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Have you been wanting to build muscle– and burn fat– but don’t love the idea of entering a crowded gym? Ever feel like you have time to work out? Dragon Door RKC Kettlebells promises a full-body workout and conditioning with just 10 minutes a day. But is this a legit workout option– or just advertising? That’s what my Dragon Door RKC Kettlebell Review will cover.
Kettlebells, of course, are nothing new: they were first popularized in the 19th century when Russian athletes used them for strength and conditioning. But it’s the last several years that they’ve been marketed as not just equipment for athletes but for anyone wanting to get in shape.
And some, from companies like Dragon Door to fitness influencers, are tapping into the need for quicker, more efficient workouts. Milind Soman, an Indian actor, model, and producer, has also become known as a fitness influencer. His latest advice? “Race against your lazy self” by doing a kettlebell workout at home.
In a workout video and subsequent social media posts, Soman showed himself swinging kettlebells, explaining that the workout gets us aligned and ready for a new week. Not only are kettlebells being touted as a great workout– but also as a way to get activity even amidst busy schedules.
But is Dragon Door that special? And are Dragon Door RKC Kettlebells your way to getting back in shape, 10 minutes a day at a time? Here’s everything you need to know to decide whether this option is worth your money– and will slip into your workout routine.
What Are Kettlebells Good For?
Even if you buy the best kettlebells possible, I want to discuss what they’re used for– and where they fall flat. The good news is that kettlebells are useful for many things for strength and conditioning, even though there are limits.
Can Kettlebells Build Muscle?
The number one use for kettlebells is building muscle and lean body mass. With proper training, kettlebells work multiple joints at once, making them more efficient than some strength training exercises, which target just one muscle at a time.
They’re also versatile, allowing you to perform everything from swings to squatting, so your gains aren’t limited to upper body strength.
Another pro to kettlebell workouts is something called offset loading. Offset loading consists of placing a greater amount of weight on one side vs the other. Offset loading, also known as asymmetrical training, triggers your muscles in a new way and helps strengthen the weaker side.
But there are some pros and cons to this. For one, kettlebells are just one way to try this training. For another, one must be very cautious and incorporate little bits of asymmetrical training at a time– too much at once raises your risk of injury.
Do Kettlebells Make You Strong?
Kettlebells, when used consistently, can strengthen and improve your muscle mass. But they are not a magic bullet. If you aren’t eating properly and training consistently, even the best gym equipment can fail you.
Do Kettlebell Swings Work Abs?
Since kettlebells are versatile, the many ways they are used can work abs. By keeping your back straight when you perform swings, you’re not only preventing injuries but also activating your core muscles. Swings are considered to be a ‘full-body workout,’ which includes core muscles.
While they do not solely or specifically target the abdomen, they can lead to increased strength in your midsection. In other words: they don’t replace targeted ab exercises, but kettlebell swings can be helpful.
Do Kettlebell Swings Work Glutes?
Kettlebell swings can target glutes. This is most effective when performing two-handed kettlebell swings of equal weight. It’s what fitness experts call a ‘posterior chain exercise.’ A posterior chain exercise alternates between contracting and lengthening muscles, involving flexibility, balance, and strength.
When you’re swinging kettlebells with two hands, you’re activating a chain of muscles, from your upper shoulders to your core to your glutes. Once again, the main focus isn’t on glutes, but your glutes do get a bit of a workout as you perform two-handed swings.
Do Kettlebell Swings Strengthen Your Lower Back?
Kettlebell swings, when done correctly, can also strengthen your lower back. Studies have looked into the anatomy and physiology of why kettlebell swings strengthen back muscles. A 2012 Canadian study summed up just how much of a full-body workout swing can be.
The researchers, complementing other studies, found that swings created a unique pattern of movement that alternated active and passive cycles. During swings, the lower back was compressed and elongated with the help of abdominal muscles and glutes.
This unique movement pattern has been associated with increasing back strength and flexibility– though there are exceptions.
Do Kettlebell swings Work Biceps?
Kettlebell swings can be as effective for working biceps as with dumbbells. However, the key is swings, not curls. Swings may be more effective than curls by working not just biceps but also surrounding muscles.
Are Kettlebells a Good Way to Lose Weight?
Another reason why kettlebells are attractive is that they potentially can help you lose weight– but more often, after a certain point, you’ll notice an increase in lean muscle mass and a decrease in body fat vs the scale simply going down.
Can You Get a Six-Pack with Kettlebells?
If you ever see a type of exercise being advertised as your way to getting a six-pack, be wary. Both men and women need to be at a fairly low body fat percentage to start seeing the definition in their abs, let alone a six-pack. For women, that means body fat hovering around 14 to 19 percent most of the time.
For men, that range is 6 to 12 percent, with 10 percent cited as a good place to be. But genetics play a role as well, and what body fat percent you’d need to be at.
For women, six-packs tend to show in elite, professional athletes. Kettlebells can help you strengthen your abs– which is a healthier and more realistic goal. But kettlebells alone won’t get you a six-pack.
Do Kettlebells Speed Up Your Metabolism?
Any strength training program can speed your metabolism. Muscle burns more energy than fat, so you’ll have a higher resting metabolic rate with consistent training. However, this can apply to other strength training programs as well.
How Many Calories do Kettlebell Swings Burn?
The average person weighing 150 pounds can burn around 350 calories with a moderately intense to intense kettlebell workout, with 30 minutes of continuous effort.
Keep in mind that intensity, your unique body composition, and other factors, such as age and gender, play into calorie burn. It is unlikely that you’ll be doing a kettlebell workout without rest– nor is that advised. Claims that kettlebell workouts scorch 1200 calories are unfounded.
Kettlebell swing workouts are a way to burn calories but are not the greatest calorie-burning workouts possible. Better is to factor in the gradually increased BMR alongside the calories burned during the workout.
Why Are Kettlebells Overrated?
Kettlebells are an excellent choice when incorporated into a fitness regimen for most people. However, they need to be used properly, and they don’t fully replace some other forms of exercise.
Can Kettlebells Replace Cardio?
Some claim that kettlebells replace cardio– but there’s a caveat. Every once in a while, swapping out a regular cardio session with a kettlebell workout is just fine. Some research suggests that kettlebell workouts can get your heart rate up in the same way as a cardio workout, and oxygen rates were comparable as well.
However, it was a small study and how you use kettlebells is important. In some cases, kettlebells can provide a combined strength and cardio workout, but it’s still a good idea to sneak in some cardio sessions as well, even if that’s fast walking.
Are Kettlebells Bad for Your Knees?
When using proper form, kettlebell workouts are safe for many. But those suffering from arthritis or who have a history of knee problems should avoid squats. However, in many cases, kettlebell swings can be performed safely. Stand with your feet about a hip apart, as wider stances can lead to more pressure on your knees.
Wear flat-soled shoes, not running shoes, and don’t train to failure if you have weaker knees. Check-in with an athletic trainer if you have concerns about your situation.
Are Kettlebells Bad for Your Back?
Another potential problem is bad pain or injury. When done correctly, kettlebells can strengthen your back. When poorly executed, or if you’re trying too heavy of weight too quickly, you risk a back injury. The main cause is the lack of proper hip movement, as well as improper.
Of course, if you’re currently recovering from a back injury, then you may want to give yourself time before getting into kettlebell workouts. If any of the following apply to you, you should not attempt kettlebell workouts:
- You just had surgery
- You have a herniated disk
- You’re experiencing consistent back pain or limited back mobility
Your first step is to ensure that you have the proper range of motion and flexibility required to make safe kettlebell swings. Click Here For Mobility and Flexibility Tests, as designated by professional chiropractors.
Next, you need to make sure you’re performing exercises in a way that doesn’t cause pain. Taking the following steps will reduce your risk of back pain and/or injury:
- Keep your arms relatively relaxed and keep your swings even and controlled
- Power from your hips– you shouldn’t be placing all your weight on your arms
- Gradually increase your weight
- Stretch after sessions. Practice flexibility exercises for tight quads, hamstrings, and hips
Are Kettlebell Swings Better than Deadlifts?
Kettlebell swings are not better than regular deadlifts, nor are they meant to replace them. However, kettlebell deadlifts may be performed to combine both exercises. The general rule is to perform a great deadlift first.
Are Kettlebells as Good as Dumbbells?
Kettlebells have the advantage of increased grip and back strength and can be used in the same way dumbbells are– for curls, lunges, and more. Dumbbells are easier for beginners, pose lower injury risks, and are accessible– you can even do seated exercises. Kettlebells have a cardiovascular element and are an all-body workout.
How do You Use Kettlebells?
Knowing how to properly use kettlebells ensures you’ll have the best experience possible with Dragon Door RKC kettlebells. If you don’t train properly, then even the best kettlebells will fail you– and could lead to injuries.
How Many Times a Week Should I Train with Kettlebells?
Experts recommend training with kettlebells 2 to 4 times per week for the best results. This ensures consistency and the ability to make gains but leaves room for rest and incorporates other forms of strength training and cardio.
Is it OK to Use Kettlebells Every Day?
While some may be able to train with kettlebells every day, this is only acceptable for short periods and those who have worked up to it. Strength training of any kind every day risks injury, doesn’t allow your body to heal, and may even stunt potential muscle growth.
Are 20 Minutes of Kettlebells Enough?
15 to 30 minutes a few times a week is enough to enjoy the benefits of training. Start shorter and work your way up. You can also mix kettlebell training with other forms of training. What you don’t want to do is start with 45 minutes of training and risk burnout and injury.
How do I Know if I’m Doing Kettlebell Swings Correctly?
One sign you’re not performing swings correctly is you feel pressure or pain on a single muscle. You should be powering with your hips, keeping your legs straight, and bending your knees when you swing.
The movement should be fluid and controlled, and you’ll feel your biceps, quads, core, and hamstrings being worked. Now there are different types of swings, but a great introduction to basic form is Mind Pump TV’s How-To Video.
How do You Find the Best Kettlebells?
Many different factors go into selecting a kettlebell. You’ll need to assess the best weight for you, the kettlebell quality, and your personal needs.
What is the Best Weight Kettlebell for Beginners?
You don’t want to start too heavy– and, of course, the right weight depends on your gender and fitness level. Generally, men should start with a 10 to 12kg kettlebell, while 6 to 8kg is a great place to start for women. Work your way up slowly.
What is a Good Size Kettlebell?
If you’ve been lifting for a while, you may be able to start higher. And if you’ve tried training with a kettlebell recently, this is true as well. A great size to work your way up to is 8kg to 12kg for the average woman or 12kg to 22kg for men.
At this weight, you’re getting a good workout– but keep in mind that these are generalizations and may not be perfectly applicable for you. For instance, some wonder if 4kg is too light.
It is for most, but for a complete novice, it may not be. For men, 16kg is enough for great results– not everyone requires 22kg or above. This all depends on your fitness and goals.
What Should I Look for When Buying a Kettlebell?
Once you’ve established the right size for you, it’s time to inspect kettlebell quality. Here are what I recommend looking at before buying– and my qualifications for reviewing the Dragon Door RKC Kettlebell.
How Thick Should a Kettlebell Handle Be?
The way the handle is made has a dramatic effect on the performance of your kettlebell. The hand should be thick enough for a tight grip, but not so thick you can’t easily wrap your fingers around it. Aim for 33 to 35mm.
35mm is better if you plan on heavyweights and overhead exercises. Meanwhile, a 33mm is better for smaller hands, easier to control, and great for beginners as well.
The kettlebell handle should be spaced enough, so you have room to lift comfortably.
What is the Best Material for a Kettlebell?
While there are other materials, such as vinyl, cast iron, or steel is your best bet. Steel kettlebells are general fitness kettlebells, while cast iron kettlebells are what is approved for competing.
Thus, if you’re buying a kettlebell for general fitness, steel is just fine. Those looking to train for competitions would be better suited with cast iron kettlebells. Plastic and vinyl can even be dangerous, as it’s easier to slip.
What is the Best Shape for a Kettlebell?
You might think of the body of a kettlebell as being round, but you sound like you are looking for an oval shape. The handle should smoothly connect, with no sharp edges.
Are Dragon Door RKC Kettlebells Any Good?
Dragon Door claims that it’s the “world’s premium site for kettlebells.” They make some pretty big claims about their products. But before I break down those claims, let’s look a little inside the company.
Where are Dragon Door Kettlebells Made?
While many companies try to obscure where their products come from, I appreciate that Dragon Door states simply that their kettlebells are all manufactured in China. This is pretty much standard, as few kettlebells are made in the United States.
What are Dragon Door Kettlebells Made Out Of?
All Dragon Door kettlebells are made out of cast iron. Cast iron is a great option if you want to pursue heavyweights, over-the-head exercises, and if you’re training for a competition. I also love another feature: a special coating. That special coating is what they call an e-coat finish.
The e-coat finish is paint that’s been electrically applied to the surface of the kettlebell. Also known as electrocoating, this technique has been used on vehicles and it’s also been used in jewelry.
E-coating is known to endure indoors and outdoors, as well as chemicals, and in this case, perspiration from working out. This e-coating is designed to make the kettlebells rust-resistant, and that’s a feature you don’t always see.
What Does a Military-Grade Mean?
One side note is that Dragon Door claims its kettlebells are all military grade. But before you get excited about this, you should know this is purely a marketing term. While the other claims so far stack up, this one doesn’t mean anything. The military-grade is simply said to give off a tough and durable image.
How are Their Kettlebell Handles Designed?
The handles are sturdy and thick but not so thick they’re hard to grasp. There are no sharp edges. Instead, the handles are nicely curved for a natural and secure grip. The designs of all Dragon Door kettlebells are meant for comfortable and safe use.
What Does RKC Stand For?
But what about the term RKC? RKC stands for the “Russian Kettlebell Challenge.” This is a school of fitness instructors run by Dragon Door. Instructors who pass through these earn an RKC certification. Certification requires a set of fitness tests and proper form, and it’s often very challenging.
RKC is considered the “best” certification for its rigorous standards. Now, in terms of a kettlebell, I wouldn’t argue it means as much. The idea is that these kettlebells are associated with RKC trainers and suited for competitive levels.
But there’s also a difference between Russian vs American kettlebells. As you swing, a Russian kettlebell will naturally slow near your chest, while an American kettlebell goes directly overhead. The advantage is that a Russian-style kettlebell like those offered by Dragon Door allows more to correct and control your swing.
What Sizes do Dragon Door RKC Kettlebells Come In?
Dragon Doors sells 21 different weights, though do note that some are currently out of stock on their website. You can buy Dragon Door RKC kettlebells on their main webpage, but you can also buy select sizes on Amazon. You can also filter by beginner and advanced.
Of their RKC kettlebells, they offer 4kg (10 lbs) to 60kg (132 lbs) so there’s just about every size, from beginner to advanced.
Do Dragon Door RKC Kettlebells Live Up to Their Claims?
As I mentioned, Dragon Door does make some sweeping claims. Let’s take a look at each one and how much their products live up to them. It’s a mix, with some claims being far too broad and rather misleading, while others are fairly true and helpful to consider.
Claim #1: Upgrades Your Immune System (Misleading)
Regular exercise is indeed associated with a more robust immune system. Regular exercise improves immune cell efficiency and may reduce inflammation as well. But this applies to consistent exercise and is not specific to kettlebells of any kind.
Furthermore, there is no such thing as “upgrading” your immune system, at least not in these terms. And over-exercising can weaken your immune response, so it’s all about balance.
Claim #2: Reduces Anxiety and Stress (Misleading)
The problem with this claim is the same as the last: it’s not specific to the kettlebells that they’re selling. While increased physical activity is associated with reduced levels of anxiety and depression, many studies point to the complicated relationship between stress and anxiety.
Regardless, kettlebell training may help manage mood– and it certainly is beneficial vs being sedentary. But it’s still not specific to the kettlebells they are selling or kettlebell training in general.
Claim #3: Restore Your Energy (Mostly True)
There is evidence that strength training can reduce symptoms of fatigue, although, once again, it’s not super specific to RKC kettlebells. A study found that strength training improves fatigue resistance.
Claim #4: Retain Athleticism Without a Gym (Mostly True)
The great thing about high-quality kettlebells is that you can get both cardiovascular and strength training.
With no other equipment needed, you can build or retain much of your muscular and cardiovascular conditioning. Of course, you shouldn’t train every day, and it’s best to mix up your workouts, but this is a valid statement.
Claim #5: Resculpt Your Body (Hard to Say)
This one is too general to really investigate, as the term resculpt doesn’t inherently mean that much. If I think of it as getting back in great conditioning, then there is some merit. Kettlebells, when done correctly, provide a full-body workout.
High-quality kettlebells with a firm grip make it easier to perform exercises safely, all the while conditioning your core, arm, quads, and glutes. And you can indeed exercise indoors and in your own home.
What do Other Customers Think About Dragon Door RKC Kettlebells?
I also wanted to see if my impression aligned with other customers. On Amazon, one such RKC kettlebell earned a 4.5 out of 5-star rating, based on a little over 50 customer reviews. 83 percent awarded it a 5-star rating, and just 3 percent a low rating.
Users claimed they could feel the difference between Dragon Door and other kettlebells in their swing. Despite the price, many customers felt the purchase was worth it, and the quality difference, as well as control, was noticeable. One customer felt the handle was too narrow.
Though the rating by a single review is poor on Better Business Bureau, the company has an A+ rating through the BBB. All told, there are few complaints, which seem to be outliers, and the vast majority agree that Dragon Door sells kettlebells of exceptional quality.
Where to Buy
- While you can find some Dragon Door RKC kettlebells on Amazon and some sporting goods stores, I recommend shopping on their main site. Shop All Dragon Door Kettlebells Here.
- You can also Pre-Order Other Kettlebell Sizes Here.
- Interested in certification or training? Click Here For Training From Dragon Door.
Looking for another great kettlebell but not sold on the RKC design? Another great pick is Rogue Kettlebells. These kettlebells are available in 9lb to 203lbs and are designed to be sturdy, with a smooth, comfortable handle and a powder coat finish for improved durability. Shop Here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How Long Does it Take to See Results from Kettlebells?
Answer: As with a workout routine, it takes consistency to see results. I recommend trying kettlebell routines 2 to 3 days per week to begin with for a month and see how it goes. A month is where you should start noticing results, both in muscle strength and core conditioning.
But the key is to go slow and steady. Sticking to a manageable routine is the key to seeing results. If you don’t see results right away, don’t get discouraged.
Question: How Heavy Should a Kettlebell Squat Be?
Answer: How heavy a kettlebell squat should be is in proportion to what weight is right for you. If you’ve been training for a while and developed both strength and technique, between 8kg and 16kg is great for women or 16kg to 24kg for men.
But remember: you may not start at these weights, and that’s perfectly fine. Work your way up safely for lasting results.
Question: Do I Need 2 Kettlebells?
Answer: While you can purchase 2 kettlebells, you don’t need to. While you purchase dumbbells in pairs, kettlebells are purchased as singles. The nature of kettlebell swings and the many other exercises you can do allow you to get by with just one kettlebell.
Question: Why are Kettlebells Expensive?
Answer: Kettlebells are neither the cheapest nor most expensive gym equipment. Much of the pricing, as you can imagine, comes down to supply and demand.
Trends indicate that some kettlebell prices may be becoming more affordable. But also keep in mind that a high-quality kettlebell may last longer (such as vinyl vs cast iron), so it’s sometimes worth paying slightly more in the first place.
The verdict is in: Dragon Door does indeed offer excellent RKC kettlebells. The unique coating, nuanced design, and expertise are worth the extra cost.
While I don’t agree with all of their marketing claims, what matters most is that this is a company that’s both reputable and offers quality kettlebells that stand out from most competitors.