I've decided to start a kettlebell workout after reading a book by Terry Reifkind. I'm relatively out of shape and I wasn't sure what weight I should start out with. Any suggestions?


  • I've looked at doing kettleball here at home.  I kinda mimic it with my hand weights.  It isn't the same, I know.  But it is what I have.   I use a 10 pound weight, again, bc that is what I have.   When I work out at the gym, I use a 13 pound one.   

  • they say women should use an 8kg bell, but it's all about your abilities. Start slowly and learn proper technique and it'll all fall into place.


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  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
    edited February 2015

    Did you mean Tracy Reifkind? If so, she's featured in the Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. In the same chapter, specifically talking about kettlebell swings (Russian, no higher than chest height, not above the head) Tim says that most men should start with 20 or 24kg (44 or 53lbs) and most women should start with 16 or 20kg (35 or 44lbs.) 


    I'm a man, 5'9", and was pretty out of shape when I started. I bought a 50lb kettlebell, and it was definitely a little too much, but manageable if I really focused on form. At first I could only do 2 sets of 25, but within a few weeks I grew into the weight and was able to do 75 swings non-stop. Starting out I also liked feeling like I was doing something that was very difficult, and maxed me out quickly. That was motivating for me. If you're willing to watch a few videos on form, stop when you can't maintain form, and be sore for the first few workouts, I'd go for the heavier weight option since you can grow into it. Years later I still use the 50lb kettlebell regularly, just with increased reps and adding other exercises between sets for intensity. I'd have outgrown a lighter weight quickly. Swings are supposed to be difficult. This weight is also still useful to me for two-handed exercises like deadlifts, goblet squats / squat-thrusts, and bent rows for a quick workout at speed, but certainly light for serious muscle building. 


    If you're doing more than Russians swings or other exercises with two hands, not good about form, going over your head, or certainly doing anything with one arm or that involves wrist strength and control (snatches, cleans) then DO NOT start with the heaviest weight you can manage. Snatches and cleans specifically should be much lighter, or get some in-person instruction so you don't injure your wrists. 

  • MusicmamaMusicmama
    edited February 2015

    Danielle, if you can afford it I would start with kbs that are a bit lighter (20, 25 lbs?) and only then move up. I'm pretty strong and just moved up to a 18kg/40ishlb one but it has taken me a while and I had a learning curve that involved some (unnecessary!) back pain. Definitely lighter for the single-handed or other moves that ACH mentions and - like everyone says - pay attention to form. So basically, from my own experience with k.bells, all the above seems like good advice :)

    Also, I love them - fantastic workout in very little time. It's not all I do but I love having kb swings in the mix!

  • We bought the 8kg and 16kg kettlebells. We would recommend the adjustable ones as you can customize your swings for sure. Learning to use them lighter and getting form is probably the best investment you can make before attempting heavier weights even though you have the ability. Alternatively have a rack of them and chose the correct weight for the exercises you do. Yes different lifts and swings do require different weights from time to time. This is expensive but you may feel that two kettlebells the same weight in each arm beneficial rather than continued swapping from arm to arm. Cost is something that we all deal with so unfortunately just the one each for us. We use them twice a week. We wear gloves on the Russian cannonballs and don`t use the neoprene handled ones that come in bright colours. No reason why you shouldn't though ;-)

  • Thanks for the feedback everyone. I went with a ten pound one to start.
  • I did a women-only kettle bell class for over a year. The instructor is highly trained and very hard core about our form. She started me at 8, and I slowly moved up to 25. For me, I found I just got too fatigued. I did better sticking at 20. See how you feel, if you're breathing so hard you can't speak, sweating and compromising form, it's too much weight. You're going to get a good work out no matter what. It's not easy, but it's AMAZING! I've never been so strong in my life, seriously. 

  • I work with a 20lb kettlebell which I bought at Target.  There is a great free workout on Fitnessblender.

  • My wife got right into kettlebells when I did and she keeps up to me. She loves the Swing and gets the most from kettlebell exercises. Start with whatever weight you are comfortable with and work your way up to 75 swings. Then up the weight to the next one. 


    Currently my wife is at 150 consecutive swings with a 24kg (54lb) kettlebell. I can no longer walk around my house thinking I have Alpha Status.....  :shock:

  • I felt like I didn't get a very good upper body workout. I started with ten pounds and did the swing for 45 seconds and the breakers for 15 seconds for a total of 15 minutes
  • Wow Karen G that is a great workout. I tried one workout and have to admit I gave up because my upper body wasn't sore at all and I really wanted to improve my upper body strength. I loved the idea of getting cardio and strength training all done in twenty minutes. I think I will try it again.
  • Tracy Reifkind has lots of videos on youtube explaining how to keep good form and also how to pick the right kettlebell weight for you.  I ended up starting with a 25 lb KB.

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