If you’re in the market for exercise equipment that can cover whole-body strength training and your cardio needs … you can’t do much better than a kettlebell.
These asymmetrical weights are often overlooked in favor of dumbbells and barbells, but let me tell you: having an appropriate kettlebell can really take your home training to the next level.
And, because training at home usually means that you’re working with less equipment, multi-functional pieces of equipment like kettlebells can get more done with less space!
In essence, the kettlebell can do it all, which makes it the perfect tool for working out wherever you are!
So now that you’re ready to grab one, what weight should you choose? Let’s figure out the best kettlebell weight you should buy, as well as break down what benefits you’ll get what you start training at home with one!
Kettlebell training is a different beast than many other weight training techniques – and that, in turn, makes it a great tool for home workouts. Unlike other weightlifting movements that target specific muscle groups in isolation, kettlebells introduce movement and require stabilization, which in turn activates multiple muscles at the same time.
And this, my warriors, equals more strength and puts you on the route to peak, holistic fitness.
There’s also beauty in the actual design of the kettlebell: since you hold it by the handle, you’re separated from the actual center of gravity, which means that there’s asymmetrical weight distribution.
This all results in increased balance, coordination, and core work as your muscle groups work together to move the weight while also stabilizing your body. This also means that kettlebells are a great tool for combining your cardio work along with your strength-training: constant movement of a heavy resistance load is a great way to get your heart rate up!
For example, think about the muscles worked in two classic weightlifting workouts: a dumbbell curl versus a kettlebell swing. With a curl, you’re holding the weight and focusing on contracting only the bicep. On the other hand, with a kettlebell swing, you’re using both momentum and strength to swing the kettlebell, activating not only your shoulders and back but also your core, stabilizing muscles, and glutes.
Some staple kettlebell workouts include the:
- Goblet squat
And more! In short, kettlebells can be used in a variety of ways, making them a perfect whole-body resistance training tool.
What Size Kettlebell Should I Buy?
Now that you’re excited about all the possibilities that come with kettlebell weight training, let’s look at how to figure out the right kettlebell weight for you.
Kettlebells come in a huge range of weight options, from 5 pounds all the way up to 200. Ideally, you would be able to have a range of weights to use as your strength increases and depending on the exercises you choose, but I know that’s not always possible.
So here’s how to determine what weight to buy for your first kettlebell. The kettlebell you buy will depend on:
- Your strength level
- Previous kettlebell experience
As a beginner, you should look for a kettlebell weight that you can easily move but that still presents a physical challenge. One good rule of thumb for selecting an appropriate weight for strength training is to see if you can do about 8-15 reps with that weight range: it should be manageable but still challenging.
It’s important to note that the weight you choose when beginning your kettlebell training is not going to be equivalent to the weights that you would use for other workouts. Remember, kettlebell workouts are different than other kinds of training: you’re going to be working a bunch of your different muscle groups at once, not isolating and targeting one muscle at a time. So you’ll want it to be heavier than the typical dumbbell you would use for isolated exercises like curls, but not as heavy as the weights that you would use for more powerful lifts.
Here are some basic guidelines:
- For men, a good beginner kettlebell range will fall anywhere between 25-35 pounds
- For women, you can try out a kettlebell in the 15-18 pound range to begin with
After you master the movements and nail your form down with these starter weights, you can begin to progress and add more weight to keep challenging yourself.
Tips for Shopping for Kettlebells for Your Home Workouts:
- If you’re buying your kettlebell online and don’t have the opportunity to test out the weight in person, it might benefit you to buy an adjustable kettlebell in the estimated weight range you think will work for your needs. That way, you can adjust your weight range as needed depending on your fitness level.
- It might also be a good idea to buy a couple of kettlebells if you can. That way, you’ll be properly challenged even with different exercises (for example, one-armed vs. two-armed lifts).
- You can also test out the weight range if you have any dumbbells in that weight range at home. Try to do a swing or a press using your handheld weight and see how challenging that movement is for you.
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The Bottom Line
Kettlebell training is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to focus on improving their functional fitness and working out their entire body.
The right kettlebell will challenge your body to grow without being so heavy that you compromise your form or aren’t able to do the movement at all. Assess your own fitness level, stick to this guide, and choose the kettlebell that’s right for your workout routine!
• Kettlebells work your entire body, plus give you an epic cardio session, making them great for home gyms.
• Determine your strength level before choosing a kettlebell weight; moving it should be challenging, but not so difficult you can’t get 6-8 reps in
• For men, a good beginner kettlebell range will fall anywhere between 25-35 pounds
• For women, you can try out a kettlebell in the 15-18 pound range