So you are thinking of taking the step and getting your own kettlebell! Eek! I am so excited for you.
And it would be my honour to be your guide in insuring you do not make the mistakes or bad investment I have made in the past.
Depending on the source you go to, there will be differing opinions on this, so I am recommending these weights based on how I see many beginners cope and with consideration to the type of training I do with my goddesses.
Absolute Beginners (those ladies who have never lifted a Kettlebell before).
This is the most vulnerable group, as these ladies need as much focus to be on good form for the exercise, rather than being distracted by the struggle to hold a heavy weight too.
One thing I can’t stand is feeling pressure to be strong already! I think some beginners put a lot of stress on themselves to be great, especially those who already train. Strength with Kettlebells takes time to build, and this cannot happen without first understanding what the heck you are doing. Making sure you can perform the exercise effectively before increasing the weight is SO important, which is why I am playing it safe with my recommendations.
Generally, women tend to play it safe (too safe) when it comes to selecting weights for themselves, were as men over-estimate their strength and ability to endure an exercise. So I have taken this into account in my advice. The one main lesson I have learned with KB training is you must leave your pride at the door!!
When we become arrogant and proud is when we stand to get hurt the most (which doesn’t just apply to Kettlebells).
Ladies, I highly recommend that females start with 8kg for most exercises, with a view to quickly increase to 12kg for swings.
Consider 4kg and 6kg more suitable for upper body exercises and 8kg and 12kg more suitable for lower body exercises.
If you are planning to buy a set of Kettlebells to use from home, then I recommend females buy an 8kg and two 4kg (and maybe 1x 6kg), as these will give you more value for your money as you progress however I have a 12kg, 8kg, 6kg and 2x 4kgs at home.
In my classes we have 8kg and 2x 4kg as our beginner bells and by end of the 4 weeks, they are working with 6kg for upper body and swinging with a 12kg.
You will likely use the lighter KB for most exercises during the first few weeks, but you should aim to increase your ability and strength to allow for a heavier KB (even just for the lower body exercises and swings). Once you get the hang of the exercises, your confidence will improve and you will feel happier about using that heavy KB. I remember thinking I would never use a 12kg, and only used it for the swings. So there is no reason to be afraid of weight progression, provided your form is good.
One thing I have noticed with female beginners is that they get comfortable with a weight and tend to stick with it long term! Ladies, this will do you no good in the long run. You must aim to progress your training if you are to continue to see results. Don’t be afraid to increase the weight once you can perform 12 “easy” reps of an exercise, or 30 “easy” seconds of a swing. You all know what I mean by “easy” – when you know deep inside, you have more to give, but you choose to coast through instead because you have had a shitty day or feeling tired. NO MORE EXCUSES … Training should be CHALLENGING, so don’t sell yourself short. You have the ability to be better than even you expect. So never get complacent. Believe in you like I believe in you!
Also Ladies, remember – using a heavier Kettlebell for these workouts will never make you bulky. I can attest to that personally because I have trained with KBs, in this fashion, for over 3 years now and the only part of me that has become “bigger” is my booty! 😉 The high intensity and explosive nature of KB training make it very difficult for you to gain much muscle; instead will get a lot stronger and very well conditioned. Which translates as “tighter” and “leaner” (provided your diet supports your training goals).
What type of Kettlebell should you buy?
There are many styles of KB and I recommend you chose the closest to this one:
1. The Standard Russian Kettlebell: Made of Cast Iron. As the weight increases, so does the size of the Kettlebell. The advantage of these is that the Bell is fairly compact and can be easily racked by smaller individuals and will not be as likely to get in the way of them lady boobs! They are also better for racking and swinging double KBs, but the handle is often thicker- so watch out for this (watch the video below). Also they can come with vinyl coating and I think look really pretty!
What to look for:
I recommend sourcing good quality cast iron or steel Kettlebells with smooth, rounded handles. If it has a very angular handle, forget it!
The handle should be wide enough to allow you to hold it with both hands side by side.
A flat stable base.
Good quality paint that won’t easily chip, crack or rust – or go with a vinyl coating.
Here is a video on choosing the perfect kettlebell:
Kettlebells to Avoid
The popularity of kettlebell training has invited many manufacturers to come up with some weird and wonderful kettlebell shapes and sizes, but you should beware.
Here are 7 things to look out for:
#1- Plastic coated or just plastic bells
they do not move well in your hand, can cause unnecessary pain from joins in the plastic on handles and really just don’t move well. You may see one on sale or in a local supermarket but resist buying it… it is not a good investment!
#2 – Stainless steel handles
very slippy and uncontrollable when damp or wet through perspiration.
#3 – Thick Handles
if you can’t wrap your fingers totally around the kettlebell then control is very difficult and your grip will fail quickly so dangerous
#4 – Large Handle or Square Spacing
if the handle spacing is too large then the kettlebell will lie awquardly on your forearm and against your chest
#5 – Small Handle Spacing
if the handle spacing is too small then the kettlebell will dig into and bruise your wrist making the kettlebell impossible to use for many of the kettlebell exercises.
#6 – Sharp Edges
badly finished kettlebells can have sharp corners and edges that will cut into your hands, wrists and forearms
#7 – Too Rounded Body or Too Narrow Body
often the body of the kettlebell is made too rounded and this over time will dig into your forearm and chest with many of the exercises
#8 – Foot on bottom
some manufactures, in all their wisdom, have decided to screw on a plastic or rubber foot onto the bottom of the kettlebell to help them stay upright when on the floor. Great for storage but really painful to use for most exercises.
Where do I get my Kettlebells?
Depends on where in the world you are plus what weights or starter kit budget you have.
We have created a kettlebell shopping list guide that we will update regularly for accuracy and links in our Getting Started Toolkit.
This will provide a full list for each country, price ranges and links to online and trusted sources and any discounts we have been able to negotiate.
I would love to hear how you got on purchasing your first kettlebell, be sure to comment in the box below.
Access our Getting Started Toolkit: Everything you need to know to get started the best way- saving yourself time, money and energy PLUS Bonus Kettlebell Shopping List: Click to access