What Size Kettlebell Should I Get?

This is perhaps the most asked question about starting kettlebell training.  The common consensus is that an average Male should start with a 16kg kettlebell and an average female should start with a 8kg kettlebell.

However, there are a number of factors that dictate the ideal kettlebell size.  If a Male trainer has a Martial Arts background, is stronger/bigger than average or has a powerlifting/Olympic lifting background they may be ok starting with a 20kgor even a 24kg in extreme cases (usually only for very advanced athletes).

Similarly if a female trainee has bigger/stronger and is fairly athletic a 12kg may be best to start with.  However, often with females upper body strength can be factor so that they soon develop fitness/strength for the swings but may struggle with upper body movements like the Get up. In this case perhaps starting with an 8kg & a 12kg is best.

The ability to move and and sit back using the posterior chain in movements like the swing / snatch is crucial.  So even if you have extensive weight training experience if you can not do the basic swing movement properly (using the poterior chain) then the strength you have developed doing weights will not be utilised.

In fact, bodybuilding type workouts can be more of a hinderance as the slow isolated squeezing type bodybuilding movements that are often used are in complete contrast to the faster ballistic kettlebell movements such as the swing or the whole body movements such as the Get Up and sometimes individuals that have trained as bodybuilders take a while to understand the movements.

Some people want to get a heavier kettlebell so it lasts and costs less than getting multiple kettlebells.  This would be a mistake because if the kettlebell is too heavy you will not learn the movements correctly and your progress will be limited.  But the great thing with kettlebell training is that it is a strength/endurance tool so as you get stronger you can move towards high rep swing/snatch type workouts.  This is not to say you shouldn’t get a heavier kettlebell at a later date, because you should to progress, but you will always be able to do high rep power cardio movements with your starter kettlebell or perhaps use it on a lighter training day.

So to summarise, Most males should start with a 16kg kettlebell and most females should start with a 8kg kettlebell.

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