Let’s say you’re limited to buying one kettlebell, you want to make sure you buy the right kettlebell. How do you decide what kettlebell weight to choose?

Kettlebells are not cheap, so you want to make damn sure you buy the right weight, which will allow you to get the most out of your one kettlebell. Here are some tips to start thinking about what kettlebell weight to choose. To skip the tips and jump straight to the guide, click here.

 

Goals?

What are your goals, why are you buying a kettlebell?

  • Lose weight / fat loss
  • Gain overall strength
  • Become flexible
  • Increase cardiovascular endurance
  • Etc.

Based on those answers you can compile the exercises you’ll mainly want to be doing. Performing a racked squat with a kettlebell is completely different to a ballistic swing, or overhead reverse lunge.

Are you going to be performing high reps, or low reps, swinging 20, 50, 100 or more, or in sets of 6 to 12? All this matters. If you can handle a 24kg swing, that doesn’t mean it’s the right weight to use for high volume, or endurance. You’ll want to go at least 1/3 lower to what your submax is.

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If you’re mainly going to be doing slow lifts and carries like, deadlifts, farmer walks, racked walks, goblet squats, racked squats, and even some double arm chest presses etc. you can go considerably higher with the weight. Let’s say you wold get a 16kg if you were going to swing a lot, then you could easily get a 24 to 28kg for these types of exercises.

If you want to work on endurance or cardio, you’ll be doing a higher volume, if you want to work on strength, hypertrophy, then you’ll be doing lower volume.

I’ll post a link below where you can see 90+ kettlebell exercises in action.

 

Current State?

What is your current state, how strong, flexible, fit are you? If you’ve never touched a weight in your life before, then you’ll need a different weight then someone who has been going to the gym for years.

Are you very inflexible? If so, this will also affect the weight you choose. You’ll run more risk of injury if you’re inflexible, hence you’ll need to reduce the weight, and focus on flexibility more.

 

Experience?

Have you already got some experience with lifting barbells, dumbbells, etc.? If so, it will be easier to understand some of the concepts in kettlebell training, hence, you’ll be safer, so you can increase the weight you choose. But, you should still take into consideration that the kettlebell has a different weight distribution than the barbell or dumbbell, this will make the kettlebell feel much heavier, i.e. if you’re pressing a 30kg dumbbell 1RM, you’ll need to subtract 4kg or more for a kettlebell, as you won’t be able to transfer the exact amount to a kettlebell.

Have you got no experience what so ever with a kettlebell or any other weight? You should seriously take this into consideration, and start at the low end. Safety first.

 

Guide

Following is a guide on what kettlebell weight to choose, however, you should consider all the points above first and make your own informed decision.

Kettlebell Weight Guide
Lots of overhead work Male Female
Low Volume High Volume Low Volume High Volume
Never done anything overhead 8 to 12kg 8 to 10kg 8kg 8kg
Mediocre with overhead work 12 to 16kg 12kg 12kg 10kg
Do overhead work in the gym regularly 16 to 20kg 16kg 16kg 12kg
Lots of slow lifts Male Female
Low Volume High Volume Low Volume High Volume
Never done any slow lifts 16kg 12kg 12kg 10kg
Mediocre with slow lifts 20 to 24kg 16kg 18kg 16kg
Do slow lifts in the gym regularly 24 to 32kg 20kg 24kg 20kg
Lots of ballistic work Male Female
Low Volume High Volume Low Volume High Volume
Never done anything ballistic 12 to 16kg 12kg 12kg 10kg
Mediocre with ballistic work 16 to 20kg 16kg 16kg 14kg
Do ballistic work in the gym regularly 20 to 24kg 20kg 20kg 16kg

Still not sure? Buy an online assessment, discuss your goals, submit your video, get feedback, and a recommendation.

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