What weight kettlebell should I use?

The short answer is you need a range of kettlebell weights in order to get the most benefit for both strength AND cardio workouts.

The only problem is that a “range of kettlebell weights” takes up a lot of (storage) space, cost a lot and are not easily portable, etc . (An option providing a variety of kettlebell weights is the best adjustable weight kettlebell available, check out the VARIABELL®) here or learn more below)

So, why do you need a range of kettlebell weights?
What weight kettlebell you use depends on:

  1. Your current fitness level and physical size (beginner, advanced, recovering from an injury)
  2. Type of workout and specific exercise: strength, cardio, combination of cardio AND strength
  3. Number of reps for each exercise, etc

All of these options mean that at a minimum you’d have two or three kettlebell weights to get the most benefit. Ideally, you’d have five weights or more. (So now a new question arises : “Should I purchase several fixed weight kettlebells or an adjustable weight kettlebell?” Check out my Blog post Which should I use, a fixed or an adjustable weight kettlebell? for a discussion.)

To start, a person with a body weight of 140 lb (70kg) or less typically starts by using a kettlebell in the weight range of 8->16 lb. People with higher body weights (and/or advanced fitness levels) can consider using kettlebells of 14 lb or greater.

Then the question becomes: What additional weight kettlebells should I purchase to start with? Best option is to first learn how to do kettlebell swings and (goblet) squats using your first kettlebell. After awhile you’ll get stronger, need heavier weights and be ready for additional kettlebell exercises.

As in exercises using a barbell, increasing the weight by no more than10% is typically recommended. So someone using a 10 lb kettlebell would look for an 11 lb kettlebell (10%*10lb= 0.1*10lb= 1lb; 10 + 1 lb= 11lb). However, it can be hard to find kettlebells in the weight range you need.

The choice them becomes to choose a fixed weight kettlebell at the new weight you’ve decided to try or lower. When in doubt choose a lighter weight or consult an expert on what to do. A lower weight will help prevent the risk of injury. You can also reduce the number of reps and/or number of sets when you start to exercise with the new, heavier, kettlebell.

At this point you’re on your way to better fitness!! An excellent option now is to work with a personal trainer or find a fitness class to help you learn how to perfect your form, use heavier weights, learn new kettlebell exercises, etc.

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