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Old 11-27-2007, 04:32 AM   #1
Johan Blixt Dackhammar
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Barbell vs. dumbbell vs. kettlebell

Hi everybody! What can I say, my interest for Crossfit grows every day. I haven't really started yet, still in the planning phase . However I will very soon start my Crossfit career. Since I don't have access to any equipment worth of mentioning I will begin with bodyweight exercises mostly. I do however feel the need of adding weights to my workouts as soon as possible. So I went to Eleiko and almost ordered a competition class olympic bar and weights. But then doubt started to rise in my mind.

So, a big part of crossfit consists of various olympic lifts with a barbell - which is why I'm very close to investing in an competition-class olympic bar. However, before doing so I'd like to know the reason why barbells are most commonly used. Wouldn't a single hand weight like a kettlebell or barbell do the trick too while giving more attention to stabilizing musculature. Of course the stabilization would limit the weights in the start, but wouldn't the benefits overcome that quite fast?

I just don't want to spend a whole lot of money on a barbell and realize that I could have spent the money on kettlebells or dumbells and improve my results. I do realize that a mix of the two probably would be best, but with a limited budget I have no choise but to choose.

Thanks in advance for any help on my decision.

Take care!

Sincerely,
Johan Blixt Dackhammar
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:55 AM   #2
Alex Rosch
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Re: Barbell vs. dumbbell vs. kettlebell

Well...the kettlebells will do things that dumbells can't, and dumbells will do things that a barbell can't. And, the reverse it also true.
If I had a tight budget, I'd go with the barbells (and bumper-plates) first and foremost. Then spin-lock dumbells...kettlebells could wait.
Getting a competetion set is nice, but if you're not planning on competing I feel you'd be throwing your money away (not that you wouldn't have something to show for it). Avoid certified equipment unless that's a requirement of your training. You're paying for someone to calibrate the equipment and have a product that is within grams of the "20kg" written on the side...when in fact you don't care about a few ozs. Get the 'training' set, not the 'competetion' set if you can manage. Sometimes it is literally the same equipment, just not calibrated.
Now bars...barring the actual calibration of competetion bars, you get what you pay for. You buy an $100 bar from all but Glenn Pendlay and that's what you get. I think on the other side of things, I don't see someone getting everything out of $800 bar verus a $500 bar...just my opinion.

And... welcome Johan!!
And you don't need all this fancy stuff to start out! Grab a rock, do thrusters...get to a play ground and do dips, pull-ups, L-sits. Do burpees in your house!
Drink that Kool-Aid and drink it all up!

And good luck on the equipment purchaces...feel free to search the forums on the stuff you're looking at...but if you ask a question about the Eleiko I don't think you'll get anything other than "it's nice stuff"
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:50 AM   #3
Brandon Oto
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Re: Barbell vs. dumbbell vs. kettlebell

You can do good stuff with dumbbells (or kettlebells) alone, but it won't be CrossFit. A major part of CF is lifting heavy weights, which, as you said, is limited with anything but a bar.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:16 AM   #4
Craig Takahiro Descoteaux
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Re: Barbell vs. dumbbell vs. kettlebell

If you are begining then i might suggest dumbbells and even kettelbells, to build strength. You need to know how to lift properly before starting with bumbers and a bar. Once you have a feel for the lifts by practicing with a dowel rod and the lower weights then add a bar and some bumpers. You don't have to purchase a whole set but build the set slowly because your strength gains will slowly increase also.

Crossfit is not olympic lifting, its anything that helps reaches your fitness goals.

be creative, look around, and see if there a place near by that can help w/ the lifts.
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:36 PM   #5
Chris Dunbar
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Re: Barbell vs. dumbbell vs. kettlebell

Dude

I have a plain old 1 inch style barbell (york i think) with many steel plates and a couple of spin lock dumbells so I can adjust the weight as required. Sure it not ideal, but I can still do heavy lifts (deadlift, presses, cleans) and I use my DB's for any kettlebell exercises, throw in a pullup bar, and I have myself a pretty descent crossfit gym. Any time I feel I have outgrown the weight I have I grab another couple 50lb plates from wherever its cheapest, 85 cents per pound, and carry on. I don't care if its off by a couple grams, I just care about pushing myself and crossfit is the most kicka** way to do it.

Cheers
CommandoChris
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:41 PM   #6
Steven Low
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Re: Barbell vs. dumbbell vs. kettlebell

Bar is more useful just because of the heavy lifts and oly lifts you can do with it.

If you had extra money I'd go for DBs and then kettlebells in that order. While the stabilization is nice.. it's doubtful that you're going to see as fast development as with the core lifts.
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:55 PM   #7
Jared Ashley
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Re: Barbell vs. dumbbell vs. kettlebell

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Originally Posted by Chris dunbar View Post
Dude

I have a plain old 1 inch style barbell (york i think) with many steel plates and a couple of spin lock dumbells so I can adjust the weight as required.

Cheers
CommandoChris
I have the same... spin-lock dumbbells and cheap plates are great. it's especially nice to be able to increment 2.5 lbs at a time. BUT...

I really wish I'd bought an oly bar and bumper plates. I can do cleans, jerks, snatches and such with the steel plates and standard bar, but I can't push my limits. The true Oly set and rings are the only thing I feel I'm really missing.

Also, if you've got space, build yourself a squat rack and put a pull-up bar on it. I built mine from 4x4 and 2x6 plywood and lag screws for about $80... easily holds 255 lbs on the bar and haven't had any problems with kipping pullups.
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:56 PM   #8
Johan Blixt Dackhammar
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Re: Barbell vs. dumbbell vs. kettlebell

To begin with, big THANKS to all of you! I can already feel the great spirit of the Crossfit community and am eager to see what some plain old hard work can do to my body.

I am kind of a materialist. Which is bad. That's why I'm so glad that you all remind me that it's not what you have or what you do that makes the difference - it's how you do it. My first thought when I'm about to start with something is "what do I need". The self given answer most commonly results in a search for the best equipment whatever it is. But I slowly learn from my mistakes, which is why I did not order everything I could think of (and no, I couldn't afford that if I wanted to). This is so bad, because not only does it cost me more than neccessary, it puts belief in the item itself. A good photograper with a $100 camera will take better pictures than a lousy photographer with a $4000 camera. But even though I know this for a fact, I have trouble following my own ideas.

... I was about to keep going there, but then I realized that it was kind of irreleveant. I just wanted to say that I am extremely GRATEFUL that you're helping me in every way from the fact that bar+corelift probably will be most benefitial in the long run to the fact that I don't need everything to start. I need nothing but my own motivation. It's not hard for me to believe. But watching videos of every heavy lift with bars make me want to do heavy lifts with bars. Watching giant garage gyms makes me want to have one too. I soo easily loose track of what I'm really after. So thanks for helping me find the road again.

Tomorrow I'll find a big pretty rock, and reevaluate what I really need - and when I need it.

Again, BIG THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!

Sincerely,
Johan Blixt Dackhammar
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Old 11-27-2007, 02:00 PM   #9
Johan Blixt Dackhammar
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Re: Barbell vs. dumbbell vs. kettlebell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jared Ashley View Post
I have the same... spin-lock dumbbells and cheap plates are great. it's especially nice to be able to increment 2.5 lbs at a time. BUT...

I really wish I'd bought an oly bar and bumper plates. I can do cleans, jerks, snatches and such with the steel plates and standard bar, but I can't push my limits. The true Oly set and rings are the only thing I feel I'm really missing.

Also, if you've got space, build yourself a squat rack and put a pull-up bar on it. I built mine from 4x4 and 2x6 plywood and lag screws for about $80... easily holds 255 lbs on the bar and haven't had any problems with kipping pullups.
Sounds great! Do you think you could post an image of the squat-rack/pull-up bar, or can I already find it elsewhere on the forum. Thanks!
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Old 11-29-2007, 11:01 AM   #10
Johan Blixt Dackhammar
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Re: Barbell vs. dumbbell vs. kettlebell

Just wondering. How important are the plates. Is it better to buy a great bar and decent plates than go for something in between for both?
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