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What Kettlebell weight to start with?

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  • What Kettlebell weight to start with?

    I'm a 5'-1" Female and can do about 10 pushups, no pullups. I want to start a kettlebell routine so I ordered one and it arrived today. It's 15 lbs and I'm just wondering if that's a good weight to begin with or should I go get one that's a little lighter.

    Any women out there doing kettlebells?

  • #2
    Do you know what it is you want to do with the kettlebell? I'm 5'7" and probably less fit than you and I use a 25 pound kb for swings. It's heavy enough for me now, but I'm hoping to move to a heavier weight relatively quickly. I'm actually trying to figure out what else I can do with it other than swings and sitting it on top of some warped cutting boards to flatten them.
    kiss = keep it simple, sister!

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    • #3
      If you can do ten real pushups I think you want to def start at a higher weight. I use a 26 lber for cleans and military presses and a 35 lber for everything else.

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      • #4
        I've read that women are usually advised to start with kettlebells in that range, and if you've never used a kettlebell before you'll have an easier time with a lighter one while you're learning the motions and the techniques. Most big sporting goods chains and even walmart seems to carry them in different sizes now so if you get the chance it might be a good idea to go and test some out. That is, if you don't mind doing a few swings and snatches in the exercise aisle.

        Kiss, there are an incredible amount of things you can do with a kettlebell. It can work just about every muscle group if you are willing to play around with it. When I don't feel like going anywhere to work out I just grab my kettlebell and get to work. Swings are the classics exercise, but you can also try snatches, which are a particularly nasty bred of full body, explosive/control lift. I also use mine to do alot of squats, because i think it's easier to hold a kettlebell than to yoke myself with that bar. I'd also recommend the clean and press, and some windmills for an awesome midsection workout. You should be able to find guide for these exercises on youtube, and I'd recommend that too, since some of them have a few steps that require some muscle control and precision of movement.

        I've also just started to lift my kettlebells with a towel looped through the handle. Holding the towel changes up the way you can grip for your lifts and it makes it easier to curl and do rows. Curling a kettlebell can be a little bit awkward otherwise.

        Hope this helps

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        • #5
          Originally posted by EROCK View Post
          Kiss, there are an incredible amount of things you can do with a kettlebell. It can work just about every muscle group if you are willing to play around with it. When I don't feel like going anywhere to work out I just grab my kettlebell and get to work. Swings are the classics exercise, but you can also try snatches, which are a particularly nasty bred of full body, explosive/control lift. I also use mine to do alot of squats, because i think it's easier to hold a kettlebell than to yoke myself with that bar. I'd also recommend the clean and press, and some windmills for an awesome midsection workout. You should be able to find guide for these exercises on youtube, and I'd recommend that too, since some of them have a few steps that require some muscle control and precision of movement.

          I've also just started to lift my kettlebells with a towel looped through the handle. Holding the towel changes up the way you can grip for your lifts and it makes it easier to curl and do rows. Curling a kettlebell can be a little bit awkward otherwise.

          Hope this helps
          Thanks! I've been googling kettlebell exercises and I've found a few interesting things to try out. I only have the 25lb kb so it's too heavy for me to do anything one-handed. Hopefully someday it won't be.
          kiss = keep it simple, sister!

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          • #6
            OK - you ladies must have stronger arms than I do. This 15 lb kb seems too heavy to lift above my head with one hand for more than a couple of reps. I guess I'm a little worried about my shoulders, not the strongest link in my body. I have a Jillian DVD for kettlebells so maybe I'll just try it and only do as much as feels right for me. Thanks for all the input.

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            • #7
              Please, please, please don't use Jillian Michael's DVD for kettlebells. Her form is atrocious. That isn't just my opinion. Try a google search for reviews. As far as weight goes, you will probably be surprised at how quickly your 15 lber starts to feel light. I thought my 26 was way too heavy when I started, but after pushing myself for a few weeks I very quickly needed something heavier for two-handed work.

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              • #8
                Yea, I'd agree with staying away from the Jillian Michaels dvds. For kettlebells I'd recommend looking up information or watching videos featuring a trainer named Pavel Tsatsouline, alot of his work focuses specifically on kettlebells and training for strength, as opposed to endurance or gaining mass, and he puts a strong emphasis on technique so no one hurts themselves. I think he even wrote a kettlebell book for women, so you might want to check that out.

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                • #9
                  I followed Pavel's Enter the Kettlebell! Program Minimum after getting down the form for the swing and get-up. I used a 15 for getups and 25 for swings and it was intense! You don't start pressing until after several weeks on Program Minimum. I still can only press 18lbs max. Your mileage may vary, but 15 was just right for me.

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                  • #10
                    I followed Enter the Kettlebell! Program Minimum after getting down the form for the swing and get-up. I used a 15 for getups and 25 for swings and it was intense! You don't start pressing until after several weeks on Program Minimum. I can do 10 pushups, but I still can only press 18lbs max. Your mileage may vary, but 15 was just right for me.

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                    • #11
                      Hi there

                      I bought and read and use Pavel's book From Russia With Tough Love. The writing is a bit corny but that's part of the charm. Great book. Great workouts from beginner to advanced.

                      Stick with KB's. They'll do you right.

                      Good Luck

                      Esperance

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                      • #12
                        Hi Kiss,

                        I have been using kettlebells now for almost 2 years. This after I had broken my shoulder and torn my labrum backpacking...Without a doubt(My opinion) the most effective overall body workout. Great cardio, strength improvement, flexibility, and core workout! Start light! Your gains will improve rapidly with patience and the right techniques. Your 25 is great for 2 hand 1 bell swings, 1 hand swings(once you've gotten stronger), cleans, etc(More lower body)...I would suggest anything betwen a 5-10lb bell for press, snatch, highpull, windmills, etc(more upper body) until you get stronger and more confident with the bell. Your technique is very important! When I started, I could barely press/snatch a 9 pound bell overhead. I can now press/snatch anywhere from 71lb to 98lb...I was very patient, and had great instructors helping me along the way.


                        Go to skoggsystems.com out of Portland, Oregon(Their Gym is in the Pearl District). This is where I learned everything. Michael Skogg has a great dvd package, and is very instructional. He really hits on all the fine points that sometimes get overlooked. DO NOT GO TO JILIAN MICHAELS!!!!! SHE IS A KETTLEBELL HACK!!!!!

                        I'm 45 and in the best physical shape of my life. I started out weighing btwn 205/215lbs with 12-16% body fat. I'm now btwn 165/170lbs and 6-8%. I owe it all to kettlebells and primal lifestyle(which btw, I learned of The Primal Blueprint from the instructors there). Good luck on your journey, and please do not hesitate to ask for any assistance:-) Grok/Swing On!
                        Free your mind, and your Grok will follow!

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                        • #13
                          Oh gosh, I guess I'm going to have to get another DVD. I get the impression that the great kettlebellers are out of Russia. Thanks for all the tips.

                          I did my first workout today with the Jillian DVD and surprisingly was able to work with the 15 lb kb OK. The workout kicked my butt but I know I didn't hurt myself. I was sweatin' like a pig and it was only 25 minutes. (I'm not sure if pigs sweat or not)

                          I will see if my library carries Pavel's books and DVDs.

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                          • #14
                            Don't get me wrong, the Russians are great when it comes to the Kettlebell. They/ the Celts introduced them to the modern world(in a manner of speaking). Pavel is fantastic...I have "Enter the Kettlebell", and "Naked Warrior"...His philosophies and ideas have inspired many!!!!!
                            Free your mind, and your Grok will follow!

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                            • #15
                              Hey! 12kg is good for 2 hand swings, 1 hand I started on an 8kg. That seems like a good weight to start on, form is important so perhaps drop down lower to a comfortable level untill you can get form right. Or concentrate on two hand swings until you are strong enough for 1 hand? I'd recommend a couple of sessions with a PT if you can afford it to get your form right before continueing. Also, i find that if a weight is too heavy to press with, make sure you use your legs too, a little push to get it up there. After a while you'll find that you don't need it

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