June 9, 2020

"People are kind of freaking out. They feel like all of the hard work they’ve been putting in for so long is at risk of going to waste."

Said Jahkeen Washington, co-owner of boutique gym in Central Harlem, quoted in "New York City’s Kettlebell Shortage: ‘People Are Kind of Freaking Out’/After fitness enthusiasts were forced to reimagine how they could keep in shape, demand led to a shortage of workout equipment" (NYT). Apparently, it's impossible to buy a kettleball in NYC.
“It’s pandemonium,” said Ed Pryst, the chief sales officer of Gym Source, a New Jersey-based workout equipment retailer with several offices in New York....

The shortage is a problem, factory workers said, that could have been prevented were the U.S. not so reliant on foreign manufacturing and iron production.... There are more than 3,000 foundries that work with the iron needed to create kettlebells, but their efforts almost wholly go to larger industrial items like car parts or iron gates.... The process of equipping a foundry to make a new product is expensive and time consuming. In the case of a kettlebell, a design mold of the equipment has to be created, which can sometimes cost up to $100,000. Then a foundry must equip itself with the necessary materials (for a kettlebell, gray cast iron) and possibly, special machinery....
But people have only wanted kettleballs now, in the lockdown, because they can't get to the gym, so there's little reason for U.S. foundries to adapt to this demand, which is, presumably, transitory.

Why kettlebells? When did that become the home exercise equipment of choice? Here's Joe Rogan last December:

42 comments:

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

The loss of access to the gym has been the biggest loss in the services/retail sector for me. I used to swim and take classes regularly. Fortunately it is now warm enough to go kayaking in the harbor. I already had weights, which are surprisingly expensive for what you get.

rhhardin said...

It's kettle logic.

I remarked at the work lunch table once that, "surprisingly," kettle logic has nothing to do with women. A woman present turned me in for sexism. A discussion with the boss followed. "Well, don't talk to women," that meeting concluded.

Darrell said...

Crossfit made them popular. The lockdown made people order them for home workouts. The virus cut off supply from China.

But since kettlebells are a Russian thing (they were made for grain scales), this all might be Russian interference.

Howard said...

I got my kettlebells after seeing Pavel on Joe Rogan. More important than the kettlebells is Soviet science behind strength training. The main takeaway is too not over train don't let yourself get sore. Lots of long breaks between sets. Stay at each plateau level for a month or more and then make relatively big jump.

The tiny footprint, portability and convenience of the kettlebells is a great feature.

In my opinion, the strength and conditioning benefits from daily kettlebell use is much more important then stockpiling weapons and ammunition for the coming apocalyptic meltdown of society.

gilbar said...

maybe these people can go to Crossfit, now that states are opening back up?

rehajm said...

Dips and swings are good but the Turkish Get-ups are how kettlebells really get you in shape. They suck though...

I used to have to do dips with the kettlebell inverted- heavy part on top of the handle. The possibility of dropping a kettlebell on your noggin gets you to focus like the Free Solo guy...

TobyTucker said...

A kettlebell is a metal ball, flattened on the bottom, with a big handle. If some foundry were to gear up to meet this transitory first-world crisis, it's NOT going to take $100,000 to design a mold for it.

Ann Althouse said...

"The loss of access to the gym has been the biggest loss in the services/retail sector for me."

Me too. I went to a solo Pilates class once a week. It's the one thing I really want to be able to do again.

Ann Althouse said...

a solo Pilates class ≠ a gym

A better word is: studio.

Nichevo said...

In my opinion, the strength and conditioning benefits from daily kettlebell use is much more important then stockpiling weapons and ammunition for the coming apocalyptic meltdown of society.

6/9/20, 6:51 AM


Wrong-o, Howard. Zombieland firmly informs us that cardio is the thing.

But I'm glad to know that you have no weapons.

Howard said...

We were able to start open water swimming about three weeks ago here in center mass. Walden pond was 72 degrees yesterday

rehajm said...

You can make kettlebells out of free weights with rope. Milk jugs or dry bags with water/sand. Concrete and pipe if you have the means...

Mr. Forward said...

I have a hayfield with some extra rocks, how much you think I could charge New Yorkers to pile them up?

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Howard said...
In my opinion, the strength and conditioning benefits from daily kettlebell use is much more important then stockpiling weapons and ammunition for the coming apocalyptic meltdown of society.


That's just your opinion, man.

wild chicken said...

Guys are so bald now.

Is all the working out stressing their follicles?

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Ann Althouse said...
I went to a solo Pilates class once a week.


More men should try these classes. They are more help with real world tasks than lifting weights or even aerobic training.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Are both spellings acceptable or is Althouse so undecided that she went with both kettlebell and kettleball just to check our attention to detail?

Darkisland said...

Sounds like BS to me. 3,000 sounds like a lot of foundries if we are talking about just the US but perhaps not. It doesn't take a lot to set up a foundry so there are a lot of small, 1-2 person operations. Casting something like a kettleball should be within the capability of any well equipped blacksmith shop.

I learned how to make sand molds and do rudimentary castings in Mr Kalinovsky's shop class at Marshall HS in Falls Church.

A wooden pattern should take a day or less to make in a home woodshop. Even less time if it could be a cube instead of a ball. Much less time if a CNC mill is available. If it cost $500 I'd say that's a lot.

There seems to be plenty of foundry capacity out there in the hinterlands.

Maybe they are trying to create an artificial scarcity to drive the price up.

John Henry

Sebastian said...

"The loss of access to the gym has been the biggest loss"

And even that was a gross overreaction to the virus.

Healthy people are at little risk, surfaces contribute minimally to transmission, asymptomatic spread is hard, many gyms can easily practice distancing if desired, keep the old and sick out or set aside times for them like stores.

Now that the curve has flattened, health facilities are not overwhelmed, and the WuFlu risk profile is clear, there is no need and no right for "authorities" to keep gyms closed.

Tank said...

I miss seeing my friends at the gym, but I found it relatively easy to adapt workouts at home, and I have almost no equipment. Aside from eating out, that's been the biggest loss for me.

dbp said...

I like kettlebells, but I would never buy them. The reason is that I would need a huge collection of them since they aren't modular like barbells. The barbell with 95 lbs on it is fine for shoulder presses and I can use the same barbell with 250 lbs for dead lifts.

Chris said...

Of course you cant get kettleballs in NYC since THEY DON'T EXIST! It's KettleBELL Althouse.

Narayanan said...

Howard said...
I got my kettlebells after seeing Pavel on Joe Rogan. More important than the kettlebells is Soviet science behind strength training. The main takeaway is too not over train don't let yourself get sore. Lots of long breaks between sets. Stay at each plateau level for a month or more and then make relatively big jump.

The tiny footprint, portability and convenience of the kettlebells is a great feature.

In my opinion, the strength and conditioning benefits from daily kettlebell use is much more important then stockpiling weapons and ammunition for the coming apocalyptic meltdown of society.
---------=============
ammunition can be stored in metal boxes with handles = kettlebell

tim maguire said...

I have kettlebells at home. I'm no better than anyone else at home exercise (they gather dust along side my wife's treadmill). The attraction is they are versatile, low tech (they will never break or wear out), inexpensive, and don't take up much space.

tim maguire said...

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...The loss of access to the gym has been the biggest loss in the services/retail sector for me.

Same. I'm at an age where I'm young enough that if I'm fit, I feel great and can do anything, but old enough that if I'm not fit, things hurt. Joints ache. The gym is not a mere luxury and I've never been good at home exercise. Without the destination and atmosphere of a gym, I can't be consistent or aggressive enough to get real benefits.

William said...

The guy who lifted 3000 lbs. claimed to have developed back problems. Well, sure. I don't think the body is designed to lift 3000 lbs....When I was compulsive about jogging, I developed that thing where your sweat starts to smell like pneumonia. I had the vague sense that something was wrong and cut back....I miss the gym too, but I can't say my body feels any worse since I stopped working out with weights....I suppose there's some ideal combination of strength and endurance that allows you to have the best possible life for the longest amount of time, but that's a tough mark to hit. Those people who don't have a tendency to be inert have a tendency to overdo things.

Francisco D said...

I like my Bowflex machine, treadmill and recumbent bike, although I have been avoiding the treadmill lately.

It's in my garage gym, completely unaffected by the WuFlu shutdown.

People need to manage their lives in a manner that allows them to live more independently. Hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer is a poor substitute.

MadisonMan said...

You can't get kettleballs in NYC. Ergo they don't exist. The same mind-set that brought you "COVID is killing scores in NYC; ergo COVID will have the same impact in every locale in the country"
The NYTimes has a very provincial outlook for a propaganda tool.

TreeJoe said...

I'm a former kinesiologist/exercise physiologist and personal trainer. I have never understood the kettle bell trend except for some very specific movements.

In NYC I'd imagine a pair of adjustable dumbbells would make far more sense and be far more space-economical, anyway.

Yet here we are.

Kettlebells: The TP of NYC.

wildswan said...

RealClear Politics has a covid statistics set every day. If you bring up the US set and order the list by deaths per million you see that there is a Covid Dirty Dozen in which deaths by covid far outnumber deaths from flu. New York has close to ten times as many deaths from covid as from flu. But then as you go down the list (when ordered by deaths per million) you see that - starting half way down the list - in 27 states there have been fewer deaths from covid than from flu. Wisconsin had 762 deaths from flu and 646 from covid. This to me is a reason to end the lockdown and let people use gymns, parks and beaches without masks or distancing in those states. Evidently some states are covid hotspots and others are not. In the ones that are not, it is incredibly damaging unto no purpose to keep people indoors, unable to use gymns to stay healthy and breathing in fibers and carbon dioxide due to masks when they go outside.

I wonder how the amount of carbon dioxide you inhale due to masks compares inhaling city air. I'm convinced that we'll find out that breathing mask air is very bad, almost as bad as smoking and the CDC knew all along and covered that up, too

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Chi-Com Hillary virus 202 is just another piece of the Russia Russia never-ending revenge butt-hurt party from 2016.

SHE-> will never left it go, and you WILL pay...
with your life, and certainly your livelihood.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

That guy is a Russian! Guards, seize him! Doesn't Joe know it's illegal to talk to Russians?!?!?!

gilbar said...

seriously didn't these people watch the karate kid?
there is NO NEED for ANY specialized equipment for training
There are PLENTY of things in your house, that NEED to be moved from one side to the other.

of you folk that go to the gym, how many of you have self propelled lawn mowers?
how many have RIDING lawn mowers?
(ha ha hee hee... how many of you have unpowered push mowers?)

winter time? no grass to mow? how many of you fat asses have snow blowers?

gilbar said...

wildwaterfowl said...
I'm convinced that we'll find out that breathing mask air is very bad, almost as bad as smoking and the CDC knew all along and covered that up, too


since, today is a day ending in 'y', the "experts" have changed their tune... again
Coronavirus: Asymptomatic spread 'appears to be rare,' WHO official says

ASSUMING, that THIS TIME; they are telling the truth... please remind me?
WHY, did we destroy our economy?

Andrew said...

You can buy Kettlebells at Walmart and Target. These muscle heads evidently can't google.

MadTownGuy said...

So what's needed is...more kettlebell?

Yancey Ward said...

When the gyms here in Tennessee closed in late March, I looked on-line to find an adjustable bench and free-weight set (just the long bar and plates is all I needed). Nothing was really available at a reasonable price. So I just used my sister and her husband's universal weight machine every 4th day and did 6-8 miles of walking outdoors with pushups at various angles the other days. The gym reopened on May 6th. The first two weeks it was pretty empty, but the last week or so it has started to reach normal capacity.

Anthony said...

The gym closing was my worst nightmare. I'm a gym rat: every weekday morning at 6. It's just a part of my life, man. I went for the first month hiking and biking (AZ), but I still got a spare tire/inner tube/gut. After the first month I scrounged some weights from a friend and a few little ones I had* and made a somewhat effective back patio gym, between the weights and a couple of kitchen chairs. Decent workout and I was sore sore sore for the first couple of days. Legs were difficult. All of the local places were sold out of dumbbells in the first couple of weeks. By the time the gym reopened, I was 4th in line to get in!

I do more of a bodybuilding routine. Kettlebells really started showing up about 10 years ago with CrossFit. "Functional fitness" they call it. The LA Fitnesses I go to are in the process of remodeling to put in an area for CF with the big ropes, kettlebells, medicine balls, giant tires, etc. because more people are going that way. I may try it but it's not really my thing.




* Four little plastic barbell plates that I use as a Christmas tree stand for my 1960s silver aluminum tree.

Yancey Ward said...

Kettlebells are nice if you like to walk while carrying weight (a great exercise, by the way). You can do this with dumbbells, too, but it is more awkward because of the different distribution of the weight. Other than that, though, I don't see the real benefit of kettlebells vs dumbbells.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

gilbar said...
how many of you fat asses have snow blowers?


Shovels. I actually look forward to shoveling, but it doesn't snow that much here. I don't mow my own lawn. It is so cheap to get it done that it doesn't make much sense.

I think you are missing the point of the gym. It creates a ritual and also competition to get better, relative to other people.

Jeff said...

I have an elliptical that's too dangerous to use because of all the dust liked up on it.

mikee said...

I work daily with guys who lift bags of cement, plywood sheets, multiple wood boards, concrete blocks, piles of bricks. They dig holes and trenches in dirt with shovels and picks. They haul wheelbarrows full of unstable contents across uneven surfaces as fast as they can, all day. And as they do all this, they are putting together a new construction house with square corners, windows and doors that fit right, foundations and roofs and siding that keep out the environment, and some high tech electrical, plumbing, sewage, gas, air conditioning and automatic garage doors.

You want exercise? Come clean up after my workmen. Fill a 20 yard dumpster with drywall and board pieces. Then tell me you miss your kettlebells.