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How Heavy Kettlebell To Use

author
Ava Flores
• Thursday, 15 October, 2020
• 10 min read

Those large cannonballs with handles, sitting in the corner collecting dust, look intriguing. But you're not about to start at the bottom, in the “pump” class with puny yellow and pink kettle bells that look like they belong in the daycare.

heavy kettlebell workout complete kettlebells swing
(Source: www.simplefitnesshub.com)

Contents

And as much as I love basic kettle bell moves like the swing, get-up, and snatch, I also recognize that not everyone is ready to subject themselves to the learning curve that goes along with those movements. By that, I mean that strength in awkward positions that fighters and other athletes seem to have in spades, but that barbells, dumbbells, and machines seldom produce.

Tighten your abs, lock your rib cage to your pelvis, and keep it there for the duration of your walk. Walk either for distance or time; 20-30 yards or 30 seconds is a good start.

Bend down as if you were about to dead lift the kettle bell and grab the handle with your working hand. The kettle bell will be resting on two points of contact: The back of your wrist and on your upper arm, just below your shoulder.

Your forearm and upper arm will form a triangle in which the kettle bell sits. Your hand should be facing the center of your body, and your elbow pointed down toward your hip.

It adds a level of difficulty to the carry that many people find surprising, in the form of increased abdominal stress, respiration demand, and the way it reaches the little stabilizer muscles along your spine. Many gym rats and bodybuilders don't have the necessary wrist and shoulder flexibility to perform a true barbell front squat with a clean grip.

snatch heavy kettlebells kettlebell comment leave
(Source: legendarystrength.com)

Holding one or two kettle bells also puts a larger-than-normal pressure on the abs, making them work harder than a far greater barbell load would, as I mentioned in my last article. Additionally, I consider the kettle bell front squat to be an incredibly effective “loaded mobility” exercise.

Because of the way the load is situated, your abs automatically contract, your shoulders depress, and your hips magically seem to have more space in them, allowing for a deeper squat than many people can manage with just a barbell. It also serves as a little assessment, since if the two sides feel dramatically different, there's a good chance you have a side-to-side imbalance.

If that's the case, you may not want to load with a heavy barbell, due to the possibility of injury, until you spend some good time with the kettle bell alternative. Squat until you go as low as you can, maintaining pressure in your abs, and keeping a slight extension in your lower back.

The single-arm floor press will not only strengthen your triceps and your lockout, but it will help you refine your bench press groove by positioning your arm in the strongest position to lift big weights. Roll to your side, and grab the kettle bell by the handle, using the pistol grip, like you did with the rack hold.

Pause with your upper arm on the floor for 2-3 seconds and then press the kettle bell. These six movements are more than enough to teach you about the unique challenges and benefits of working with kettle bells.

kettlebell heavy swing fallacy perform
(Source: perform-360.com)

Experienced kettle bell lifters regularly utilize things like loaded carries and floor presses to address strength deficiencies and practice building tension. When you're ready, the floor press also has the benefit of preparing your arms and shoulders for one of the best kettle bell exercises you can do: the Turkish get-up.

Until then, just keep picking up those heavy beasts, squeezing your core for all it's worth, and holding on for dear life. You’ve breached the barbells and dominated dumbbells, but if you’re still steering clear of kettle bells you’re missing out on arguably the best burn at the gym.

Think about a baseball bat, says trainer Jason C. Brown, creator and owner of certification program Kettle bell Athletics. “Kettle bells create a longer lever arm, which requires you to use more force to move an equal weight the same distance,” Brown says.

The general rule of thumb is the more joints involved, the heavier the kettle bell weight you can use. The dead lift is a multi joint move, so the average guy can probably handle 32 kg/70 lbs here to start, Brown says.

When you feel confident that you have the form down sans resistance, reach for a 12 kg/26 lb kettle bell. Since form is so imperative here, Lopez says you shouldn’t move up a weight until you’re able to maintain perfect vertically with your arm, keep the elbow fully locked throughout all 14 steps, and feel comfortable going slow (most people rush due to discomfort).

kettlebell heavy swing
(Source: www.youtube.com)

But because it doesn’t require swinging momentum or extension, a carry has a lower risk of injury than other kettle bell moves, which means you can go a bit heavier. Grab a kettle bell that’s the equivalent of half your body weight to carry in each hand, Brown recommends.

Greetings, last year I started with a 16 kg kettle bell but injured my back due to stupidity in technique, so I gave it a go again last month with a lighter weight and went with an 8 kg. I have experienced some weight loss with the garbage around my waist starting to fade but I have not gained any muscle.

I can still see my rib cage and my neck looks like what you see on Bill Clinton and Al Sharpton. I believe I am ready to move on now to a higher weight as the 8 kg feels at times like swinging a doll but am I looking for one that would help both with cardio and boosting muscle growth.

The 24 kg and 32 kg seem more of a preferred choice among those who have experienced solid gains and developed transformations but I'm not sure if that is too big a leap. Basically, I'd like to hear about your individual experiences on what weight(s) you have used to notice a growth in your physique.

I am able to work the 40 kg on some moves (swings, goblets & TGU) but still use the 24 a lot. Greetings, last year I started with a 16 kg kettle bell but injured my back due to stupidity in technique, so I gave it a go again last month with a lighter weight and went with an 8 kg.

kettlebell heavy things bodybuilding squats kettle bell training workout squat front kettlebells hold weight workouts fun swings single leg cardio
(Source: www.bodybuilding.com)

I have experienced some weight loss with the garbage around my waist starting to fade but I have not gained any muscle. I can still see my rib cage and my neck looks like what you see on Bill Clinton and Al Sharpton.

I believe I am ready to move on now to a higher weight as the 8 kg feels at times like swinging a doll but am I looking for one that would help both with cardio and boosting muscle growth. The 24 kg and 32 kg seem more of a preferred choice among those who have experienced solid gains and developed transformations but I'm not sure if that is too big a leap.

Level 9 Valued Member Elite Certified Instructor This is quite helpful and yes, I am also limited financially, so I am looking for a weight which I will not outgrow fairly quickly.

Do you have a suggestion on which kettle bell brand(s) offer horns wide enough to accommodate two hands comfortably? “Beginner” has a very wide range of physical starting states, even if all people are equally new to kettle bells.

As to brand, I think most are likely OK for 2 hand swings, but I can say for sure that Rogue is good. swing, welcome to Strongest Greetings, last year I started with a 16 kg kettle bell ...

kettlebell heavy swing
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Do you have a suggestion on which kettle bell brand(s) offer horns wide enough to accommodate two hands comfortably? I am able to work the 40 kg on some moves (swings, goblets & TGU) but still use the 24 a lot.

Obviously the selection of lifts should be thought through carefully (to avoid trauma) and training has to be planned. I started my Strongest journey with the purchase of a 24 and a Kindle copy of Simple&Sinister.

At the moment I work in the 40 with Simple&Sinister but my A+A snatch weight is the 24. “Beginner” has a very wide range of physical starting states, even if all people are equally new to kettle bells.

It describes how to progress. As to brand, I think most are likely OK for 2 hand swings, but I can say for sure that Rogue is good. I purchased a used copy of Simple & Sinister from Casebooks and hope to receive it by early next week.

Unfortunately I no longer have the 16 kg kettle bell as I returned it shortly after injuring my back. I would consider buying another 16 kg but would prefer a weight that would stay challenging for a while and help with building muscle.

heavy kettlebells training extremely tips start academy onnit strength
(Source: www.onnit.com)

Do any of you have any experiences with the Pavel Brand kettle bells that are sold on the Strongest online store? I do not think it is a mistake to invest in a small collection of Kettle bells from 8,16,24,32 at least (I have more), but the 32 gave me what the 24 never could, but I would not be there without the 16 and the 24.

I do not think it is a mistake to invest in a small collection of Kettle bells from 8,16,24,32 at least (I have more), but the 32 gave me what the 24 never could, but I would not be there without the 16 and the 24. For hypertrophy, you need a heavier KB than whatever you're comfortably doing volume with now (progressive overload).

Set Simple as your objective goal & let the The come with it (Help Me Screw Things Up). My wife yelled at me when the FedEx guy was struggling up the driveway with double 32s.....

To add to the already good suggestions above, if you only want to do swing, and you really only can afford one kettle bell, the 24 should probably be your go-to bell for now. 16 will be outgrown very fast in most cases for men, unless you have existing medical conditions or are of very small build.

If you then cannot add more kettle bells, you can do the progression: dead lifts (to practice hinging, bracing, ..., you will get the drills in SAS), 2 hands swings, 1 hand swings, snatch (you may or may not need a lighter kettle bell to learn the snatch though). If you also want to do other moves that involve arm and shoulder muscles (TGU, press, ...), you will probably also need at least the 16, unless you are already quite strong.

press kettlebell heavy sfg haves must barefoot fitness
(Source: barefootfts.com)

I own and have used a selection of DragonDoor, Rogue, and Perform Better cast iron bells, and competition bells from Kettle bell Kings and Kettle bells USA (as well as briefly handling a number of other brands). They may be usable for two-arm swings, but none of them are comfortable. And I think chasing big bells for two arm swings is not an economic strategy, and not necessary to any training goals.

For overloading swings specifically, a T-handle (manufactured or DIY) is much more economical (and comfortable). New York Barbell has these TDS wide handle kettle bells for sale.

I haven't used one, so I can't speak to their fit and finish but the handles look wider than normal in the picture. The question I would be asking myself is... “have I corrected my form issues?” You said you screwed your back up with a 16 kg and poor technique so you bought a 8k.

You can get away with it with light weight but moving up to a 24 kg is just asking for more trouble if your form isn’t spot on.

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01: Hack Your Weight Loss Workout
02: Nicknames For Kettlebell
Sources
1 www.strongfirst.com - https://www.strongfirst.com/community/threads/kettlebell-names.14057/
2 www.strongfirst.com - https://www.strongfirst.com/community/threads/kettlebell-names.14057/page-2
3 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kettlebell