There are a TON of exercises that you can do with a kettlebell, and they work well for muscle engagement, strength building, and cardio.
But having a full set of kettlebells can be expensive AND it takes up a lot of space. The space issue is easy to solve by getting an adjustable kettlebell, like the one from Bowflex.
However, a lot of people already OWN dumbbells and they can make a good stand-in for a kettlebell a lot of the time. Here’s how to turn a dumbbell into a kettlebell.
There are two ways:
- You can convert a dumbbell into something that works very much like a kettlebell by using a piece of equipment called the KettleGryp.
- You can modify the way you use your dumbbell to do many kettlebell exercises.
Kettlebell Exercises You Can Do With a Dumbbell
The basic kettlebell exercise is called the kettlebell swing. You can do kettlebell swings with a dumbbell, but gripping the top dumbbell plate. Here’s a video that shows you how.
There are also many other exercises, like dips and overhead presses that can be done effectively with both kettlebells and dumbbells.
You can see how that works in this video. The instructor explains the moves with dumbbells to start and then kettlebells.
Turn a Kettlebell Into a Dumbbell
Some exercises like the kettlebell snatch aren’t as easy to do with an unmodified dumbbell. In this case, there is a great piece of equipment on the market called the Kettle Gryp. I have a full Kettle Gryp Review here.
The Kettle Gryp lets you put a kettlebell handle on almost any dumbbell, this greatly increases the amount of kettlebell exercised you can do with a dumbbell.
You can see how it works in this video:
This product seems a bit weird when you first look at it, but the construction is good and it does exactly what it says it does and provides a solid kettlebell grip onto almost any dumbbell.
TIP: If your dumbbell has a straight handle, the Kettle Gryp will work. The only types of dumbbells I’ve seen it not work on are the ones with “wavy” handles as well as adjustable dumbbell products like the PowerBlock.
Here’s another short video showing some different kettlebell moves with a dumbbell that has a Kettle Gryp handle.
Overall, the Kettle Gryp is a solid choice for turning dumbbells into something close to a kettlebell.
Important! When using the Kettle Gryp it’s important to remember that the weight distribution is a bit different from a traditional kettlebell, but the workouts that can be achieved with the Kettle Gryp conversion are quite similar.
The Differences Between Kettlebells and Dumbbells
Even though you can use a dumbbell in place of a kettlebell for many exercises and you can extend it’s functionality even more with a Kettle Gryp, these two pieces of equipment are not the same.
This video does a good job of showing the differences and why a dumbbell will never QUITE be a kettlebell, even though it can make a good substitute.
The Bottom Line on Turning Dumbbells into Kettlebells
If you already own dumbbells and are starting to try out kettlebell workouts you can turn a dumbbell into something that is close to a kettlebell with the Kettle Gryp. You can also modify how you use a dumbbell for many kettlebell exercises.
But if you decide to get serious about working out with a kettlebell, I recommend you get one or a pair of adjustable kettlebells. I review the top three on the market:
- Bowflex Adjustable Kettlebell: This is my favorite by far. I personally love Bowflex equipment because of how easy they are to use and the quality of the products. See my Bowflex Selecttech Kettlebell Review here.
- JaxJox Smart Kettlebell: This kettlebell connects to your smartphone and tracks what you do when you work out. It’s a very cool piece of tech. See my full JaxJox Kettlebell Review here.
- Powerblock Kettlebell: Considering how chunky the Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbell is, I was surprised at the sleekness of their kettlebell. See my complete Powerblock Kettlebell review here.
Overall, the most important thing you can do is some level of resistance training. If that works better for you with kettlebells, great. If it works better for you with dumbbells that you use with Kettle Gryp on, then do that.
Working out is WAY more important than the equipment you choose.