What Size Kettlebells Should I Buy?

What Size Kettlebells Should I Buy?

As with any other type of weight, such as dumbbells or barbells, there is no universal answer to what size kettlebells you should get. 

Many factors influence your purchase, from classic ones, such as the weightlifting experience, to the one that interests us all, which is the price. 

But don’t worry. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know before choosing the kettlebell size to buy.

What Size Kettlebells Should I Buy?

The kettlebell size you should buy depends on many factors, one of which is gender. Men should pick the kettlebell size between 12 kg and 16 kg, while women should pick the kettlebell size between 8 kg and 16 kg.

Quick Summary

  • If you are a beginner, the best kettlebell weight to start with is 18 lbs if you are a woman and 26 lbs if you are a man. For children and seniors, you need lighter weights to prevent injuries.
  • You should choose kettlebells depending on the goals you want to achieve, the facilities you equip, and the exercises you want to do.
  • To begin with, you should learn to do the exercises correctly with smaller weights to learn to perform them correctly. After that, you can lift the weight you are exercising with.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing the Size of a Kettlebell

Factors to consider before choosing the size of a kettlebell weight are:

  • Your weight training experience.
  • Your reason for taking up kettlebell weight training.
  • Your age and fitness.
  • Types of workouts.
  • The quality of the kettlebell weight.

There are countless factors to consider before purchasing a certain size kettlebell, but the ones I’ve listed are key and can influence your final decision.

1. Your Weight Training Experience

Your weightlifting experience is key because, depending on your experience, the right kettlebell weight you should choose varies.

If you are a beginner in weightlifting, you should choose smaller sizes to learn how to perform the exercises correctly. If, as a beginner, you go for larger sizes, you risk injuring yourself.

If you are experienced in this fitness area, give yourself the convenience of buying bigger kettlebell weights. You will be able to achieve tremendous success and results without the risk of injury because you have enough experience and know how to do the exercises correctly.

2. Your Reason for Taking-up Kettlebell Training

Your reason for taking-up kettlebell training will affect your choice because the sizes vary depending on your final goal. 

You don’t choose the same weights if you want to lose weight; your goal is strength, endurance, or cardiovascular strength. 

Set your final goal to select the correct kettlebell weight size as quickly as possible, which will lead you to success with a kettlebell exercise.

3. Your Age and Fitness

Your age and fitness play a big role in choosing the correct sizes because, like other factors, they vary. 

For younger people and those who are not so fit, it is recommended to choose smaller weights and spend some time with weight kettlebell trainers to explain how to do the exercises correctly and prevent potential injuries.

4. Types of Workouts

Types of kettlebell workouts depend on all the above factors, especially your weightlifting experience, age, and fitness. 

Types of kettlebell workouts with kettlebell weights are most often divided into two groups:

Kettlebell grinds

This training includes basic kettlebell movements in the world of fitness – squats, lifts, presses, and the like. This type of kettlebell lifting is highly effective and recommended for those who are just entering the world of training with kettlebells and those who are more experienced because it builds endurance and strength.

They are called grinds because they require dedication and effort and give excellent results. It is recommended that this training be done with smaller weights because consistency in weight training is essential here, not size and weight. 

Kettlebell Ballistics

Kettlebell ballistics work on imitating human ballistic movements like jumping and throwing. They primarily work in two steps: the first is investing effort and energy into action, and the second is letting gravity do its thing.

The most common movements encountered in this training are swings, lunges, cleans, and the like. It is recommended for those who are more experienced in training with kettlebells. This training builds your explosive strength, burns many calories, and is excellent for losing weight.

5. Quality of the Kettlebell

The quality of the Kettlebell affects your choice because better-quality kettlebells are more expensive. 

If you are a beginner, treat yourself to iron kettlebells because they are more functional and adaptable for performing different exercises.

Standard Kettlebell Sizes

Standard kettlebell sizes are 8kg, 12kg, 16kg, 24kg, and 32kg. These are the sizes you will meet most often on the market and are often the most useful.

Standard kettlebell sizes
Standard Kettlebell Sizes

The sizes of kettlebells range from 5 to almost 100 kilograms, so the range of weights you can buy is very large. The sizes we listed above are the best because, if you are a beginner, you can start with the smallest weight and gradually, as you become stronger and more experienced, increase the weight by 4 to 8 kilograms.

When you outgrow the biggest weight, i.e., 32 kilograms, which will not come so quickly, you can continue to choose weights with a difference of 5 kilograms because they are one of the most affordable on the market.

For beginners and experienced weightlifters, sizes from 8 to 32 kilograms are the best to buy.

Competitions Kettlebell Sizes

Competition kettlebells are 8kg, 12kg, 16kg, 20kg, 24kg, 28 kg, and 32 kg. As you can see, the weight of competition kettlebells is largely the same as the standard size kettlebell.  

Competitions kettlebell sizes
Competition Kettlebell Sizes

Cast iron kettlebells are most often used for competitions because their handles are always the same size, so they are adapted for all competitors and maintain fairness in competitions. 

Most often, the size of a cast iron kettlebell is 2 to 4 kilograms to increase their weight gradually. If you are choosing competition kettlebells to compete with one day, make sure you take weights that correspond to the propositions of the competition itself.

 Also, enter this world of weightlifting competitions after gaining experience training with this gym equipment to gain experience and prevent potential injuries.

Buyer’s Guide on Competition Kettlebells:

Kettlebell Size by People

Kettlebell size by people varies depending on age, fitness level, gender, and many other factors. 

For men, the sizes of regular or adjustable kettlebells are slightly larger than for women, while much smaller sizes are recommended for children, such as seniors and beginners.

 In the case of seniors, children, and beginners, there must be much greater control of training and the correctness of the exercise to prevent potential injuries. 

Now I will show you the best sizes of weights for men, women, children, and seniors, as well as for beginners.

Consider reading:

Best Kettlebell Size for Men

The best kettlebell size for men is 12kg for beginners to 16kg for those with a little more experience.

In fact, it is recommended to start with these weights so that you can learn to perform the exercises correctly without fear of injury.

Those who are more experienced in the world of fitness and training with regular or adjustable kettlebells can start with 18 kg training. The most significant weight you can begin training with is 24 kilograms, but you can do that only if you have supervision from a kettlebell trainer or previous experience in this area.

Best Kettlebell Size for Women

The best kettlebell size for women is 8 kg for beginners to 16 kilograms for those who are experienced in exercising with kettlebells or are experienced in weightlifting.

Choosing the size of kettlebells for women is similar to men’s and varies from person to person. It is recommended to start with smaller weights to learn how to do the kettlebell exercises. If you start with heavier weights, you will not achieve any results, but you will put yourself at risk of injury.

Gradually increase the weight over time as you feel ready for more extensive endeavors.

Best Kettlebell Size for Kids

The best kettlebell size for kids is 5 to 15 lbs for kids between 9 and 11 years old, while older kids can train with weights between 10 and 20 pounds.

If the exercises are performed correctly with lighter weights and with the supervision of a trainer or an experienced parent, kettlebell exercises can positively affect your child. Increasing strength, and endurance, strengthening the core, and preventing other kettlebell sport injuries are just some benefits of quality kettlebell training for children.

In addition to positive things, we should emphasize that we are talking about children. Their body is constantly changing and developing, so you should not force your child to exercise with heavy weights and expose him to too much pressure because he may get injured.

Best Kettlebell Size for Seniors

The best kettlebell size for seniors is 12 kg for men, while for women, it is 8 or even 6 kg.

Exercising with kettlebells has many benefits for seniors, such as preventing back and bone pain, reducing arthritis, and increasing flexibility and strength.

It would be best to focus on kettlebell exercises that move and activate the whole body, such as swings, squats, cleans, and similar activities, to strengthen the entire body and the endurance of the bones.

You should be careful during training and prefer smaller weights to avoid injuries. If you have a joint and hip problem, you should consult a doctor or physiotherapist about whether you can train and to what extent.

Best Kettlebell Size for Beginners

The best kettlebell size for beginners is 12 kilograms for men, while for women, it is 8 kilograms.

If you are new to this world, you will use these kettlebells for a while. It is essential to practice with them until you learn to do all the exercises correctly and strengthen. In this way, you prevent potential injuries.

When your form, strength, and agility with kettlebells increase after some time, you can slowly start exercising with heavier weights. You should increase the weight gradually, preferably 2 to 4 kilos.

Kettlebell Size by Exercise

Kettlebell size by exercise goes from 9 pounds for women for some exercises and 18 lbs for men, all the way up to 53 lbs for some activities.

Factors that influence the weight of the kettlebell that should be exercised are the demandingness of the exercises, the strength required to perform them, the complexity of the activities, and whether you perform the exercise with one or two hands.

The most significant starting weights are primarily used in kettlebell exercises that require two-handed execution (double kettlebell exercises), such as Two-handed Kettlebell Swings.

Now I will explain to you the best size kettlebell for the exercises that are most often done with kettlebells.

Best Kettlebell Size for Kettlebell Swings

The best kettlebell size for the kettlebell swing is 26 lbs for women and 35 for men for one-hand swings, while for two-handed swings, the recommended weight is 35 lbs for women and 53 lbs for men

Kettlebell swing is one of the most common kettlebell exercises you will encounter in this type of training. It works so that, depending on your strength and experience, you take the kettlebell in two hands or put one in both hands, and from the position between your legs, you lift it to chest height. This exercise is often used to improve your posture and increase your hip mobility, strength, and speed.

Although it sounds pretty straightforward, if this exercise isn’t performed correctly can seriously harm your standing or lead to more severe injuries. If you are a beginner, you will likely do this exercise with two hands. 

If you feel the sizes 35 and 53 lbs are challenging, feel free to lower the weight. For those experienced weightlifters, it is expected that they try their hand at kettlebell training.

Best Kettlebell Size for Squats and Goblet Squats

The best kettlebell size for squats and goblet squats is 25 pounds for women and 40 for men. These are excellent kettlebell exercises for beginners because you can learn how to do squats correctly. 

The goblet squat works by holding a kettlebell with both hands at shoulder height, slowly lowering yourself into a squat, and returning to the original position. An excellent exercise for increasing strength and endurance and strengthening the entire body. 

However, you should be careful when you do it because if you don’t do it properly, it can have consequences like more severe injuries. If you feel that the 25 or 40-lb. weights are too heavy for you, pick up lighter weights until you build up your strength and learn how to perform the exercise correctly.

Best Kettlebell Size for Turkish Get-Ups

The best kettlebell size for Turkish get-ups is 9 lbs for women and 18 lbs for men who belong to the beginner group, while for advanced ones, the best size is 18 lbs for women and 26 for men

Compared to other exercises, this exercise requires significantly less weight because it is demanding and complex. It works by placing a kettlebell in a lying position with an outstretched arm above you and then gradually lifting yourself until you stand upright. 

It is especially recommended for those who want to strengthen their core strength, mobility, and muscle stability because it affects smaller muscle groups.

Best Kettlebell Size for One-Handed Movements

The best kettlebell size for one-handed movements is 35 lbs for men and 18 for women for snatches, while for single-arm deadlifts, the best is 53 lbs for men and 26 lbs for women.

If you belong to the group of more active and experienced weightlifters, you can ensure that you perform these exercises with heavier weights. 

For snatches in average active men, it is recommended to go up to 44 lbs, while for intermediate active women, it is recommended to go up to 26 lbs. Regarding single-arm deadlifts, moderately active women can go up to 53 lbs, while men can go up to 70.

Kettlebell Size by Goal

Kettlebell size by goal varies depending on what you want from training.

If you want to increase muscle mass and strength, then it is more likely that you will use heavier weights. It’s the same story as losing weight. If we want to maintain our health, we can go for smaller weights with more repetitions to sustain the body’s endurance and prevent potential injuries.

Now I will explain which weights are best for building muscles and strength, losing weight, and maintaining health.

Best Kettlebell Size for Building Muscle and Strength

The best kettlebell size for building muscle and strength is 24 lbs for men and 20 for women.

 If your goal is to increase muscle mass and strength, then it is recommended to do exercises with kettlebells in both hands, which can be snatches, swings, any form of squats with two kettlebells, as well as the military press.

If you notice that weights of 24 or up pounds are too light for you, it is recommended that average active men use weights up to 44 lbs, while for women, the figure goes up to 30 lbs. 

The most important thing is to do the exercises correctly to prevent potential injuries.

Best Kettlebell Size for Weight Loss

The best kettlebell size for weight loss is 26 lbs for men and 18 for women. Over time, you are expected to gain up to 26 lbs if you are a woman and 44 lbs if you are a man.

Kettlebells are one of the best ways to lose weight, keep your body slim, and get great abs. What is key is to exercise with smaller weights but to go for more repetitions and shorter breaks between sets. 

It is best to do high-intensity training with kettlebells to lose weight because the most calories are lost during them.

Best Kettlebell Size for Health

The best kettlebell size for health is 9 lbs for women and 18 for men.

Kettlebell training is excellent for maintaining health, endurance, and agility but also prevents the potential occurrence of more severe sports injuries.

If over time, you find that these weights are too light for you, it is recommended that if you are a man, you should go up to 44 lbs, while if you are a woman, you should not exceed the limit of 26 pounds.

Kettlebell Size by Workout

Kettlebell size by workout is most commonly 18 lbs for women and 26 lbs for men

These are the most common weights when talking about kettlebell training, and they don’t vary much depending on the activity. 

Most of the training you can do with kettlebells is high-intensity, so it is not recommended to use heavy weights unless you are in serious training. Now I will show you the best sizes for different types of exercise.

Best Kettlebell Size for Ballistics and Grinds

The best kettlebell size for ballistics and grinds is 18 lbs for women and 26 lbs for men. These weights are most often recommended to beginners who are just entering this world and need to learn how to perform the exercises correctly. 

If you have done ballistic exercises before, you can increase the starting weight to 35 lbs if you are a man and 26 if you are a woman. If you belong to those who regularly do these exercises, your starting weight can go even higher, up to about 35 lbs for women and 43 lbs for men.

When we talk about grinds, the situation is quite similar. If you are new to this world, 22 pounds for women and 30 for men are thoroughly enough for you and will serve you for a while. If you belong to the more experienced group, they can go up to 44 lbs for women and 53 lbs for men.

You must be careful how you perform these exercises because it is straightforward to get injured. After all, they are pretty demanding. That is why it is recommended that you start with smaller kilos.

Best Kettlebell Size for Kettlebell Flows

The best kettlebell sizes for kettlebell flows are 18 lbs for women and 26lbs for men.

Kettlebell flows are one of the newer exercises that quickly became popular, not only because it looks good when you do it but also gives strength and strengthens the core, endurance, and mobility. It practically belongs to complete body workout exercises. 

If you feel safe and robust enough while performing this exercise, you can lift the weight to 26 lbs if you are a woman, while men can raise it to 44 lbs.

For this exercise, it is recommended that you use the weights you are most confident with and train with most often, which are the 18 and 26-pound weights.

Best Kettlebell Size for Functional Training

The best kettlebell size for functional training is 18 lbs for women and 26 lbs for men. these are the weights with which it is easiest to manage and with which you will most easily achieve the primary goals of functional training.

If you belong to the group of those more experienced in this area, you can lift to 53 lbs if you are a man or up to 26 lbs if you are a woman.

Of course, it is expected that if you do some more complex exercises during your functional training with kettlebells, such as the Turkish get-up, you should reduce the weight to do the exercise correctly and prevent potential injuries.

Best Kettlebell Size for Hiit

The best kettlebell size for hiit is 26 lbs for men and 18 lbs for women

In essence, smaller weights should be chosen for High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) because there is not so much point in lifting heavy weights as it is essential to do the exercises correctly and in more repetitions. 

If you are more experienced, it is recommended for women to use weights up to 26 lbs, while men should choose weights between 35 and 53 pounds.

Best Kettlebell Size for HIFT

The best kettlebell size for HIFT is 26 lbs for men and 18 lbs for women. As with other types of training, the focus here is also on the correct execution of various exercises and not so much on the weight you need to lift. 

If you belong to a group that has much more experience in this area, you can use weights up to 35 lbs if you are a man, while if you are a woman you should not exceed the limit of 26 lbs. 

It is high-intensity training in which the most important thing is to do more repetitions with more minor breaks between sets. Therefore, try to use more effortless movements so that the training is as helpful as possible.

Best Kettlebell Size for Crossfit

The best kettlebell size for crossfit is 35 lbs for men and 18 lbs for women.

For years, CrossFit has taken precedence in the world of fitness as a high-intensity training that engages the whole body, burns calories, and increases strength and endurance. 

Therefore, it is generally recommended that you use lighter weights for this training to do the exercises correctly and prevent potential injuries.

If you do CrossFit regularly, you can lift weights to 53 lbs for men and 26 lbs for women.

Kettlebell Size by Facility

Kettlebell size by facility depends on whether you are equipping your home gym or the owner of a commercial gym and want to complete your collection of weights.

If you want to equip a home gym, choose weights that will meet your needs and those shortly.

For a commercial gym, you must have a wide range of weights, and you need weights of different sizes.

Best Kettlebell Size for Commercial Gyms

Best kettlebell sizes for commercial gyms are 9, 18, 26, 35, and 53 pounds.

These are the weights that women and men use most often and cover many people who train, from beginners to advanced exercisers.

What is vital for a commercial gym is to have as wide a range of kettlebells as possible so that people can gradually increase their weight by 5 to 10 lbs over time, depending on their progress.

The more varied and the greater the number of kettlebells, the better equipped your gym is, and people will have a greater need to come to you.

Best Kettlebell Size for Home Gyms

Best kettlebell sizes for home gyms are 9, 18, 26, and 35 lbs. If you are experienced in this training area, you can afford weights of 53 lbs.

Unlike commercial gyms, home gyms are only for you, and you should take weights that will meet your needs now and shortly.

You must have some lighter weights if you want to do CrossFit or high-intensity training, and you should also have some heavier weights if you decide to do strength training.

Make sure you choose weights according to your needs because you will provide yourself with everything you need for quality training that will benefit you.

How Do I Choose My Kettlebell Weight?

You choose your kettlebell’s weight based on the material the kettlebell is made of, your age and gender, the exercises you want to perform, and the kettlebell handle.

Most kettlebells are made of metal, which is a great choice. Kettlebells are made of plastic on the market, which is not recommended because they are not that safe and robust.

You should observe whether the kettlebell you want to buy has some kind of coating. This is important because it provides protection and longevity for your equipment.

The exercises you want to perform with them also play a severe role in buying kettlebells. Activities are usually divided into two groups:

  • Lifts – exercises such as swings and cleans
  • Grinds – different forms of press, then windmills, turning kettlebells, and similar.

Depending on what exercises you want to do, you also choose the weight of the weights. For lifts, you need heavy weights, while for grinds, you need light weights.

Age and sex play perhaps the most significant role in choosing weights. If you are a senior or a younger beginner, take lighter weights to prevent injuries and learn to do the exercises correctly. Women are recommended to take smaller weights that optimally go up to 53 lbs, while for men, this limit is raised to 70 lbs.

Finally, the kettlebell handler also plays an essential factor. It mustn’t be rough and damaged because this will negatively affect your training. It is not recommended to be excessively smooth because it can fall out and hurt you.

It should be made of better quality materials and have a diameter wide enough to hold it with both hands without any problems. Choosing a handler is very important because you prevent potential injuries if you do it right.

How Many Kettlebells Should I Buy?

You should buy one kettlebell if you are a beginner or two if you are intermediate in weightlifting. 

With just one kettlebell, you can do almost all the exercises without problems until you are experienced enough to move on to two. Two kettlebells are recommended for those who are more experienced and have more strength.

FAQs

What Weight Kettlebell Should a Woman Use for Deadlifts?

A woman should use a 26 lbs or 35 weights kettlebell for deadlifts. If we are talking about someone who is a complete beginner, that weight can go down to 18 lbs, while for those who are much more experienced, it is recommended to go up to 44 lbs.

Is a 32KG Kettlebell Considered Heavy?

Yes, a 32kg kettlebell is considered heavy. For someone a beginner, even a relatively experienced weightlifter, or a woman, 32 kg is quite heavy and seems unattainable, and sometimes even for severe and professional weightlifters can also be challenging.

What Can I Do With a 20KG Kettlebell?

 With 20kg kettlebells, you can do a lot of exercises, like side lunges, Turkish get-ups, snatches, swings, and more.This weight is not recommended for beginners without previous experience but for those with expertise in weightlifting because it can be an excellent way to increase strength and muscle mass.

What Kettlebells Should I Start With?

You should start with kettlebells that weigh 18 lbs for women and 26 lbs for men.

These two weights are most often mentioned and emphasized in different training areas, and they are the best to use for this type of training.

Training with kettlebells is excellent because there is a wide range of exercises that you can do, even as a beginner. What’s great is that with the help of kettlebells, you can achieve different goals, from building muscle mass to losing weight.

The most important thing is to choose the size of your kettlebell and choose the goal you are aiming for, regardless of whether it is building endurance, mass, core, or anything else.

In the comments below, I invite you to tell us which weight you chose and why.

Vanja Vukas

Vanja Vukas

Student at the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education and a hardcore functional training enthusiast. Heavily inspired by Michael Boyle, a strength & conditioning specialist, and by Adam Sinicki, the founder of Bioneer. Vanja believes that transitioning to a movement-based exercise program can drastically improve your fitness, balance out your muscles, and support your current lifestyle.

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