I finally put together my homemade t-bar (or t-handle) kettlbell – and I will give you my impressions of the usefulness of this tool along with some pros and cons.
I purchased the following:
(1) 3/4″x12″ black pipe
(1) 3/4″ tee
(2) 3/4″x6″ black pipe (nipple)
(1) 3/4″ floor flange galvanized
(1) 1″ spring clamp* (TF recommends Irwin brand – I could not find 1″ Irwin spring clamps at either Lowe’s or Home Depot)
Simply put the 3/4″x12″ pipe together with the floor flange slide your weights on then put together the handle by putting the 3/4″x6″ nipples in either end of the 3/4″ tee – spin the bottom part of the tee onto the 12″ pipe – and you have your t-handle kettlebell.
I’m lucky enough to have a bunch of weights that were given to me, so I didn’t need to go out and purchase any weights. If you have weights handy this could be an easy affordable way to perform KB swings – if you don’t have weights available and want some, I wouldn’t go out and by new. Check craigslist.com or local Salvation Army or Goodwill – you should be able to find inexpensive weights.
I did the 75 kb swings workout from 4HB using a 25lb and 10lb “olympic” weight – this totaled 38lbs (according to my digital scale).
Before you do this, please make sure you have gloves to protect your hands. The threads on the ends of the handle will tear your hands/palms up without protection. I purchased a cheap pair of Gold’s Gym workout gloves from Wal-Mart for less than $9.00 – after my first workout I would say they were worth the expense.
I’m not going to give a lesson here in how to properly do the KB swings (TF does a good job in the book) – but let me say I was able to get a good short workout doing the 75 swings. I am sore, but not overly sore. I was breathing heavy after performing 4 sets (I did 25, 20, 5, 25) with as little rest in between sets as possible.
|Cheap!||Pretty much one-dimensional**|
|Adjustable, can change weights easily||Without good clamps could be very dangerous|
|Portable – easily broken down and stored||Threading on pipes makes it painful without gloves|
|Functional – does what it is intended to do|
** could possibly be used for more than just KB swings – if you extended the tee bar. I may purchase another 3/4″ tee and 3/4″x8″ or 10″ nipples which would extend the handles out to make it wide enough to possibly do some curls or Yates bent rows (see book pg. 211) but probably not much more.
As for cost – this is certainly economical. In total, I spent $17.18 (including tax) – so for me it wasn’t exactly $10 – but still more affordable than a typical 35lb kettlebell (on Amazon for as low as $35 up to and over $90) and adjustable kettlebells (over $85 on Amazon). Throw in the cost of the gloves and I spent under $30 for a functional kettlebell. The major drawback, for me, is the inability to other kettlebell moves (such as snatch, turkish get up, etc…) Trade-offs though, for the ability to the swings which are a critical kettlebell exercise.
If you made your own, or have experience with homemade equipment – please share in the comments!
Happy 4HB’ing in 2011!