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Kettlebells – What Kettlebell Size and Weight Do You Start With?

Kettlebells are amazing! Kettlebell workouts are the answer to maintaining and transforming your body into a fitness machine at home without the need for having an expensive club membership.

Kettlebells develop superior fitness fast. So what benefits does kettlebell training have for the average woman or man and what size do you start with?

I will answer both of these questions and get you started with your kettlebell workouts.

The kettlebell trains the body to work as a complete unit and as a result creates true ‘functional’ strength and endurance. Kettlebell training is a great way to lose weight, tone up those soft areas of the body, and stay in shape. Kettlebells come in many shapes and sizes but that wasn’t always the way.

When kettlebells re-emerged from hiding in 2001 popularized by Pavel Tsatsouline the only weights available were 16kg, 24kg and 32kg.

These were the traditional sizes used in Russia and the weight is measured in ‘poods’ 1 pood was 16kg, 1.5 poods 24kg & 2 poods 32kg.

In Russia, their way of thinking was that if you are a boy use 16kgs, a man who demands strength and endurance a 24kg.

The 32kg was used by very big men and circus performers. Now 17 years later we have the luxury of choosing from a 2kg kettlebell up to 90kg bells that are used in CrossFit and Strongman comps for farmers walks.

So let’s get to it what size do you use?

Women should start with an 8kg and men a 16kg. Why so light you said in your mind, well that is so you can learn the correct technique for the basic exercises and so you don’t get hurt and end up hating kettlebells.

The shape of a kettlebell is very different to a perfectly shaped dumbbell so a lighter weight feels a lot heavier.

You will very quickly advance to the next size weight, women the 12kg and men the 24kg.

Realistically these would be the only weights you will ever need, but we are not going to stop there. When you are proficient with one kettlebell it is time to go back to the first weights we used and use two kettlebells!

Double kettlebell exercises are much harder than single bell exercises and really take your kettlebell skills to the next level.

The plan:

  • Women 12kg, Men 16kg – Learn how to correctly clean, swing and press them
  • Next, Women 16kg, Men 24kg – Practice the previous exercises if your technique starts to fail drop back to the start weight
  • Finally, try double cleans, swings and presses with the lighter kettlebells

If you are only going to buy one kettlebell, men buy a 24 and women a 12kg and see a qualified instructor to learn the exercises.