Kettlebell Training Exercises by Age Group

If you’re in the age group of 40, 50, 60, 70, or higher, you might be wondering what kettlebell exercises are the best ones to focus on. Which kettlebell exercises are safe to use? The answer, luckily, is not too complex.

  1. The Exercises
  2. Kettlebell and Aging
  3. The 5 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Seniors
  4. Should you Train With Kettlebells When Older?
  5. What Size Kettlebell to Pick for Seniors?
  6. Safely Train With Kettlebells

Anyone that starts training with kettlebells, no matter what age, needs to start with the fundamentals first and stick with those until mastered. Beginner exercises are the only ones that should exist in your realm until you have laid a good foundation for:

  • Technique; and
  • Form; and
  • Strength; and
  • Flexibility

Before you have reached the point where you can step into the realm of ballistic, fast, explosive, heavy, and high volume you should make sure to tick each bullet point above.

Form, technique, strength, and flexibility are all to be worked on with the focus being on slow, control, and understanding. The latter means that it’s understood what one does and why.

The Exercises

Whether you are a senior or older adult, age does not pose a restriction on what one can achieve. What looks like a restriction is simply time, the investment of time, and the patience to progress slowly. The longer one has not done anything, the longer that journey will take. Now, without further ado, here are some bodyweight kettlebell exercises that one should focus on:

1) Bodyweight Hip Hinge

The bodyweight hip hinge, like the squat, is a fundamental movement upon which loaded exercises are built (adding weight in the form of a kettlebell).

Conventional hip hinge cover

2) Bodyweight Squat

The squat is even more important than the hip hinge for beginners, as its movement pattern allows lifting weights with less load on the lower back, which happens to be an area that beginners overwork.

Bodyweight Squat Cover

3) Plank

The plank is a vital part of the puzzle to build core strength and lay the foundation for many other exercises like the push-up, and more advanced exercises like the kettlebell renegade rows, which are incredibly beneficial to include at an advanced stage.

Bodyweight Plank Cover

4) Light shoulder press

Light shoulder press work is perfect to work on developing flexibility and strength in the upper body, shoulders, and upper arms.

Kettlebell Hybrid Shoulder Press Cover

5) Light bent-over rows with support

Light bent-over rows are great to develop strength in the back, which is an area most commonly neglected.

Kettlebell Bent-Over Wide Stance Row Cover

All of the work is to be done with single kettlebell work, although in some cases, if the kettlebells are light enough, then double kettlebell work is actually easier than single. Single kettlebell work requires more core activation, this is not a bad thing, it will depend on the overall programming, which usually overloads this area. If possible, invest in a progressive program that develops all this gradually and evenly.

You can find more beginner kettlebell exercises on our website by simply ticking the beginner checkbox in some of the searches.

Kettlebell and Aging

Kettlebell workouts for a 60-year-old man, kettlebell exercises for over 65, or kettlebell workouts for female beginners over 50 do not exist. A beginner is a beginner. A 60-year-old man or a female over 50 might be just as strong or weak as an 18-year-old. Just as you would not let a beginner 18-year-old snatch until they’ve reached the stage where all requirements are met, so would one do the same for an older adult.

Sure, you can say that kettlebell workouts for seniors and older adults should include exercises that are performed slowly and controlled with a focus on strength and flexibility, but that’s the same as the path that’s laid out at the start of this article.

The 5 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Seniors

If one would ignore the advice given about starting with bodyweight exercises or one has already mastered those, then the following 5 kettlebell exercises would be the best for seniors:

  1. Kettlebell Hip Hinge Deadlift
  2. Kettlebell Shoulder Press
  3. Kettlebell Chest Press
  4. Kettlebell Row
  5. Kettlebell Racked Squat

The key is to start with light weight, slow, and focus on technique rather than fast, heavy weight, and high volume. Design your program with the exercises, start at the beginning and slowly build up the speed, weight, volume, etc.

Become a member to access kettlebell technique videos, common mistakes, follow-along workouts, and depending on what membership you select you can also get coaching.

Should you Train With Kettlebells When Older?

Are kettlebells safe to train with and should you train with them when one is older? The answer is yes, one should train with added resistance AFTER the proper foundation is laid. One should not add a load to what already isn’t there and expect it to come then or remain uninjured.

Kettlebells are extremely safe when one invests time into learning the technique. Kettlebells are just as unsafe as any other tool one would pick up without reading the instructions and understanding how to use the tool. The kettlebell does come with a higher learning curve than most other tools and that curve can’t be skipped with wrist wraps or gloves. Wearing gloves and/or wrist wraps usually increases the chances of injury and does not prompt the user to want to investigate further in how to properly use the kettlebell.

Some of the main things that go wrong and can easily be avoided through investment of time are:

  • Banging on the forearms
  • Development of excessive calluses
  • Bruising
  • Blisters
  • Tendon issues around the elbow
  • Lower back issues
  • Knee issues
  • Shoulder issues

What Size Kettlebell to Pick for Seniors?

Kettlebells come in weights increments of 2kg and 4kg and approx. 5 to 9 lb increments. With competition kettlebells this has nothing to do with the size, because no matter what weight, the size remains the same. Buying competition kettlebells is highly recommended.

The recommended weight/size is the lowest weight available for the shoulder press, approx. 6 to 8kgs and in the range of 13 to 18 lbs. For the bent-over row and deadlift we recommend to go 30 to 50% higher.

Safely Train With Kettlebells

As a final word, the thing to take away from all this is that it comes down to a safe progression, the state of the individual as not every elderly person is in the same state of inactivity and the duration of that inactivity. The longer inactivity has taken place, the higher the percentage of atrophy and strength loss. The best thing to do is to follow the same progression that every person at any should follow. Buy a program. Hire a coach. But most of all, invest a lot of time into your progression and stay dedicated to this for the long run.

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