Kettlebells originated from simple counterweights and took the fitness world by storm as kettlebell swings and kettlebell training are one of the most popular forms of exercise in the modern world.
The fact that the exercise targets a wide range of muscle groups and allows different options with multiple weights makes it an incredibly helpful exercise option for those who want to lose fat and build muscles.
When performed properly, kettlebell movements will improve your body control, shorten your workout time, and give you functional results (and physique). But what kettlebell weight should you start with? Let’s take a closer look!
What is the Right Kettlebell Weight to Start With?
Many of us make mistakes in estimating ourselves. Do not under or overestimate yourself. In case of confusion, take the help of experts. Ensure that you select the correct kettlebell size based on your age, gender, and current fitness level, and you’ll be on your way to achieving your fitness goals.
Also, they can be a little on the pricier side, but if your budget can handle it, then buy at least two kettlebells to start with in different weights and then add to your collection as your form gets better and your conditioning level increases.
The History of Kettle Bells
It has been reported that Kettle Bells originated in ancient Russia (COTTER, 2021). As per historical references, they were initially used as Counterweights to balance and measure objects. The ancient farm workers realized that lifting these bells could greatly improve their overall mobility and strengthen their muscles. And that’s how the Kettle Bell Swings found their place in the evolution of Human History.
The farm workers understood how these Kettle Bells targeted their particular muscles. They observed clear improvements in their strength and mobility as their acts of lifting weights contributed to their physical fitness. Eventually, the motions evolved to become what today are known as Kettle Bell Swings.
This probably is the reason why kettlebell swings are similar to lifting weights from one pan and placing them on another.
Today, kettlebell training and swings are among the most popular forms of strength training.
Gym enthusiasts and fitness freaks prefer the exercise because of its easy-to-perform nature and swift results. In 2020, there were more than thirteen and a half million people who recognized themselves as part of America’s Kettlebell community (Billitz, 2022). This shows how popular and successful the exercise has been.
When you are just starting out with kettlebells, you should make sure you first master single kettlebell exercises before advancing to double swings, cleans, snatches, etc. Weight kettlebell exercises are often used for more ballistic movements, where you accelerate the weight quickly.
What Size of Kettlebells Should be Used for Different Exercises?
Depending on your experience, body type, and workout goals, different kettlebell weight options can be used for kettlebell swings. Moreover, it also depends on your gender, fitness levels, exercise types, and age groups.
When shopping for a quality kettlebell, some of the attributes to look for are smooth, curved handles. Some cheap kettlebells have try-angular or squarish handles. Do not buy this type of kettlebell. Quality kettlebells come with smooth, curved handles that can be gripped anywhere on the handle, not just the top part.
For beginners with little to no experience, the recommended weight sizes fall between 4.5 – 8 Kg. It depends on your own personal comfort level with these weights. For a beginner, comfort level is incredibly important. If you are not comfortable with a particular weight size, it is better to switch to a more convenient size, especially in your early days.
Once you have gotten used to the weight sizes, you may switch to higher weight categories for faster gains.
Remember: Do not overdo anything, especially in your early days.
Once you get used to the exercise and it becomes a part of your routine, the recommended weight categories at the beginner level are as follows:
Most male beginners will start at 35 lbs or 16kg, while most female beginners will perform kettlebell swings at 18lbs or 8 Kg until they feel confident enough to move up.
For fitness enthusiasts with considerable prior experience, the recommended weight categories are 20 kg or 44lbs for men and 12 kg and 26 lbs for women.
A general criterion at this level is people with a bench press strength of 91kg.
For fitness enthusiasts who have got considerable body strength and have full control over their body movements, the recommended kettlebell sizes include 53lbs or 24 kg for men and 35lbs or 16 kg for women.
You can classify yourself as an advanced-level person if you have been working on your body fitness for more than six months and can lift heavier weights without any injury risks.
Grind exercises involve controlled and slow movements of kettlebells and are used for long-term gains and developing endurance. However, before choosing grind exercises, make sure that you are consistent with the exercise. Without consistency, these exercises will be of little to no value.
The recommended weight ranges for grind exercises include 8 to 20 kg for men and 6 to 12 kg for women. Once again, it is important to note that your choice of kettlebell size depends on your own personal weight preference and comfort level.
In addition to these weight categories, other classifications depend on your eventual goal for the exercise. These include the following categories.
Balance and Coordination
Many people use a kettlebell swing to improve their overall balance and body coordination. If that is your end goal as well, the recommended weights fall in the following range.
8 – 12kg for Women
12 – 20kg for Men
Kettlebell flows are another convenient form of exercise to improve overall balance and coordination.
If you want to have an athletic ability with excellent agility, kettlebell weights could be a great tool for you. It will help you strengthen your muscles while avoiding injuries. The recommended kettlebell weight size for this purpose is between 4 kg to 12 kg for women and 8 kg to 20 kg for men.
Just like all other categories, the weight selection depends on your body size and past experiences.
This is the most common goal of trainers as they use kettlebell workouts to develop overall body strength. A kettlebell swing is the most suitable weight-training exercise for developing overall body strength. Swings can be performed with one or both hands, depending on your preference.
The best kettlebell weight for a one-handed swing is 12 kg for women, while it is 16 kg for men. On the other hand, if you are looking to perform a double-handed swing, the recommended best kettlebell size increases to 14 kg for women and 24 kg for men.
Teenagers and Kids
All the above size recommendations were for adults above the age of 18 years. For kids, the kettlebell sizes can be between 2-3 kg.
Generally, kids younger than 12 years should use kettlebells with a weight of 2-5 kg. On the other hand, teenagers can use weights between 4.5-9 kg. At this level, the muscles are still in their developmental stages, and it’s better to be extra cautious about your weight selection.
As we have mentioned throughout the article, taking the time to ensure you’re choosing the right size kettlebell for yourself is fairly important. If you’re not sure what weight kettlebell you should start with, start light. You can always purchase heavier kettlebell weights, but you can’t undo the damage caused during weight training by using too heavy a weight for your kettlebell swing. Overdoing any particular weight size during your kettlebell exercises won’t help your cause. Therefore, it’s better to start with lighter weights and build on them.
Billitz, J. (2022, March 21). 6 Kettlebell Training & Workout Statistics You Should Know. Retrieved from https://www.noobgains.com/kettlebell-workout-statistics/
COTTER, S. (2021). KETTLEBELL TRAINING (Second ed.). Human Kinetics. Retrieved from https://us.humankinetics.com/products/kettlebell-training-2nd-edition-epub