Weighty matters.

Shout-out to my man David, yo DAVID!

David asked what weight of kettlebell is appropriate for a beginner, and whether to get just one kettlebell or a pair.

This isn’t a bad question; David hasn’t disgraced himself here. Kettlebell weights do not advance in small increments. An old Russian measure of weight, the ‘pood’, is 16kg,  and this is what the weights are based around. Typically, the gap between one bell and the next weight up is 4kg (1/4 of a pood). Starting at 8kg, we then have 12kg, 16kg, 20kg, 24kg and 32kg as the standard traditional weights, with 28kg also popular.

Now I’ll quickly jump to the question of whether to get a pair of kettlebells. For a beginner, no. NO, David. Much, much better to get a single one, your starting weight, and another, the next weight up. And maybe a third, the next weight up after that.

Double bell exercises are not for the beginner or improver, but it is probable that the beginner will need a heavier bell sooner or later. Men tend to start off with a 16kg bell. 20kg if you are used to strength training, 12kg if you are less robust than average. So for an averagely fit man, you would start with a 16kg, and think about getting a 20kg and a 24kg in the near future. Similarly, for an averagely fit woman, start with 8kg or 12kg, and stock up on a 16kg and maybe a 20kg. I have a female client at the moment who started with a 7.5kg bell on her own, before hiring me, and even though she has had health issues leading to a lack of muscle mass, that 7.5kg bell quickly became uselessly light. The 12kg bell we now work with is satisfyingly difficult to press overhead, and just right for a long (for her) set of swings. And it’s becoming clear that she will soon be able to swing a 16kg bell.

A final word. With a given weight, pressing or snatching the kettlebell is much more diffcult than swinging it with two hands. When you get good at swinging your 16kg bell, and need to move up to a 20kg, you’ll still need your 16kg for pressing and snatching.

 

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