If you’ve seen people workout with kettlebells and haven’t touched a kettlebell before you might be wondering “how do I begin with kettlebell training?”. You’re right in asking this question as picking up the kettlebell and just starting to swing it around is not a good idea. The kettlebell, just like any other piece of equipment, requires you to invest some time into learning about grips, racking, progressions, stances, and more.
How do beginners use kettlebells?
Beginners should use kettlebells with care, the same care that’s required for any other piece of exercise equipment. The focus should be on a few basic exercises, which will depend on the goals as covered further below. It’s important to focus on low volume and preferably with a great focus on form and technique prior to working out, but if sweat is the desired outcome then work with intervals as they allow you to perform a few reps, set the weight down, reset, recover, and repeat. Repeating, drilling, and self-assessment are also very important for beginners to include.
Where do I start with kettlebells?
Any beginner should start by learning grips. It’s often overlooked. I’ve had plenty of people come to me and say “I’ve trained with kettlebells for many years and I took a course with so and so, should I take the advanced course?”, and I am able to convince them to take our fundamentals course. This is where they surprisingly learn that there is still so much to learn within the fundamentals of kettlebell training itself. Racking of the kettlebell is also important, it looks like a boring topic with nothing much to offer, but again, just like the grips, we have a whole book on it, free as well, and called Master Kettlebell Grips and Master Kettlebell Racking.
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Do I need two kettlebells? How many kettlebells do I need?
No, you do not need two kettlebells to start with kettlebell training. So, yes, you can work out with just one kettlebell. You will need more than one kettlebell if you want to progress with your strength. As for the kettlebell weight to start with, we have several articles on our website that provide information so you can make a more informed choice on that, but it requires time, the quick answer is, approx. 12kg/26.4lbs to 16kg/35.2lbs for a male and 8kg/17.6lbs to 12kg/26.4lbs for a female.
Once you have mastered the basic kettlebell exercises I do highly recommend you get double kettlebells as it allows for some awesome exercise variations and adds a different stimulus to the exercises you already know. If I only had one kettlebell and personally had to make a choice of getting another kettlebell or another heavier kettlebell, I would choose the option of getting another kettlebell of the same weight so I would choose doubles. With that said, double kettlebell work with offset weight is also something that’s entirely possible.
What kettlebell exercises to focus on?
The exercises that you choose should be based on your goals, what do you want from the kettlebell?
If you just want to incorporate the kettlebell in your other training to mix things up a bit, then most people will look at the kettlebell swing, snatch, Goblet squat, and press. There are plenty of free resources on the internet that covers all these kettlebell exercises, but there’s nothing like having everything you need in one handy book with the Kettlebell Exercise Encyclopedia.
If you want to focus on strength, then you want to look at the basic exercises that combined work most of the important areas of the body and cover press, squat, pull, and push, other words, kettlebell strict shoulder press, front squat, bent over dead row, and chest press. THE BIG FOUR by Cavemantraining is a great workout and Prometheus Phase II is a great program to look at.
If you want to focus on simple but effective cardio, then you want to look at the kettlebell clean and jerk with one or two kettlebells. The kettlebell clean and jerk longcycle is such an effective and interesting discipline. Anyone can easily start this with a single kettlebell and then upgrade to two kettlebells, entering a whole new world of pain and mental toughness that will deliver you with unheard levels of cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Plus mental toughness. A beginner’s course for kettlebell sport is a great way to get started.
If you want to focus on flexibility and strength, then you want to look at the kettlebell Windmill, Bent Press, Jefferson Curl, Hip Hinge Swing, Squat, Overhead Squat, and other such exercises which take your body through different movements which address areas that are normally neglected. Our CAVEMANROM exercises are a great example of such exercises.
If you want to focus on more creative ways to use the kettlebell and focus on proprioception, strength, endurance, hand-eye coordination, and so much more all at once then look at flows, combos, complexes, and juggling. Before you attempt to enter this next level of the kettlebell world you need to make sure that you have mastered the exercises, all grip variations, clean variations, snatch variations, and so on.
All that is just the tip of the iceberg. Cavemantraining has made available decades of knowledge and experimenting with the kettlebell in the form of books, videos, online courses, online certifications, private coaching groups, and more. There are kettlebell workout books that focus more on working out rather than learning and mastering form and technique, there are specific books and videos that focus on the fundamentals or specific exercises.
Unlike any other kettlebell education company, Cavemantraining has a treasure trove of knowledge on the kettlebell, and not just the common squat, swing, snatch, and press that most others focus on. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being focussed on just several kettlebell exercises, in fact, when you start out it’s best to focus on only a few of them and work on mastering them. But, it’s after that when Cavemantraining stands out by providing knowledge that spans each and every aspect of the kettlebell that keeps anyone entertained and progressing for a lifetime.
Can I build muscle with 1 kettlebell? Do bodybuilders use kettlebells?
The answer is yes and no, or rather, it depends. It will depend on how heavy that kettlebell is and what your current condition is, what load are your muscles conditioned to? You will not see most bodybuilders use kettlebells, for many reasons, with some of them being: the learning curve is high; it’s uncommon; It can be more expensive, but it’s certainly not impossible and you will be able to find a small group of people that have awesome bodybuilder physiques created with the kettlebell. After all, a weight is a weight, and if you know how to effectively use it, you can use it for anything. Check out our How to Program for Kettlebell Training if you want to learn more on that topic.
How to start kettlebell training at home?
Here are some steps on how to start kettlebell training at home in a safe and effective way.
Duration 28 days
Order a kettlebell online
You can order kettlebells from Amazon and have them delivered in no time. It’s highly recommended to buy competition kettlebells like those here, or iron cast like here. But we recommend staying away from the ones that are plastic or are vinyl-coated. that is if you want to get serious with kettlebell training. Adjustable kettlebells can also be good, but we don’t recommend buying the ones that do not have the round (bell) shape as they’re uncomfortable.
Decide on your goals
Think about the reason you wanted to start training with the kettlebell. Was it because of wanting to lose weight, get stronger, increase cardiovascular endurance, increase flexibility, fix back pain, or something else? Whatever it is, make sure you write it down as whatever you start learning and doing with the kettlebell will depend on your goal.
Learn the basics
Focus on the basics first, do not jump into the deep water right away. Take your time to learn before working out and you will be able to stay in the game a lot longer. One of the common things that we see re-occur over and over again with beginners is that they think it’s all the same, whether the kettlebell swings like this or that, as long as it swings it’s working. Sure, you might be getting your sweat on, but are you slowly tearing away at your body because of incorrect form and technique? Are you running the risk of blisters, bruises, etc.? The fundamentals of kettlebell training can’t be overlooked. Enroll in an online course now.
Drill and focus
Once you know the things you need to learn, things like grip, racking, form, and technique, then it’s time to drill that over and over again until it’s close to or is perfect. It requires focus and dedication but you will avoid being out of action for a very long time, and perhaps even give up on kettlebell training all together. Just know, it’s not the tool, it’s the path you chose to take.
Master the basic exercises
Focus on the basic exercises before you try and execute those cool exercises you see others do. It’s important to master the kettlebell swing, deadlift, clean, squat, row, and press before anything else. Once you have those masted then you have a good foundation to progress safely and effectively.
Buy or create a program that will provide progressional results
You can learn how to program for kettlebells yourself, and you can even keep training without focus, but all that costs time and might not get you the results you’re after. If you invest in a well-laid out program that has proven results then you know that all you need to do is show up. We have an awesome strength program available that has everything you need to get started at any level.
If you’re not motivated, you will not continue to train, and you will have lost a lot of time for nothing. Find the motivation you need, either join our free online kettlebell communities and interact, become a member of our paid group, or just work on your own with small incremental goals that you know you will reach. Setting your goals too high will demotivate you.
Change things up
Don’t let things get stale. Yes, sticking to something and repeating it will increase results, but at some stage, you might have to change things up for a bit and then you can always get back to the routine. Shock the body, entertain the mind, and look into learning some awesome kettlebell combos.
Estimated Cost: 120 USD
- Kettlebell course
- Kettlebell book
- order a kettlebell online
- decide on your goals
- learn the basics
- drill and focus
- master the basic exercises
- buy or create a program that will provide progressional results
- stay motivated
- change things up
The best way to start training at home is by joining an online group that provides motivation, gives you accountability, gives you access to hundreds of technique and follow-along videos, has optional coaching, and much more. One such group is our Caveman Inner Circle.
You can do everything by yourself and for free as well, there is no doubt about it. Some people can learn everything by just watching others and experimenting. Others need more guidance and feedback. Free usually means that you need to spend more time gathering, processing, and deciding on what’s right for you. There are some great kettlebell communities out there that will help answer any questions you may have. The problem there is, if you are not specific or don’t know what to ask, you will get conflicting information and potentially incorrect information from people with great intentions but that might be lacking the knowledge themselves. So, with that said, here are some resources for you to work with, free and paid:
- Facebook kettlebell group (free)
- Reddit kettlebell group (free)
- Rumble (free)
- YouTube channel (free)
- Instagram (free)
- Newsletter (free)
- Online workouts and coaching
- Strength program
- Kettlebell workout book
- Kettlebell exercise book
- Kettlebell video
- Online kettlebell course
- Online kettlebell certification
- Amazon kettlebell books
I’m loving it thank you. I love that at the very front of the book you have a few pages that really lay out what each designed workout offers and targets. It helps guide me in setting my intentions for my workout. In the past, I’d be on the web looking for “something else” to do without much guidance.
I appreciate that there are links in the book to moves/videos of things to help me in areas that I may not be familiar with. Also, I’ve picked up a couple of different hand positions/kinetic movement changes that help save my forearms from being smashed lol. New guy problems.
What I’ve really noted throughout this week is that I need to work and focus harder on my mobility and flexibility. I have tight hips and hamstrings that do not always like some of these movements.
The book reads very smoothly and gives reference points that are fluid and easy to follow so far. The pics of key points in the movements are very very helpful.