As kettlebells have gained popularity in the U.S. over the past several years, many men and women are using them to reach their fitness goals. One of the first questions kettlebell newcomers have is what weight they should start with. Men are encouraged to start with a 35 lb. kettlebell if they are active. Other sites suggest that 25 lbs. is the right size for those who don’t exercise. I still think that might be too heavy and, in fact, believe a 15 lb. kettlebell is the best choice for out of shape men.
As a society, men believe they should lift heavy objects of similar weights that experienced trainers or even active guys do. This is an unrealistic expectation, especially when it comes to kettlebells because conditioning isn’t factored in. Most men will likely choose a kettlebell that is too heavy and then get discouraged when they realize how difficult it is. The thing to remember is that fitness goals shouldn’t be a competition.
If you want to lose weight, build muscle, improve your cardio, or simply get in better shape then you need to use a kettlebell that is not too heavy nor too light. I’d argue that exercise duration is more important than the heaviness of the kettlebell your using. It’s more beneficial to get a 20-minute workout with a 15 lb. kettlebell than a 5-minute workout with a 35 lb. kettlebell.
Check out my detailed thoughts on the matter here as well as some recommendations for 15 lb. kettlebells. That’s the weight that I started with and now I regularly use a 45 lb. kettlebell!