So every now and again someone will ask me what size kettlebell they should get, which brands are good so on and so forth. The problem for me many times is I have no idea who it is that is emailing me and with the creativity that comes with YouTube usernames and email addresses the name isn’t all that telling. So for those of you out there that need to know then simply read on.
When it comes to kettlebells the general answer for what size to get is for beginner males to start off with 16kgs (approximately 36lbs) and for beginner females to start with 8kgs (a little over 17lbs). Realize that this is a broad and general statement. In my time as a kettlebell instructor I have seen many males have to start off with 12kgs for Turkish getups and for females to start out with 12kgs for swings.
The fact of the matter is it all depends on where you are strength and fitness wise. If you are a male that is no stranger to the gym then 16kgs would probably be your best bet. A de-conditioned female often will want to start with 8kgs and do deadlifts with them instead of swinging them. If you are able to stick to it then there is a good chance that you will want to move up in weight.
Just because you move up in weight doesn’t mean you won’t get any use out of the lighter ones. I own the 48kg (106lbs) kettlebell also known as “the beast”. I use that for the bent press and I also still get plenty of use out of my 16kg (36lbs) kettlebell.
One thing that is going to seem counter intuitive is to not start with a kettlebell that is too light. The reasoning for this is for the ballistic kettlebell movements the offset center of mass can be self correcting. When a kettlebell is too light it becomes to easy to “fake it”. Anything below 15lbs should probably be ignored.
OK so now that you know the background and the options let’s simplify it a little bit:
- 24kgs are for extremely strong people that are just starting out with kettlebell like powerlifters and strongman competitors.
- 20kgs are for people that have felt what a 16kg kettlebell is like and know it is too light.
- 16kgs where most beginner males should start.
- 12kgs is where some beginner males that are new to exercise should start. Also where a relatively strong female can start.
- 8kgs is where most beginner females should start.
So now that you know what size kettlebell you should get it would really pay to learn how best to put them in a program. That can lead to a lifetime of learning and exploring and that is something you will very much enjoy.