How Many Kettlebells Do I Need? (Buy 1 Or 2 Or More?)

Kettlebells are becoming increasingly popular in home and commercial gyms. They look like a giant cannonball with a handle on top, and they are versatile to use in many different ways.

The key question is, how many kettlebells do I need? In this guide, we'll help explain the answer and introduce some kettlebell exercises.

The number of kettlebells you need depends on a few key factors. You need to think about what type of workout you’re planning on doing, what level of user you are, where you’re working out, and how strong you are.

The most common exercises with a kettlebell are the kettlebell swing, squatsand the kettlebell windmill. All of these exercises can be performed with a single kettlebell and are quite challenging if you’re using more than one. In fact, the majority of kettlebell exercises can be performed with a single kettlebell, and you won't need more than one. However, if you're a more experienced user, it is beneficial to have more than one.

Beginners generally only need one kettlebell to really focus on the movement and get the correct form.

Once you get used to moving a kettlebell, you can introduce a second one for some alternative exercises.

More advanced users will definitely want more than one kettlebell to work out with.

How Many Kettlebells Do I Need?

If you’re working out in the gym, you'll probably have a set of kettlebells to choose from, but if you're at home, you need to consider the cost of the kettlebells. It can be tempting to buy a big set, but you may end up using a single kettlebell, so it can be a waste of money.

As you start to get used to the movements, you should consider getting another kettlebell so you can continue to push your body and improve your conditioning. Remember, kettlebells come in a variety of weights just like dumbbells, and you need to pick an appropriate weight for you. 

A male beginner will probably need a 12kg kettlebell, and a female beginner an 8kg kettlebell. After 6-12 months of training, you’ll probably have grown stronger and will be lifting kettlebells 6-8kg heavier.

Don't forget to read our complete guide to the best kettlebells on the market to get one for your home gym!


Single Kettlebell: Is It Enough?

The majority of gym-goers will probably only really need one kettlebell. Most movements require you to swing the kettlebell by using both hands to stabilize the load will help you manage the movement and prevent any strain or injury.

A single kettlebell can work out your abs, shoulders, pecs, quads, glutes, hips, hamstrings, and lats. If you’re using an adequate weight that’s pushing your body, then you will be able to build muscle using a single kettlebell. It can also help get your heart rate up to improve your overall fitness and conditioning.

There are some benefits to using two kettlebells, but you can certainly get a good workout with one if you choose the right weight.

rogue fitness kettlebell

Types Of Exercises Using One Kettlebell

A single kettlebell is versatile, but there are a lot of different exercises you can perform to target different muscle groups:

  • Halo 
    halo works your shoulders but also your core, hips, and arms. To perform it, you just need to stand tall and rotate the kettlebell around your head. Keep it as close as possible to your body and repeat 8-12 times. The kettlebell halo exercise is an excellent way to warm up your shoulders and works well as a recovery exercise during weightlifting routines. Remember, it's only suitable with one kettlebell, and you shouldn't attempt it with two.
  • Slingshot 
    The slingshot is a similar movement to the halo but around your waist. Start with the kettlebell in one hand and pass it around your body, handing it off to the other hand halfway through. Make sure to take your time to manage the transfer of the kettlebell from one hand to another carefully and keep your shoulders down while performing the move. This exercise will work your back, abdominals, obliques, back, and core, and improve your grip strength.
  • One Hand Swing 
    The one hand swing is the classic kettlebell exercise that you’ll often see being performed in the gym. You just need to stand tall with your feet spread wide apart and swing the kettlebell down between your legs. Make sure you're swinging it all the way up to chest height and try to pause at the top for maximum benefit. It focuses the energy on your backcore, arms, glutes, hamstrings, and obliques. The one hand swing can help you build muscle and improve your overall fitness, balance, and stabilization. If you want to know more about the benefits of kettlebell swings, read our handy guide.
  • Turkish Get Up 
    This is a more advanced workout for experienced kettlebell users. Start by lying on the ground with the kettlebell raised in one hand. Next, move your body to a sitting position, and then push through your legs until you're standing. Try to keep the kettlebell raised throughout the process with your elbow locked out. There are quite a lot of different movements involved in this exercise, and it can take some time to get used to it. It’s great for working your whole body in a single movement.
  • Pistol Squat 
    The kettlebell pistol squat requires some stabilization and strength to perform, and you might need to build up to it. Start in the squat position holding the kettlebell to your chest. Raise one leg off the floor and out in front of you, and then lower yourself down slowly onto the other leg. Drive through the heel and push yourself back to the starting position. Make sure you alter your leg each time to get the full benefit. Pistol squats engage your quadslower back, hamstrings, glutes, and shoulders, along with smaller muscle groups, so it's an effective way to work out a lot of your body in one movement.

Double Kettlebells: Why Could You Need More Than One?

So, when do you need two kettlebells? Well, once you’ve mastered all the beginner exercises with a single kettlebell, it's a good idea to introduce a second one. It's a lot more challenging and requires more focus and experience to use them safely. Of course, the load is also doubled, so you have to be able to manage more weight comfortably.

Using two kettlebells allows you to distribute weight evenly across your body. This makes it more balanced than single kettlebell training and will help engage more muscles at once. They work all the same muscle groups as a single kettlebell but engage your glutes and quads even more.

Using two kettlebells also helps improve your fitness and your grip strength. They also double the resistance, which means you can cut down on your training time with a more efficient routine.

There are fewer exercises using two kettlebells, and it's more expensive to buy two. If you've been doing kettlebell training for a while, it's a good idea to introduce a second one, so you don't plateau. Once you start to feel comfortable with one, it's a good time to invest in a second.

man lifting two kettlebells

Types Of Exercises Using Two Kettlebells

There are fewer exercises you can perform with two kettlebells, but a few movements that can really improve your strength and conditioning:

  • Clean & Press 
    Clean and press is a compound exercise that engages all major muscle groups. Start with both kettlebells on the floor and bend forward to pick them up. Lift them to shoulder height in one movement, pause for a second, and then raise them up as high as you can. Pause again before lowering down to starting position. The movement is an excellent mix of strength and cardio training. It can be done with a single kettlebell, but it's more beneficial with two.
  • Double Windmill 
    This is a popular double kettlebell exercise that seriously works your core, shoulders, and legs. Start with a kettlebell in each hand, and your legs spread shoulder-width apart. Bend your hips and reach one kettlebell down to the floor and raise the other to the ceiling in a windmill motion. Pause for a second and then lower down to the starting position. This is very much for advanced users and shouldn't be attempted by beginners, or you may risk injury.
  • Renegade Row 
    The renegade row is the ultimate back workout which is also great for your core and shoulders. Start in the plank position with a kettlebell in each hand. Raise one kettlebell to your chest at a time in an alternating rowing motion. Try to keep the movement slow and focused and really work to engage your back. This exercise can only really be performed with two kettlebells to keep you balanced, but it’s slightly easier than some kettlebell movements.
  • Single-Leg Deadlifts 
    This exercise works your legs, back, core, and shoulders and is one of the most effective ways to engage almost your entire body. Start with your kettlebells in your hands and bend forward, reaching out with your arms until the kettlebells touch the floor. At the same time, push one of your legs out behind you to act as a counterbalance. Pause for a second, and then raise yourself back up to the starting position, alternating legs each time.
  • Seesaw Press 
    The seesaw press helps you build shoulder muscle quickly and improve your overall posture and fitness. Start with both kettlebells in your hands at shoulder height and raise them one at a time above your head. As you lower one arm, extend the other to create the seesaw motion. Performing this exercise with two kettlebells helps keep you balanced and shortens the exercise time to get better results in less time.

Frequently Asked Kettlebell Questions 

Do I need kettlebells that are the same weight? 

Unlike dumbbells, most exercises can be performed with a single kettlebell, so you won't need two of the same weight. However, if you're performing double kettlebell workouts, it's advisable to use the same weight so you can maintain your balance and train both sides of your body equally.

How many kettlebell workouts should I do per week? 

This varies depending on the individual, but aiming for 3-5 quick 15-20 minute workouts a week can yield good results.

How long does it take to see the results of kettlebell workouts? 

You will usually see some results within 30 days if you are training regularly, but for some people, it may take over 90 days to notice a change.

Can you get a full-body workout with kettlebells? 

Yes, by building a routine of a few exercises detailed above, you can work out your whole body with kettlebells.


Conclusion

Kettlebells are a great way to work out your whole body and improve your cardio at the same time. If you're a beginner, then you probably only need a single kettlebell, but if you've been doing kettlebell training for a while, you may benefit from introducing a second one into your routine.

Hopefully this article has helped explain how many kettlebells you need and some of the workouts you can do with them.

Last Updated on February 23, 2022