Instructables

10$ DIY "Kettle Bell"

The "Kettle Bell" or Russian Kettle is a traditional training instrument developed in Russia and made famous by Pavel Tsatsouline and Valery Fedorenko. Basically it's a big, iron ball with a handle that you swing around, lift and juggle. Kettle Bell workouts are fantastic exercise and are especially good for MMA training.

(For more information on Kettle Bells and what exactly you do with them, I recommend Crossfit.com
and good old Wikipedia.)

Kettle Bells come in several sizes, but are generally measured in poods (1 pood = approximately 36 lbs). A 1 pood kettlebell will run you easily 50-60 dollars. The one in the photo is about 30 lbs, which is plenty to get you started, but you can feel free to add some more weight as you see fit. It cost me about 10 dollars to make (though some materials and tools were free, so prices may vary)

So why not just use a dumbbell? Why does it have to be round? Essentially, the centered/raised position of the handle allows the main pay-load to swing, which means that you have to use your grip strength much more to control it, and it becomes harder to use natural mechanical advantage to lift the weight. Example: doing curls with a dumbbell, there is a point towards the top of the motion where your forearm is pretty much all the way underneath the weight, and you no longer need to engage certain muscles to finish the motion. With a kettle bell, the weight is very difficult to really get "under," so it will make many exercises more difficult and therefore more productive. 

Caution!
This Instructable involves welding, bending and shaping metal at high temperatures and working with concrete. PLEASE follow all safety guidelines, know what you're doing and wear appropriate protection when working with fire, welding gear and metal working tools. Also, exercise with kettlebells can be strenuous. Please consult a physician before using this training aid. A homemade kettlebell is no substitute for a cast-iron one and it is possible for concrete to break off, etc. while using one. Please be aware of these dangers if you choose to proceed. I take no responsibility for misuse of the information provided in this tutorial.


 
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jshsmith3 years ago
That rusty rebar looks almost suspiciously dangerous
actsofsubterfuge (author) 5 years ago
The "stone bell" design looks very impressive. I like the idea of coating the ball in plaster of paris to maintain the shape during molding. Covering the rebar with rubber tubing is a good idea but over time it will probably wear away. I would try for a more permanent solution like angle grinding away the ribs on the rebar or using bar-stock (more expensive, but smoother), or welding a piece of pipe over the handle. I wonder how he managed to bend it though... It's quite difficult without a forge/torch and an anvil.
There is a liquid rubber used to coat tool handles that could work well here. If it wears out you just paint more on the rebar. I've seen it in a few hardware stores.
Cervantes4 years ago
Awesome idea. I've been trying to pull the trigger on a kettle bell for months now but couldn't justify the expense. I think you can save some work by getting the thinner diameter rebar that can be bent by hand and placing weight on the ends, then shoving it into the wet concrete (gently).
Hi Cervantes. I've been playing with several of the DIY kettlebells, and did not find anything good. A friend and I developed our own, check it out. http://t-bellsystems.com
Tim Temple3 years ago
This brings to mind making a cheap anchor to lock a bicycle to that has to be left outside. Few thieves have the muscles for the bike AND the anchor! But it is not permanent so it can be removed.
whitewolf884 years ago
just made one out of bits lying around my house, so was pretty much free! used a basket ball, just cut a slit in the top poured in concrete and stuck handle in, not spherical, but who cares, came out at about 12kgs.
Seezor4 years ago
Instead of welding, could you just heat the rebar and bend it into the shape needed?
To help keep your ball in shape in the bucket you could put moist sand in the bottom of the bucket, premolded to the shape of your air filled ball. The sand around the bottom of the ball in the bucket should hold its shape.
There is a product you could use on the your handle.  I forget the name but it comes in a can and you can dip or paint items to leave them rubber coated.

Overall.  Great Idea.  Thanks for sharing. CS
Bah, you beat me to the torch.

Could also coil the bar to be cut inside the mold for more weight and save a garbage run, unless you have plans for it.
Awesome Instructable! I don't weld unfortunately, so I'll probably use pipe and pipe fittings as an alternative. This is still great! Crossfit and homemade equipment is always awesome to see!
I intend on making an instructable sometime this week on how I made my kettlebells. Nothing but pipe fittings, just like you said.
I couldn't help but notice that your name is really close to mine.
Cool! Let me know when you put it up please.
This is perfect for a poor student like me. Thanks
Holden_vy_s5 years ago
Using an acetylene torch and bending the rebar would be neater.
codongolev5 years ago
the problem with this step is that people see the tape and think that's the only thing holding it. that's why no one wants to lay on my hammock, it looks held together by tape.
surfreak5 years ago
WELDING! DUH! God I had spent forever trying to think of a way to get a good handle covering on to bent rebar... I'll definitely be making one soon. Also, check out (wfs)

http://jawbonejournal.blogspot.com/2007/04/debut-of-stonebell.html

for more ideas.
Crossfit FTW! Smoke you like cheap crack.
gman8085 years ago
nice bell, but the rebar is going to shred your hands if you are doing swings or snatches.
actsofsubterfuge (author) 6 years ago
I agree, if I were to remake this I would probably use a more rigid mold (as you can see it kind of flattened a lot on the bottom, decreasing the volume significantly), such as plaster, which would add a good deal of weight. I also agree with the thicker handle idea. I basically just used the materials that were available to me and the 1 in. rebar happened to be free : ) As long as you fill the pipe with concrete and then do something to the part that will be set in the ball mold to make it stay (weld on some other pieces of steel, score it up with a saw, etc. so it's not perfectly smooth) it should be fine. Good luck if you decide to give it a shot and thanks for the input!
ehmbee6 years ago
This is a pretty nice DIY kettlebell-they ARE expensive, and if you aren't sure if you are going to like working out til you vomit, this is a good way to test the waters. 30 lbs is fine to start-I think Pavel recommends a 35 for men of "average strength"-and I think "average strength" is a relative term in our sedentary world. Only think I would do different is use some scrap pipe and elbows in a thicker diameter like 1 1/2"-this will additionally work the hands and force them to get stronger as you swing. The stronger your grip, the more you can lift.