What Size Kettlebells?

I am considering getting a set of kettlebells, but first wanted to solicit some input from the folks here at T-Nation.

If I were to buy a set of 2 kettlebells, which weight should I pick? I have never used them before, and would like to supplement my training with them. I am more concerned with practical strength and general fitness than anything else.

My 1RM on the squat and deadlift are both at about 300lbs, if that helps in choosing a weight. They’re pretty expensive, so I don’t want to buy a pair to find out that they are either too light or too heavy.


I would go with a 53lb’er and maybe a 70 also. I dont think you need to start with a pair of the same weight. It is also easier to learn the hip snap with a heavier bell. It is real easy to get sloppy with the lighter bells.

My wife is fairly strong and does alot of swings with the 36lb and last night she got ten with the 53. She also Bent Pressed the 36.

Just my opinion. Most my work is with the 53 and 70.

Generally the 36lber is recommended to start off with, but depending on how strong you already are a 53lber might work well too.

Check out US Kettlebells: www.uskettlebells.com/store/index.php, they sell adjustable kbells for a lower price than the fixed weight ones at Dragondoor.

Those look like a pain in the ass to change. Could be a good option if your just going to use a given weight for a while. Personally I prefer the fixed weight, to each his own.

Do you think I should get a pair or just one kettlebell to start off with? Are most exercises done with just one kettlebell?

You’re better off going with two different weights. This has also been recommended by Dan John and numerous others. You don’t need to start out with two-hand lifts. Do one-arm stuff and get two kbells to start (53lb and 70lb sound good - but they will be harder than you think). Once you get a variety of kbells with weights you can use, then go back and get a matching pair.

I started with a 36lb kbell, and I have similar strength levels as you. I also have a 53lber, and that works well for low-rep stuff.

You can start with one and then do two later. There’s a bit more variety with two, obviously, but starting off with one could get you used to doing kbell work.

One thing to add to what Nate just posted, I started with a 36lber and moved to a 53lber within a few weeks. Two of a different size might be something to think about.

Also, if you go with a Dragondoor kbell, check to see if there’s any workshops or instructors in the area. Any RKC certified by Dragondoor gets a 10% discount on orders and you might be able to put one in through them.

[quote]Sarge131 wrote:
Do you think I should get a pair or just one kettlebell to start off with? Are most exercises done with just one kettlebell?[/quote]

Thanks for the input guys. I think I’ll try a 53 and maybe a 70.

I’d go with what Nate said, two of a different size. 53 and a 70. I have pairs up to 70 and an 88. Really, the only exercises I use pairs for are double cleans and swings. All of the exercises can be performed with one bell.

Check out Gillathletics.com.
They have a set of 16kg, 24kg, and 32kg. I have this set, and am very pleased. These models have very thick handles, increasing grip work.

I think they cost me around $250.00, includling shipping charges.

I am considering obtaining at 40kg kettlebell, and maybe heavier, but I still get a great workout with the ones I have.