In this article we will be discussing the different training frequency strategies for kettlebell training.
Here’s how often you should use kettlebells:
There’s no single best frequency for using kettlebells. With sound movement quality and enough recovery, you can safely use kettlebells daily. If kettlebell training is your only form of exercise, training 3-4 times per week is optimal for most people. Consider twice per week as the bare minimum effective dose.
How often should you use kettlebells for weight loss?
The number one modifier for weight loss is being in a caloric deficit. Outside of extremes, the type of exercise and the frequency doesn’t make a tangible difference.
If you want to lose weight, it helps to have more muscle on your frame. Higher frequency training may be beneficial here. Again, for most people 3-4 days per week is the sweet spot.
How often should you use kettlebells for muscle gain?
First off, know that you’ll need a caloric surplus and adequate protein intake for gaining muscle.
When it comes to kettlebell training for muscle growth, the limiting factor in some of the exercises is the load.
For example, the most common bell weight range of 8kg-32kg. For most people, this is plenty for the pressing movements.
When it comes to the squat pattern, though, some people may outgrow the load offered by the tool.
So really, your only option for stimulus with kettlebells is moderate load and higher volume.
Doing lots of reps can be time consuming and hard on recovery. If your schedule permits, it could be more optimal to increase your training volume by adding extra days.
Should you use kettlebells every day?
There is no “should” here. But if you want to use kettlebells daily, by all means do so! You have my permission.
Benefits of doing kettlebells every day
You will burn more calories
Any exercise burns more calories than being sedentary. While the total amount of calories burned per workout is small, it all adds up.
You will see faster results
Training daily, the muscles used will be forced to adapt to higher frequency training. This can be great if your goal is to increase muscle mass, assuming you are eating enough.
You are forming a rock-solid habit
The 24 hour cycles of day and night are ideal for forming habits. If you form a routine of training at the same time every day, you are setting yourself up for consistency. Consistency is exercise’s best friend!
You reduce the likelihood of joint pain
Just because you train daily, doesn’t mean you have to go all out and crush yourself.
If you are desk-bound, even doing some light get-ups daily is going to be great for your joints. In particular, your mid-back, hips and shoulders will thank you.
You maintain cardiovascular fitness as well
One of the unique aspects of kettlebell training is that the ballistic movements (swings, cleans, snatches) ramp up your heart rate really fast!
The heart and lungs are also taken through their paces when performing ballistic kettlebell movements.
You’re getting lots of practice
Here’s one benefit of training daily: you are getting in lots of practice. This continual practice will refine your skill. This is great for reducing risk of injury.
Drawbacks of doing kettlebells every day
You’re more likely to get injured
The two most common injuries you’ll see with daily kettlebell training are:
- Overuse injuries – some kettlebell movements, like swings, lend themselves to high repetition training. Even with a sensible training volume, you still run the risk of joint inflammation. Curse our frail human bodies. Tendinitis sucks!
- Skin tears – movements where the handle of the bell is transitioning in your palm, particularly cleans and snatches, can lead to torn calluses and ripped skin. One way to prevent torn calluses from kettlebells is to establish a regular hand care routine. While you don’t want to get rid of calluses entirely, it helps to smooth them out regularly using a file or pumice stone. Some crazies even use razor blades to shave the top layer of their calluses off.
You’re more likely to get bored of your workout
This is subjective, but you may find yourself tired of the monotony of training daily.
Some of the most popular kettlebell programs out there are brutally minimalist and limit exercise selection heavily.
You can find programs that consist of only daily swings and get-ups, for instance. There are even some programs that are just kettlebells swings!
Even the most enthusiastic of trainees will experience boredom at times. This is normal! ‘
Pro tip: exercising when bored is just as effective as exercising when not bored. Whilst we should seek to enjoy our training for the most part, we aren’t in the gym solely to entertain ourselves either.
If you find every day to be a slog, however, it may be time to re-evaluate your training program.
Risks of being perennially bored include lower adherence (skipped workouts) and abandonment (quitting altogether).
Instead, it may be that you need to add in a little more variety, or choose a program better suited to your personality.
Every workout has an additional time cost outside of the training itself.
Changing, warming up, cooling down, changing again, showering, travel time. If you want to train daily, be aware that this time cost mounts up.
Kettlebells have a very small space footprint. You can reduce the travel overhead by keeping some kettlebells at your home and/or workplace and training there, rather than going to the gym.
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.