How to choose the right kettlebell weight for your kettlebell journey ahead.
You’ve seen these cannon-ball looking things for years now. When you originally saw them, you thought for sure it was just another passing “fitness fad.” But something keeps bringing you back to the curiosity of them.
Maybe you’ve got a friend that loves training with them. Or perhaps you see professional athletes giving testimonials about them. Whatever the case may be, you want to get in on that action. First things first though, it’s called a kettleBELL not a kettleBALL.
If you can get past that hurdle, you’re well on your way! All joking aside, knowing what kettlebell weights to start with on your journey with kettlebells is an important step.
Throw your pride and ego aside.
Training with kettlebells is incredibly effective, fun, and challenging. Like all new skills, you have to build a foundation and then progressively build upon that foundation. Whether you’ve been a gym rat your whole life or a couch potato, training with kettlebells is different, and both of parties may need to start in the same place to build that foundation.
Training with kettlebells can be used in a more traditional sense, dare we say like training with dumbbells, which is a huge advantage in our opinion, because you can ditch the dumbbells or never need to buy them because you’ll have all you’ll need with kettlebells alone. Where kettlebells really get fun though, is how they are used in the unconventional sense.
The full body, explosive, multi-joint, and dynamic movements you’ll learn will build your body and movement capabilities in a way you never thought possible and quite honestly is nearly impossible with other training methods. What we’re getting at is this, you’ll need to “start light and do it right” and then grow your kettlebell collection as you grow in fitness and movement capabilities.
It’s kind of like earning a new belt in karate when you get to “bell up” in all the movements you’ll learn in your journey with kettlebells.
One other thing, it pays to have skilled instruction as you begin your journey. Just like the best athletes in the world, having a coach pays off, so we encourage you to take a lesson or two from a skilled instructor, which could also be done virtually nowadays.
For the ladies: Choosing the right starting weight
Typically, when women choose the weight they want to start with, nearly always they will choose less than they are capable of. This can be problematic, because if the proper stimulus isn’t applied to the body, it doesn’t change.
It’s generally not a matter of going too heavy with women, like it typically is with men. A great starting point for most women is to begin with the 18lb (8kg) kettlebell. This weight provides enough feedback to learn all the new skills you’re about to learn, as well the resistance to begin to reconstruct the body you’re looking to build.
Remember, you’re learning new skills when training with kettlebells so you’ll want the feedback and the right amount of resistance. Once you build this foundation, there’s plenty of fun to be had as you “bell up” to the 26lb (12kg) and then the 35lb (16kg) and beyond!
For the dudes: Choosing the right starting weight
Take a deep breath gents. Yes, we know that you back in high school you used to bench “300lbs” and could back squat that full porta potty across the street at that construction site.
When you’re training with kettlebells, we won’t be doing a hard, heavy set, resting 5 minutes, and then doing another hard, heavy set. The vast majority of kettlebell training will be incredibly efficient. Workouts consisting of 20 minutes or less with significantly less rest than you’ve grown accustomed to. From an energy system standpoint (how your body fuels physical activity) you’re just not going to be able to lift that much weight repeatedly, in the beginning anyway.
Once that foundation is laid, you can “bell up” to some pretty impressive kettlebell weights. Ok, are you ready for this men? The right starting weight to begin with when training with kettlebells is……drum roll……..the 35lb (16kg) kettlebell.
For all the same reasons we mentioned for the ladies, you’ll need to experience with the 35lb (16kg). Hey, at least you’re starting with twice as much weight as the ladies right?!
Choosing the right kind of kettlebell
Like anything, you get what you pay for. There are a ton of exercise equipment manufacturers out there, but few who specialize. When it comes to quality in any industry, those who specialize tend to know their craft better and also understand how to add value to their community in ways that other large companies cannot. When you’re looking for a kettlebell, first look for a kettlebell company, not just an exercise equipment company.
At Well Built Kettlebells, we understand that we’re the little guy on the block as an equipment manufacturer, but because of that, we can compete in ways that others simply can’t.
Then, also look for these things:
1. American Made.
This may not be important to everyone, but it sure is important to us. Every aspect of Well Built Kettlebells is made in the USA, and that’s actually very rare in the equipment manufacturing industry.
2. Stable Bottom.
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of kettlebell exercises to enjoy, which is why they never get boring. But being able to do ground-based movements where you hands are on the handle and the bottom of the bell is in contact with the ground, the surface area of the kettlebell must be big enough to provide a stable platform for the average person. This is an important safety feature.
3. Handle Width.
Handle that is wide enough for both hands to fit, but not so wide that it can’t fit between your legs. This one is crucial. If you can’t fit both hands into the handle, your hands will be more likely to take a beating, especially your pinky, because it will either be forced to “straddle” the handle of the kettlebell or get pinched inside the handle. This is the case with most kettlebells and why we made ours different so both hands can fit comfortably inside the handle, while not compromising the width of the handle.
4. Powder Coat.
A kettlebell is made of iron, so it must have a good powder to coat to resist chipping and rust. Kettlebells will wear in their aesthetic appearing a little over time due to them clanking together time to time, but when you have good kettlebell technique, this shouldn’t be happening much. A quality set of kettlebells can last you a lifetime!
Body Blast Session
Enjoy this 15 minute single kettlebell body blaster and you’ll start to pick up what we’re putting down with how efficient training with kettlebells can be. From gaining strength, power, muscle, mobility, confidence you can’t lose by training with kettlebells, except the unwanted fat that you’ll lose during the process!
Workout Type: Total Body Duration: 15 min Difficulty: Moderate
Equipment: Kettlebell Fitness Capability: Strength, Conditioning. Location: Home
Set: Exercise: Reps:
1A KB Swing X 10
1B Overhead Press X 5 each side
1C Goblet Squat X 10
1D 1-Arm Row X 10 each side
Workout Instructions: Start off with 5 minutes of stretching and mobility work, and then another 5 minutes on one or a combination of the following to break a sweat and get your heart rate elevated: jump rope, walking on an incline treadmill, light jog, jumping jacks, stationary bike.
This workout is to be performed as a 15 minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible). Rest as needed and make sure to record the number of rounds you get so you can compare the next time you perform this training session.