All shapes and sizes
There are many companies putting out interesting-looking kettlebells in various color-coded, vinyl-coated versions. Some are sized according to weight. Experts as well as old-school users lean toward the Competition Style kettlebells because the dimensions are the same regardless of weight. For example, a 12-pound bell and 35-pound bell are exactly the same size, so the technique and alignment remains the same for the each. When there is a significant size difference between a lighter and heavier kettlebells, it creates a new learning curve every time you make a weight jump.
So which is best?
It's not about which is better -- a kettlebell or dumbbell -- because both have individual advantages and disadvantages. Kettlebells are more suited to quick, explosive movements and cardiovascular drills, whereas dumbbells are better for slower and controlled movements and are available in heavier weights for more-advanced trainers.
Kettlebells will provide you with a cardiovascular challenge at the same time you're increasing strength; so in terms of time, it's most efficient. On the other hand, when your strength reaches a certain point, the kettlebells will have limitations. So the best advice is to include both and view this piece of iron as just another tool in your fitness toolbox.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified instructor/trainer since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to her at YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or email cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," at www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.