5 Things You Shouldn’t Ask A Kettlebell Lifter

5 things you shouldn't ask kettlebell lifter

If you’re reading this it means you’re a friend of the kettlebell society all over the world. With that said, there are still people who don’t really know what kettlebells are or why gyms have this funny weight thing with a handle lying around. Yeah, it’s a pretty harsh world we’re living in when we have to explain to just about everyone we come across what kettlebells are, what they’re for, and why we prefer them over “real” weights. Don’t get me started on explaining how to use them.

With regards to that, I created a small list of not-so-good topics or questions strangers, newbies, or capital A-holes say or ask that never ceases to irk most of us.

1. “Is that what they call a kettleball?”

This is probably the most common/annoying question (or statement) I’ve ever encountered. I know, not everyone gets it the first time unless they read about it somewhere but it’s vexing how one letter can make the difference between being in the mood to answer and answering like a total prick.

Scenario A: Kettlebell

Total newbie: “Hey man, I saw you throwing that thing around like it was made of cotton. You looked strong. Is that what they call a kettlebell?”

You: “Yes it is my friend. Come, let me teach you the ways of the iron ball with a handle!”

Scenario B: Kettleball

Total newbie: “Hey man, I saw you throwing that thing around like it was made of feathers. You looked pretty awesomesauce. That’s a kettleball, right? Sweet.”

You: *eyes twitching* “Yeah, thanks. But it’s not a kettleball. It’s a kettleBELL and its awesome.” *proceeds to do a snatch test*

Exaggerated a bit but you get the point. Besides, how hard could it be to just Google the damn name?

2. “Do you do the American/ CrossFit swing?”

First and foremost, I have nothing against Crossfit or those who practice the American Swing. If you like it, go for it. If you don’t, you snatch. Simple, right?

For those who do or want to get into the whole “upward swing” trend, here’s the general consensus: probably eight to nine out of ten kettlebell lifters don’t like or totally abhor the American swing. I’m sure you’ve heard most reasons like how it’s not exactly shoulder-friendly, how you’re most likely overextend your back (which leads to injury), and how the whole world would be better off snatching the kettlebell because they pretty much train the same muscles.

Again, not saying the American swing is awful or just plain wrong. I’m saying you’re most likely to get schooled if you ask about this from someone who’s not into Crossfit. Be careful out there.

3. “Jerking the kettlebells? Does it mean what I think it means?”

No. It’s not when you do the nasty when you’re alone. In case you’re wondering, kettlebell jerks are one of the best exercises when it comes to being a go-to full body exercise specially when you go with what they call long cycle or the LC. Just watch.

Ivan Denisov is one of the best lifters today and he’s making it, LC’ing two 40 kg ketllebells, look so damn easy. And those quads? They’re quads of justice!

4. “How to curl a kettlebell?”

Okay, here’s probably one thing every kettlebell lifter agrees on: You DON’T curl with kettlebells. Seriously, with all the best exercises out there, why would anyone bother with curls? We’re not saying it’s not possible but, in all honesty, it’s just dumb* not really practical. That’s what dumbbells and barbells are for. Even if you do curl with them, which is actually pretty tough with the weight being off-center, you’re literally just wasting your time. I mean it.

5. “Is X style better than Y style?”

Probably the one last thing we all want is a direct comparison between different kettlebell training styles. I won’t go into details as I’m pretty sure I’ll offend one person from each side but what I can tell you is any style is good so long as you apply proper form and safety. There’s no ideal way to train with a kettlebell. It’s all about the purpose of each lift. If it helps, you’re not exactly supposed to limit yourself with just one style. You can be a master of any style so long as you really take your time learning them.

BONUS: Show Off / “How’s my form?”

These are those who keep on uploading videos on Youtube or Facebook with the primary intent of showing off how awesome they are. They disguise this by giving the viewers a little note on what they did yesterday and how it’s different today. They also often ask you to criticize their form although we’re pretty sure they’ve checked their form a billion times before they uploaded it.

We get it: You’re ripped and stronger than a bear. So please, just be honest and tell us this is another Show & Swing portion.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I got a certification to pass.



*I seemed to have been over emotional with my idea of the KB curl. I’ve since updated it with what I wanted to convey.

Robert James
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2 thoughts on “5 Things You Shouldn’t Ask A Kettlebell Lifter

  • If bicep curling with a kettlebell is tougher than a dumbbell, why would you not do it? Why if you’re in the middle of a kb workout and you want to add some bicep curls would you put it down and grab a dumbbell? Just because everyone says so, sorry, in my world, the kettlebell is good for just about anything but pull-ups.

    • Again, not putting down the KB curls but I think we both agree KBs just aren’t meant to be curled in the first place. When I was a newbie I also tried curling since I had no idea how to use KBs at all until someone schooled me on it. Well, if you’re happy with that then as long as you don’t pull a muscle then go for it.

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