I get asked a lot of questions about kettlebell training so I thought it would be helpful to create a list of the most commonly asked questions all in one place for your reference…
Which kettlebell weight should i buy?
Because kettlebell exercises use the whole body rather than just a few isolated muscles you will be surprised at how much more weight you can lift than usual.
Women should begin with an 8kg (15b) and progress to a 12kg (25lb) and finally a 16kg (35b) for two handed swings.
Men will start with a 12kg, progress to a 16kg and finally a 24kg (50lbs) for two handed swings.
My main goal is fat loss, where should I start?
Kettlebell workouts, when performed correctly, use 100’s of muscles at a time and so not only burn lots of calories during the workout but also condition the muscles of the body increasing your metabolic rate.
The Two handed Swing is your first main goal, not only will it target lots of muscle mass but it’s also very cardiovascular.
Related: 5 Beginners Kettlebell Exercises
Are short workouts really best for fat loss?
Yes, there is lots of research now that shows full body short workouts are more effective than long slow cardio workouts. The benefits are you:
- Continue to burn calories hours afterwards
- Avoid overtraining
- Increase your metabolism
- Add tone and condition to your full body
Plus, shorter workouts are naturally more achievable. In under 10 minutes you can complete your workout at home before work and then carry on with your day.
How long will it take to see results?
Kettlebell training when performed correctly will increase muscle tone thus increasing your metabolic rate, improve your cardio and mobility, and burn a lot of calories.
With a good diet and sensible kettlebell training program you will start to see cardio, strength and fat loss within 30 days.
How often should I workout?
Kettlebell Training is intense. Most exercises use the whole body and over 600 muscles at a time. Workouts should be kept short and repeated often. So a regular schedule may include a 10 minute workout 5 times per week.
What does a good beginners routine look like?
All beginners should start off by mastering the Kettlebell Swing. The Swing is a full body exercise that will deliver more results than any other exercise. Here’s an example workout:
- Two Handed Swing x 10 reps
- Rest x 30 seconds
- Repeat 3 – 10 rounds
What does an advanced routine look like?
More advanced kettlebellers will put together circuits directed at different movement patterns, for example:
- Single Handed Swing x 30 secs each side
- Reverse Lunge x 30 secs each side
- Clean x 30 secs each side
- Squat and Press x 30 secs each side
- Rest 60 seconds and repeat
Related: 5 Intermediate Kettlebell Exercises
How do I know when to progress exercises?
Progressing at the correct rate is very important. If you progress too soon then you risk injury because your stabilising muscles and connective tissue may not of fully developed.
A beginners progression looks like this. When you can complete no.1 you move on to no.2 and so on.
- Two Handed Swing x 60 seconds
- One Handed Swing x 60 seconds each side
- Increase the weight and repeat
Another example: Only press overhead what you can use for the Turkish Get Up. Always master the Get Up before the overhead press because this conditions the shoulder stabilisers and prevents potential future shoulder injuries.
Why is the turkish get up so difficult?
The Get Up is the perfect full body exercise that not only mobilises all of your joints but teaches your body to work together as one especially integrating your core muscles with your limbs.
If you struggle with the Get Up then start without a weight to master the movements, then begin adding weight slowly.
You should be able to Get Up with the same weight that you single handedly swing a kettlebell with. If you cannot then you must practice because you lack certain stability and mobility that will prevent you from future injuries.
Related: Ultimate Guide to the Turkish Get Up
My knees hurt when I squat or lunge?
If you have had an accident or knee surgery then I can understand why you may experience knee pain.
However, if your knees just hurt when you squat or lunge then the chances are that your technique is either bad or you are just too weak to properly squat.
Practice squatting by unloading the movement. You can do this by holding onto a pole, back of a chair or using a band or TRX. Also master the squat before moving onto the lunge.
Which muscles do kettlebells work?
Unlike conventional body building type exercises kettlebell training works hundreds of muscles at a time. At is the full body natural of kettlebell training that makes it so effective.
Where to start with kettlebells?
Like all things there is a natural order to kettlebell training to prevent injury and develop skill. The primary goals should be the kettlebell swing which means developing the hip hinge and the deadlift movement pattern.
Related: 5 Beginners Kettlebell Exercises
Where did kettlebell training originate?
Many believe it started in Scotland as a competitive event where an actual kettle was used loaded with weight.
Where to buy kettlebells?
You can buy kettlebells from most good sports shops as well as online at specialist shops. There are a lot of really badly designed kettlebells out there so make sure you choose wisely and don’t just go for the cheapest option, you will only regret it later.
Where do kettlebell swings target?
There are not many muscles that don’t get used during the kettlebell swing but in particular they focus on the back of the body: buttocks, hamstrings, lower and upper back.
Why use the kettlebell swing?
The kettlebell swing is an all-in-one exercise that uses most muscles of the body. The swing improves your posture, increases your cardio, develop explosive power and is superb for fat loss.
Why use kettlebell training?
Kettlebell training uses hundreds of muscles in the body during every exercise making is very time efficient as well as improving your cardio often without the need to even move your feet. It’s fun too!
Why a kettlebell workout is good for you?
Kettlebell workouts, when programmed correctly, flow from one exercise to the next using hundreds of muscles at a time. They will develop stronger muscle and bone density, safeguard daily movement patterns and increase flexibility.
Why kettlebell training is so effective?
The kettlebells off centre design enables the kettlebell to be used dynamically meaning the body has to absorb and regenerate power in order to keep the kettlebell moving continuously.
Why use kettlebell exercises?
Flowing through a handful of kettlebell exercises means you can complete a full workout in under 10 minutes, challenging your strength, cardio and movement skills.
How the kettlebell swing works?
Using your hips and straight arms you swing the kettlebell in between your legs and then up to chest height repeatedly. The kettlebell swing can be performed with two hands or one.
How many times a week can you use kettlebells?
The amount of times per week you should use your kettlebell depends on the intensity and what type of exercises you are using. Using good workout programming then 3 – 5 times per week is usually enough to see excellent results.
How long before results using kettlebells?
You will gain strength and muscle tonicity quickly using kettlebells and with a good quality diet see fat loss results within 30 days.
How many reps using kettlebells?
The amount of reps you use will depend on your goals and the type of exercise. For more cardio benefits you will use higher reps, for example 20 – 30 swings and for strength much lower reps, maybe only 5 clean and presses.
How many kettlebell swings?
Beginners should start off mastering the two handed swing for only 10 reps before resting and repeating. More advanced swingers may perform 50 or more.
How many kettlebell sets?
Your goals and experience will determine how many sets to perform. Beginners performing the kettlebell swing may perform 3 – 5 sets of 10 reps and work up to 10 x 10 reps. Kettlebell circuits using many exercises may be limited to 1 – 3 sets.
Are kettlebell swings cardio?
Yes, very much so. A good set of kettlebell swings will elevate your heart rate quickly without the need for you to even move your feet.
Related: Are Kettlebell Swings Good For You
Are kettlebell swings good for abs?
Yes, the top part of the kettlebell swing is like a vertical plank. Your abs work hard to prevent you from over extending during every repetition.
Related: 7 Best Kettlebell Ab Exercises
Are kettlebell swings hiit?
If programmed correctly then yes kettlebell swings can be high intensity interval training.
Are kettlebell swings dangerous?
When taught correctly kettlebell swings are very safe. If you experience pain bending forwards or backwards then kettlebell swings are not the exercise for you.
Are kettlebell squats effective?
Yes and in particular the Goblet Squat is super effective at working most muscles in the body as well as being very cardiovascular.
Related: 7 Kettlebell Squats You Need to Know
Are kettlebell swings enough?
Kettlebell swings get a lot done in very little time but progression is always important. Increasing the weight, reps and sets will ensure you continue to get results. Ultimately, adding other movement patterns will be important too.
Are kettlebell swings good for your back?
When performed correctly and using your lower back isometrically as a stabiliser kettlebell swings will help protect you against future back pain.
Are kettlebell workouts good for weight loss?
Yes kettlebell workouts, when programmed correctly, provide a full body mix that will increase your metabolism and generate fat burning hours after your workout has finished unlike conventional cardio methods.
Are kettlebell swings safe during pregnancy?
Why risk it? In my opinion ballistic and dynamic exercises like kettlebell swings should be avoided during pregnancy. You don’t need to give up on exercise, bodyweight workouts are a far safer option.
Will kettlebells get you ripped?
If you want the ripped look then focusing in on your diet should be you main priority. After you have your diet sorted then yes full body workouts using kettlebells will certainly help.
When to increase the kettlebell weight?
As a simple guide, when you can swing a kettlebell with two hands for 60 seconds then it’s time to either progress to one hand or increase the weight.
Can I use kettlebells when sick?
Any type of intense exercise takes energy and nutrients from the body before being replaced later by your diet. If you are sick then you need as many nutrients as possible to fight your illness. Light exercise will help pump nutrients around the body but keep the intensity low.
Can kettlebells build muscle?
Yes but because the exercises are full body movements you won’t get the individual muscle pump like you get with dumbbells. If you are into bodybuilding then barbells and dumbbells are a better option.
Can kettlebells replace dumbbells?
Yes but it depends on your goals. For full body training and conditioning kettlebells are excellent. If you want to build individual muscles then dumbbells are a better choice.
Can kettlebell swings be done everyday?
Yes if you are young, fit and recover well. As we age recovery from exercise takes longer so if you do want to use kettlebell swings everyday you will need to keep the intensity and reps low.
Can kettlebell swings replace deadlifts?
Kettlebell swings and deadlifts use the same movement pattern but swings are more dynamic and explosive. Standard deadlifts start from a dead position whereas swings are fluid. For pure strength deadlifts are better for explosive practical power I would use swings.
Related: 11 Kettlebell Deadlift Workouts
Can kettlebell swings replace squats?
Swing and squats use different movement patterns so one can never replace the other. However, if your goals are fat loss then yes swings can be used rather than squats.
Related: Can Kettlebell Swings replace Squats
Can kettlebells replace cardio?
Kettlebell training, when used correctly, can induce a very high level of cardio while developing strength too. So kettlebells can replace you standard cardio and save you a lot of time.
Can kettlebells cause injury?
Yes, just like all types of exercise if the movements are not taught correctly, you try to lift too much weight or you do not rest enough then yes you can get injured.
Can the kettlebell swing help golfers?
Kettlebell swings are performed forwards and backwards in the sagittal plane. Golf requires rotation through the hips and back so there is no direct movement correlation. However, kettlebell swings could help as a pre-habilitation exercise to strengthen and protect the lower back.
Can I do kettlebell swings with a dumbbell?
Not very easily, the kettlebell benefits from having its load off centre.
What kettlebell weight should I start with?
Kettlebells use full body exercises so you should not compare the weights to dumbbells etc. Men should start with a 12kg or 16kg (35lbs) and women an 8kg or 12kg (25lbs).
What kettlebell exercises work what muscles?
Most kettlebell exercises are full body movements. Rather than think in terms of muscles you should shift your mindset and start thinking in terms of movement patterns. It’s a game changer!
Who uses kettlebell training?
Everyone who wants to burn fat, develop full body strength and power, improve their cardio without ‘doing cardio’, and those with little time to exercise.
I hope you have found these questions and answers helpful.
Most important is that you JUST START and listen to your body.
To see more posts about basics kettlebell workouts, go here.
P.S. Did I not answer your question? I’m here for you, just ask your question in the comments below…
Kettlebell Training is intense. Most exercises use the whole body and over 600 muscles at a time. Workouts should be kept short and repeated often. So a regular schedule may include a 10 – 15 minute workout 3-5 times per week.
Workouts should be kept short and repeated often. So a regular schedule may include a 10 – 15 minute workout 3-5 times per week.
Depends on your intensity, goals and your physical condition. A focused 10 minute workout is way better than a half-hearted 30 minute routine.