There are different sizes and styles of kettlebells that we can purchase to reach our goals, but its important to know which window size we need to ensure we get a kettlebell that’s optimal for us. So what is a kettlebell window, and what size do we need?
What is a kettlebell window? The window of a kettlebell is the space that separates the handle of the kettlebell from the bell, and is the area where we insert our hands to grip the handle. The window allows us to grip the kettlebell in many different ways to accommodate different movements.
It’s important to ensure we choose a kettlebell with an appropriate size window before purchasing so that we don’t end up with a kettlebell that we can’t use or that is dysfunctional for the movements we plan to train.
In this article I’ll discuss different sizes or shapes of kettlebell windows, which size may be right for you, and different styles of kettlebells that fit your preferences.
Looking for a kettlebell? Check out our reviews of the Top 5 Kettlebells For The Money, which are still high quality.
Kettlebell Window: Overview
The kettlebell window is the area between the bell and the handle that comes in different dimensions depending on the style and brand of the kettlebell. Some window sizes are wider with a more rectangular shape, while others are built in a more circular fashion. They can be big enough to accommodate 2 hands comfortably or smaller and be built for one-handed movements.
Cast Iron Kettlebell Window Size
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With cast-iron kettlebells, which are found in most gyms, the size and shape of the kettlebell window varies based on the weight of the kettlebell, and it is generally a more rounded shape.
Although the size of the window changes depending on the brand and weight we choose for cast-iron kettlebells, the window sizes always increase with increases in weight. This is ideal for two-handed movements because typically two-handed movements (deadlift, swing) tend to be our strongest movements.
Competition/Steel Kettlebells Window Size
In contrast, competition-style kettlebells are all the same size regardless of the amount it weighs and therefore always have the same window shape and size. Steel competition kettlebells have a smaller window size and a more rectangular window shape because they are generally used for one-handed movements for higher repetitions.
When possible it is recommended to test out our grip on the kettlebell we want before purchasing, to identify if the window is the right size for us based on comfort and functionality.
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between cast iron and steel kettlebells, then check out my article Cast Iron vs Steel Kettlebells: Pros, Cons, Differences.
Why Does Window Size/Shape Matter?
Window size matters because if the window is too small then we will not be able to perform our movements because we will not be able to get a full grip on the kettlebell, which is not only more dangerous but is also uncomfortable.
An appropriate kettlebell window size should be able to accommodate one or two hands depending on the type of movements we plan to perform.
If the window size is too large, then it may be harder to rack (a way to hold that kettlebell that involves the handle crossing the palm and the bell resting on the wrist) the kettlebell properly and avoid hitting the wrist, especially if we’re performing high repetitions of a racked movement like the snatch, clean, or jerk.
For those that plan to compete in a kettlebell competition, it is important to practice using a kettlebell with the same window size and shape as the one we would use in a competition, to ensure consistency in our movement patterns.
Determine The Correct Window Size For You
The correct window size for you can be determined by:
- Type Of Movements Performed
- Hand Size
- Kettlebell Style Preferences
Type Of Movements Performed
There are two types of movements that can be performed when using kettlebells: one-handed and two-handed.
One Handed Movements
If we are planning on performing mainly one-handed movements such as the snatch, clean, jerk, or turkish get-ups we are going to prefer a kettlebell with a smaller window size and a more rectangular shape.
The smaller window size allows for better control of the kettlebell for one-handed movements which allows for better efficiency for these movements – which is important when performing higher repetitions for time like we would in a kettlebell competition or in Crossfit.
If you’re looking for more kettlebell comparisons, then check out my article on Powder Coat vs Competition Kettlebells.
Two Handed Movements
If our training mainly consists of movements requiring a two-handed grip such as goblet squats, kettlebell swings, or deadlifts we will prefer a kettlebell with a larger window size that accommodates both hands gripping the handle comfortably.
Even if we still plan on performing one-handed movements here and there, if we are doing two-handed movements more often, it is worth getting a kettlebell with a larger window size.
Interested in learning more about kettlebells for two-handed movements? Check out our article on the Best Kettlebells For Two-Handed Swings.
The reason for this is that one-handed movements can be performed with a larger or more circular window style, but two-handed movements may not be possible with a smaller more rectangular window style.
Check out more differences between 1 arm vs 2 arm kettlebells swings.
If we have larger hands we may struggle to get a good grip on a kettlebell with a smaller window in both one-handed and two-handed movements.
When we grip the kettlebell, we should have some additional space in the kettlebell window – if our knuckles are touching or close to touching the bell when we grip the handle, the window size and/or shape is likely not a good fit for us. In addition, we should be able to fit both hands on the handle and still have some wiggle-room.
If we have smaller hands, we may prefer a kettlebell with a smaller window size as it will be easier to control the kettlebell, especially for movements that require us to rack the kettlebell.
If you have small hands, check out my other article reviewing the Best 5 Kettlebells For Small Hands.
Kettlebell Style Preferences
If we have a style preference for our kettlebells, it can help us determine which window size will be the best for us.
If we want a competition-style kettlebell, then we would prefer a smaller more rectangular window size/shape as we are likely wanting this style of kettlebell because we are performing more one-handed movements.
If we prefer a cast iron kettlebell then there is a bit more variety in window sizes between brands but they are usually always more of a circular shape. This is also typically the style that people who do not compete will typically use because they are more budget friendly and versatile.
Kettlebells come in different handle sizes. Check out my other article comparing the 33mm vs 35mm Kettlebell.
Kettlebell Handle Window Size Examples
Here are some examples of the different types of kettlebell handle window sizes that you can purchase:
Smaller Uniform Window Sizes
The competition kettlebell from Kettlebell kings is an example of a competition-style kettlebell that is typically used for high repetitions of snatches, cleans, and jerks or any single arm movements.
It has a window width of 115mm and is the best kettlebell to purchase if we are interested in more one-handed movements and/or we plan to compete, because it will allow us to practice with a kettlebell that has the right window size for the competition movements.
As these are typically used for more powerful one-handed movements, I would recommend that women start with a 8-12kg kettlebell and men start with a 20-24 kg kettlebell, as these weights will increase the number of exercises that can be performed, without being limited by a weight that is too heavy.
Window Sizes Variable By Weight
The powder coat cast iron kettlebell from kettlebell kings has a larger window size than a competition-style kettlebell because it is intended to be used for more than just one-handed movements. It is more versatile, as its window size changes depending on the weight of the kettlebell.
If we are purchasing kettlebells for full body training, it is probably best to buy two different kettlebells – one lighter weight with a smaller window size for upper body movements that typically require a one-handed grip, and one heavier weight with a larger window size for lower body movements that would require a two-handed grip.
This kettlebell is available in weights from 4kg-92kg and increases in window width from 81mm-173mm respectively.
For those who are beginning to dabble in kettlebell training and are not looking to spend too much money on a kettlebell, I suggest the rogue fitness kettlebell. This brand has similar sizing to the kettlebell kings cast-iron kettlebells but are more budget friendly.
They are also built to increase in window width as the weight increases, and are designed in a more circular shape giving more room between the knuckles and the bell. This is designed to be more versatile for one-handed and two-handed movements, but is probably not the best option for kettlebell competitors who need more consistency.
This kettlebell is available in pounds instead of kilograms, ranging from 9lbs-203lbs to accommodate the strength levels of many lifters for upper and lower body movements.
Other Kettlebell Resources
- Adjustable vs Standard Kettlebell: Pros, Cons, Differences
- E-Coat Kettlebell vs Powder Coat Kettlebell: Pros, Cons, Differences
- How To Keep Kettlebell From Hitting Your Wrist (7 Tips)
- Kettle Gryp Review: Pros, Cons, Is It Worth It?
- 7 Best Kettlebell Swing Alternatives (With Pictures)
- 5 Best Competition Kettlebells (Crossfit or Kettlebell Sport)
- Kettlebell Gloves or Chalk: Which Is Better? (Pros & Cons)
- 5 Best Kettlebell Gloves To Protect Your Hands
- Best 5 Kettlebells For Two-Handed Swings
- 3 Best Rubber-Coated Kettlebells
- 7 Best Kettlebell Apps For Both iOS & Android
- How To Chalk A Kettlebell Properly (4 Steps To Follow)
To choose the right window size we should consider the movements we plan to do, whether we are mainly using one or two handed variations, the size of our hands, and if we plan to compete or not. When in doubt, it is best to try out a product to see how it feels in our hand and in different movements to determine what our preferences are.
How to care for your kettlebell and ensure it doesn’t get any rust is important. Check out our guide on How To Get Rust Off A Kettlebell, which also includes prevention tips.
About The Author
Amanda Parker has a passion for competing and coaching in both powerlifting and weightlifting. She uses her knowledge from her Kinesiology Degree, CSCS, and Precision Nutrition certification to coach athletes and lifestyle clients for performance in training and nutrition. Connect with her on Instagram.