New to Kettlebells? A Trainer Explains How to Choose the Right Weight


Kettlebell training

Whether you’re just getting started with strength training, or you’re looking for a way to mix up your workouts, you’re probably curious about the kettlebell, which can be swung, pressed, and more for a full-body workout. Like other free weights, kettlebells come in a variety of sizes — but choosing the right one for you doesn’t have to be intimidating.

“Whether clients would like to incorporate kettlebells at the gym or purchase them for home workouts, I suggest having two kettlebells, one light and one heavy, as part of their selection,” Karisa Curtis, an NASM-certified personal trainer in Los Angeles, told POPSUGAR. “Reserve your lighter kettlebell for upper-body and above-the-head exercises. A good rule of thumb for choosing your lighter kettlebell is picking one up, racking it at your shoulder, and performing several single-arm overhead presses with it. You want to find a weight you can barely perform 10 reps with.”

For beginners, a good starting place is a 6- to 8-kilogram kettlebell, Karisa explained — that’s the equivalent of 13-to-18 pounds. For lower-body movements, where you naturally have more strength and power, she recommends a heavier kettlebell that’s 12-to-16 kilograms (or 26-to-35 pounds) to start. “If you are new to fitness, begin on the lighter side, but if you have experience and a general knowledge of lifting weights, the heavier option should suffice,” she said. “As with any exercise, consistency, even over a short period of time, will improve your strength dramatically, so choose weights you can have longevity and grow with.”

For more help choosing the right weight based on your fitness goals, be sure to check out this guide.

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