If you’re not keen on spending $2 – $4 a pound on new kettlebells just yet, the following adjustable kettlebell setup can be made for around $80 without the weights. It will easily accommodate up to as little as 2.5 pounds or as much as 150 pounds of Olympic weights (when using 25-pound plates). Scale those numbers down to 60 – 70 pounds if using smaller 5 and 10-pound plates.
The Olympic weights are actually the expensive part of this DIY setup. If you have some lying around the house, you’re all set. If budget is a real concern and you don’t want to buy new, check out Craigslist or Kijiji for some used ones. Either way, you won’t find a cheaper future-proof adjustable kettlebell out there anywhere.
By comparison, a small 30 – 40 pounds pre-made adjustable will cost you between $100 and $200 and you can’t ever add more weight to them. For that price, you’re going to get a product made out of mostly plastic parts and vinyl coated cement weights that’ll break the first time you drop them.
You can find the supplies at your local hardware store, or order them online and have them shipped right to your door. Best, this adjustable kettlebell takes less than 5 minutes to assemble!
This setup is made entirely of tough-as-nails iron baby!
What You’ll Need (Part’s List):
- 4 x ¾” O.D. 4” long nipple with coupling (Purchase on Amazon).
- 1 x 1” I.D. iron pipe tee (Purchase on Amazon).
- 1 x ¾” O.D. iron floor flange (Purchase on Amazon).
- Irwin Quick Grip Clamp – Optional but seriously recommended (Purchase on Amazon).
- Olympic weight plates – Purchase however many you need to get the total weight you’ll be using (Purchase on Amazon).
Assembling the Homemade Adjustable Kettlebell
This assembly is about as easy as clicking the order button on Amazon or asking the parts guy at the hardware store to help you find what you need!
- Take one of the couplings off one of the four nipples and toss it in a drawer or whatever – you won’t need it now, but it may come in handy later if you need a replacement. Put the now coupling-less nipple aside for a minute.
- Next, take one of the remaining nipples with coupling attached and screw the male end (the one without the coupling on it) into the female end of the floor flange as tight as you can go by hand. You’ll want to screw the nipple into the end with a raised center – this will allow the kettlebell to sit balanced on the floor between sets.
- Now you’ll take the coupling-less nipple from step #1 and screw it into the coupling end of the nipple you just screwed into the floor flange. This shaft will hold the weights for you.
- Grab two more of the nipples with couplings on them and screw the coupling-less male ends into the top female threads on your iron pipe “t”. This is your “t-handle” and the couplings located on either end will protect your hands. Some people don’t bother to use couplings on this part, but failing to do so can really mark up your hands if the threads are left exposed!
- Now, simply drop some Olympic plates on the bottom shaft and place your clamp just above the top-most plate to keep it from moving while in use. As you’ve probably guessed, the top t-handle screws onto the bottom shaft once the weights are loaded.
- Voila! You can now do a variety of functional calorie-burning movements like the Russian or American Swing, Deadlift, Goblet Squat, or whatever else your heart desires.
Here’s a video to show you how it looks in practice:
Quick Finishing Notes
- If you want to do single-arm movements like the one-arm Clean & Press, simply place the t-handle in between your middle and ring fingers.
- Gloves are a great idea if you’re worried about blisters or calluses!
- Putting some thread sealant on the non-removable parts of the kettlebell is a great idea to reduce the chance of the threads coming apart over time (though they rarely do with the course threads used on iron piping).
- ½” piping can be substituted if you want to use the small non-Olympic plates with a 1” hole in the center. This smaller piping is more prone to damage though.
- This rig will support much larger plates than 25’s for deadlifts and such. It could easily support 200 pounds or more safely if using the 3/4” pipe.
Have fun! You just learned to make an adjustable kettlebell that can accommodate significant strength increases. Likely more weight than you’ll ever be able to comfortably handle!