How To Pick The Right Kettlebell Weight For Your Goals



What Kettlebell Weight Should You Choose?

Okay! Now that you have a program, or looking to start to train with kettlebells you can start it with a dumbbell but eventually you will want your very own kettlebell(s).

Yes, these guys (kettlebell or kb’s as we call them) come in all sorts of colors and even designs, but, all kidding and fun aside kettlebell weight is extremely important. In many motions it will differ significantly from the weight you are used to with regular, non-kettlebell / kettlebell kickboxing dumbbell exercises, so please listen up!

General Kettlebell Weight Recommendations for Women

New to exercise/ de-conditioned: 10, 12 and 15lb kbs

  • Make sure which ever weight you chose you cannot lift that weight in front of you with both hands.

  • You will need to lift kettlebells overhead, so keep that in mind.

    Intermediate / active: 15, 20, 25 PLUS and option for 25-30lb kettlebell for swings

    Advanced/ Highly Trained and/or kettlebell experienced: 25, 30 and 35. You can graduate to swinging a 40-50lb kettlebell.

General Kettlebell Weight Recommendations for Men

New to exercise/ de-conditioned: 20 – 25lb kbs

Make sure which ever weight you chose you cannot lift that weight in front of you with both hands
You will need to lift kettlebells overhead, so keep that in mind

Intermediate / active: 30, 35, 40

Advanced/ Highly Trained and/or kettlebell experienced: 35, 40, 45 and 50

Correct Weight for Kettlebell Kickboxing DVDs and Home Fitness Programs

Most kettlebell exercises, excluding something basic like a bicep curl or press, are compound or “multi joint” motions, so you need to pick a kettlebell that is the correct size.

Remember not all exercises are created equal – if you take a two-pound weight and use it to do a kettlebell swing you will NOT get the benefit of the swing.

Kettlebell ballistic motions stem from the swing (basically all swinging motions). If you pick a kettlebell that is too light your first instinct will be to lift the kettlebell with your arms. This is the direct opposite of what a kettlebell swing does, so you would receive no benefit and you might even hurt yourself with incorrect biomechanics.

When distributed across the posterior chain and core, using a weight that is too light will not be enough to get a desired response from the body.
When choosing a kettlebell, especially for your swing it MUST be a heavier weight then you can lift forward comfortably with your arms.

Ideally women should start no lighter than a 15lb or 20lb kettlebell, and progress to a weight of 30 to 35lbs. Do not worry, as you begin to train with the kettlebell you will see for yourself!

Men should start with at least a 20lb kettlebell, or greater. Remember if you can lift up the KB with your arms in front of you, the weight is simply too light. Eventually you should graduate to a challenging weight of 35-45 lbs (if not more).

Kettlebell grinds are more traditional forms of exercise including motions like presses, curls, squats, lunges and rows. Basically every motion in which you do not swing the kettlebell. For these, you might want to have one or two weight options that are less then your kettlebell ballistics weight.

How To Progress

You must be training weight appropriate, if you are not you will not reach your full potential or all of your desired results.

For grinds once the weight becomes easy, you are no longer sweating and feeling challenged during your sets of squats, lunges or presses you need to upgrade your weight.

Remember you should be challenged by the weight, but it should not be so heavy that it breaks your form.

For ballistics (swinging exercises) you should also be challenged the same way. You will be able to swing more weight then you can press, or row, so pick a challenging kettlebell weight that does not break your form at any point.

Here is a simple way to go up in kettlebell swing weight:

When executing a kettlebell swing place two kettlebells in front of you.
One kettlebell should be the weight you swing now, and the other a heavier kb, perhaps a five pound difference.

Swing your original kettlebell for 10 reps, and then swing the heavier weight for 5 reps. Working between the two for one full minute.

This method will make sure you don’t abandon your form, but also begin to graduate to more challenging weight.

Lifting For Your Goals

In all of our videos we have timed sets. Timed intervals help us get you into fat burning zone, cardio-respiratory training and still work on your strength and endurance training.

However if you are hoping to train for one of these specific goals: strength or hypertrophy we will give you few more options.

ONLY for your Grinds (Presses, Rows, Squats, Lunges and all Variations) :

Max Rep You max out at this weight and cannot go above the number – so your last rep is the most you can lift. Often a max rep is a one rep (the most you can lift in one time in that specific exercise).


STRENGTH: lift a weight that is so heavy you cannot get beyond 5 reps (you max out at 5)

HYPERTROPHY: (growing muscle) lift a weight that is so heavy you cannot get beyond 8-10 reps (you max out at 8-10 reps)

For everything else keep the reps working for that one minute interval we keep you in during your KB training sessions.
You can also have several weights in front of you and switch between the weight.