Everything you need to know to get started with kettlebells
I started with kettlebells in 2008. Or was it 2009? I think it was 2008.
And ever since I have been coming up with ways to use them. While I didn’t cause the initial rise of popularity in kettlebells, I did bring about the tidal wave of popularity in specific TYPES of kettlebell training–particularly kettlebell complexes, and the kettlebell as a generalist strength/conditioning/mobility tool. (Here’s a podcast on that.)
The kettlebell, I often say, is like the “Swiss Army Knife of Functional Fitness.”
It’s useful for so many things: Strength, cardio, flexibility, and building muscle. They’re like a gym with a handle on top. They look like cannonballs, actually, a little. They’re cute, if you’ve never seen one. Easily the most adorable piece of weight lifting equipment in the gym.
Alright, let’s take some questions.
Q. What Are Kettlebells Good For?
Q. The kettlebell is like the Swiss Army Knife of functional fitness–I think I said that, already.
It can do everything, though some things better than others. The kettlebell is “best” for metabolic conditioning–short, intense, sweat-inducing workouts. But the kettlebell is also great for building strength and size, as well. Flexibility, too.
It’s important to remember that, like a Swiss Army Knife, the kettlebell is only a tool, and it’s how you USE the tool that determines the benefit. This is why it matters so much to a fitness philosophy, from which you can operate.
Ours in generalism.
Q. What Size Kettlebell Should I Start With?
Q. Men, I recommend 16kg. Women, 8kg.
If you can only get one.
Otherwise, grab a set. 16kg, 20kg, 24kg – men. 8kg, 12kg, 16kg – women.
Q. What are the first two exercises I should learn?
Funny you ask that. Sounds like a loaded question…
At any rate, you should learn the two hand swing and the goblet squat.
Q. OK – Can I Do a Workout With JUST Those Two Exercises?
Sure can. And you can even add push ups, if you want.
Q. Pat, Could You Tell Me The 5 Most Common Kettlebell Swing Mistakes?
You know what, I CAN show you the 5 most common kettlebell swing mistakes.
Q. What Are The Fundamental Exercises Beyond The Swing and The Squat?
Swing, Squat, Get Up, Military Press, Clean, and Snatch. Start with those. If you go to my Facebook Page or Youtube Channel, you’ll see I’ve done either tutorials or Facebook Live videos on all of these, at some point.
Q. How About a Good (But Tough!) Beginner Workout — Got One Of Those?
You bet. My #IBetYouCantDoThisWorkout series has a lot of workouts that are extremely tough, but feature “just the basics” so far as exercise selection goes. Check this one out.
Q. Next Question: What are THE 5 BEST KETTLEBELL EXERCISES FOR FASTER FAT LOSS?
I can’t believe you asked this. I literally JUST made a video called THE 5 BEST KETTLEBELL EXERCISES FOR FASTER FAT LOSS. So weird!
Q. What Brand of Kettlebell Do You Recommend?
Dragondoor is good. Rogue is good. Those are the two I like. That is, until I make my own…
Q. What Is The Difference Between Single and Double Kettlebell Exercises.
There’s a few. But mostly double kettlebell work is better for strength and muscle, and single kettlebell work is better for endurance and mobility/flexibility. There is always cross over, of course, but because using two kettlebells (often) implies using more weight, double kettlebell work is suited more toward heavier, lower rep sets, and single kettlebell work toward lighter, higher rep sets.
Q. Should I Do Single or Double Kettlebell Workouts?
Both are valuable. You want to do both.
Q. Unrelated: What Is the Best Band of All Time?
Q.Are Kettlebells Enough? Should I Do Anything Else?
A. All tools, even the Swiss Army Knife, are limited. Either in what they can do, or in how well they can do it. For most people, most of the time, kettlebells will cover 80 – 95% of everything you need. At a minimum, I would add walking and pull ups.
But why limit yourself? I train with all modalities. Kettlebells just make up the most of what I do. Remember, the philosophy is generalism; kettlebells are just the tool.
Q. Where Can I Go to Learn More About Kettlebells.
My email list is your best bet–I share stuff almost every day.
You can join by taking my free 5 Day Kettlebell Fat Furnace Fitness Challenge.
Or, if you CLICK HERE, you can get 101 free kettlebell workouts.
Finally, there’s my podcast.
Any other questions?
Drop a comment!