Kettlebells are the perfect middle ground between intense cardio and heavy weightlifting. If you’re keen to improve your fitness but you’re not yet committed to visiting the gym 3 times a week, the best solution is to try a kettlebell workout from your own home. If you’re not totally sold on the idea yet or are just working on a tight budget, then there are some great ways that you can DIY kettlebells for under $8.
Kettlebells are one of the most versatile weight types. They consist of a large, weighted ball or box with a tall handle that incorporates two ‘horns’ big enough to grab with your entire palm as part of the handle sides.
It allows for different holds, either from the handle top or from the handle sides (horns), meaning you can use it for building multiple muscles. The kettlebell is used mainly in lunges, squats, and crunches to build arm muscles, develop better grip, balance and create core tension. Read Here:5 Best Kettlebells For Home Workout
THE BENEFITS OF KETTLEBELL EXERCISES
Kettlebells are a fantastic workout tool as they don’t specifically focus on one aspect of training. They’re an all-around fitness improver.
Because of how a kettlebell distributes the weight, lifting it really works on your core strength as it takes balance and the use of different muscle groups to lift it.
The way that kettlebells are weighted allows you to focus on your balance. The multiple grips will train you to balance your own weight a little better, developing your coordination and improving your abilities in other sporting areas.
It’s okay having giant biceps from using heavy weights in the gym. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re boosting your functional strength. Kettlebells develop a broader range of muscles compared to other weight types, meaning your overall strength in biceps, forearms, and core increases. You’ll suddenly be able to carry out much more challenging everyday tasks than you used to.
You can combine a kettlebell lift with other cardio exercises to increase the intensity. A kettlebell will work well with squats or twists to make your body work a little harder.
The natural combination of high-intensity cardio and weightlifting that comes from using a kettlebell will trip your body into a fat-melting mode, meaning your metabolism will be faster, and you’ll find it easier to keep the weight off.
If you’re into weight training, but you always fall at the last hurdle because your grip just isn’t strong enough to hold on, a kettlebell will really help you out. Because much of the emphasis is focused on the handle to lift, the muscles in your arms will gradually become stronger.
A kettlebell doesn’t necessarily have a balanced weight like dumbbells do. A dumbbell is designed explicitly for lifts and, therefore, needs to have an evenly distributed weight to avoid you getting one arm much bigger than the other.
However, kettlebells don’t distribute the weight quite so evenly, meaning you use your core to counterbalance, improving your overall balance and strength without working solely on your arm muscles. It’ll also massively improve your coordination, making you better at other sporting activities – especially activities that require hand-eye coordination.
DIY KETTLEBELL STEP-BY-STEP
Kettlebells are expensive, and when you’re just starting out, it might be best to go with the DIY option, especially if you’re on a budget. DIY kettlebells are relatively easy to make in your own home with materials you’ll already have around the house. There are a few different options you could go with, depending on how you intend to use the kettlebell:
Duct tape one end of your PVC pipe closed so that nothing can get through it.
Fill the pipe with sand and tape over the other end. The pipe will become your kettlebell’s handle, so fill it to ensure it’s as heavy as you need it to be but not so full that you can’t bend the pipe later.
Heat the pipe in the oven until it becomes moldable and shape it into a handle (use oven gloves).
Allow the molded pipe to cool or place it in cold water to speed up the process.
Cut into the top of the basketball to make 2 slits. This is where your pipe will feed in to create the handle, so make sure they’re large enough to fit the ends in.
Mix cement and pour it into the basketball to the desired weight. (Around ¾ full should work).
Add in the pipe to create the handle shape and use the cement to stick it to the basketball.
Allow the cement to fully dry before use.
This is a fantastic way to make a long-lasting kettlebell, although you won’t be able to change the weight as you get stronger, so it may be a good idea to make a couple of varying weights so your can progress. The process works with smaller balls too, so if you’re looking to start a little lighter, a soccer ball might be your best bet. You could even spray paint it black to make it look a little more like the real thing.
Use an old milk jug or other handled bottle or jug.
Ensure the handle and bottom of the jug are secure (you’re about to make it very heavy). You might want to strengthen the outside with strong glue or a thin layer of cement.
Fill the jug with sand to the desired weight.
Add the lid to the jug and seal.
This is an excellent method if you intend to build up the weight over time. If you don’t seal the lid on too tightly, you’ll be able to add more and more sand as you get stronger.
DIY KETTLEBELL EXERCISES
There are a couple of different types of press, depending on how much cardio you want to incorporate into your training. A single-arm press involves standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding your kettlebell by the handle, with the bell facing upward, your elbow to the floor.
Then push up on the weight, so it reaches the sky. If you want to make the workout a little more intense, you could perform squats in between each rep.
You’ll need to sit on the floor with your feet out in front of you. For each rep, bring the kettlebell to your chest, turn to the side, and then place the kettlebell on the floor by your side. Then pick back up again, hug it to your chest, turn, and place it on the other side. It’ll really focus on your core, back, and bicep strength.
Stand with one foot out in front on the other in a lunge stance. Your front foot should be flat to the floor and the back one on tiptoe.
Hold the kettlebell in one hand, palm facing towards you, and gradually drop the kettlebell towards the floor. Don’t move your legs, and simply use your shoulder and arms to bring the kettlebell back up to your waist. Repeat.
Train your legs, glutes, and back muscles by grabbing the kettlebell by the horns and holding it at shoulder height in front of you. You’ll then need to perform squats, holding the weight at the same height.
Standing with your legs slightly further apart than your hips, you should pick up the kettlebell with both hands using the handle, with your palms facing toward you.
You’ll then need to swing the kettlebell between your legs backward and drop it down to the floor. It would be best if you used your hips to swing the kettlebell forward repeatedly to develop your glutes, legs, hips, and shoulders. Try not to use your arms to move it.
If making a DIY kettlebell even seems like a little too much effort, or if you’re not confident working with cement, there are a couple of things that you could order online for a small cost that will work just as well.
Kayak Dry Bag
A kayak dry bag can be filled with water and is waterproof, so none of it will leak out. The great thing about using a kayak dry bag is that you can vary the weight depending on the amount of water you use, and it’s easy to take it while traveling, as you can just empty the water out and fold it down when you’re on the move.
The standard capacity would be 60-70 pounds of water, so you have plenty to work with. However, you will need to consider the structure of the handle, as it may not be ideal for all types of exercise.
It seems obvious, but you could even make a kettlebell out of existing weights that you have in your home gym. A dumbbell can easily be turned into a kettlebell by just attaching a rope to each side as the handle.
You’ll need to make sure that the rope is secure on each side and that it won’t untie when you lift it. You don’t want to end up with the dumbbell on your foot. Make sure the rope is strong and thick enough to bear the weight.
Essentially a kettlebell can be constructed out of anything heavy if you put it in a bag with a strong handle. A handbag would be perfect if it’s small enough. Try filling it with food cans, books, or anything heavy around the house that you can get your hands on.
The beauty of this is that you can change the weight at any time, and the weight in the bag won’t necessarily be even, so it’ll activate your core in the same way that a kettlebell would do. However, you’ll need to ensure that the bag you choose has a very sturdy handle and can carry the weight without breaking.
OTHER DIY WORKOUT EQUIPMENT
If you’re hooked on making DIY gym equipment now, there are a few other easy-to-make pieces that you could try out to save yourself a bit of cash.
Farmer’s Walk Bars – Can be made easily by using two pieces of metal pipe. You can create handles by nailing together a couple of pieces of wood and attaching them to your heavy pipe using nails or cement.
Sandbags – Sandbags are great pieces of training equipment as they are. You can throw them away from you or just use them to lift. If you don’t have a sandbag handy, you can do the exact same with an industrial waste bag and some wet soil. A sack of potatoes may even do the job if you’re looking at a lighter weight to start with.
Medicine or Water Balls – You can cut a hole in a basketball or soccer ball and fill it with water or sand. A sand-filled ball will give you a solid weight to lift and engage your arms and core, or if you’re looking for something a little more similar to a kettlebell, filling a ball ¾ full of water will provide the uneven weight to improve your grip and balance.
You’re all set to create a great workout from home without the extra cost or hassle of taking all of those trips to the gym. Using homemade kettlebells can really boost your strength and stamina from the comfort and convenience of your own home.