How to Make Your Kettlebells Heavier

The Kettlebell is one of the best implements out there when we are talking about gaining strength, building muscle, getting lean and attaining superhuman endurance. No matter what your goal is, you can benefit from kettlebell training big time. Besides, this tool is the least space consuming option (after your bodyweight, of course). You can even use kettlebells as part of your room decor.

As you probably know, the heavier kettlebell you use, the more benefits you will reap. A heavier kettlebell = more strength, more muscle, more fat loss. So you need to aim to lift more challenging bells with time. If your weight is 80 kg (180 lbs) and more, then you will need a pair of 40 kg (88s), 44 kg (97s) and maybe even 48 kg (105s). For example, a Double Front Squat with a pair of 32 kg (70s) kettlebells became ridiculously easy for me very quickly at the weight of 180 lbs. Heck, squatting with 40 kg kettlebells is not a problem anymore.

However, there’s one nuance with kettlebells…They are quite expensive. You probably won’t be able to afford  a new pair of kettlebells every time you hit PRs. No problem. Kettlebells offer different kinds of progressions to master the weight. If the Military Press becomes too easy, try a Seated Press. If the Seated Press also becomes too easy, try the Sots Press. In fact, you can vary not only the exercises, but you can also cut rest periods between sets (which is also great for fat loss), shift the lifting tempo, do high rep sets, add sets etc. But what if all that becomes too easy ? You need to buy a new pair.

Here’s the thing. For example, your 32 kg kettlebells became as light as air after moving through all those progressions I mentioned above. You don’t need to buy 36 kg kettlebells. You can skip them and purchase 40s. But what to do if you can’t lift 40 kgs right away? Take your time. Don’t rush things. We have now reached the main topic of this article.

The Rough Strength Solution for Making Your Kettlebells Heavier

At first, a disclaimer. The technique that I’m going to reveal is dangerous if done improperly. Try it at your own risk. I’m not responsible in any manner whatsoever for any injury which may occur through reading and following the instructions herein.

Additionally, I highly recommend not using this stuff for ballistic exercises especially the Double Snatch. You can use it for conventional movements like Presses, Rows, Squats and Deadlifts for added resistance.

Here’s the fun part. So you have a kettlebell and desire to make it heavier. There are several options:

1. Kettlebell, dumbbell and rope

Kettlebell, Dumbbell and RopeAll you need are a kettlebell, a dumbbell and some rope. You can attach the dumbbell to the kettlebell’s handle with a knot and rope it to the other side of the handle. Finish it with a double knot under the dumbbell. Look at the photos below.

Kettlebell and Knotted RopeKettlebell and Roped DumbbellKettlebell and Roped DumbbellKettlebell and Roped Dumbbell

Here is a 32 kg kettlebell and a 4 kg dumbbell attached to it. A 36 kg kettlebell is now ready. You need a good rope for this. Check all the knots before training. They should hold the dumbbell very tightly. The setup may seem a bit time consuming, but who cares? You need results, right?

2. Kettlebell and Chains

Kettlbell and ChainsThe second option is to attach chains to your kettlebell. This method is less useful in my opinion because chains take up a lot of space for their weight. In other words, there will be less space for your hand on the handle. Nevertheless, chains can offer you added resistance, which is great.

Kettlbell and Chains

UPDATE: Kettlebell and Dumbbells – Part 2

I picked up this awesome method from my fellow countryman and kettlebell brother Yahont. Check out his livejournal here. Learn russian, comrades!

It’s simple and effective.

Closing Thoughts

You can use practically everything you want for added resistance. But remember:

1. Check all the attachments before training.

2. Don’t use this technique for ballistic moves.

This technique has it’s own flaws, but I have used it with success in my training. Of course, you will miss out on some fun from not doing ballistic exercises with these kettlebells, but dumbbells, ropes and chains cost way less than a new pair of kettlebells.

Stay tuned for more on rough training.

Play rough!

Alex Zinchenko

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17 thoughts on “How to Make Your Kettlebells Heavier

  1. Pingback: Mixing Training Implements for Ultimate Results « Alex Zinchenko's – Gain Strength, Build Muscle, Get Ripped Rough

  2. mr zuffa

    like your web site we allso use ankle weights for added resistance on kettlebells and some have a bolt at the bottom where rubber floor guard is that can be replaced with a longer bolt and big washer to then add plates ……

  3. Frank

    Also, 100mph tape seems to work. Taping a barbell plate to the bottom securely seems to work. Just the diameter can screw it up if its too large.

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  6. Arek

    or even more rough strength style – make your own small sandbags and attach them with a rope

  7. Dave

    Can’t seem to find another blog-post more relevant to the issue, but do you have any suggestions for people who want to replicate the kettlebell? They are not that common here as they are $2-$4 per pound and only been around for 20 years; whereas everyone has a set of dumbbells.

    From my understanding, kettlebells used to be very common all over the world prior to the invention of barbells and dumbbells, but they managed to survive Tsarist Russia and Soviet Union simply because people learned to use what they have available. And they are still being used in places like China and Vietnam.

    At our local Highlands Games, they have something similar to the kettlebells. Except what they are is just cast-iron kettles filled up with lead balls. They don’t have a fixed weight like the ones sold in stores.

    Is there any suggestion you can make for someone who wish to do the kettlebell exercises but constantly have to re-invent equipment out of nothing every time he moves?

    T-bars came to mind, but they still require having iron-plates; and milk-jugs don’t have thick enough handles for seriously heavy weights. Anyone who thought of the latter really need to give their head a shake.

    And the tutorials using volley-balls, basketballs, concrete mix and PVC pipes, I am not even sure if they replicate the real thing.

    1. Dave

      And while I realize dumbbells and kettlebells can be used interchangeably for many routines, dumbbells start showing their disadvantage above 23 kg.

    2. Alex Zinchenko Post author


      Honestly, I never had such an issue. Kettlebells are great, but in your case, I wouldn’t bother with them. You still can successfully train with your bodyweight and a sandbag. These tools take virtually no space and can be transported easily.

      What kettlebell exercises are you interested in?

      – Alex

  8. Pingback: Mixing Training Implements for Ultimate Results - Alex Zinchenko's Rough Strength

  9. Pingback: Alex And Dave Dumbbells – Body Recomposition

  10. Mike Palmer

    Love your site & love Ukraine! (My daughter is from there). Great idea of using rope to tie small weights to the KBs. I’ve been able to progress using this idea. What suggestions can you give for replicating the incline press with KBs and no bench? Is there an alternative exercise that works the same muscles?

    Thanks for all the great info!!!!


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