What Kettlebell Weight to use? Light, Medium, or Heavy?

What is the right kettlebell weight to use for the kettlebell exercises or kettlebell workouts on our website and what is a light, medium, or heavy? Our workouts have a prescribed weight, but that doesn’t mean you should be working at that weight, and when it comes to weight, what is light for one is medium or heavy for another. In the end, it always comes down to the individual.

The most important thing to always keep in mind when picking your kettlebell weight:

  • Can you complete the task with good form and technique from start to end?
  • Is the weight challenging you in the manner that is prescribed?
  • Will you remain safe and uninjured?
  • Have you checked your ego at the door?

What is a Medium Weight?

If we recommend using a medium, low, or heavy weight, what does that mean? What is a medium kettlebell weight? We’ve classified the weight into 6 categories:

  • Light
  • Light to medium
  • Medium
  • Medium to heavy
  • Heavy
  • 1RM

A light kettlebell weight is anything lower than 30% of your 1RM.

A light to medium kettlebell weight is between 30 to 50% of your 1RM.

A medium kettlebell weight is between 50 to 70 of your 1RM.

A medium to heavy kettlebell weight is between 70 to 80 of your 1RM.

A heavy kettlebell weight is anything higher than 80% of your 1RM.

A 1RM kettlebell weight is 100% of your 1 repetition max, meaning, the maximum weight you can lift only once for the exercise in question.

Picking the Right Weight

If you have an accurate reading of your 1RM for the given exercise then you will be close to the right weight for the exercise and desired response. However, you might run into occasions where you are fatigued from not recovering from previous workouts, other work that you’re doing, disease, etc. Therefore, you should always understand what the desired response of the programming is and adjust accordingly.

If the desired perceived intensity and state of the workout is vigorous and steady, but you have picked a weight that results in you having to stop and take long breaks, then the weight was not the right selection and you should adjust.

If the intended response was that you could not maintain more than 2 or 3 minutes of the exercise but at the end of the task you are still standing and could have done another 10 minutes, then your weight selection was too light and you should adjust accordingly.

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