Are You Fit Enough To Use Kettlebells?
Updated: Apr 27
If you're reading this, on some level you must be interested in kettlebells. So why haven't you tried them? Who knows, but here are two reasons I hear often which may be holding you back unnecessarily, and a few easy tests to answer the question.
#1) You're Waiting to Get In Better Shape Before You Start
I know you know I’ll say this is a terrible reason, and I know you’ll continue to think it anyway. I can’t force you to be mentally ready to try kettlebells or start a fitness routine, but most likely you're already physically capable. Kettlebells come as light as 4 kilograms and in kettlebell fitness workouts like we do at Pro Kettlebell, you’re lifting the bells in as little as 20-second increments and only up to a few minutes at a time. You can do this. Case in point(s):
It’s tiny, cute, and you’ll hold it for hours: little Anna weighs 14 lbs - 60% more than our lightest kettlebell.
I just weighed my kitchen garbage for you. It was not full and it weighed 12.6 lbs. My 5-year old son carried it outside.
Three 2-liter bottles of soda weigh 10 pounds and are seriously awkward to hold since they don’t have handles. But I’d bet you anything you can do it and have carried far more than that around the store, back to get that thing you forgot, and back to the line – for a lot longer than 20 seconds or two minutes.
This is not to say that kettlebell workouts are easy. But if you start light and go slowly, you are fit enough as you are! Your belief that you can’t do it is powerful but most likely not true.
#2) You Can't Because Of That Old Injury/Your Knees/Your Shoulder, Etc...
Of course, you know your body best. But did you know that kettlebell training is often prescribed as physical therapy? I’ll never forget when Em first came to a class and couldn't lift her arm directly overhead without any weight at all. Six months later she was lifting 35-pound kettlebells straight up with perfect form, like a beast. A few more of our real-life members take this one on:
“I was looking for an exercise regimen that could work with my broken neck from a few years back, and some related shoulder problems from related nerve damage. Super excited to report that I've gotten almost all the mobility back in my left arm and am feeling pretty strong. That is, when my butt hasn't been kicked by a work out." -Dennis Glavin
"[After an injury] Everything I tried did not improve my left side until Kettlebells! In less than 2 months I can make a full, closed fist, hold and use small objects (like keys), and my left arm and shoulder has almost caught up in flexibility and strength with my right side. Kettlebells rock where therapy failed.” – Hafoc Yates
The Test You Can Do Right Now I've wondered for a long time what a good test for a reader at home would be to determine if they're fit enough for kettlebells. I came up with the sock test: if you can put a sock on standing up you have more than enough balance, strength and mobility. My husband Nikolai argues that a shoe is easier to put on than a sock - it should be a shoe test - but that tons of people can't put a shoe on while standing up, and better than that is if you can pick up a toddler off the floor. I argued not everyone has access to a child, but everyone has access to shoes and socks. He argued anyone can find a child on the street.
So there you have it, ask a stranger if you can pick up their kid, carry a basket of groceries around a store, or stand on one foot while looking for the Kettlebell Kickstarter intro series on the Pro Kettlebell Workouts app. All of the classes have expert coaches talking you through so you can confidently give kettlebells a swing. ;-)