What Kettlebells Should I Start With?

Josh Henkin gives his recommendations for starting kettlebells for men and women.


What Kettlebells Should I Start With?

I am interested in starting with kettlebells, but I need to know what you would recommend as a 'starter set' of kettlebells. I live near Dayton, Ohio and don't think that there are any places nearby to learn from a trainer. Any suggestions?


It all depends upon your level of fitness and, to be honest, gender. I recommend that most women can start with an 8 kg/18-lb kettlebell, while fit women can begin with a 12 kg/26-lb kettlebell.

A male starting to work out should begin with a 16 kg/35-lb kettlebell, while a fit man can begin with a 24 kg/53-lb kettlebell. This is my opinion, based upon my experiences. In addition, I think one should order another kettlebell of the same size before moving up to a heavier kettlebell. This would allow you to perform a host of new (or old) kettlebell exercises while still becoming more proficient with the weight.

If you do not have the luxury of having a trained coach in your area, you are still in luck. Pavel Tsatsouline puts out terrific videos that are easy to follow and full of useful tips.

If you are a person that enjoys videos, there are plenty to choose from. Beginners should start with either of these:

  • "The Russian Kettlebell Challenge" Video
  • "From Russia With Tough Love" Video

They really are not as gender-specific as they appear, however. Both have extremely helpful information for either gender. However, if books are your fancy, then men may enjoy:

  • "The Russian Kettlebell Challenge" Book

...while women may prefer:

  • "From Russia With Tough Love" Book

...because of its emphasis on lower body exercises. Be aware though, the workouts are very addictive!