Kettlebell Handles For Dumbbells: Old-School Iron

Kettlebells have been around since before the development of mass-produced adjustable weight sets. When these sets were invented, they used weight plates; but it was natural for the manufacturers to try to adapt the plates for use not only in barbells and dumbbells, but in kettlebells too.

Back in the day (a century ago; maybe more), when you bought a weight set, it included these things:

  • Assorted weight plates
  • A long bar suitable for making up a barbell. Olympic-type bars with rotating sleeves were not in common use
  • Several short bars used for making up dumbbells
  • Sometimes, a sleeve that slipped over the bar(s) which allowed the barbell to rotate during overhead lifts (saving the wrists)
  • Collars and set-screws so you could secure the weight plates and make up a barbell and several dumbbells
  • Two kettlebell handles that attached to the dumbbells and turned them into a poor man’s version of a kettlebell.

Old-school kettlebell handles

Old kettlebell handles that slipped onto dumbbells.

These old kettlebell handles slipped onto dumbbells.

Kettlebells have been in existence longer than the weight plates used to make up adjustable dumbbells and barbells. Consequently, most strength athletes of yesteryear were familiar with them.

These fellows attached kettlebell handles to their dumbbells and used them mainly for overhead pressing. Since pressing a kettlebell (or a dumbbell that’s temporarily made into a kettlebell by the addition of a kettlebell handle) is somewhat easier than pressing a similarly-weighted dumbbell, these handles came in handy.

As you’re undoubtedly aware, today’s weight sets don’t include kettlebell handles. But with the increasing attention that kettlebell training is getting, it’s only a matter of time before the old becomes new again!