t-handle rough finish

Have you ever considered training with a kettlebell, but were turned off at their extremely high price?

Then you might want to make yourself a “T-handle,” which is a kettlebell replacement you can build at home! It should only cost $13 or less!

And it’s versatile! Since you use your existing collection of weight plates, the T-handle can grow with you, from 5 lb to 50 lb or more!

Here is how to make a T-Handle…

 

 

What to Buy

The first thing you need to do is get your supplies. Just head to your local hardware store like Lowe’s or Home Depot (I suggest Home Depot for the best selection and prices,) head to the plumbing aisle, and get the following supplies:

  • (1) 3/4″ x 10″ pipe nipple
  • (2) 3/4″ x 4″ pipe nipple
  • (1) 3/4″ T-fitting
  • (1) 3/4″ floor flange
  • (1) 1″ spring clamp

*Note that the spring clamp will be found in the hand tools aisle, next to other clamps and vices.

Pipe nipple sizing recommendation: The 10″ pipe nipple I listed is for the main shaft of the T-handle. You could get an 8″ or 12″ pipe nipple if your prefer. I think 10″ is good, but if you’re short (5’4″,) maybe go for 8″. If you’re tall (6′,) try 12″. But let’s say you’re average height but with long arms – then 8″ might be best.

I have long arms for my height, so I ended up bumping my 12″ T-Handle on the floor. I later switched to a 10″ pipe nipple.

It can be a little trial and error. Basically you want the bar long enough so the weight plates clear your pelvis, but short enough they don’t drag on the floor.

All those parts should cost about $10-13. Be sure to choose the black iron pipes – there’s no need to pay extra for galvanized. (My T-Handle pictured below cost me $17 since my local Lowe’s only stocked galvanized floor flanges which cost $7 instead of $2.)

Also, if you happen to be a road cyclist, look through your parts bin for some spare handlebar tape. It will come in handy during this project.

Now let’s build this thing…

 

How to Put It Together

There are just four easy steps to putting this thing together.

 

Step 1: The Handle

t-handle handle

Take the two 4″ pipe nipples and screw them into the T fitting.

 

Step 2: The Shaft

t-handle shaft

Screw the 10″ pipe nipple into the floor flange.

 

Step 3: Finishing Touches

t-handle grip tape

Before use, I recommend making the handle a little softer. I took some used handlebar tape and wrapped it all around the handle, then used electrical tape to secure the ends.

At the very least, wrap it in duct tape and wear some mountain biking gloves during use. You don’t want to cut your hands on those exposed threads!

 

Step 4: Add Weights and Use

t-handle with weight plates

Take your weight plates and place them on the shaft. They should sit against the floor flange.

Then take the spring clamp and clamp the shaft just above the weights. This will keep the plates from sliding around.

Finally, screw the handle onto the shaft. Make sure it’s tight!

Now you’re ready to exercise…

 

How to Use the T-Handle

Unfortunately, you can’t use the T-handle just like a true kettlebell. However, you can still use it for arguably the best kettlebell exercise – the kettlebell swing!

This is a great exercise for your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, etc.,) which means it’s great for runners and cyclists. It is also recommended in The 4-Hour Body as a great weight loss exercise.

So, for just $12 (which is roughly $100 less than a good size kettlebell!,) I think building a T-handle is a great investment in your fitness!

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