How To Make A Kettlebell Feel Lighter

by Kilo on September 7, 2011


Me with my fearsome 2kg kettlebell.

How to make a kettlebell feel lighter? I asked this question to one of my classes about a year ago and got a lot of confused stares.

I knew they were all struggling with the weights they were using, so it wasn’t that they didn’t think that their kettlebells felt heavy.

For the first few weeks with a new student, I generally allow them to choose whatever weight they feel like. Invariably they choose something way lighter than they need to, particularly for swings.

You swing a kettlebell with your hamstrings and hips. A man who thinks that a 32kg kettlebell is too heavy for him to swing is usually pleasantly surprised to find that not only can he do it, he could have been doing it much sooner.This generally doesn’t happen until I say, “Okay, I want you to feel something a little heavier.”

And that’s how you make a kb seem light. You lift a heavier one. I spent most of my first year playing around with a 24kg bell. I got stronger, but it never started to feel easy until I began working with a 32 kg bell.

Then, going back to the 24–it felt like a feather, comparatively. When the heavier weight becomes your working weight, you’ll wonder how the previous bell ever felt so difficult.

Snatching two 16kg bells at the same time has had an even more pronounced impact for me.

I’d compare this to the guy we’ve all seen in the gym who benches 225 for years. It’s never going to start feeling light until there’s something heavier to compare it to.

If you’re stuck in this situation, I highly recommend trying something a bit heavier for a while, even if it’s just for a few reps to get some confidence in.



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

John Sifferman September 8, 2011 at 6:52 am

The same applies with clubbells, too. Some guys never progress above a pair of 15′s, but those 15′s would start feeling much easier if you started training with 20′s or 25′s.


Kilo September 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

What’s the heaviest you’ve used, John?


John Sifferman September 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I’m using 25′s for most single-handed work nowadays, and have used the 45 for two-handed training for a couple of years. You can get your hands on some heavier ones, though they are pretty rare, and I don’t need anything heavier for my goals.


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