By Brandon Richey
The reason I love using kettlebells in my training is that they fit well with being a minimalist approach to strength training. Kettlebell training has proven to be effective for both myself and many of my students in terms of providing simple, impactful, and time efficient training.
When it comes to outdoor, or garage gym warriors there’s also a lot to be said for the durability of equipment and the kettlebell is certainly a durable instrument to use in training.
Because this device is such a powerful tool I thought I’d go a bit further today in teaching you how to build and construct your own kettlebell in case you wanted to keep the finish on your cast iron kettlebell nice and shiny, or if you happen to be running on a tight budget for your own strength and conditioning.
Regardless of your reasons I think you’ll appreciate today’s instructional guide for building yourself a rugged cannonball with a handle to swing around and lift in your own garage gym. I think you’ll find the process should be relatively simple especially if you enjoy doing projects yourself.
NOTE: Please read the entire set of instructions FIRST before assembly!
STEP 1: GET ALL YOUR MATERIALS TOGETHER
Before you do anything you need to get all of the necessary materials together so that you can construct your kettlebell. You will need to get your hands on the following items to construct your homemade kettlebell.
- 16 inch length cut piece of strong rope that is 4 to 5 inches in grip diameter
- Three large spools of strong tape good for gripping such as duct tape.
- A deflated basketball for the mold.
- A couple of empty 13 gallon kitchen trash bags.
- A bag of sand (Note: the amount of sand will depend on how heavy you want to make your kettlebell so keep that in mind when you purchase it. So if you want a 40 lb kettlebell you’ll need 40 lbs of sand).
- A scale.
- A knife and/or strong scissors for cutting.
STEP 2: CONSTRUCT THE SPHERE OF YOUR KETTLEBELL
You will want to do this in your garage, or outside in your yard–at the very least on a tarp in your living room.
To do this, simply cut open your bag of sand and also cut an opening in one end of your deflated basketball to pour in your sand.
Start pouring in your sand and as you make your pour stop periodically to use your scale to weigh the mold.
Obviously, an empty basketball is going to be a sizable mold, but that’s OK because you may not need to use all of your sand. What space of the mold isn’t filled up, you can simply trim down with a knife, or strong scissors.
Once you fill your mold to reach your desired weight, you will want to close the basketball. You can cinch it closed with by drilling holes you can thread strong twine through, then seal up the seam and holes with epoxy and/or strong duct tape.
Cut away the unused portion of the mold allowing for enough mold above your fill line to be able to close the open end of the mold together to seal off the opening.
After cutting it, you will want to take your duct tape and securely tape this open end of the mold you poured your sand into in order to seal it off. Make sure you use enough tape to make a secure hold on the opening.
STEP 3: REINFORCE YOUR MOLD TO PREVENT SAND LEAKAGE
To reinforce your mold open both of your 13 gallon kitchen trash bags. Place the mold into one trash bag, cinch it up with the bag tight to the mold, wrap the slack of the bag around the mold, and use your tape to secure it.
Next, take your mold covered in the first trash bag and place it into the second trash bag in order to repeat the same process as the first trash bag.
Once you’ve placed your mold into the second trash bag and cinched the opening start wrapping tape in a circular motion end over end around the center line of the sphere of your mold. Do this several times and secure the center of the mold.
Once you’ve done this now take your tape and start doing it again perpendicular to your first centerline creating a cross splitting the two lines of tape. Imagine taping a cross, but doing so around the sphere. Do this several times to create a secure center with the mold.
STEP 4: ADD YOUR HANDLE
Take each end of the 18 inch rope and start wrapping duct tape around the ends and take the continuation of that wrap and place each end of it onto the sides and upper portion of your mold.
Make sure that your handle is in a good position for the kettlebell and that the gripping portion of the handle is about the width of your two fists as this will be a common width for when you perform double arm swings.
If you need to make a fist with both of your hands, place them together, and measure the distance from the pinky side of each hand across to the other then do it.
Next, continue wrapping the duct tape from around your rope to your mold while wrapping the duct tape around the mold again to secure each end of your rope to the mold.
From here you’re going to use your duct tape to wrap in any way you see that is possible to continue to secure your handle.
Make sure you wrap the hell out it and get it firmly secured because you don’t want your handle to detach. You want it as secure as possible.
Step 5: FULLY WRAP YOUR MOLD WITH DUCT TAPE AS YOU PACK IT
Yes, you want to get tape all around the sphere of your mold while continuing to pack it and shape into a more perfect sphere shape.
This portion is critical because you don’t want to leave anything loose, or unsecured with your homemade kettlebell. You want it to be dense and solid.
A few things to note:
You can also wrap your rope handle with tape if you wish to give it a more friendly grip for your hands.
If you find that you need more duct tape than is recommended then feel free to use more.
When placing your mold into the trash bags to secure the bags around your mold make sure you work to smooth out each bag and eliminate all the trapped air bubbles.
Kettlebell training is a practical and durable way to train, particularly if you enjoy being a garage gym warrior, or training outdoors.
Have you made your own training equipment before?
What equipment have you made on your own?
Post up and share in the comments.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SEALgrinderPT coach Brandon Richey is a certified strength and conditioning coach, author, and founder of Brandon Richey Fitness.
He has worked with thousands of athletes over his 17 years of experience, developing fitness training programs for beginners to professional and D-1 level collegiate athletes at the University of Georgia.
He also trains MMA and Muay Thai athletes, both professional and amateur.
QUESTION: I just got my first pair of kettlebells for home. Do you have any workouts I can start doing with them?
ANSWER: Yes; check out this article—CrossFit Kettlebell Workouts and Tips.
QUESTION: Coach Brad, I love your workouts and I’m getting awesome results. Could you tell me how I can start applying what I’m learning about getting focused on workouts to everyday life? I need to get my sh*t together.
ANSWER: This article should help: 10 Tips to Improve Mental Focus.