If you’re into kettlebells, at some point or another you’ve had to make a decision about what brand to buy. Through my own training, I’ve ended up as the proud owner of several different weights of Apollo kettlebells. When I first started buying kettlebells, I was going to buy them online, but when I saw how expensive the shipping costs were I balked. For quite a while I was trying to justify getting a kettlebell online, but during that time I went into a local sports equipment store and there they were…Russian kettlebells lined up on the floor in all different weights.
Until this point all the research I had done into Girevoy sport had to do with the the benefits of using kettlebells, the exercises you could do with them and lots of marketing. I had done no research on brands. For me this ended up being a good thing. I immediately bought a kettlebell for $70.00 and took it home. I started to use it the second I got home. Strength training became fun again in that instant. The girya system was as much needed change of pace. It shocked my system and added a little bit of novelty back into the whole thing.
My lack of research was bad for me too though because for a beginner an Apollo kettlebell isn’t the best choice. It did it’s job, but my opinion is that they aren’t all that great. One of the biggest issues is that the Apollo kettlebells have very tall, wide handles. When you’re doing a large movement like a snatch this can be a problem because the bell wrests on the back of the wrist. Benchmarks like the Secret Service Snatch Test are difficult to pass with Apollo kettlebells–since you’re doing such a massive amount of volume, it is harder to overlook the small flaws in the handle size.
I used my Apollo for a full year, my first year because I didn’t really know what else was out there. I survived obviously and I did make some progress. Can you get stronger with these bells? Of course! I don’t want to say that you can’t make any progress with Apollo kettlebells, because you can. I actually observed some good progress. However, I would have gotten much farther much faster if I hadn’t been dealing with substandard equipment. You can teach yourself to play an old out of tune piano, but if you had a baby grand it would be a whole different story.
Rust is another problem with the Apollo, if you care about how your bells look. They rust easily. I want my kettlebells to stay shiny. Maybe you don’t care about the rust, but if you do it’s good to know what you’re getting. Apollos never look new. They look old from day one. If I’m paying for such expensive equipment I prefer it looks nice. Not that you’ll get a better workout with a shiny/rusty kettlebell, but for me appearance matters.