Heavy Swings - double bell or heavy single bell?


Level 1 Valued Member
Is it better to do heavy swings with double bells or one heavy single bell?

Background on the question:

Right now I have two kettlebell kings competition bells: a 16kg and 24kg and am looking to invest in a few new ones for the upcoming black friday sales for higher weight. I need to know if I'd be better off aiming for doubles or just get some big heavy-a#@ single bells.

I'm going to try and workout with mostly just kettlebells in 2020 because I'll have a strange living situation where I cannot set up my barbell home gym and a commercial gym is inconvenient.

The biggest thing I'll miss is heavier lower body work (particularly deadlifts). The thought is that if I get some heavy bells, I'll be pretty okay.

Should I get a 16, 24, and two 32's and focus on doubles work? Or should I go for a 32, 48, and one of those big fatties like the 68 or 92 kg for super heavy two handed swings. I'm moderately big/strong @ 6'4" 230lb w/a deadlift around 440 so I know I could handle some heavier bells if that influences things at all.

If it's better to do heavy swings with double bells, then I can skip getting the monster bells and just start getting my doubles collection rolling. If heavy swings are better with one big heavy then I'll go ahead and move in the one armed direction for now (and then eventually buy doubles up to 48kg when funds allow ;))

I appreciate the help!

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
My vote: 24, 32, 32, 48, 68

Or if you decide not to go for the 68 (it is awesome for heavy swings, but not much else), get a 40 instead. It would be useful to bridge the gap when the 32 is light for single bell work.

You can do double 24s with your comp bell and a new one, though they won't match in shape it's not a big deal.

32 is great for swings, snatches, cleans, presses, jerks, get-ups. Double 32s will work you hard for C&P, front squats. You can swing double 32s and larger, but it's kind of awkward and you have to take a wider stance that, for some people, isn't knee-friendly. You'll much prefer the 68 for heavy swings I think.

And, everyone should have a beast, right? ;)

If the bill gets too high but you still want to get 5, you might want a 12kg... great for teaching others, good for arm bars, bottom-up, light practice. Could also get a 16kg, but you have the comp one already, and you probably don't need double 16kg work. The double 24s are better for your size.

s f

Level 6 Valued Member
Agree w/ Anna.
Although the net weight is the same,swinging the 48kg bell is more difficult than double 24kg's.Especially when you can do them one handed.

Oso Rojo

Level 4 Valued Member
If you are looking at Kettlebell Kings, take a look at the adjustable 12-32kg comp bell. I got one to help cut down on budget and I've been pleased with it. I don't recommend changing weight during a training session, but I do like it growing with my abilities. While it is more expensive that a single, it's cheaper than a 16/32 combination.

Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
I am not a fan of either double bell swings or heavy two arm swings (with a KB).

Double bell swings feel very awkward to me and are just not enjoyable to do.

In my experience, no kettlebells have handles that are comfortable for two arm swings, except a few oddly shaped off-brands that are unusable for anything else, and I have average-sized adult male hands. I own and have used a selection of DragonDoor, Rogue, and Perform Better cast iron bells, and competition bells from Kettlebell Kings and Kettlebells USA (as well as briefly handling a number of other brands).

My competition bells actually have more space for two hand use than my cast iron bells. The horns on the cast iron bells curve inwards and squeeze the smaller fingers together. The horns on the competition bells are vertical and don't crowd the fingers quite as much.

All of these bells may be usable for two-arm swings, but none of them are comfortable. I remember during my RKC certification where we did hundreds and hundreds of two-arm swings the first day, I had to keep switching between pinkies inside the handle and pinkies outside the handle because the handle was scraping the hell out of both sides of my pinkies (as it was for the other attendees).

I just don't think KBs are designed for two hand use. Although the two-arm swing is the best way to initially learn the swing, it's not a drill I want to be doing as a staple of my training for any kind of volume.

And I think chasing big bells for two arm swings is not an economical strategy, and is not necessary to any training goals. As the bells get heavier, they get more expensive, and a heavy bell that you can only use for two-arm swings is a one-trick pony.

For overloading swings specifically, a T-handle (manufactured or DIY) is much more economical (and comfortable). I have two manufactured T-handles that I am using for two arm swings in Q&D, the Titan Loadable Power Pin, and the Next Level T-Bell.

Loadable Power Pin
--Relatively inexpensive.
--Comfortable handle.
--Basically gets the job done.
--The loading pin is a smaller than normal diameter for olympic plates. Therefore, the plates rattle a bit, and normal barbell collars don't fit well or don't work at all.
--The height is significantly taller than a KB (but still shorter than some other T-handles), which gives a different feel with a little longer period, and it takes a rep or two to really find the groove.

--Shorter height, especially with the handle in the second from top slot, which give a feel closer to a KB. Even the top slot is lower than the lowest height of the Titan Power Pin.
--Normal diameter loading area so the plates fit tighter, rattle less, and works with normal barbell collars.
--I have not used the slots designed for resistance bands, but may experiment with them at some point.
--More expensive (but still much less than a big KB).
--Smaller 1" diameter handle with uncomfortable cheese grater knurling. I complained about this to the company and the owner/designer promised that a larger diameter handle would be a future option (not sure about the knurling).

Of the two, I always use the T-Bell instead of the Titan. The feel of the shorter height and the tighter fit of the plates make up for the uncomfortable knurling.

The StrengthTools swing handle looks cool and well-made, but is taller than the Titan (and the Titan is taller than I like), plus it's even more expensive than the T-Bell and currently backordered. StrengthTool Plate Loaded Kettlebell (Olympic)

Another alternative that I love for overloading the ballistic hinge is the double clean, and I think it's a very underappreciated and underutilized drill. Double cleans overload the ballstic hinge to greater degree than single bell drills, and mostly without grip being a limiting factor. I find double cleans a very natural movement and catching the bells in the rack gives it a very satisfying sense of completion (as does the snatch), as well as the benefit of cumulative time "zipped up" supporting the bells. They don't feel awkward to me like double swings do.

I pretty much never do one arm swings in my training (I've eliminated them as an option in Q&D). I stick to snatches, double cleans, and T-handle two arm swings.

If you are considering double bells, IMO the killer apps are double cleans and double front squats (another of my favorite drills). Sure you can use double bells for things like presses, but single presses are great and have less of a mobility demand than doubles. Whereas the single bell versions of cleans and front squats are not nearly as fun or effective and the double bell versions are a blast.

So if you want to approximate heavier lower body work with a barbell, I'd recommend doubles for cleans and front squats, and a T-handle for heavy swings.

BTW, my Kettlebell Kings comp bells are my second favorite bells after my Kettlebells USA comp bells. I like the handle texture on the KBUSA bells better and the paint is much more durable. But I like the Kettlebell Kings bells just fine, and definitely prefer them to any of my cast iron bells.
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Level 1 Valued Member
@Anna C
That's super helpful, thanks a ton! As @Steve W. mentioned, the t-handle might be better for super heavy swings. Ironically, I actually made my own t-handle at one point and forgot about it... I'll have to see if I can find it.

william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
So I have one of 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 48. If you notice I am missing a 44. It is on my bucket list. I think I will eventually need it, in the future, to progress from the 40 to the 48 for my A&A snatches.

My only point is that you dont need 2 bells of each size (unless you have lots $$$ and it's no problem). You can do doubles work with uneven bells (I think there are advantages to this, actually). For example, if all you owned was a 24, 32, 40, you could have the best of both worlds (singles and uneven doubles). If you get to the point where double swings with a 32/40 becomes "easy", start double snatching, for example.



william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
Double bell swings feel very awkward to me and are just not enjoyable to do.
I agree. Although last year I was really getting into double snatches. I would not drop the bell from the overhead position, I would lower the bells to the rack position, before the next snatch rep. Also, doing many reps was hard with such a wide stance (which is why I think it is awkward), I would limit myself to sets of 3,4, or 5 reps. I was kind of doing A&A type training, and didn't even realize it ?although probably not enough repeats to be true A&A). I found these double snatches, even with really low volume, really was a full body workout. I eventually worked up to the 36/40 kg snatches but found I progressed too fast and had to back off to 32/36 (my form was not perfect, I was starting to duck under the weight to catch the bells, definitely not "hardstyle". These lit up my posterior like nothing else!!

I really think there is something too this. Double snatches with heavy bells for many sets of 3, ala A&A philosophy. Once I accomplish some goals snatching 1 bell via A&A, in future years, I would like to progress to doubles snatching. I bit off more than I could handle, last year. I wasnt ready for it.



william bad butt

Level 6 Valued Member
Awesome!!!! He is strong! Yes, I think one day that may be all I need to do. A full body workout in 1 movement! But I'm getting a head of myself, I still have a lot of work to do to continue progressing with my single bell snatch!
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