Tips For Picking The Right Kettlebell

Tips For Picking The Right Kettlebell

Tips for picking the right kettlebell- how many reps should I be able to do to know I have the right weight or when do I move up to a heavier weight?

Jaime D

When it comes to picking the right kettlebell weight, a lot of detailed information is already freely available here and here. What follows is for those that want a quick summary:

  1. Pick the weight based on your goals
  2. Pick the weight based on your exercises
  3. Pick the weight based on your condition
  4. Pick the weight based on your technique

And, last but not least, pick the kettlebell weight based on your budget. What you need might not be what you can afford.

If you are a beginner and focussing on technique then you should pick a weight that you can handle comfortably. The focus should be on form and technique and not reps. You should keep in mind that ballistic exercises require a sufficient amount of resistance. If that resistance is lacking, your form and technique will suffer.

For those that are working on strength. You should buy a kettlebell that is heavy to the point where you can only move it once. Your second kettlebell should be of a weight that you can move at least 6 to 8 times with effort.

Tips For Picking The Right Kettlebell

When to move up in Kettlebell weight?

You are ready to move up in kettlebell weight once you move your heaviest weight (your 1RM) more than once and when you have full control over the second kettlebell for each of the reps without shaking or much effort at a very slow pace.

The above applies to non-ballistic exercises. For ballistic exercises it will become a bit more complex, are you working for power or endurance? I will assume endurance. Pick a weight that you can perform at least 20 unbroken reps with, and that’s assuming you already have the technique down. Common ballistic kettlebell exercises are:

  • Swings
  • Snatches
  • Cleans

If you are working for other goals, like for example hypertrophy, power, etc. then the weight selection for the right kettlebell is different again. I can highly recommend investing in the book How to Program for Kettlebell Training as it explains all the goals one can work towards with kettlebells.

As for picking the right kettlebell type, I highly recommend buying competition kettlebells. Most people I know that started with classic/cast iron kettlebells and tried competition kettlebells converted to them. Granted, competition kettlebells are a bit more expensive but again, I see people buy the cheap kettlebells, not liking them, and then upgrading while they could have saved money just going straight for the best ones. If you don’t buy the right kettlebell you might end up experiencing kettlebell annoyances caused by rough or big handles, uncomfortable bell shape, or other issues.

Lastly, I highly recommend any beginner looking at investing in Preventing Kettlebell Training Injuries.

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