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Kettlebell FAQs

Q. What type of people use kettlebells?
A. People from all walks of life use kettlebells. From office workers and housewives to firefighters and military, people of all types use kettlebells to increase their level of fitness, lose fat, get a physical edge in athletics or physically demanding professions, get stronger, or just feel physically better in general. You can too!

Q. Can women train with kettlebells? I don’t want to get bulky.
A. Absolutely! There are tremendous benefits to women with kettlebell training. See Lisa Shaffer’s excellent article on kettlebell training for women:
Russian Kettlebells for Women? Absolutely!

Q. Do I need any special training to use a kettlebell?
A. It is always best when first starting out with kettlebells to get some training with a certified instructor. Two or three one on one sessions or attending a workshop will really get you off to the right start. If that is not possible, our Smart Start ebook can provide you with excellent written and video instruction to get you on the right path quickly.

Q. Are kettlebells dangerous? They look dangerous from some of the pictures I’ve seen.
A. Like any weight training equipment, if used improperly, they can be. Be aware of your surroundings and mindful of practicing proper form and you will be fine.

Q. What size kettlebell should I start with?
A. Well, that all depends on your conditioning, experience lifting, strength etc… Generally it is best to err on the light side when starting out with kettlebells. An average woman should start with an 8kg/18lber. The average man should start with a 16kg/35lber.

If you are strong in the overhead lifts and consider yourself an experienced lifter, then a strong woman could start with at 12kb/26lber and a strong man could start with a 20kg/44lber.

Q. How many kettlebells do I need?
A. Just one kettlebell to start. There are a large number of unilateral kettlebell exercises to use and to build a successful program with.

Q. Ok, I went ahead and ordered a kettlebell and it has just arrived. Now what do I do?
A. Go to our kettlebell safety area, review the information there and then get busy!
Kettlebell Safety

Q. I want to get a kettlebell but I have a limited amount of money. I’m concerned that whichever I get I will quickly outgrow. What do I do when my kettlebell gets too light?
A. We would venture to say that there is never a kettlebell that is too light. For every kettlebell that has become too light, we could show you many exercises to make it feel heavy again while continuing to make gains. There are many ways to make the exercises harder again and different exercises using a lighter bell to work the same muscles groups.

For example, if you’ve gotten to the point where you can military press your kettlebell 8, 10, 12 times, you could switch to the seated military press, one legged military press, or sots press to create a bigger challenge in your overhead pressing. After a while, with the strength and fitness gains you will make from kettlebell training, you will need a heavier kb, but there will always be a use for a lighter one.

Q. How do I know when I’m ready to move up to a heavier kettlebell?
A. When you get to the point where you can swing the kettlebell 20 reps for several sets and you can press it five reps for 3-5 sets you will be ready to move up. However, as noted in the question above, there is always a way to make exercises harder and put a lighter kb to excellent use.

Q. I’ve been working out for a few months now and I’m ready for another kettlebell, should I move up in weight or get another one the same size?
A. That really depends on your goals. You can ask three different experienced instructors this question and you will probably get 3 different answers. My rule of thumb is this, you can’t go wrong with getting the double if your goal is strength or strength endurance. It takes a lot more strength to press two kettlebells than it does just one, even if pressing one is getting easy. If your goal is conditioning, then get the heavier bell and stick to the unilateral work for a while longer.

Q. I have a set of dumbbells, can I use dumbbells to do the kettlebell exercises?
A. Yes, you can perform most of hte kettlebell exercises with a dumbbell. However, because of the characteristics of a kettlebell, greater gains can be achieved with a number of these exercises with a kettlebell. And for several of the exercises, like the swing and snatch, the kettlebell’s shape makes the exercises much less awkward. For more information on the differences between kettlebell training and dumbell training, please our kettlebell primer article:
Kettlebell Primer

Q. I currently train in a gym using machines. How will kettlebells help me?
A. Most kettlebell exercises involve big body movements requiring the chaining of several muscle groups working together to complete the lift. Because of this, a full body workout can be achieved in a minimal amount of time because major muscle groups are involved in a single lift. A fully complete and sufficient kettlebell workout can be achieved in as little as 20-30 minutes. Also, full body lifts more closely mimic the demands we put on our bodies in our everyday lives. This simply cannot be achieved with most gym machines.

Q. I see a number of places where I can get a kettlebell, all with differing prices. What should I look for in terms of quality when I’m shopping around for a kettlebell?
A. When shopping around for a kettlebell, four of the biggest things to look at are the kettlebell’s handle, finish, base, and overall workmanship. For more information on what makes for a good kettlebell and the characteristics of our Ader kettlebells, please see our article About Ader Kettlebells

Q. I haven’t worked out with weights in years. Would kettlebell training be for me?
A. Absolutely. Kettlebells are a great training tool for “getting back into shape”. The highly efficient workouts also lessen the time demand of working out, so that you can easily work them into the busiest of schedules. Before you know it, your training will be a regular part of your day, and you’ll have the body to show for it!

Q. I used to workout with weights when I was younger. Now I’m in my mid-fifties and don’t like where my body is heading. Can I get back some of my muscle tone from my younger days by using kettlebells?
A. Again, Absolutely! You can regain muscle tone at any age. And a kettlebell is a perfect tool for doing that. Not being in your 20s or 30s anymore does not mean the end of an awesome physique. With a good, clean diet, and regular strength exercise, you can start regaining some of the muscle tone you may have lost from your youth. Many older clients have been trained by kettlebell instructors and have transformed their bodies and now feel better than they have in years. All from regular consisten kettlebell training, 20 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week, and a clean diet. You can definitely do it too!

Q. Is this a full body workout or do I need other weights too?
A. Kettlebells can be used as a stand alone strength training tool for a full body workout or as a supplement to your current training.

Q. How can I incorporate kettlebells with my regular barbell workouts?
A. A full workout program of barbell work and kettlebell work is outside the scope of a FAQ section, but kettelbell training presents an excellent complement to heavy barbell work. They can be used in a supporting fashion to work on overcoming sticking points in your barbell lifts. They can be used for supplemental cardio training. They can be used for active recovery between heavy training days. The possibilities are endless. There are many articles available on the internet for mixing barbell work and kettlebell work effectively.

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