This adjustable kettlebell makes working out in a tiny apartment much easier
The JaxJox Kettlebell 2.0 keeps weight training simple.
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If you’re looking to exercise—and build strength—at home, chances are good you’ve considered getting a kettlebell. This simple handled weight is a great way to work the whole body, from the calves to the glutes to the shoulders. But building up a full collection of all the various weights you may need for exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, and overhead presses isn’t possible for everyone, especially if you live in a small space. This is where you might come across the JaxJox Kettlebell Connect 2.0, an adjustable kettlebell with an accompanying app that tracks your reps and movements. I got a chance to try the second version of the company’s “connected” adjustable kettlebell for a few weeks—here’s what you should know about it.
What is the JaxJox Kettlebell 2.0?
The JaxJox KettlebellConnect 2.0 looks like a regular kettlebell, with a bulbous, rounded base and a single handle that loops around the top, not visually unlike the world’s most awkward granny handbag. Like its predecessor, the original Kettlebell Connect (which is no longer sold), it has six levels of weight, between 12 and 42 pounds, which you can switch in six-pound increments to 18, 24, 30, and 36 pounds. The charging base also houses an LCD screen that shows the current weight of the kettlebell. It costs $229.99.
Like all JaxJox products—which include adjustable dumbbells, a vibrating foam roller, and a new Mirror-esque home gym—the kettlebell connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone app that tracks data from your workout, such as your reps, sets, average power and total weight, in real time. (The original Kettlebell did not offer real-time tracking.) You can access tracking and some brief training videos for free in the JaxJox app, and an additional library of workout videos and programs in the paid version, which is $12.99 a month.
How does the JaxJox Kettlebell 2.0 work?
When you order the Kettlebell, it arrives in a 49-pound box about the size of a nightstand that contains three main components: a plastic kettlebell shell that houses the five interlocking weight plates and a base that’s used for charging the electronic components and changing out the weight plates. Setup is simple. You plug in the base, stack the weight plates on it, and slide the plastic shell over top. The kettlebell’s weight is displayed on a small LCD panel at the center of the base, with two arrow buttons on either side that you can use for adjustments. When you reach the weight you want, let it sit for a moment until it beeps. This signifies that your selected plates are in place inside the kettlebell and it’s ready to use.
When you pick it up, the shell holds onto the plates it needs for the designated weight—so, for 12-pound weight, it just uses the shell, 18 pounds is the shell plus one plate, and so on, up to 42 pounds with all the plates. It also contains motion sensors, which is how it detects movement from your workouts. The kettlebell holds a charge for about 14 hours, so you don’t always have to keep it on the base, but I liked keeping them together for tidier storage.
What’s good about the JaxJox Kettlebell 2.0?
Structurally, the kettlebell is fantastic. I was a little leery of the plastic shell, but it felt durable and provided a surprisingly non-slippery grip that I found easier to grasp than metal kettlebells I’ve used. Switching the weights was also low-effort and intuitive. I liked the way the plates slid into place with a satisfying click and gave an extra beep to confirm that it was ready. When I first picked it up, I had a (maybe irrational) fear that the weight plates would slide out, but they stayed secure through swings, squats, and lunges—and recorded them all at the same time.
I also liked the free version of the app. It provides access to roughly 100 minute-long instructional “Skill” videos that walk you through classic kettlebell exercises like deadlifts, single arm swings, and cleans. I didn’t have too much experience with kettlebells before—I’d used them here and there in workout classes, but when it comes to my own home gym, I’ve always been happy with my set of dumbbells—so I relied on the Skill videos to ensure I had proper form.
The app also provides access to the stats the device tracks, showing how many sets, reps, and total weight you’re lifting in real time, plus a record of how many sets, reps, and total weight you’ve lifted over the past day, week, or month. These factors combine to score your Fitness IQ, a personalized metric that ranges from 0 to 100 that goes up the more you use the JaxJox Kettlebell. The IQ number is a little hard to parse—you’re told it’s important, but not why it’s important—but once I understood that it’s basically just a number that goes up the more you use it, it just seemed like a nice incentive to use it regularly.
What’s not as great about the JaxJox Kettlebell 2.0?
A big drawback of the Kettlebell 2.0 is its cost. At $230, it’s pricier than a standard kettlebell, but not too much more than a full set (a 20-pound option from AmazonBasics costs $35 and a six-weight set that’s close to the range of weight JaxJox provides will cost about $190 based on Amazon’s current prices). It's also more expensive than other adjustable kettlebells such as the Bowflex SelectTech 840, which has six weights that range between eight and 40 pounds and is currently about $170 on Amazon. The JaxJox is high quality, easy to use and, most crucially, offers tracking features that the others do not. What's more, I found that I didn’t need all six weight options, making it seem like I'd be paying for more than I'd need. For the most part, I tended to stick in the 12- to 24-pound range. However, if multiple people in your household will be using the kettlebell (or you plan on making some substantial gains), the weight range will be more valuable.
The app also needs work. Both the free version and the paid version have glitches that I was able to forgive in the free version, but not in the one that costs $12.99 a month (or the same as the Peloton app). The paid version seems great in theory, but isn’t very functional in practice. It has about 100 workouts between 10 and 50 minutes long divided into categories “Sweat” (usually HIIT-style classes that use the kettlebell), “Strong” (slower-paced classes focused on building muscle), “Chill” (post-workout recovery classes) and “Flex” (yoga and mobility workouts), as well as one six-week-long fitness program for the Kettlebell and a few others for the other JaxJox devices that pair with the app. It also has filters that allow you to sort classes by device, category, muscle groups, class length, instructor, and fitness level.
But using the app is not intuitive. To select a class, you must use the filter function—rather than seeing a homepage that shows all classes and categories—and the filters only sometimes worked for me. For example, every time I tried to select a “Chill” or “Flex” class, no results came up. (When I visited JaxJox’s site, I realized that this is because the Flex classes are still in development and haven’t officially been released, but I’m still not sure what was going on with those Chill classes.) And that’s when the app worked at all for me on my iPhone 8—many times, I tried to select a class, and simply got error message after error message until I closed out of the app. I also got logged out almost every time I clicked away from the app—a feature I appreciate with my banking or credit card apps, but not as much with workout apps, where that extra couple-second delay could discourage some people from working out altogether. (The logout issue happened with the free version, too, but because using it doesn’t involve extra payments, I wouldn’t complain as much about it.)
When I was able to get into the JaxJox app, I got to take several Strong and Sweat classes, and I liked them. The instructors did a great job breaking down kettlebell moves, explaining the range of weights to use for each exercise, and providing fun, effective workouts. I reached out to JaxJox to see if there are any plans to update the app. The rep told me that they are "pushing new updates monthly" and the app will "be optimized throughout the year, and JaxJox will be looking to introduce new features based on customer feedback and requests." For now, with the amount of work it takes to get to the classes, I’d be more likely to look for kettlebell workouts on a different app or on YouTube.
Is the JaxJox Kettlebell 2.0 worth it?
It’s expensive. But if you want a reliable adjustable kettlebell and on an only-sometimes-reliable app, and don’t mind anteing up for it, you’ll like the JaxJox Kettlebell 2.0. Its hardware is better than its software, but in terms of the basics—providing a wide range of weights in a sturdy vessel along with performance tracking—the JaxJox Kettlebell 2.0 delivers.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.