Purchasing your first kettlebell
First of all...what is a kettlebell?
Kettlebell (KB): A weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle, usually denoted in kilograms. We can thank the Russian military for this little gem. It’s an entire full-body gym contained inside an iron-clad purse, if you will.
It is the single most versatile tool for a total body workout that you will find, which is why I recommend purchasing a mid-sized bell for your own home. The options are endless as to what you can do with this thing, plus it makes a great doorstop.
Purchasing Your Own Bell
Selecting a kettlebell is highly individual and can vary greatly depending on a person’s size, strength level and experience. However, if you are interested in purchasing your first kettlebell for your own home, my advice is to go for a mid-sized bell that is light enough for one arm work, but heavy enough for high volume of swings and squats.
My suggestions are as follows (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds):
Beginner 12kg - 14kg
Intermediate 14kg - 16kg
Advanced 16kg - 20kg
For most women who have experience with bells, I would recommend starting with a 14kg or 16kg. It’s a solid choice for a mid-sized bell. It might feel a little light for two-handed swings, but it should be a decent amount of challenge for one-arm work. I worked with a 16kg in my own home for 2 years and was always able to get a great full body workout.
Beginner 14kg - 16kg
Intermediate 18kg - 20kg
Advanced 22kg - 24kg
For men with experience, an 18kg or 20kg should be a good starter bell.
When I teach the two handed kettlebell swing, I tell my clients that learning to swing with a bell that is too light is like learning to pitch with a whiffle ball.
You can load up the arm all you want, wind and throw as hard as you can, only to see the whiffle ball whither to the ground and die 2 feet in front of you. Obviously, this doesn't help instruct the mechanics of the pitch very well.
However, if you were to throw a baseball, imagine the weight of the ball in your hand. You would learn much more about the force needed to throw the ball because you are receiving more feedback from the weight. Got it?
Learning to swing is no different. Oftentimes we end up doing far more work than we need to if we are learning to swing with a bell that is too light. Of course, we want to ensure great form and the ability to create tension in our body in the kettlebell deadlift first before graduating to a swing, but once we have our technique on lockdown, loading up a swing with an moderately-sized bell can teach us more about the mechanics of the swing than if we were to stick with something too light. Be brave within reason with your selection!
Again, bell size greatly depends on your strength, weight and experience, and is also dependent upon the exercise you are doing. For instance, you would want to choose something heavier for KB Deadlifts, but something lighter for 1 arm rows. This is just meant as a general guideline, so always choose what feels best to you.