Working out at home is hard; working out with weights at home even more so. With the home fitness industry booming, however, what do you do if you want to get a few goblet squats in at home? Enter the JAXJOX KettlebellConnect, the best way to do a strength class in your lounge
There are all kinds of reasons why working out at home feels like a nightmare, but perhaps the most annoying is the idea of having to carry whole sets of weights up to your flat: who wants to carry racks of dumbbells up to your top-floor abode? Most importantly, who wants to carry a whole set of different kettlebells up? Where do you even keep them? This is London: we barely have enough room for a washing machine, let alone a home gym.
It was for all these reasons and more that the idea of buying the weights I needed for home exercise actively repulsed me. With Jane-Fonda-for-millennials home workout apps now available from all and sundry, however, it felt like there might be merit in freezing an expensive gym membership and seeing if I could get my goblet squats in at home. So when I was confronted with the idea of the JAXJOX KettlebellConnect, I was intrigued: what if, instead of a whole set, I only needed one kettlebell?
Here’s how the KettlebellConnect works: it comes as a single (very heavy) box. Once you’ve lugged it home, you realise that it is entirely ingenious: a single digital terminal with a single kettlebell attached, the stand is filled with a series of magnetised weights. When the hollow kettlebell-esque handle is connected to the terminal, you can choose what weight you want your kettlebell to be. Once you’ve selected it, the device takes a few seconds to shunt the right number of weights into the handle, and when you then lift it up it is a kettlebell of whatever weight you might want.
Planning a full workout in which you need a selection of different weights? Then the KettlebellConnect does that faster than you can shuffle along the edge of a weight rack. If you want to try a kettlebell workout for the first time but aren’t sure what weight is right for you, you can start light and – amazed at your aptitude – build up with speed. Or, if you’re the kind of person who likes to start light and build up a kilo or two during a session, then that’s also easily done.
Though my boyfriend is not convinced that this silver-and-lime machine quite fits with the home decor, it fits inconspicuously down beside the sofa and nobody pays it any attention. In terms of a set-up for doing strength classes at home, there’s nothing more compact.
But how does it function during a workout? There are some oddities with it: if you are doing goblet squats, or anything where you require inverting the weight, it is a bit odd to find yourself staring into a relatively hollow kettlebell (unless you’ve gone for the full kahuna of 42lb, in which case, mazel tov). It’s unusual, but it’s not actually a problem at all. Otherwise, I found it an incredibly effective kettlebell. Though, let’s be honest, a kettlebell is a kettlebell at the end of the day.
What really sets it apart is the sheer convenience of the thing. Get out your phone, load up a class on YouTube or the app of your choice (or GQ? Dare I suggest?) and you have a very effective, compact way of building up muscle. There’s also a JAXJOX app, which, via Bluetooth, allows you to track your reps, sets, weight and rest time if you just want to go through your usual gym-floor routine in the comfort of your living room. Then again, why you’d want your phone to tell you how long you took in between reps is somewhat beyond me.
At £299, a KettlebellConnect is definitely pricier than any set of weights would be. But the question is whether that is outweighed (pardon the pun) by the convenience of a single, omnipotent kettlebell rather than a rack of them clogging up your house like black matter M&Ms. Expensive? Yes, but it is perhaps the most ergonomic way to start moving into some strength classes into your own home if you’re too busy to get to the gym.
JAXJOX KettlebellConnect, £299. jaxjox.co.uk