If you’ve been thinking about starting or upgrading your home gym (whether that’s a corner of your bedroom, or a full two-car garage), this article will tell you exactly what you need to know about kettle bells, how many to get, where to buy them, and how to put them to good use. The design of the kettle offers three distinct advantages over it’s “bell” brothers, the dumbbell and barbell:
They sit flat on the floor (no rolling around) and the compact design means no wasted space. Likewise, dumbbells are a great training tool, but you’ll need a lot of them to get a decent full-body workout.
Armed with some savvy training knowledge (you will be by the end of this article), you’ll be able to get a great total-body workout with only 1-3 kettle bells, no matter your strength level. As a fitness coach, my goal is to get new clients feeling comfortable and confident while lifting weights and learning basic movement patterns.
Because the bell’s center of mass is directly under your grip, dead lifts fly up naturally without much cueing. But no matter your goal, or where you’re starting from, kettle bell training can transform your body and performance in ways you never thought possible.
Losing body fat and maintaining a lean physique comes down to controlling calories through nutrition and training. Kettle bell training offers many powerful ways to rev your metabolism and burn a mountain of calories in very little time.
The kettle bell swing is a hip hinge dominant movement, like a dead lift or box jump. This means each and every rep engages the posterior chain muscles of the hamstrings, glutes, back, and lats (plus lots of cores if you do them right).
When working all these large muscle groups dynamically at the same time, your heart rate jumps and you enjoy a calorie burn akin to a sprint (without the impact on the joints). Of course, any exercise can help you lose weight, but the kettle bell swing (and its big brother — the snatch) is a one-stop-shop for anyone looking for a simple and proven approach to cut body fat while building functional strength.
As mentioned above, kettle bells are a great way for beginners to learn the fine art of strength training. The foundational kettle bell lifts cover all the major movement patterns while developing athleticism and a strong mind-muscle connection.
Squats and swings build powerful and mobile hips — the keystone for every truly strong athlete. Row and press variations (especially bottoms-up) build resilient shoulders and a guaranteed ticket to the gun show.
This “what the hell” effect takes place when, after using kettle bells for a while, new reserves of strength and skill suddenly appear to demolish stubborn old personal records. For example, a long-distance trail runner might flounder after a couple laps in the pool… and a swimmer might find cycling tortuous.
Kettle bell training is optimal for a type of endurance called general physical preparedness (GPP). You won’t be the absolute best in any one field, but you’ll be in great shape and ready to handle a broad range of activities — from pickup basketball to packing a U-Haul.
Over the years, I’ve invested in nearly 30 kettle bells (a hodgepodge of different sizes, styles, and brands). Plus, a medium weight is ideal for kettle bell complexes — the stringing together of multiple lifts into a larger continuous set.
Kettles come much heavier than these (the 48 kg “Beast” is the cherry on top most collections), but we’re focusing on the sizes with the most value for beginners. Without the option of increasing weight in small steps, you are forced to make progress in various other ways with the same bell — volume (more reps), density (less rest), and variations (there are dozens of ways to perform a lift) are the big ones.
No matter your sex or fitness level, nearly every bell size has great value and there’s plenty of overlap in the recommendations anyway. These are your “bread ‘n butter” weights that will serve you well in both lower and upper body training for life.
Finally, the extra 12 kg will give you a great pair for double kettle bell workouts. We follow the same line of reasoning for the fellas, with an assumption of more general upper body strength.
We start with 12 kg as even the brawniest of dudes will get good use from one for mobility-oriented lifts like arm bars and windmills as well as advanced get-up and bottoms-up press work. From here, I like to recommend a pair of 20 kg (44 lb) kettle bells as this seems to be a sweet spot for double bell complexes.
The good news is there are plenty of trusted online sellers that offer quality kettle bells. Here’s my top-5 list of recommended kettle bell brands and merchants based on my own personal use (all links are affiliate):
With the explosion of kettle bell training over the last 10 years there are now many shapes and sizes available to buy. Common kettle bell exercises involve swings, lifts, and presses, but unlike weightlifting or powerlifting, kettle bell training can be performed bilaterally and unilaterally in all planes.
The Single Arm Dead lift exercise can be performed with any type of kettle bell : As you can see from the competition kettle bell image above the handle is much smaller and is squarer in design.
The advantage of these types of kettle bells is that your hand doesn’t slide around due to the limited space plus you can get used to the size even when the weight changes. If you choose to go for the cast iron kettle bells then there is still a few more things that you need to know before you buy.
Make sure you don’t buy a kettle bell with a handle that’s too thick. A kettle bell with a handle that is too thick is going to quickly tire out your forearms and finishing repetitions of an exercise can be very tough.
The bottom of the kettle bell should have a natural flat but it shouldn’t have an attached rubber or plastic base. Bases can be good for preventing marks on your floor but unfortunately they’re going to really dig into arm and into your body when you’re using the kettle bell.
The fourth thing is to make sure that there are no sharp edges on the kettle bell handle. Look out for kettle bells that have sharp bits of paint and also check where the handle meets the body that there are no small nicks that can cut into your hands.
Avoid a kettle bell that’s a round ball with a big, sharp handle stuck on the top There should be a nice smooth bit of continuity with the kettle bell from the body into the handle.
If the handle spacing is too small you’re going to find it really digs into your wrists when in the racked position or overhead. If it’s too big, then the kettle bell will lie too far down on the arm and it’s going to dig into your forearm.
It seems to be trendy to coat kettle bells in vinyl or plastic to avoid marking floor etc. However, due to the huge rise in popularity there are now many weight sizes in-between the ones listed above.
The great news is that if you make the right purchase you will only need to buy a few of the best kettlebells, and they will last you for a lifetime. 8 kg (17lbs) — perfect starting weight, great for learning the basic movements and later Turkish get ups 12 kg (26lbs) — used for the two handed swing to begin with and then later many other exercises 16 kg (35lbs) — perfect progression for the two handed swing when more advanced to compliment the 12 kg
If you feel that 8 kg is too heavy for a starting weight then you need to understand the type of exercises you will be performing. 12 kg (26lbs) — perfect for beginners with no weight lifting experience, great for beginner Turkish get ups 16 kg (35lbs) — starting weight and great for swings and most single-handed exercises 24 kg (53lbs) — great progression for the two handed swing and later other single-handed exercises
At a later date more experienced kettle bell practitioners may work on overhead presses with the 32 kg plus may need to bridge the gap between the 16 kg and 24 kg with a 20 kg for single-handed exercises. I have to say that I’ve learned the hard way and bought lots of kettle bells that turned out to be completely useless.
Here are one brand that I have consistently used over the past few years without any problems, they are very reasonably priced and available on Amazon.com in the USA: For those based in the UK, head on over to Wilkerson Fitness and check out their black series of kettle bells.
Cast Iron kettle bells are the most diverse and excellent for beginners and almost anyone not interested in going in to competition. If you are more advanced and want to focus on purely single-handed exercises than the competition kettle bell may be for you.
I’ve also outlined above what size kettle bell women should use and also the recommend starting weights for men too. They might look like iron casts with handles, but they are the most efficient type of workout equipment you can have in your collection.
Ever since its invention in Ancient Greece, Kettle bells have been known to offer numerous health benefits like encouraging core stability. However, for you to experience the countless benefits kettle bells have to offer, you need to use the right weight when exercising.
For men and women who are active and athletic, the kettle bell weight they should purchase should be higher. Therefore, make sure that before you buy any weight kettle bell, the handle has undergone flashing.
Handling flashing is the process of filing down the hands’ underside, leaving the surface smooth. If it has sharp edges, don’t purchase it as this can injure your hands as you work out.
If it’s uncomfortable or too tight when you place both hands, don’t buy that dumbbell. Be careful in purchasing plastic kettle bells, they may appear like the best option because of their affordability, but they do come with their drawbacks.
Starting with one kettle bell allows you to master proper form and technique for each exercise. The primary reason why experts recommend the use of one kettle bell is because it fully integrates your body during every workout.
However, once you can comfortably perform the proper technique and form for each exercise, you can add the second kettle bell. Therefore, make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew when choosing the kettle bell weight to purchase.
Watch this video on the best starting weight for kettle bell training All kettle bell exercises are based on full body movements so unlike dumbbell training there are no isolation based exercises like bicep curls or tricep extensions.
Kettle bell exercises use 100’s of muscles at a time meaning you are able to lift more weight but also condition the body quicker. The Kettle bell Swing is based on our strongest movement pattern: the Dead lift (see image below).
Whenever you pick something up from the floor you are using the dead lift movement pattern. A light kettle bell will not challenge your full body especially not your powerful hips and legs.
Kettle bells are traditionally available in the following sizes and classified in goods, a Russian weight measurement: Remember you should start with those big strong exercises using the dead lift movement patterns for the best results.
Trust me, I’ve never trained a lady who has started on anything lower than a 8 kg (15lbs) kettle bell. Women will drag suitcases, carry shopping bags or hold children under one arm, you are stronger than you think, so start with at least a 8 kg (15lbs).
I have trained men using kettle bells above 24 kg (53lbs) but for the majority of your basics this is as heavy as you will need to go. It is possible by changing exercises and increasing the difficulty of movements to only ever need one kettle bell if you make the correct purchase to begin with.
With a collection of 3 kettle bells you can practice different exercises, for example at intermediate level: Two Handed Kettle bell Swing weight — Women 16 kg (35lbs), Men 24 kg (53lbs) One Handed Kettle bell Swing weight — Women 12 kg (25lbs), Men 16 kg (35lbs) Turkish Get Ups, Windmills, Bottoms Up Clean weight- Women 8 kg (15lbs), Men 12 kg (25lbs)
Most women will start their kettle bell journey with a 8 kg (17lbs) and progress to a 12 kg (25lbs) relatively quickly. Most male beginners will start with either a 12 kg (25lbs) or a 16 kg (35lbs) depending on their weight training background.
Ballistic (explosive) lifts: swings, cleans, snatches, tossing, juggling. For ballistic lifts you can use a heavier kettle bell than with slow, grinding movements like get-ups and windmills that must be carefully controlled throughout the entire range of movement and require a smaller bell.
Our experience with kettle bells has boiled it down to the following general recommendations for men and women. All cast iron kettle bells such as the Matrix Elite precision e-coat series change dimensions, including handle diameter, as the weight increases or decreases.
Many men have the unfortunate habit of starting out with a kettle bell that is too big for them. Add the fact that if you have only used dumbbells and barbells for weight training, snatching a kettle bell for the first time may come as a bit of a shock to your system and ego!
Men take our advice and don't buy a heavy bell unless you already know you can manage it. Of course if you are 250 lbs and have been lifting weights all your life, feel free to buy whatever size bell you want to!
If you are not active and do not consider yourself to be “in shape” you might want to start with a 12 kg — 26 lb kettle bell. For controlled, grinding movements like Turkish Get-ups and windmills you should choose a kettle bell that you can easily press overhead about 8-10 times.
Out of shape, inactive men should try an 8 kg — 18 lb kettle bell. Lifting kettle bells will not make you big and bulky and rob you of your feminine curves.
On the contrary, with proper training and dedication it will give you the body you've always wanted. For ballistic movements like kettle bell swings, cleans and snatches an average, active women should start with a kettle bell between 8 kg — 18 lb and 12 kg — 26 lb.
As with men, for controlled, grinding movements like Turkish Get-ups and windmills you should choose a kettle bell that you can easily press overhead about 8-10 times. Single Cast Mold With No Seams, Ridges or Rough Spots.
A quality kettle bell is cast in a single step into the mold and is finished like a piece of fine furniture. Competition or “Pro Grade” kettle bells are made to fixed specifications.
To find out more about the differences between cast iron and competition kettle bells click here. Real kettle bells are designed to be balanced in a certain way, and they are actually precise tools.
If a kettle bell can be improved by new materials or a new engineering insight or manufacturing process so that real users will benefit then we will do so, however, we are not interested in gimmicks that are solely designed to misinform consumers and take their hard-earned money from them. We have been in the kettle bell business for some years now, and we will not compromise our principles just to make money off innocent, uninformed consumers.
Without proper kettle bell lifting technique you will not get the full benefit of the movement and you greatly increase your chance of injury, and this defeats the purpose of training with kettle bells in the first place. We recommend that whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced lifter, that you have a few kettle bells in different weights.
Also, the high leverage lifts such as Turkish Get-ups, Windmills and Bottoms-up presses, require less weight especially when you are first learning them so having a range of kettle bell weights will give you the required training flexibility need to progress. If your budget can handle it then buy at least two kettle bells to start with in different weights and then add to your collection as your form gets better and your conditioning level increases.
CrossFit aficionados use this term quite a lot as do many old school kettle bell instructors. At Kettle bells USA® we prefer kilograms or pounds because we think “Food” is a confusingly weird word!
Some other aspects of kettle bell design are grip diameter, grip width, ball diameter, the distance from the top of the ball to the bottom of the handle. 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.
This recruits more muscles, challenges inter- and intramuscular coordination, and generally delivers one hell of a burn. But resistance is assistance, so going too light or too heavy can compromise technique — not to mention increase your risk of injury with the added momentum of most moves, Brown adds.
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.
Not only are your shoulders and abs working hard to keep you stable, but there’s more challenge to your grip since all the weight is in one hand. “Most use a goblet squat solely as a mobility exercise — they get low and do a hip pry.
“It teaches a powerful hip snap and can be a great bicep and PEC builder — but it’s difficult to master the clean unless you really have your swing dialed-in,” Lopez says. Turkish Get-Up This move involves a lot more than just lying down and standing up with a weight overhead.
“The get-up is known in most training circles as the perfect exercise because the whole move — all 14 steps — includes every possible human movement pattern,” Lopez explains. Lopez actually makes clients ace all 14 steps while balancing their shoe on their fist before they’re allowed to try it with a kettle bell (you can opt for a two-pound dumbbell to save face at the gym).
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).
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.
These kettle bells come in different weights and you can make use of these equipments as you do lunges, shoulder presses, and lifts. The kettle bell workouts get your heart pumping and are quite beneficial in burning calories, offering body flexibility and many other things.
Kettle bell exercises mostly targets areas like the core, arms, glutes, legs, and back. These kettle bells come in weights that range from 5-100 pounds and you can purchase them from sporting goods stores or from online retailers.
There is a short review of research on kettle bell exercises that teaches about some workouts and its benefits. Kettle bell exercises stimulate an incredible amount of abdominal contraction because of their explosive conditioning movements.
The abdominal contraction along with coordinated breathing offers quite a high level of conditioning that actually has made kettle bells popular among athletes and fighters. In one study there was absolutely clear evidence of some effective positive changes in cardiovascular health from kettle bell exercises.
Since there are several kettle bell exercises which we do with our arms in an overhead position, the muscles that are responsible for assisting our breathing process are pretty engaged in the muscular activity; thus not allowing them to assist in the process of respiratory. This in turn forces the muscles that are most responsible for the breathing process to play an even higher role in the cardiovascular health.
They also enable you for increasing your strength and building up speed and also your endurance levels simultaneously. The first thing that must be kept in mind is that your entire back and abs remain absolutely straight.
Most physical therapists value these exercises because they teach us to move in a better, stronger, and a safer way. Kettle bell exercises help you build powerful forearms and also improves your grip.
Moreover, such exercises also allow you to devote your attention towards your skill, strategy, rest and recovery. Kettle bell training is a great workout choice for people of all ages and fitness levels.
However, the amount of weight you should use is highly variable depending on a myriad of factors. Because women have less muscle mass than men, they have different requirements for their kettle bell weight range.
That doesn’t mean that kettle bell training isn’t just as effective for women as it is for men. The kettle bell weight should a woman use depends on the type of training and the fitness level of the individual.
One of the main reasons why most women lift kettle bells is to build lean muscles. AmazonBasics Cast Iron Kettle bell — 15 Pounds, ... Kettle bell supports a wide range of resistance-training exercises Made of solid high-quality cast iron for reliable built-to-last strength Painted surface for increased durability and corrosion protection.
Kettle bells are highly effective weights that can fit into almost any workout routine. They can be used for strength training, cardio, and flexibility all with just one compact piece of equipment.
Additionally, they are highly accessible to people of all ages and ability levels. Whether you’re just starting or you’re looking to amp up your current workouts, kettle bells can work for you.
They are extremely popular because the high intensity workouts give you a lot of exertion in a short amount of time. Once you learn the proper way to use a kettle bell, you can start working every muscle with just one compact device.
Many women fall into the trap of focusing on aerobic exercises and not training your muscles. Kettle bells are a great way to condition and tone your body without “beefing up” too much muscle mass.
If you try to start with a weight that is too light, you can accidentally isolate your muscles and throw off your entire form. While 18 lbs might be too challenging for a beginner in other forms of lifting, with kettle bells you will be learning to use both your upper and lower body at the same time.
If you start with a weight that is too light you will find it harder to progress in your training since you aren’t learning proper form. With that said, starting too heavy can also be damaging to your form and increase the risk of injury.
However, once you have learned to handle a kettle bell correctly, you will find yourself moving up quickly. Conversely, a woman who has a strong background in other types of weight training could try starting as high as 25 lbs.
The other type is grinds, which tend to isolate certain muscle groups and are done slower to create more tension. The rule of thumb is to pick heavier weights for ballistics, since they are using a larger number of muscles.
Women who are beginning weight training may have different goals than men. A good guideline for when you know you’re ready to move up is when a set of 20 kettle bell swings has become easy and you feel completely confident.
The kettle bell weight you lift can help you achieve this goal without having to work too hard. PRI Kettle bell Weights Deluxe Cast Iron Vinyl... KETTLEBELLS: Weights combine function and fun for an exciting and efficient workout — a true fitness...
ULTIMATE WEIGHTLIFTING TOOL: Use kettle bells for squats, throws, cleans, jerks, snatches and... Also, make sure you include the right amount of reps for each workout and have a proper diet plan.
Because form is so important in kettle bell training, make sure you are careful not to pick weights that are too light or too heavy. However, this can adjust depending on your age, fitness level, and type of workout.
This article will provide you with all the information you need to pick the correct kettle bell weight and perform exercises with proper form. And to make things easier for you, we have included a simple 15-minute kettle bell workout video to get you in the best shape of your life.
There are a few problems with picking a kettle bell weight depending on your training experience. I need you to throw away your current perception of weight training, and look at the kettle bell as something new and different.
While you may not think you need to, having at least one session with a trained kettle bell professional will make an enormous difference in your results. You’ll be using multiple muscle groups at the same time through ballistic, full-body movements.
A kettle bell professional can show you the basics; like, the Clean, Swing, Goblet Squat, Windmill, and Turkish Get Up. When performed properly, kettle bell movements will improve your body control, shorten your workout time, and give you functional results (and physique).
The core movements in kettle bell training have exploded into hundreds of new exercises and techniques. Assuming you’ve been to at least one session with a kettle bell professional and are ready to get started, here is what I recommend based on gender.
A new female kettle bell trainee might pick up the weight, and automatically try to perform a 1- arm upright row (without one thought of lifting technique, mind you), and immediately exclaim, “I can’t lift that!” When done properly, kettle bell movements will improve your body control, shorten your workout time, and give you functional results (and physique) unlike anything you’ve been able to achieve in the past.
A big mistake is selecting a weight that is too light (again, assuming that you have trained with a kettle bell professional). If you do this, you will never perfect your form, you will never progress to heavier weights, and you will not achieve the real benefits that kettle bells have to offer.
Unlike women, most men will look at the 16-kg kettle bell starting weight and say, “That’s way too light! Areas of your core (back, abdominal, and upper legs) will be on fire during your first session.
To maintain proper form, you need a weight that is in proportion to your skill level, which may be low initially. Men who have never used a kettle bell are especially susceptible to muscling through a movement, rather than performing it with proper form.
You will hear this term used more in CrossFit boxes and by most traditional kettle bell instructors. Innit Kettle bells are made with a high-quality, chip-resistant coating that’s strong enough to endure your most punishing workouts.
1) A chip-resistant coating, smooth enough for stamina-building work sets without irritating your hands, yet with just enough texture to take gym chalk. Some other aspects of kettle bell design to consider are: grip diameter, grip width, ball diameter, and the distance from the top of the ball to the bottom of the handle.
This workout will make you so beefy, Hollywood would be crazy not to cast you in the next Marvel movie! Whether you’re a trainer or fitness enthusiast the kettle bell should have a place in your training for the results it can deliver in less time.
Whether you decide to use your kettle bell to supplement your training or as a stand-alone tool you will gather the exact system on how to do so. The benefits of the kettle bell are immense and with this single tool one can create incredible strength, power output, and stamina if used to its potential.
At the Innit Academy we believe the kettle bell can create powerful athletes regardless of your chosen sport and with this system you will have everything they need to do just that. At the Innit Academy we believe the kettle bell can create powerful athletes regardless of your chosen sport and with this system you will have everything they need to do just that.