Beginning Your Kettlebell Training
So now that I’ve answered the why and how kettlebells are a good solution for a home gym, it’s time I go over the what and where. Specifically where to buy kettlebells and what size should you start with. It can be confusing as suggestions online always seem to target the average person. But what exactly does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine.
Start With a Cast Iron Kettlebell
A cast iron or traditional kettlebell offers a couple of advantages over steel or competition kettlebells when it comes to newcomers. For one, the price for cast iron kettlebells is a lot cheaper than competition kettlebells of equal weight. In some cases up to half the amount for the same weight.
Secondly, competition kettlebells are uniform in size. It makes no difference if it weighs 18 pounds or 100 pounds. This is important for athletes and serious lifters so that the kettlebell always rests in the same position when in use. Compare that to cast iron kettlebells which vary in size greatly depending on their weight. Lighter kettlebells, for instance, are small enough for beginners to handle more easily than their competition style counterparts.
There are a lot of brands to choose from, so for the sake of simplicity and affordability, you can’t go wrong with the one below. Many sizes are available.
Contrary to the popular sentiment that the average man should start with a 35 lb kettlebell, I wouldn’t recommend that as a starting weight. Instead, men of average or athletic build should opt for a 25 lb kettlebell. If you’re overweight, go 5 pounds lighter with a 20 lb kettlebell. I actually started with a 15 lb kettlebell and I found it to be quite the challenge for my 265 pound, 5’7″ body!
Women will want to deduct 5 lbs. less from the recommended sizes above. That’s 20 lbs for average/athletic females and 15 lbs if you’re overweight. Just for the record, there are some insanely strong women kettlebell lifters out there! Some of them are able to throw around 80 pounds like it’s a paperweight. Truly impressive!
Learn The Fundamentals Before Jumping In
There are TONS of videos on youtube of kettlebell exercises and workouts. Some of them are nicely done while others show poor form. Before you start swinging away with your new kettlebell, it’s vital that you have an understanding of correct technique. Everything from how to hold the kettlebell to where power is generated from in basic moves should be carefully reviewed.
The problem with improper use of the kettlebell is two-fold. First, there is the concern of injury. Since you’ll be using a lighter kettlebell, the initial concern relates to injuries occurred due to incorrect repetitive motions. Although serious injury is unlikely, you may become discouraged and throw in the towel before the benefits of kettlebell training are realized.
The other issue pertains to the ineffectiveness of certain exercises when performed the wrong way. When I first started, I was using my arms to power the kettlebell swing. I didn’t realize that they were supposed to be an extension of my body instead of lifting the kettlebell!
Once you’ve nailed down the right movements for kettlebell exercises, the possibilities are limitless. You can chain those exercises together to create unique workouts targeting multiple muscle groups. However, it’s imperative that you learn not just the correct technique, but also the common mistakes! Fortunately, there is such a program that does just that.