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Is Handle Diameter Hurting Your Kettlebell Workouts?

Is Handle Diameter Hurting Your Kettlebell Workouts?

The Stronger You Get, the More Kettlebell Handle Size Matters. Here’s Why.

You just leveled up to a heavier kettlebell, but something doesn’t feel quite right when you’re lifting. You can’t get a solid grip. What’s going on?

Along with more weight, your new kettlebell probably came with something you didn’t think about—a larger handle diameter.

While a simple kettlebell swing may feel okay with any handle diameter, performing a snatch, clean or more complicated kettlebell training move with the wrong size grip can affect your comfort. Worse yet, it can lead to bad form that tanks your strength training results and can even worse cause injury.

If you’ve never thought about handle diameter vs. hand size when buying a kettlebell, you’ll be surprised at the difference a few millimeters can make. Let’s dive in and find out why, and what you can do about it.

How Hand Size Impacts Handle Grip

The average male hand is 7.6” long and 3.5” wide, while the average female hand is only 6.8” long and 3.1” wide, according to a comprehensive study of human body size by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Those fractions of an inch might not sound like much, but when you’re swinging a heavy cast iron kettlebell weight over your head, it matters.

Most other fitness brands design the handle diameter to get bigger as the weight increases.

For example, an 8lb kettlebell may have a handle diameter of 1.2” (30mm) while a 40lb kettlebell has a much larger diameter of 1.5” (38mm).

Competition kettlebells have a uniform handle diameter of 33mm regardless of weight increment, but those are specialized bells not chosen by the typical home gym user.

For most buyers, the heavier the kettlebell, the bigger the handle diameter.

The graduated sizing usually works okay for people with large hands, but those with smaller hands can struggle to get a good grip on a thicker handle.

While men and women both use fitness equipment, much of it was originally designed with the average male body in mind. Women—and men who are smaller in stature—may find certain equipment isn’t a good fit for their bodies.

Machines can be adjusted for user height. With free weights or kettlebells, there isn’t anything to adjust. Choosing a good fit is key to comfort and success.

Kettlebell handles designed for the average size male hand can be hard for smaller people to get a good grip. As users get stronger and move to heavier weights, the handle diameter may increase too much for their hands to get a comfortable and safe grip.

That’s more than just an inconvenience—it’s a safety hazard. The difference in hand size can create a poor grip on a thicker handle and cause weights to slip, leading to inefficiency and even injury.


Blue Lakes Iron Kettlebells are Competition Grade

When we started designing Blue Lakes Iron kettlebells, we set out to create the best kettlebells on the market. So, we consulted with a team of professional trainers. We asked these fitness experts what clients with home gyms really want from their kettlebell design.

The handle diameter issue came up repeatedly.

We decided to do something about it.

Blue Lakes Iron kettlebells have a consistent handle diameter of 33mm (1.3”), even as the kettlebell weight increases. This means you get stability and consistency in movement no matter what your bell weighs.

Benefits of consistent handle diameter:

  • Gives a comfortable handle grip for any hand size
  • Easy for all hand sizes to lift and control
  • Allows for a full grip on the bell
  • Allows all hand sizes to safety swing heavy weights

It is easy to see that while Blue Lakes Iron kettlebells are not certified for competition, they are competition grade—made for the at-home gym and the gym junkie alike.


Choosing The Best Kettlebell For You

The best kettlebell to buy is the one that fits your body and your budget. Finding that sweet spot will help you enjoy lifting more. When your workout feels good, you’ll be more likely to stick with it to accomplish your goal, whether it’s burning fat or building strength.

The pro trainers we spoke with were unanimous: buy the highest quality kettlebell brand you can afford. It’s an investment that pays off with every swing.

Blue Lakes Iron sells Made in the USA cast iron kettlebells direct from the foundry. Always in stock. Shop our full line here