What Kettlebell Size is Right for Me?

Kettle training has become popular in recent years as more people appreciate the benefits of off-center resistance training. If you’re considering equipping your home gym with kettlebells, you may not have the budget for an entire rack. So, you need to know what size to buy to maximize usability.

The answer to the question of what is the best kettlebell weight is a bit like the proverbial ‘how long is a piece of string?’ You’ll find recommendations for men and women online, but these don’t really mean anything without context.

What Kettlebell Size is Right for Me?

There are several variables to consider when it comes to finding the right kettlebell weight for you. These include:

  • Your experience level
  • The type of kettlebell exercises you’ll be doing: ballistic or grind
  • Workout goals
  • Your age
  • Your level of fitness

In this article, I’ll explore each of these factors to help you determine the right kettlebell weight for you.

Your Experience Level

What weight kettlebell you buy will be determined by your level of experience working with this type of equipment. Kettlebells take some getting used to due to their off-center gravity. If you are a kettlebell novice, your starting weight must accommodate a break-in period where your body gets used to this type of exercise.

Here are recommendations based on your level of experience. Note that these weight recommendations are not for kids under 18; I’ll cover children a little later in the article.

Beginner Lifters

A perfect beginner kettlebell weight should be within their comfort zone. This will allow them to focus more on the mechanics and technical proficiency of the exercise. Here’s a general guideline:

  • Men should start with a 16 kg kettlebell (35 lb)
  • Women should start with an 8 kg kettlebell (18 lb)

Intermediate Lifters

Intermediate-level trainers will have been working out for at least a year and have had some prior experience with kettlebells.

  • Men should start with a 20 kg kettlebell (44 lb)
  • Women should start with a 12 kg kettlebell (26 lb)

Advanced Lifters

As an advanced-level lifter, you’ve got several years of weight training experience and have been using kettlebells for some time. Here’s my suggestion for the weight of your first at-home kettlebell:

  • Men should start with a 24 kg kettlebell (53 lb)
  • Women should start with a 16 kg kettlebell (35 lb)

The Type of Kettlebell Exercises You’ll Be Doing

There are hundreds of exercises you can do with kettlebells. However, they can all be divided into categories:

  1. Ballistic
  2. Grind

Ballistic kettlebell exercises require full-body explosiveness. The kettlebell is swung or propelled through the air with the aid of momentum. Examples of ballistic exercises are kettlebell swings, snatches, and cleans.

Ballistic exercises are done with a fast tempo. They mainly target fast-twitch muscle fibers responsible for power and explosive movement. These exercises are great for developing explosiveness, speed, and agility.

Grind kettlebell exercises focus on slow, controlled movement that relies on strength and stability throughout the full range of motion. Examples include the kettlebell press, squat, and Turkish get-up.

Grind exercises engage more slow-twitch muscle fibers and require a greater level of strength and endurance than ballistic exercises. They are used to develop strength and build muscle.

You should use a heavier weight for ballistic exercises than for grind exercises. Here is a range of guidance for men and women. The exact weight you choose within each range depends on the other variables we are about to cover:

Ballistic Exercises

  • Men: 35 to 53 lbs (16 to 24 kg)
  • Women: 18 to 35 lbs (8 to 16 kg)

Grind Exercises

  • Men: 18 to 35 lbs (8 to 16 kg)
  • Women: 9 to 18 lbs (4 to 8 kg)

Workout Goals

There are many reasons to train with kettlebells. Your goals will affect the weight you choose for your first kettlebell. Your goals may range from weight loss to muscle gain, strength gain, balance and coordination, and cardiovascular fitness.

If your main goal is weight loss, you should use a moderate weight that keeps your muscles challenged and allows you to use a high rep range. Men should start with a 16 kg (35-pound) kettlebell, while women should begin with 8 kg (18 lb).

For muscle gain, you want a kettlebell that delivers enough resistance to stimulate the stress response that leads to muscle growth. Beginners might begin with kettlebells in the range of 10- 20 kg (22-44 lb) for upper body exercises and 12-26 kg (26-57 kg) for lower body exercises. You should gradually increase the weight to continue challenging your muscles.

If you are mainly focused on improving your balance and coordination. You should choose a kettlebell weight that allows for exercises based on control and stability. Beginners should start with 4-7 kg (8-15 lb) kettlebells to focus on developing technique and coordination.

You will want to choose a kettlebell weight that allows for a high pace and intensity to achieve cardiovascular benefits. Beginners should select weights between 8 and 16 kg (18 and 35 lbs)

Your Age

While age is relative, depending on your health and fitness level, it is another factor to consider when selecting your kettlebell weight. Here’s a breakdown:

Children: Yes, kids can use kettlebells. Of course, their weights will be much lighter than those adults use.

  • Ages 5-8 should use 2-3 kg (5-8 lb) kettlebells
  • Ages 9-11 should use 2-7 kg (5-15 lb) kettlebells
  • Ages 11-18 should use 4.5-9 kg (10-20 lb) kettlebells

Adults (aged 18-60): The right weight for adults depends on the other variables we have discussed. Take into account the type of exercise, your workout goals, the type of exercise you’ll mainly be doing (ballistic or grind), and your level of fitness, and abide by the recommendations given.

Seniors: Kettlebells are a great training option for seniors. They allow older folks to focus on improving balance, coordination, bone density, flexibility, strength, and stability.

  • Male seniors should use a starting weight of 9-12 kg (20-26 lbs)
  • Female seniors should use a starting weight of 7-8 kg (15-18 lbs)

How to Choose a Quality Kettlebell

While getting the right starting weight is essential, it’s just one factor to consider when shopping for a kettlebell. Here are five other things to take into account:

Material and Construction

Look for a kettlebell made from cast iron or steel. The finish should be smooth with no rough edges or seams that could cause injury. The handle should be sturdy with space for a comfortable grip.

Handle Design

The handle shape and width must provide enough clearance for your hand without causing chafing or rubbing against the wrists or fingers. Look for a slightly textured handle to improve grip.

Balance and Center of Gravity

Pick up the kettlebell to check its balance and center of gravity. It should feel stable and evenly distributed to ensure smooth, controlled movement. Watch out for kettlebells that are wobbly or have an off-center weight distribution.

Brand Reputation and Reviews

Do online research to identify the most reputable brands. You should also read reviews to get feedback from actual users.

Warranty and Customer Support

Check if the kettlebell is covered by a warranty against defects in materials or workmanship.

Kettlebell Benefits over Dumbbells

  • Kettlebell exercises such as the kettlebell swing will burn around 20 calories every minute.
  • Kettlebell workouts provide a significant cardiovascular effect.
  • Kettlebells are a great way to develop flexibility and functional strength.
  • All of the muscles of your body are worked in a single workout.
  • You only need a single kettlebell for a complete workout.
  • Kettlebells allow you to build strength.
  • They provide an effective fat-burning workout.
  • They develop coordination and balance.
  • Controlling the kettlebell provides a tremendous mental challenge

Kettlebell Safety

Let’s face it—kettlebells are scary! They look intimidating and unfriendly to users. The truth is that there is nothing to be afraid of, but you do have to be aware of some important safety considerations.

  • Get plenty of rest between workouts—kettlebell workouts are exhausting, so make sure that you are fully rested between workouts. You probably don’t want to add kettlebell exercises at the end of your regular workout, as you need high energy to do them justice.
  • Give yourself plenty of space - you will need at least a 5 x 5 foot area.
  • Wear clothes that allow you to move freely. The top you wear should allow you to breathe freely but not be so loose that the kettlebell gets caught up in it. Baggy shorts or pants will prevent you from properly sitting back into your hips on critical kettlebell exercises.
  • Choose a weight that is not too heavy. Most exercises require multiple reps over time, so do not think about kettlebell weights like you think about dumbbells - the weight should feel pretty light for the first 15-20 seconds.

Complete Range of Kettlebell Sizes

Our kettlebells are available in a wide range of sizes to accommodate all training levels and exercise types. From light weights ideal for beginners focusing on form and technique to heavier options designed for experienced lifters aiming for muscle growth and strength, our selection covers every necessity. Below is the table listing all the kettlebell sizes we offer, helping you choose the perfect weight for your home gym:

Weight (kg) Weight (lbs)
4 kg 9 lbs
6 kg 13 lbs
8 kg 18 lbs
12 kg 26 lbs
16 kg 35 lbs
20 kg 44 lbs
24 kg 53 lbs
28 kg 62 lbs
32 kg 70 lbs
36 kg 80 lbs
40 kg 88 lbs

Wrap Up

The kettlebell weight you choose depends on the type of exercise you’ll be doing, your experience level, your age, and your workout goals. For men, it will generally range between 16 and 24 pounds for ballistic-type exercises, while grinding movements may require lighter weights (as low as 8kg for beginners).

Women’s starting kettlebell weights typically range from 8 to 16 kg for ballistic exercises, going down to a starting weight of 4 kg for grinding moves.

Check out our range of powder coated and vinyl-coated kettlebells.