What is the best Kettle bell size for building muscle, gaining strength, burning fat? It's all organized by sections, so if you want to scroll down to your specific question, it will be easy to find.
Before the end of the 19th century, Russian girl had found its way into the sphere of competitive weightlifting sports in Russia and some parts of Europe while the term, Kettle bell,” was widely adopted at the dawn of the 20th century in the Western world. Unlike the simple structures of Dumbbells and Barbells, Kettle bells have complex, equally-important parts, each of which contributes to its uniqueness.
The anatomy of a Kettle bell, as seen from the above picture, includes the Handle, Corner, Horn, Window, Bell, and Base. The Bell is the center of mass of a Kettle bell while the Window is the space that separates the Handle from the Bell, affording the user convenient and flexible movements that are lacking in Dumbbells and Barbells.
If you are new to weight training, it's best to start at a beginner level so you can learn proper mechanics. Your age, fitness, and experience determine the type of Kettle bell training you can take-on.
Kettlebell grinds are not only the best for beginners, but they are also very great for experts as its technique is perfect for building muscle and strength. The obtuse shape of the Handle also helps in ensuring a perfect grip and some products now come with a chip-resistant coating that enhances grip and lets users see the weight written on the Kettle bell through contrast.
Note: Although those increments may seem big, a jump from training with 15lbs to 20lbs is normal for kettle bell lifting. For one, it gives users greater flexibility to choose between the wide range of weights and ease scaling-up a bit if they please.
When we talk about men here, we mean active males starting from the age of 18 years. The most important thing is an improvement, the ability to fulfill your potentials as your training progresses.
It is our professional recommendation that you start with a weight that is proportional to your skill level and fitness. This helps you to maintain a good form while you scale up with smiles and less stress.
Starting with anything in this range will help you to conveniently learn how to use proper techniques whether you’re training on your own or with a trainer. Like we mentioned with men, the talk of women here refers to females starting from age 18 years.
While we advise everyone to carry just enough weight, some women have been found to underestimate their strengths, opting for Kettle bell sizes that are too small. A general rule of thumb is for you to carry a Kettle bell weight with which you’re able to do 5 repetitions (reps) of any workout you’re starting with.
Also, if you’ve reached a stage whereby you can conveniently do 20 reps of that workout, then it’s the right time for you to pick up something heavier. The American Academy of Pediatric shad since the year 1990 asserted the potential benefits of monitored weightlifting for children and adolescents on health and athleticism.
A kid’s Kettle bell size for a workout will depend on fitness and age. In the end, it will be the level of fitness that will determine the number of Kettle bell workout reps each child will perform.
Kettle bell lifting for kids should be limited to simple exercises. They can help you build your strength and balance, as well as improve your cardiovascular fitness.
And it will be wiser for you to focus on cardio-based kettle bell exercises such as swings, squats, cleans, and presses because you're no longer trying to build excessive muscles, but just enough to keep your bones together and covered. If you have any doubts, be sure to ask your doctor or a physiotherapist about kettle bell training and if it's right for you.
When you aim to do a lot of ballistic workouts with the kettle bell and you have never done any of such activities before, starting with 18LB is good for women while 26LBS will be alright for men. If you had done some moderate ballistic workouts before, 35LBS is a good start for men and 26LBS is okay for women.
When you aim to do lots of slow lifts with the kettle bell and you have never done anything like that before, starting with 22LBS is good for you as a woman while 30LBS for you as a man. Some people start doing kettle bell workouts because they want to build their size and strength.
To build your size and strength using kettle bells, you need to focus on exercises that can give you the most beneficial results. Additionally, you can include another free-weight equipment in your Kettle bell exercise to get the most out of your workout.
Excellent free-weight equipment you can combine with Kettle bells for incredible muscle build-up is the Steel Mace. You can learn more about how to get the best out of these two weightlifting equipment from our Steel Mace and Kettle bell Arm Blast Workout.
The kettle bell swing is a ballistic exercise that you can use to train your posterior chain muscles and it’s most useful in building your hip power and speed. To perform the kettle bell swing, you need to move the bell in a pendulum motion from between the knees to anywhere at your eye-level or above it.
For average active men doing Basic Goblet Squats, the best Kettle bell size is 40LBS. The Goblet Squat is a typical beginner’s exercise to help new Kettle bell lifters get positional awareness, accumulate basic squat strength and technique, and get a better balance.
You can learn more about perfecting your squat by reading our How to Fix Hip Pain article. The Kettle bell Turkish Get-ups are very useful for developing your solid movement foundation as they tend to focus on your small stabilizing muscles.
Not only does it reveal your problems, but it also helps you develop a functional core, serves as a safeguard against back pain and improves your posture. Beginners, intermediate and advanced flows exist for individuals fitting each level.
It is best to use the Kettle bell size that you are most comfortable with for two to three exercises you want to put into a flow. Complexes can be done in a sequence or one exercise after the other (i.e. 5 x squats then 5 x presses then 5 x sumo dead lifts, without resting or putting the kettle bell down).
Unlike other Kettle bells, their handles and other parts are always of the same shape and dimension regardless of their weights because of the need to maintain consistency in competitions and fairness among competitors. They are usually based in kilograms and range in 2 or 4 kg increments according to international standards, each weight having varying color for convenient identification.
Some Gregory Sports competitions start male competitors with 26LBS, up to 88LBS; and females from 18LBS, up to 53LBS to a varying number of repetitions in lifts such as Snatch, Jerk, and Long Cycle. A kettle bell workout is a great way to tone your body, burn fat, earn some killer abs and keep fit.
For average active women, the best Kettle bell sizes for tone-up, burning fat and keeping fit is 18LBS for beginners, with a gradual build-up to 26LBS as you get used to the bells. For average active men, the best Kettle bell sizes for tone-up, burning fat and keeping fit is 26LBS for beginners, with a gradual build-up to 44LBS.
If your goal is to burn fat, you want a weight that you can use with little rest and for HIIT workouts. This means you should go lighter than what you would use for traditional sets and reps workouts with longer rest.
If we had to choose the three overall best Kettle bell sizes, we'd go 26, 35, and 44LBS or 20, 30, and 40lbs, depending on the supplier you buy from. It enhances core strength and stability through its multi planar and unilateral movements.
It’s the most convenient way to reduce body weight, burning up to 400 calories in 20 minutes. Embedded in this ancient weight-measuring tool is everything you need for your total body-conditioning goals and you can know more about what you'll start to gain from it by reading our 18 Benefits of Kettle bells article.
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.
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.
Its wider handle makes it easier to grip with two hands (for the classic swing move), and its smoother finish is less likely to injure your skin over time. Dragon Door was the first company to popularize kettle bells in America, which is why the most other brands simply copy that shape down to the millimeter.
If the goal is to learn kettle bell basics and use two-handed techniques, all of these bells are quite suitable, and being budget conscious (finding sales/free shipping) isn’t a bad route. We (Keira and I) have trained more than 800 clients in kettle bell techniques since 2008, and we’ve taught multiple instructor certifications in the US and abroad.
(Most recently, as the coronavirus pandemic forced people to work out at home, significant stock shortages have become the norm.) Their unique shape and functionality give them many of the strength-building benefits of dumbbells while also providing users with the opportunity to do kettle bell -specific drills that involve a lot of movement, like the swing.
The closed-loop handle of a kettle bell offers users a secure grip for movements with both hands. Dumbbells are better suited to doing squats, curls, bench press, cleans, and other exercises that have less kinetic motion.
That means you can fulfill all your workout needs with one simple tool that stows easily in a closet. One important caveat to this endorsement of kettle bell training is that proper technique makes all the difference between effective and beneficial use and potential injury.
You can also consult credible online tutorials, and many trainers will set up a Skype arrangement where you can send videos to them for feedback and coaching. My wife, master ROC trainer Keira Newton, has an awesome YouTube page with all kinds of tutorials/workouts for kettle bells.
In terms of credible resources on kettle bell techniques and workout ideas, here are a few great sources available digitally and/or in print: Dragon Door has the most resources in terms of kettle bell books and DVDs (at least in the “hard style” approach that I use) available.
Finally, Steve Cotter is a master practitioner/teacher of competition kettle bell lifting techniques. While many people recommend women starting with an 8-kilogram bell (about 16 pounds), I think that the two-handed lifts like squats and swings aren’t very well-served by that low weight.
If you want to start modestly, my suggestion would be to get the 13-pound version of our budget pick and then order a larger, higher quality bell once you feel comfortable. With these three, all kinds of single and double kettle bell work is easily achievable and scalable.
Both of these linked pieces reiterate my earlier point about seeking credible instruction before beginning an at-home regimen. Then there is the question about which kind of kettle bell you should buy: cast iron, competition, or adjustable.
Also, a major frustration with adjustable kettle bells is that they don’t offer a wide enough weight range to make them ideal for many. As it turns out, there’s not a huge amount of difference between these things because most of them borrow their design from the Dragon Door ROC.
Dragon Door was the first US company to run kettle bell instructor certifications (taught by famed instructor Pavel Tsatsouline) and have mass distribution in the US (Dragon Door started selling these bells in 2001). Dragon Door bells achieved great acclaim, but their high price point (roughly $120 each after shipping and handling, the highest in our test) invited lots of competition from other companies.
CAP is another popular fitness company that makes a good bell at a lower price point. For example, this Yes4All bell is one of the most popular models on Amazon, but its large, flat face is hard on the wrists in one-handed positions.
Although much more rare, some companies compete by distinguishing their offerings from Dragon Door’s with different designs. Perform Better at one point implemented a screw-on rubber skid plate on the bottom of their bells, but later on scrapped it due to negative customer feedback.
From left: Matrix Elite, CAP Cast Iron Competition, Rogue, Perform Better First Place, Dragon Door ROC. Photo: Anton BrkicOur testing group, which consisted of myself and five members of the high school varsity baseball team I coach, worked with all five bells at the beginner/intermediate level and did only two-handed moves (dead lifts, squats, presses, high pulls, and swings).
In fact, I wouldn’t use the CAP or Rogue bells for high-rep snatching because they have coarse handles and some tackiness from the painted finish. If you order through the company’s website and have a problem, Kettle bells USA will “make it right, period!” by sending a replacement and taking care of return shipping fees.
Photo: Mark Blythe Matrix Elite kettle bell has a slightly different handle dimension and more distance from the ball part of the bell to the handle to create a larger opening for more comfortable two-handed positions. The Matrix bell clearly outclassed the competition for two-handed work, as the smooth, e-coated handle with a wider grip was consistently easy on the hands, even when doing high repetition sets of 20-plus kettle bell swings.
Even when the user advances to the one-handed moves, both two-handed swings and goblet squats should remain essential parts of a kettle bell program. Any flaws in a kettle bell will be exposed when you use just one hand, but the attention to detail in forging a smooth, seamless handle was clearly on display with this bell.
Besides the handle shape, the Matrix Elite (right) looks almost identical to the Dragon Door ROC, which costs anywhere from $30 to $50 more. Photo: Mark BixbyAnother thing that sets the Matrix Elite apart from other kettle bells (including Kettle bells USA's own “classic” line) is the fact that it’s designed to have the same “rack” position (where the round part rests on your forearm) regardless of weight and size.
Most companies use standard molds repeatedly, and inevitably, residue from previous castings creates uneven surface textures like edges or gaps. Finally, Kettle bells USA showed awesome customer service throughout my process of testing.
If you're used to standard Dragon Door ROC kettle bells (or any of its many clones), the Matrix Elite's rack position might feel strange at first, since the ball part sits higher up on the forearm by comparison. If you see the bell offered at full price (with no discounted shipping), wait seven to 10 days, and you should find it available more cheaply.
If the Matrix Elite is unavailable, or if you just want a standard-shaped bell without the wider handle, the Perform Better First Place Kettle bell feels the same in use as the high-end Dragon Door, but costs about 25 percent less. In fact, its dimensions are identical except for the extra half inch of flat base diameter on the bottom of the Perform Better bell.
While Perform Better wouldn’t divulge what process it uses, I noticed that it’s somewhere between a matte powder coat and a glossy e-coat. Reading user reviews (see here and here) that slam performs Better for having noticeable seams on the underside of the handle or other defects isn’t helpful considering the construction specs on their bells currently.
The bell I received from them was really well-made, and it showed no signs of being defective in build or user experience. I contacted Perform Better about this discrepancy, and company reps explained that among other small changes, they’d since switched to a gravity casting process, which creates a more uniform surface, as you recall.
It’s also worth noting that Perform Better frequently has sales on its kettle bells, and while it’s usually cheaper to buy Perform Better bells directly from the company, it's worth checking Amazon and Strongest before buying to find the best deal. If budget is your bottom line, then we’d recommend the CAP Cast Iron Competition Bell.
But unless you really need to save a few bucks, it’s worth investing in our top pick, since these things last forever. In fact, none of the five baseball player panelists said they would pay extra for any of the other bells for the basic routines they were testing with.
The powder-coated CAP (left) and Rogue (center) bells are rougher than the e-coated Dragon Door (right). Photo: Mark Blythe CAP bell has a powder-coated matte finish and a slightly gritty (though it’s evenly dispersed grit) handle to provide a good grip (though a bit on the coarser end of those we tested) and a flat bottom so it doesn’t rock when used for push-ups or rowing moves.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the Dragon Door ROC Kettle bell should feel pretty good about itself. Unfortunately for Dragon Door, other companies have been able to duplicate its design at a comparable level of quality for a lot cheaper.
The answers to these questions depend on many factors including your gender, fitness level, and what type of kettle bell exercise you’re doing. However, if you have a lot of experience with weight training and can bench press over 200lbs, you can try starting with a 40lb kettle bell.
A 40lb kettle bell is roughly equivalent to a 20 kg weight, FYI A man who is older or out of shape should start at about 25lbs. Learning proper form is extremely important in kettle bell training, and starting with too high of a weight can lead to injury quickly.
However, if you have a lot of experience with weight training and can bench press over 200lbs, you can try starting with a 40lb kettle bell. Learning proper form is extremely important in kettle bell training, and starting with too high of a weight can lead to injury quickly.
However, women who have previous weight training experience may want to start with a 25lb bell. You want to make sure you have enough weight to get a good workout in, but not so much that you sacrifice learning form.
While these are the two major categories, there are also some varieties that include combinations of grind and ballistic movements. If the weight is too light you can use your muscles incorrectly and never learn proper form.
This is because with grinds you are working more slowly and targeting more specific muscle groups. Ballistic exercises use the full body and therefore require a heavier weight.
A trained eye will ensure you’re using proper form and let you know if a weight is too light or too heavy. When you begin kettle bell strength training you will probably notice yourself getting stronger relatively quickly.
If you notice your training getting easier, you may want to increase the weight you are using so that you can continue to improve. This is a pretty big jump so don’t get discouraged if moving up is harder than you expected.
Save yourself from potential injuries by improving your form before you go for the bigger weights. Make sure you’re practicing your technique for each exercise regularly before you move up, especially if you’re starting with a beginner’s routine.
Testing your progress by maxing out should be done sparingly, as it takes your body time to recover after doing this. The main factors to consider when choosing the proper kettle bell weight are your gender and fitness level.