Great Lakes Girya Kettlebell Review
Updated: Apr 27
The pandemic has forced a lot of experiments. It turns out working from home has increased productivity. Another thing we've been forced to do is work out at home. Can you get in as good shape at home as you do at the gym?
With gyms forced to close for half a year, we had no choice but to find out. Because we are in an apartment, getting a squat rack and barbells was out of the question. We didn't have space. So we had to find something that offered a lot of training options in a small package. Enter the kettlebell.
I had used kettlebells for conditioning for almost 20 years, so it made sense to build a program around them. They don't take up much space and are great for burning a ton of calories. The only problem we had is we only had a single kettlebell, a 45 lb model from Northern Lights. This will come in handy later as a comparison.
The problem was everyone had the same idea. It was tough to find kettlebells in stock. But thanks to the interwebs, we discovered a local supplier, Great Lakes Girya. Girya is the Russian word for kettlebell, so it didn't surprise me that they had among the most extensive selection of sizes I've seen anywhere. Located in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada they are a 15-minute drive for us.
With the ability to pick them up, we ordered a bunch for both Catharine and me. Heavy cast iron is expensive to ship, so we were happy that we could pick them up.
Hard-style Vs. Competition Kettlebells
There are two distinct types of kettlebells. The most common are hard-style. The handles are wider for making two-handed movements more comfortable. The ball size varies depending on the weight. Hard-style kettlebells are made of cast iron. The finish is usually a glossy electroplating or a rougher powder coat. The approach of hard-style training is maximum power output for the most training stimulus in the least amount of time.
Competition kettlebells are standardized for kettlebell sport which is a form of endurance strength competition. Regardless of weight, all the kettlebells are the same size. The handle diameter is set at 33 mm and is more squared off compared to hard-style designs. They are too narrow for most people to do two-handed swings. Kettlebell sport style is about movement efficiency, so you don't get tired as quickly.
The difference in the kettlebells and movement style is similar to the difference between strict pull-ups and kipping pull-ups. You can do more reps with kipping, but it doesn't have the same training effect. This difference in movement style isn't good or bad; it just depends on your goals.
Great Lakes Girya offers hard-style kettlebells. Aside from being cool, as they were a throwback to the early 2000s when Pavel Tsatuline popularized kettlebells in North America, I like the shape of the handles better than the competition bells, even for one-armed movements.
Are Great Lakes Girya Kettlebells Good?
The short answer is yes. I like these kettlebells as they work well for everything from snatches to double kettlebell movements such as front squats and cleans.
We've now have had a variety of sized Great Lakes Girya Kettlebells for a few months so that I can give an in-depth review. I've broken it down into several categories based on features that I find essential.
If you check around, you will see there are a lot of options when it comes to kettlebells. They all look similar, but there are differences. The handle shape, quality of the finish, consistency of the molding, and how they have set the logo all affect how they feel.
The kettlebells are finished with an electroplated finish, smooth enough not to tear up my hands but has just enough texture to give good grip even when my hands are sweaty.
The bottoms seem to be machined as they sit flat and are very stable for pushups and renegade rows.
The logo is stamped into the face without any protrusions, so there is no pressure on the forearm when in the rack position.
We have a pair of 24 kg bells, and they are close to identical. The handles feel the same, and they sit on the floor the same. I will be buying a match to my 28 kg in a few months when I'm ready to move up on my double kettlebell exercises. Then a pair of 32 kg will be my summer gift to me to round out the set.
The finish and handles are consistent on all 8 of the kettlebells we have from Great Lakes Girya. Our one 20 KG, Northern Lights kettlebell, is a stark contrast. The handle is abnormally wide, and the grip area is rough. When I compare it to my 20 KG Great Lakes Girya kettlebell, it seems like a low-end knock-off.
Handle shape and size
The handle shape and finish are good. Even the 16 kg has enough room for two-handed swings.
The handle diameter of the 20, 24, and 28 kg kettlebells is excellent for my hands. I find the 12 and 16 kg handles thinner than I would like. For the record, I wear a size large to extra-large gloves.
In the rack position, I find the heavier bells more comfortable. The same goes for doing snatches. Even though it is easier to snatch the 16 kg, I find it less comfortable than the larger kettlebells. Catharine finds those two sizes comfortable, so I think it comes down to hand and wrist size.
I find the fatter handle of the larger bells more stable for doing bottoms-up presses. With the 12 and 16 kg, I have to crush grip the handle due to the decreased surface area. This is a small point but worth pointing out.
In a perfect world, I would have the 16, 20, 24, 28, and 32 kg have the same diameter handle, but no one asked me. Luckily I don't use the smaller sizes except to warm up so it hasn't been that big of an issue.
One of the things I liked about kettlebells was the limited range of weights, so you had to master a size before moving up.
Great Lake Girya has blown that tactic as you can get sizes from 4-100 kg. The weight increments are 2 kg up to 32 kg and 4 kg above that. They have one of the widest ranges I've seen.
For the quality of the kettlebell, the prices are decent. You may find cheaper kettlebells, but I haven't seen this quality at a lower price. Since they are a lifetime investment I first want a good kettlebell and then will try to get the best value.
The prices are similar to Rogue kettlebells. If you want the powder coat finish, then the Rogue will probably be your best value. But I like the Great Lakes Girya models for the electroplated versions.
They are quite a bit cheaper than Dragon Door for a given size. The same goes when you compare to Kettlebell Kings powder coated models.
We have always had excellent service. We put in our order online, and within a day or two, we get an email that they are ready to pick up.
From the customer reviews, I've seen they are pretty good about getting orders shipped out quickly.
Kettlebell Kings, Rogue Fitness, Dragon Door, and Strong First all make high-quality kettlebells that I've been happy to use. Kettlebell Kings and Rogue use a powder coat that is a little grippier, while the other two use an electroplated finish. Rogue also has an electroplated version but I haven't used it.
The Great Lakes Girya kettlebells remind me of the early Dragon Door models I first used years ago. But at a much lower price, so big kudos to the fact that they can make a high-quality product at such a reasonable price.
Are Great Lakes Girya Kettlebells worth it?
Great Lakes Girya kettlebells are of high quality at a fair price. I will be buying more soon. I'm happy that we could find a local company that makes a competitive quality kettlebell compared to the big-name companies.
We like them so much we've partnered with them to offer you a discount.
Use promo code "LIVEWILD" for 5% Off your order
Sponsor Disclosure: If you use the link or our promo code for your purchase we will receive a commission.
What more is there to say. I'm a fan of Great Lakes Girya kettlebells. They look good and perform well. The price is low for this level of quality. So far they have always had the sizes I wanted in stock so I've always had my bells within a couple of days.