What You Need To Know About Kettlebells For Older Adults

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Written by Penny Cooper

If you’re interested in starting kettlebell training but don’t know where or how to begin as an older adult, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you find the best kettlebells for older adults and give you an idea of how you can use them properly.

There are many benefits to incorporating kettlebells into a fitness routine as you will gather from reading this article. And you probably know that anyway.

This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we have discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission.

They’ve even been used extensively in military training programs.

Although in many cases some kettlebell exercises can be done without any weights at all and you can still get a good cardio workout.

Dumbbells could be used instead of kettlebells but often the comfort and safety of the kettlebell design is a big advantage. More on adjustable dumbbells here.

Even a substitute weight could be used like a large bottle filled with water. Check out our look at water-filled dumbbells.

How to Choose a Quality Kettlebell

There are plenty of options on today’s market when it comes to kettlebell styles. This can be overwhelming if you’re a newbie trying to figure out what to buy.

The best kettlebells for seniors are fitted with smooth and curved handles to let them grip any part on the handle, not just the top section.

To help you find a quality kettlebell that ensures a safe and effective exercise, we’ve put together the following list to give you an idea of the most important features you should consider:

  • Coating — a high-quality kettlebell will feature a chip-resistant coating. This way, it stays smooth enough for you to do stamina-building exercises without irritating the skin of your hands, and at the same time, offers sufficient texture to accept gym chalk.
  • Lettering — the lettering on the kettlebells should contrast against a dark background so you can clearly identify which weight kettlebell you’re using each time.
  • All-in-one you can buy each kettlebell weight or there are adjustable kettlebells which is a single unit that can become the weight you choose.
  • Warranty last but not least, you need to check that the kettlebells come with a warranty from the manufacturer or the seller. Such a guarantee ensures the resistance of the kettlebells’ construction against rust, largely. There’s not much else can go wrong. Ooh unless, of course, they’re adjustable.
  • Clearance — the clearance we’re talking about here is the distance from the handle to the bells, which needs to be adequate for exercises like “snatch and press” lifts. See videos below.

The obtuse outline of the handle accommodates workouts that involve holding the horns, which is what you call the sides of the handle. A nice smooth surface on the handle should be chosen to avoid irritating your hands.

This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we have discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission.

We like the Rogue Kettlebells – totally made in the US. Check out our Rogue Kettlebell Review.

rogue kettlebells3

And for an adjustable kettlebell giving you 6 different weights (8 – 40lbs) in one really neat package, although a bit pricey, the Bowflex Select 840 is a stunner.

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Maybe not one for the purists, but my first kettlebell was the Bowflex just because I didn’t want the faff of lumps of iron all over the place.

Check out our adjustable kettlebell purchasing thoughts.

Choose the Correct Kettlebell Weight

The first step to ensuring your safety when exercising with kettlebells is choosing the right kettlebell weight for your particular case. Check out our article on choosing the right kettlebell weight.

If you haven’t had real experience in lifting weights before, you should first learn the correct mechanics at a beginner level before you can move on to more difficult moves.

How to Use Kettlebells for Older Adults

Any kettlebell workout is as safe as using free weights as long as you’re working out with the right weight and following proper mechanics.

This guide on how to use kettlebells as an older adult will help you determine the appropriate weight and technique of your kettlebell training according to the type and goal of your exercise.

Type of Exercise

Ballistic Exercises

Also referred to as explosive exercises, ballistic exercises incorporate everyday movements such as jumping and throwing. It consists of 2 stages:

  1. Exertion of energy
  2. Gravitational force influence

Which simply means a dynamic, compound exercise incorporating movement.

Examples of ballistic workouts include kettlebell snatches, kettlebell swings, and kettlebell cleans.

Here is the kettlebell snatch.

Recommended kettlebell weights to use

  • Women — 18 pounds (8 kilograms) and 35 pounds (16 kilograms)
  • Men — 35 pounds (16 kilograms) and 53 pounds (24 kilograms)

Grind Exercises

This type of exercise incorporates controlled movement that’s usually slower than ballistic workouts. It’s slow and deliberate causing muscle tension just as you might use ordinary weights and do dumbbell-specific routines at lower weights but slowly.

Many people believe this to be a more effective way to increase muscle mass.

You can practice grind exercises no matter your level of fitness as it requires less stress. Examples here include deadlifts, windmills, presses, and my least favorite Turkish get-ups. But first a kettlebell windmill.

You can try this move without any weight at first – do that 10 times and you’ll start to feel it.

The right kettlebell weight for grind exercises should allow you to press over your head about 8 to 10 times. Remember to be uniform with your weight choice for this exercise.

Recommended kettlebell weights to use

  • Women — 13 pounds (6 kilograms) and 26 pounds (12 kilograms)
  • Men — 18 pounds (8 kilograms) and 44 pounds (20 kilograms)

Goals of Kettlebell Exercised kettlebell weights to use

Balance and Coordination

For many older adults, kettlebell workouts aim to boost balance and coordination as well as all-round body conditioning. The dynamic and progressive movement you experience in these workouts makes this goal achievable.

The most suitable exercise form to help you improve your balance and coordination is kettlebell flows, which combine 2 or 3 actions in each flow set. It’s also a great cardio workout. Here’s an example of a kettlebell flow session – I’m very envious!

Recommended kettlebell weights to use

  • Women — 18 pounds (8 kilograms) and 26 pounds (12 kilograms)
  • Men — 26 pounds (12 kilograms) and 44 pounds (20 kilograms)


Kettlebell training for agility helps you tone your muscles and become more resistant to injuries.

One particularly crucial example of kettlebell exercises for agility is the kettlebell Turkish get-up. It builds a stable foundation for movement and supports muscles.

Additionally, it strengthens your core muscles, enhances your body posture, and reduces body aches.

Recommended kettlebell weights to use

  • Women — 9 pounds (4 kilograms) and 26 pounds (12 kilograms)
  • Men — 18 pounds (8 kilograms) and 44 pounds (20 kilograms)


A lot of people get into kettlebell training to gain more strength. To master kettlebell exercises, you need great power to be able to control your body movement.

Strength exercises build up and support your stabilizing muscles. A common example of such exercise is the kettlebell swing.

In this ballistic workout, you move the kettlebell in a pendulum motion going from in between the knees up to your eye level. You can raise the movement to reach beyond your eye level once you’re used to the swing.

The kettlebell swing allows you to use one or both hands. Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t use both sides until you’re at the intermediate level.

Like all these workouts using kettlebells, it’s a good idea to master the action with good form, arms straight, and shoulders blades square, etc..

Recommended kettlebell weights to use

  • Women — 26 pounds (12 kilograms) for one-handed swings and 31 pounds (14 kilograms) for double-handed swings.
  • Men —  35 pounds (16 kilograms) for one-handed swings and  53 pounds (24 kilograms) for double-handed swings.

Wrap Up

Choosing and using kettlebells for older adults is affected by several factors including previous weightlifting experience, training goals, age, and fitness level. Considering these aspects will ensure your kettlebell exercise is as safe and effective as possible.

Consider adjustable kettlebells for convenience and variety. Check out more workouts with kettlebells for the chest.

Photo of author
Penny is a Personal Trainer currently training as a wellness coach. She gained a BA in English at Edinburgh University. Redundancy from retail management hastened a move to helping people get fit and writing about all things fitness in middle age.

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