Dumbbells and kettlebells are very different pieces of equipment. One isn’t better than the other for golf training, just better for different goals. In the very simplest terms, the different shape, weight and weight distribution of dumbbells and kettlebells make one more suited to highly focused, concentrated attention on building specific muscles, where the other spreads out the effects of exercise across the body and to the cardiovascular system.

Both kettlebells and dumbbells offer unique benefits for overall golfer weight training.

1. Weight distribution

Weight distribution is the most obvious differentiator between the two pieces of equipment.

Because kettlebells offer no counterbalance, kettlebell exercises can challenge more parts of your body to participate in every action. For example, lifting a kettlebell combines the work of leg, back and abdominal muscles—not just arm muscles. This is great for an all-body (or more-body) workout. Dumbbells, on the other hand, are very effective when you want to focus your attention on specific muscles or muscle groups.

2. Movement

A kettlebell handle is designed to move in the palm so that the arms maintain a healthy stable position, while dumbbells typically remain static in the palm. Similar to weight distribution, this allows each piece of equipment to focus on different goals—multiple muscle groups and cardio vs. controlled attention to build specific muscles.

3. Versatility

Both pieces of equipment are versatile in their own right. If focused strength and muscle-building are your goals, you can use dumbbells to work many muscle groups.

Kettlebells not only make it easier to incorporate cardio workouts into your strength-training regimen, but can also test your flexibility and stability with complex workouts. The Turkish Get Upis one example.

4. Cardio – A kettlebell’s advantage

Kettlebells have a special advantage, tied to their weight distribution and unique handle, in combining cardio and strength into one exercise that elicits a high metabolic response.

5. Dumbbell advantages go beyond focused weight training

Dumbbells support multi-joint exercises. They also can also test your stability by requiring you to control two separate implements at the same time (e.g., walking lunges, alternating dumbbell chest presses.)

Be safe and be effective

The absolute most important guidelines for any type of exercise are being safe and maintaining good form. Checking in with a trainer or golf coach to make sure you’re hitting these requirements is a must.

You can get a lot more out of an individual piece of equipment than you might think. If you don’t have access to kettlebells, that’s OK. Not just golfers but all athletes have been using dumbbells effectively since long before the popularity of kettlebells.