How do adjustable kettlebells work? This quick guide to the three main varieties and how to use them explains all…

Some of the best kettlebells are adjustable kettlebells – a safe bet if you have limited storage space at home but want to get a solid kettlebell workout in without going to the gym. However, there are quite a few different types of adjustable kettlebells out there, with each working slightly differently.

“Adjustable kettlebells are really simple to use,” says Graeme Dalling, a PT at Soulfit in East Sussex, UK. “You usually adjust the weight by turning a dial or moving a pin, which will change to your desired weight.”

Adjustable kettlebells range in weight from around 12kg to 32kg, meaning you can vary your workout depending on your fitness levels, goals and the exercises you’re doing. Just remember that they often lack the sturdiness of fixed kettlebells.

“Because of how they’re built, they are not going to be as sturdy or solid as a conventional kettlebell and the inner mechanisms could shift about while in use.”

Of course, you’ll need to bear in mind the expense – particularly if you’ll looking to do double kettlebell workouts. Otherwise you’ll be limited to one-kettlebell workouts.

Adjustable kettlebells with pins

If you’ve ever used weight machines at the gym, then adjustable kettlebells with pins will be instantly familiar. They include stacked weights inside the kettlebell itself, each one with a hole for placing the pin.

All you need to do is move the pin into the side of the kettlebell you require. If you opt for a lower weight, the weights you don’t require will simply be left on the floor.

While the shape of adjustable kettlebells with pins can often be unconventional, with a squared-off rather than round shape, the lack of complex internal components make them a good bet for those who want a system that will last.

Adjustable kettlebells with dials

These are perhaps the most common adjustable kettlebells. They work on the same principle as those with a pin, with a dial on the top of the kettlebell and a hollow space within holding up to five different weight plates. All you need to do is turn the dial to choose how many plates you want.

Any that are not required will be left on the floor for you to remove. Start working out, add more if required, or stop, twist the dial and drop a weight if things feel too heavy.

While adjustable kettlebells with dials are very easy to use, the internal mechanism in cheaper models may shift while you’re working out, meaning they lack the stability of fixed kettlebells.

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Plate-loaded adjustable kettlebells

These often allow for heavier weights, with weights fitting onto a special locking screw to keep them secure. These are least likely to have any issues, as they involve a simple screw fitting onto the kettlebell.

But as you need to take them apart and add or take off weights manually every time you want to adjust, rather than twisting a dial or adding a pin, they can be a little laborious to use. The fact they are usually cast iron does improve their durability, though.

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