Rogue Fitness Competition Kettlebells
I managed to score two 12kg Rogue Competition Kettlebells off a seller on my local Craigslist a few months back. The seller bought them new from Rogue and decided she wanted traditional cast iron kettlebells instead, so her loss is my gain ?
I usually dedicate a short section in my kettlebell reviews to unboxing, since it’s not unusual for me to see Rogue kettlebells arriving with a damaged finish due to being packaged in a flimsy cardboard box with no padding.
Obviously I can’t evaluate the packaging this time around, but I will say that the kettlebells I bought were in pristine condition.
I’ve read elsewhere that these kettlebells are packed in a form-fitting styrofoam mold, which should protect the kettlebell from all but the most reckless of delivery abuse.
There are three distinct differences between Rogue Competition Kettlebells and standard competition kettlebells.
First, as I mentioned previously these kettlebells are made from cast iron, not from steel. The use of cast iron instead of steel helps keep the cost down.
Second, the Rogue Competition Kettlebells are completely finished in a powder coat, including the handle.
By way of comparison, standard competition kettlebell handles are unfinished bare steel.
Third, and most noticeable, the Rogue Competition Kettlebells have two flat panels on each side of the kettlebell.
These panels are designed to make supporting the kettlebell on your forearm more comfortable, since the weight is distributed over a larger area of your arm.
I’ll talk more about the flat panels in the Usability section further down.
I’ve been using the Rogue Competition Kettlebells for the last few months in my home gym, aka the Fitness Test Lab.
I’ve been working these kettlebells into my regular workouts, which involve a mix of kettlebell and barbell exercises.
When I focus on kettlebell work, I usually do one of the workout routines I’ve put together for my office kettlebell club.
Incidentally, if you’re looking for some free kettlebell workouts you can do at home you can find all my kettlebell club workouts documented here.
Since I have two of these kettlebells, I’ve also been using them in a modified kettlebell long cycle routine I’ve adapted as a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routine.
Long cycle is one of the three lifts of Kettlebell Sport, which has a lot of great benefits.
Any regular reader of this blog knows I’m not a big fan of using chalk. I work out in a spare bedroom at home and I can’t be having the mess that comes with using lots of chalk, at least not if I want to stay married!
Thankfully, the Rogue Competition Kettlebells have a textured powder coat finish on the handles, which really helps with grip retention without having to completely rely on chalk.
The handle of the Rogue Competition kettlebell is fairly small, although there is just enough space for two-hand swings if you don’t have giant hands. However, this kettlebell is definitely designed for one hand use.
The Rogue Competition Kettlebell works great for almost every kind of movement I can do with a kettlebell, and the flat panels on the sides make holding the kettlebell in a rack position very comfortable.
However, I found the flat panels to be bothersome for high rep snatch sessions until I got used to them. My technique was not originally precise enough to have the flat panel land on my forearm 100% of the time, and sometimes it was the more pronounced edge of the flat panel that hit my arm first. Can I just say, ouch?
I’m not sure why Rogue chose to add flat panels to kettlebells they labeled ‘competition’ kettlebells, unless they mean ‘CrossFit competitions’. I don’t think Kettlebell Sport athletes would use these due to increased risk of injury from the edges of the flat panels.
Plus, the textured powder coating on the handles would tear up your hands if you were snatching this kettlebell for ten minutes straight, which is what is called for in one of the Kettlebell Sport events.
However, long cycle doesn’t involve snatches, just a swing to rack position, then overhead press, back down to a rack, and repeat.
Since long cycle requires the kettlebells to rest on your forearm for most of the sequence, the Rogue Competition Kettlebells are actually well suited for this.
The Rogue Competition Kettlebells aren’t perfect but overall they are much better than the rest of the cast iron kettlebells in Rogue’s lineup. I can say this with confidence because I’ve reviewed them all.
The price on these is pretty good and the standard sizing between weights makes transitioning between sizes very easy. The 33mm handles are also nice, since they are thinner than the majority of cast iron kettlebells and therefore easier to hold on to for longer periods of time.
You’ll like the flat panels on the sides if your workouts involve a lot of pressing movements, since they do make the rack position much more comfortable. You’ll probably dislike the flat sides if you do a lot of snatching, since having the kettlebell hit your forearm on the edge of the flat side can be a painful experience.
I hope you’ve found this review helpful. If you have any questions I didn’t cover in the review, post them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Rogue Fitness Competition Kettlebells
I'm a software product manager with a full-time job, family, and a desire to stay strong, mobile, and fit. I separate fact from fiction to find the most effective and affordable options for home fitness. If you'd like to build your own home gym, start here.
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