One of the most popular questions I get asked is: What size kettlebell weights should I buy or what is the best kettlebell weight for beginners?
In this quick guide to kettlebell weight selection I’ll show you which kettlebell weights you should start with and exactly how many kettlebells you’ll need in the future.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that kettlebells are used the same as dumbbells and therefore the weights must be the same or that you need a full set of every size working up incrementally to include every possible weight.
Not to mention, I feel that sometimes other trainers expect a lot from women or complete beginners in terms of upper body strength or those worried about injuries or existing conditions, this can mean that sometimes a lighter weight works better here.
And then there is the type of kettlebell, in terms of the material and shape, all of which can play a large part in determining the best choice.
Watch this video on the best starting weight for kettlebell training:
All kettlebell exercises are based on full body movements so unlike dumbbell training there is very little isolation based exercises like bicep curls or tricep extensions (though we do use these and teach you how to do them properly.)
Kettlebell exercises use 100’s of muscles at a time meaning you are able to lift more weight but also condition the body quicker.
Let me explain…
The kettlebell swing is the most fundamental of all the kettlebell exercises and the one exercise that everyone should master first.
The Kettlebell Swing delivers the most amount of results in the least amount of time
The Kettlebell Swing is based on our strongest movement pattern: the Hip Hinge (which is the foundation of the Deadlift and Kettlebell Swing.)
How many kettlebells do you need?
It is possible by changing exercises and increasing the difficulty of movements to only ever need one or two kettlebells if you make the correct purchase to begin with.
However, you are stronger during two handed exercises and exercises that use mostly your legs and hips so having 3 – 4 kettlebells will greatly increase your ability to scale up and down your exercises.
- Women starting our 10 min beginner workouts will need 1 kettlebell – 8kg or 15lb bell but if you are a complete beginner or concerned about injury we suggest a 2nd bell of 6kg or 12lbs.
- Women starting our Ultimate Beginners program and our Sexy Strong program need 3 kettlebells – 8kg and 2x 4kg – (these are for doubles).
- If you are on a budget, you could start with – 8kg and 6kg
- However, we recommend you progress after 6 weeks and then 12 weeks to include a 12kg and 16kg.
- If you are more athletic or have some experience and can swing safely, we suggest a 12kg and 8kg or 12kg and 2x 6kgs.
With a collection of 3 kettlebells you can practice different exercises, for example at intermediate level – that’s our end of our 12 week beginners program you will be ready to:
- Two Handed Kettlebell Swing weight – Women 16kg (35lbs)
- One Handed Kettlebell Swing & Goblet Squats weight – Women 12kg (25lbs)
- Snatch & Clean Push Press – 8kg
- Turkish Get Ups, Strict Press & Halos weight- Women 8kg (15lbs)
Conclusion to what size kettlebell to use
In all my 8+ years of teaching kettlebell classes I believe what has set us apart from traditional kettlebell classes is that we are able to accommodate the female body and concerns of women regarding weight. I was not afraid to help women overcome these with building confidence in using lighter bells and build your strength and equipment kit as you get fitter and stronger. This is why we advocate both the 6kg /12lbs or the 2x 4kgs for upper body work.
Kettlebell training is different from Dumbbell training so you should not make your decision on what weight to use based on dumbbell type exercises.
Women are stronger than they think and especially in our own power house muscle group of hips, glutes and legs that are used in our strongest movement patter of the hip hinge.
This is why we suggest you must start with an 8kg/15lbs with kettlebell training and for the kettlebell swing and deadlift. You are 100% stronger than you think and mastering the kettlebell swing cannot be done with a bell that is TOO LIGHT. You will just continue to practice it with poor and dangerous form.
Take care and happy kettlebell training.
What weight kettlebell should a woman use?
Most women will start their kettlebell journey with an 8kg (15lbs) and progress to a 12kg (25lbs) relatively quickly. Once the basics are mastered, the sky’s the limit. That said, complete beginners or those concerned about injury can ADD a 6kg/12lbs for upper body exercises.
I’m concerned about injury. Am I really strong enough to swing with a 8kg/15lb bell?
I understand you are concerned about injury or doing the exercises with improper form. First let me say, you are STRONGER than you think. Secondly, you must ensure you are working with a good quality kettlebell of the right material and weight and finally, if you are concerned about injury, it is essential you get started right. This is why we created our Getting Started Toolkit which takes you step by step through this process so you can circumvent these challenges, saving you time, money, energy and injury.
If you are concerned about your form, it is essential you start slow and with just 10 minutes. And if you want to have your form checked by an experienced kettlebell instructor, this is what we offer as part of our Superhero School – our online bootcamp we run LIVE every couple of months. You can access that here. But it is essential you take responsibility for your own kettlebell practice.
And let’s be honest here, downloading a FREE workout from the internet may not be sufficient for you to start your practice safely. You might need more support and coaching. And know that we’ve had clients join our programs with existing injuries such as Renee who broke her back not 6 months before starting our Sexy Strong program.
What is the best kettlebell weight for those more athletic or what we call our ‘swingers’ level?
Most ‘swingers’ or athletic women will start with either a 12kg (25lbs) or a 16kg (35lbs) depending on their weight training background and an 8kg or 12kg for upper body work. Soon you will need a 20kg for many two handed exercises such as the deadlift or swing.
What is a good kettlebell swing weight?
As the kettlebell swing uses the powerful muscles of the hips, butt and legs most athletic women with start using a 16kg (35lbs) or even a 12kg (25lbs) for the two handed swing. These weights will soon be increased with regular practice.
We suggest those beginners to kettlebell training start swinging with 8kg/15lb bell and honestly there is NO POINT in swinging any lighter.