one of the main features (and benefits) of competition kettlebells.

Progressing to heavier weights is hard enough, and then throw in having to deal with different sizes and shapes as the weights increase? I’d rather not, thanks. 

With standardisation in size and shape of each competition kettlebell, you get consistency in the technique you build, regardless of the weight that you're handling. 

This means that as you progress in your training, the kettlebell will always rest the same way on your arm in a rack position, and will always sit in the same position on your wrist in an overhead press. You’ll therefore be able to focus on your technique without worrying about shifting and repositioning your kettlebell, the way you would have to with varying classic kettlebell sizes. This is key.

Difference in Handles?

Classic kettlebells generally have slightly wider handles than competition kettlebells since the latter are designed for single hand use - think snatches and presses. This is why many people think that if they wanted to incorporate double hand exercises such as two-hand swings into their training, they have to purchase a classic kettlebell. 

But truthfully, unless you have massive (and probably Russian) hands, you're not going to run into any problems using a competition kettlebell. 

No Welding

What premium competition kettlebells lack in handle width, they would more than make up for in the quality of their finish and thus comfort. They are cast as one single piece instead of parts that are welded together, so you don't have to worry about the seam cutting into your hands. 

The welded rod that you would find in classic kettlebells also tends to vibrate when it comes into contact with other objects, making it distracting to lift. You'll experience no such vibrations with competition kettlebells! 

Take a look at a review written by a happy customer of 100Strong!

100Strong customer review screenshot


'Nuff said! This is why we focus on competition kettlebells and why we'd recommend you do too.