How many Kettlebells do I need?

I’d really love to have a gym with a long line of kettlebells, all lined up numerically in military fashion… oh, wait… I do. Ah, but I train people, people in all shapes, sizes and abilities. I also train a handful remotely via this www thingy.

I use kettlebells for all the many benefits they bring and every single person starts their strength regime at a different point. For some (read many) no weights are involved to start with, as we build technique, movement proficiency and a solid foundation. Once ready, we move on with an appropriately sized kettlebell. 

The key loaded movements that kettlebells excel with include pressing overhead, front squats, carries and naturally the kettlebell swing, clean and snatch. 

For everything else, bodyweight movements prove optimal. I’ll not go into these details here but feel to ask. 

One question I get a lot however is – ‘how many kettlebells do I need, and should I use two at the same time’? 

This is one great question. I’m not a man for wasting money on things I will never use. If I end up with something in the gym that never gets used, I sell it on. 

Regarding kettlebell training, is has proven good practice to have a small range of kettlebells that allow you to:

  1. practice with great form and little distraction
  2. practice with a focus on strength and grinding (safely)
  3. practice with a medium effort.

For ladies this might equate to an 8, 10, 12kg or an 8, 12, 16kg and gents, a 16, 20 and a 24kg kettlebell. 

The second part of that common question relates to double kettlebell training. This is an option for both pressing and squatting i.e. holding a kettlebell in each hand as opposed to single kettlebell training. 

What’s the difference? 

Single kettlebell training is, for most people, a great starting point. holding the kettlebell in one hand for an overhead press allows the user to focus on individual shoulder / arm strength, condition and form. A single kettlebell is great for the goblet squat to build the ‘shape’ of the squat and a foundation of strength. A single kettlebell is perfect to learn the hinge and snap of a kettlebell swing.

A single kettlebell held, racked on one shoulder will also expose asymmetries (imbalances) during a single kettlebell squat. It always surprises me and the user, when they goblet squat, say a 16kg with perfect, easy form, then rack it onto one shoulder to find they twist like a noodle!

Loading one shoulder will always expose weaknesses.

Someone wise

However, when one is relatively balanced and seeks strength, muscle building and a metabolically charging training program, then double kettlebell training is the solution. 

Yes, you may still be pressing a 20kg kettlebell, but there is now 40kg on your frame, not just 20kg. No-one can argue that won’t make you stronger. 

The same goes for cleaning the kettlebells to the shoulders. Cleaning a single 24kg bell is great, but a pair is magnificent. Racking up two 20-24kg kettlebells for front squats will vastly boost lower body strength.

Anyhoo, to conclude: 

If you are a kettlebell enthusiast, a few kettlebells should inhabit your training space and ideally, doubling up is a great idea and investment. 

Need help with your kettlebell training? Why not get in touch and we can chat about what you need and how I can help.

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