Thinking about kitting out your home gym? The Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell should be on the top of your shopping list. Adjustable kettlebells (opens in new tab) are perfect for small spaces and versatile enough for many – if not all – resistance training enthusiasts.
Adjustable kettlebells combine convenience and versatility, also eliminate the need for having to buy multiple individual kettlebells to keep up with your progression curve. Just like in the case of the excellent Bowflex Selecttech 1090i Adjustable Dumbbells (opens in new tab), a slightly stiff dial is used to adjust the weight so you can change the amount of weights you use from set to set without any issue.
Thankfully, the outer hard-plastic shell doesn't make the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell feel cheap or flimsy, but it does make it fairly bulky. The larger form factor is not a big issue when performing two-handed exercises, but it might be less ideal when using the Bowflex for kettlebell snatches, for example.
Due to the adjustable nature of the Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell, it has an open bottom construction which does take some getting used to. The plates are exposed at the bottom which might make one feel they can fly out at any point doing kettlebell swings. They most likely won't, though, and although the plates inside the bell do rattle a bit, they also feel securely held by the lock.
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Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell review: how does it work?
The Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell is basically is stack of weight plates housed in plastic bell with a handle. The weight of the kettlebell can be adjusted using the mechanical dial on the top. Due to it being fully mechanical, it does require some grip-strength to be adjusted and the placing of the dial – under the handle – doesn't help much either.
Between exercises, the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell should be kept on the plastic tray that comes in the box. The tray and kettlebell fits perfectly and the weight plates not being used can sit on the tray, so they not just littered around the flat.
The available weight range of the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell is: 3.5, 5.5, 9, 11, 16 and 18 kg, more than enough for a wide variety of exercises. The dimensions of the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell are W22.4 x D17.8 x H31.8 cm.
The biggest appeal of the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell is space saving because let's face it, no one really has a dedicated area in their abode to house six different kettlebells. Finding space for one slightly larger kettlebell definitely feels like an easier task.
Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell review: ergonomics
It might be more convenient to store the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell between workouts, but it being larger than the standard cast-iron kettlebells, it is a bit more fiddly to work out with.
It feels like the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell was designed for two handed exercises, even the girth of the handle is larger and it feels longer to accommodate two hands easier, too. Doing Russian twists with the kettlebell quickly ends up being a game of trying to avoid your knees as you twist your torso.
For most exercises, though, the largeness of the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell is not an issue. Many of the most popular kettlebell exercises can be performed without an issue and even the bottom of the kettlebell isn't bothersome either.
Saying that, I found myself avoiding lifting the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell over my head. The thought of dropping 15 kilograms-worth of weight plates on my face during kettlebell pullovers didn't seem appealing, even thought I knew it was not likely to happen.
One way to overcome this issue is to hold the kettlebell on the sides so it's horizontal when in the topmost position. Another solution might be to hold the handle firmly and keep the kettlebell turned away from you as you move it around.(opens in new tab)
Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell review: verdict
Despite its shortcomings, it was good to have the Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell around the house. Because of the space saving nature of the kettlebell, it was left out in the living room and therefore reminded me to go back and work out with it more often.
It not being an absolute eyesore also helped me accommodating it in plain sight. It can sit close to a wall somewhere, not too far so it feels like an effort even just to retrieve it, but moved out of the way when not needed.
Switching between different weights was easy and the fact that you can _actually_ switch between weights was also a pleasant thought. Whenever the last set of kettlebell swings felt a bit too much, I could just pop the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell back on the cradle, turn the dial and lighten the load.
Even for a relatively tall person like I am, the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell sometimes felt bulky and in the way, especially when doings kettlebell abs exercises (opens in new tab). Not the end of the world, but if the plastic shell was a bit more compact, that would most certainly help to elevate user experience.
The weight plates in the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell do rattle a bit when swung around, not enough to cause alarm, but since the bottom of the bell is open, it might make some people uneasy to perform kettlebell swings in front of their new 8k TVs.
The benefits outweigh the negatives here, though, and if you are thinking about upgrading or kitting out your home gym, definitely consider the Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell, especially if you are in the US, where it can bought cheaper on average.
Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell review: also consider
The JaxJox KettlebellConnect is a great idea, basically a digital equivalent of a Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell. However, it's not as well executed as a regular, metal kettlebell, overly chunky and slightly unwieldy to use. However, the space-saving convenience, as well as the app's ability to track workout data, will make it attractive to some home workout fans.
If your goal is to build guns as big as Chris Hemsworth's, consider opting in for the Bowflex SelectTech 2080 Barbell with Curl Bar as it enables you to perform a range of exercises without having to clog up your living room with barbells and weight plates.