With the rise in popularity of kettlebells many users are concerned about what weight to use and more importantly, where to start.
The following statement is based on the exercise being performed being kettlebell specific. That is, the kettlebell is not simply another form of external load, but rather the specific tool required for the task.
"For no reason should you use a kettlebell lighter than 8kg, ever!"
On the Kettlebell certification course, this often causes a fair amount of concern, particularly when discussing beginners, women and the elderly. Upper body strength, injury, grip and skill are all suggested reasons to use a lower weight. However, the truth is, that if an individual cannot perform a kettlebell specific exercise with 8kg or more, they should not be doing that exercise.
Instead, the limiting factor that prevents them from using an appropriate weight should be addressed.
The reason for this is that the unique properties of the kettlebell start to dissipate below 8kgs. Not only that, but it becomes very easy to mask bad technique when the weight is light enough In an 8kg kettlebell, at least 75% of the weight is in the bell itself. This means that the gyroscopic forces are at a high enough level to promote the kettlebell specific adaptations sought. In a 4kg kettlebell however, the weight is nearer to a 50% distribution between the handle and the bell.
So for the exercises listed below, use 8kg or more and if you can't work on something else until you can:
- Two Handed Swing
- One Handed Swing
- Turkish Get Ups
- Figure 8's