How Heavy a Kettlebell Should I Use?

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Judging the weight of your kettlebell can be hard – especially when you’re starting out.

I’ve definitely done my back before using the wrong kettlebell and was walking around like I was about 150 years old.

In this article, we’ll look at how heavy a kettlebell you should use.

Your Weightlifting Experience and Kettlebell Weight

Prior experience is always a factor when you intend to take on any new exercise program. The kettlebell is used in both bodybuilding and weightlifting exercise regimes. The way that you choose heavily depends on the amount of experience you had prior to your kettlebell journey.

Even if you’ve never used a kettlebell before, you may have an advantage. If you’ve pumped iron in the past, you can probably start at a heavier weight then the guy who’s never seen a dumbbell in his life.

Similarly, if kettlebell training is as new to you as the weightlifting experience, then you’d best not pretend to be The Incredible Hulk.

What Is Your Reason for Incorporating Kettlebell Training

The goal that you have should also be a factor in guiding the kettlebell weight that you use. This is a principle that applies to any weighted training program.

A bodybuilder, for example, focuses on exercises that improve physical appearance. Such workouts are not known for making use of the heaviest weights. A weightlifter or powerlifter, on the other hand, is more concerned with strength. Therefore, such persons are likely to push themselves to their limits.

So, you need to think about what you are trying to achieve. Most persons incorporate kettlebells for fat loss, cardiovascular improvement, or strength training.

What Course of Exercise Are You Looking At?

This is yet another concept that carries across from other weight-based training. The amount of weight that you can use to do different exercises isn’t always the same. Look at free weight exercises that use barbells, for example.

It is improbable that you are going to bench press and deadlift the same amount of weight. Typically, the amount that someone can deadlift is notably higher. This is a testament to the muscles used and the way that each lift is performed.

The same holds true where kettlebells are concerned. Many people look at kettlebells, and all they see is kettlebell swings. It is true that you can use a reasonable amount of weight (reasonable is subjective here) for your swings. However, there are other exercises that also utilize kettlebells to tremendous effect.

The deadlift is one such example. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to lift an entire gym’s worth of barbells for a deadlift to be effective. Kettlebell deadlifts farm a part of many superb exercise routines.

The Turkish Get-Up is another example of an exercise that is not so common. The way this movement works typically requires that you use a lighter kettlebell than you would for traditional kettlebell swings.

A good idea is to do some research and learn about all the different kettlebell exercises that you can do. Choosing a weight that allows you to do the greatest range of these is a good idea. Of course, if you can afford multiple kettlebells, then things can get a little more specific.

How Old and How Fit Are You?

You must think about your physical condition when you are choosing your kettlebell weight. This goes beyond just the level of experience that you have with weight-based exercise. The focus here is on your body composition, durability, and overall state.

Your age is the first aspect of determining where you stand here. Between your teenage years and your early adult life, your body can progressively get stronger until you get to a peak. While you may not necessarily feel a difference immediately, things start going downhill.

Eventually, you may find that movements and exercises naturally become harder than they used to be. This doesn’t mean that they get impossible to do, but the effort required on your part is much higher.

Physical fitness is also a part of this puzzle. This determines how your body reacts at whatever age you may be. Generally, a younger age or a state of higher physical fitness implies that you can go for a heavier kettlebell.

Suggested Weights – How Heavy A Kettlebell Should I Use?

When you ask the question, “how heavy a kettlebell should I use?” the chances are that you have an expectation. You want numbers that can help you with a purchase decision. While this section does offer some of these numbers, remember that you also need to feel things out to determine your comfort level.

Kettlebell movements can be segmented into ballistic and controlled categories. Ballistic movements include snatches and kettlebell swings, while controlled movements include windmills and Turkish getups.

For controlled movements, the average man can use a 12-kilogram kettlebell. Once you can press the kettlebell over your head for only eight to 10 reps, you have found the right size. More athletic males can try with weights up to 20 kilograms. If you are on the inactive side of the spectrum, you may only be able to use an eight-kilogram kettlebell.

For ballistic movements, a 16-kilogram kettlebell should be enough for an average male. The more athletic ones can opt for a 24-kilogram kettlebell.

If you are an active woman, then a 12-kilogram kettlebell should be good for ballistic movements. The more athletic ones can opt for a 16-kilogram kettlebell. If you fall into the category of inactive, then a six-kilogram kettlebell may be best for you.

The principle of being able to press the kettlebell over the head for eight to 10 reps applies to women as well. This helps to find your range for controlled movements. Six kilograms is recommended here for the average woman. Athletic women can use 12 kilograms, and inactive women can use four kilograms.

What Else Matters for Kettlebell Purchases?

The considerations described above are the main ones you need to address before getting your kettlebells. However, the design of the kettlebells should also be a factor. Every kettlebell has a grip width and a grip diameter. You must be able to properly grip the handle for a proper workout.

There is also the ball diameter, which needs to be smaller for some persons and larger for others. Just ensure that you check the measurements out, so that you choose kettlebells that are most appropriate for your unique needs.

Further Reading

Looking for more information about Kettlebells? Check out these articles.

Find the best Kettlebells for a home gym
How to do Kettlebell swings
How heavy a Kettlebell should I use?

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