What Is the Best Kettlebell Weight?
Kettlebell training has become increasingly popular since the early 1700s, when the Russian strong men first used kettlebells. According to the American Council on Exercise, the stronger and more skilled an individual becomes at kettlebell routines, recovery time between sets should be reduced, and repetitions should be increased. The best kettlebell weight depends upon fitness level, goals and experience.
Kettlebell training offers a highly effective cardiovascular workout that increases strength, balance and flexibility. It involves a lot of overhead work, which requires both upper- and lower-body strength. Before purchasing a kettlebell, determine the best weight by doing overhead lockouts with a dumbbell, according to Mike Mahler's Kettlebell Buying Guide. Hold the dumbbell straight up over your head for 10 seconds with your elbow slightly locked. If you don't struggle, than that should be the best size kettlebell to start with.
Weight of Kettlebells
As of 2011, there are many different sizes of kettlebells. The smallest amount of weight -- which women primarily use -- is 4 kg or 9 lbs., 8 kg or 18 lbs. and 12 kg or 26 lbs. The heaviest weighted kettlebells -- mostly used by men -- are 20 kg or 44 lbs., 24 kg, or 53 lbs. and 36 kg or 80 lbs.
Generally, the best weight for unconditioned beginners of kettlebell training should range from 4 kg to 8 kg for women and 12 kg to 16 kg for men. Kettlebell instructor Adrian Burton notes that lighter weight is recommended to use at first so the individual can focus on developing the proper technique. Many repetitions are used in kettlebell training, and for those who are unconditioned, using a heavier weight will cause you to tire easily and lose correct form.
Mahler's guide recommends that strong, fit men start with a 24 kg and fit women start with a 12 kg kettlebell. If you have kettlebell training experience, which means you know the proper technique and form of lifting, then you should try a heavier kettlebell or increase the amount of repetitions. Another option is to lift two kettlebells instead of one; this will maximize your workout.
Explore In Depth
- Amazines: How to Pick the Right Size Kettlebell for Your Workout
- American Council on Exercise: Kettlebells -- Twice the Results in Half the Time; Chad Schnettler, et al.
- Otto WH, Coburn JW, Brown LE, Spiering BA. Effects of weightlifting vs. kettlebell training on vertical jump, strength, and body composition. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(5):1199-202. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31824f233e
- Kettlebells Kick Butt. ACE Fit | Fitness Information.
- Kettlebell Swing, Snatch, and Bottoms-Up Carry: Back and... : The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. LWW.
- Jay K, Frisch D, Hansen K, et al. Kettlebell training for musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health: a randomized controlled trial. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health. 2011;37(3):196-203.
Dustin Bogle is an experienced personal trainer, group fitness instructor, nutritionist and fitness article writer. His articles have been featured in "Daily Press" newspaper and "Fresh Ink" newspaper.