Kettlebell Strength Standards – Which Do You Meet?

I’ve seen first-hand how kettlebell training can build a leaner, stronger body. When I started doing kettlebell workouts I weighed 260 lbs, was morbidly obese and got tired tying my shoes. Long gone were the days of my being in great shape at 12% body fat and squatting 8 plates (405 pounds).

I hadn’t exercised consistently in years at that time but when I started training with kettlebells I became hooked. So little by little I swung, pressed, squatted, cleaned, and snatched my way back to being fit and healthy with kettlebell workouts and eating right.

After more than a decade of kettlebell training I wondered where I stood with regard to my strength and endurance with kettlebells. I looked online and couldn’t find a list of strength standards with kettlebells. There’s lots of websites that give you this information with barbell and dumbbell exercises but not kettlebells.

So I scoured the Internet and put together a list for all of us to use. 

This blog post is that list. It includes what some of the most renowned kettlebell and strength coaches have learned after years of coaching men and women to be the weights and reps we should aim to do for several popular kettlebell exercises.

You can use the standards in this article as challenges to aim for with your workouts and to see where you stand amongst your peers. Make sure you track your progress along the way to see how far you’ve come. That’s what really matters. 

Kettlebell Strength Standards 

Standard 1: Kettlebell Swings

This is the most popular kettlebell exercise by a mile. Swings are a total body exercise that especially trains your legs and core muscles. Your shoulders and back, grip and arms get a nice workout too.

Below are ideal weights and repetition goals for the kettlebell swing according to strength coaches Brent Contreras and Dan John. 

Brent is best known for popularizing glute training years ago, before every gym had a hip thrust machine and dedicated glutes classes. If you’re ever in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego check out his gym. I’ve peeked through the window when it’s close and it looks really rad.

Dan has been training himself and others for optimal athletic performance before most of us were born. He’s also been on the kettlebell workout train for several years, co-authoring several books with Pavel Tsatsouline and working as an instructor at his certification courses. 

Both coaches’ standards are based on the kettlebell’s weight and doing a specific number of swings. The biggest difference between them is that Brent has you use your body weight to determine what weight to swing. 

Brent Contreras Kettlebell Swing Standards- source

GenderKettlebell Weight (lbs)Number of Swings
Men.8 x Body Weight (lbs)10
Women.8 x Body Weight (lbs)10

Dan John Kettlebell Swing Standards- source

GenderKettlebell Swing RepsKettlebell Swing Weight
Men20 reps24 kg (53 lbs)
Women20 reps16 kg (35 lbs)

Kettlebell Squat Strength Standards

This table shows you coach John’s standards for 2 types of kettlebell squats for men and women. These standards are for a 1 rep max with the weights in the table. 

MenGoblet Squat24 kg (52 lbs)
MenDouble KB Front Squat32 kg (140 lbs total)
WomenGoblet Squat12 kg (25 lbs)
WomenDouble KB Front Squat16 kg (70 lbs total)

Overhead Kettlebell Press Strength Standards

People have been measuring how much weight they can press overhead as a standard of upper body strength forever. The overhead press was even once part of Olympic lifting competitions.

The table below gives overhead pressing standards set by Dan John for 1 and 2 kettlebell presses by a guy who knows a lot of both Olympic and kettlebell presses. All of the exercises are done while standing. 


One Arm KB Press24 kg (53 lbs)5 reps/arm
Double KB Press32 kg (71 lbs)5 reps/arm
Two Arm KB PressYour body weight1 rep


One Arm KB Press10 kg (22 lbs)5 reps per arm
Double KB Press16 kg (70 lbs total)5 reps
Two Arm KB Press2/3 of your body weight1 rep

Kettlebell Carry Strength Standards

Often referred to as farmer’s walks this exercise is done just how it sounds. You pickup a kettlebell and start walking. Below are the standards set by Dan John are based on body weight. 

Check out the table to see if you meet or exceed his kettlebell carry standards.

Your Body Weight In PoundsPounds
Less than 135 lbs (61 kg)24 kg each hand (52 lbs per hand)
Between 136–185 lbs (62 – 84 kgs)32 kgs each hand (71 lbs per hand)
Between 186–216 lbs (84-98 kgs)40 kgs each hand (88 lbs per hand)
Over 216 lbs (99 kgs)48 kgs each hand (106 lbs per hand)

Kettlebell Clean Strength Standards

Coach John’s strength standards for the kettlebell clean are pretty tough. How do you measure up? Note that these are for double kettlebell cleans where you have one in each hand.

Dan John

MenDouble Kettlebell Clean32 kg (71 lbs)10
WomenDouble Kettlebell Clean16 kg (35 lbs)10

Kettlebell Clean And Press Challenge

The weights for this strength standard are by Mike Mahler. He based this kettlebell challenge/standard on one created using dumbbells by Sig Klein, a strongman and bodybuilder from the early 20th century. 

Men32 kg (70 lbs)14 reps
Women12 kg (26 lbs)14 reps

Kettlebell Snatch Strength Standards

Here are the standards set by Pavel Tsatsouline as part of his Strong First certification program and the Secret Service Snatch Test (SSST). If you’re not familiar, Pavel is responsible for repopularizing kettlebells all around the world in the mid 1990s. He’s published books and videos on the topic and has his kettlebell training company Strong First which I recommend you check out. 

I’m not sure the origins of the secret service kettlebell snatch test but it’s still worth training to accomplish since it is a real test of your endurance and strength. Some people say it’s used by the U.S. Secret Service but you no se. 

Note: You’re allowed to switch hands during each test. 

Strong First’s 1 KB Snatch Test Standards 

Gender & AgeBody WeightKettlebell SizeRequired Reps
Women under 50 yrsUp to 59 kg (130 lbs)12kg100 reps in 5 min
Women under 50 yrsOver 59 kg (130lb)16kg100 reps in 5 min
Women 50-64 yrs Any body weight12kg100 reps in 5 min
Women 65+ yrs Any body weight12kg50 reps in 3 min
Men under 50 yrsUp to 68 kg (150 lbs)20kg100 reps in 5 min
Men under 50 yrs68-100 kg (150 lbs – 221 lbs)24kg100 reps in 5 min
Men under 50 yrsOver 100 kg (221 lbs)28kg100 reps in 5 min
Men 50-64 yrsAny body weight20kg100 reps in 5 min
Men 65+ yrs Any body weight20kg  50 reps in 3 min

U.S. Secret Service Snatch Test Standard

Men53 lb (24 kg)100Lame
Women35 lb (16 kg)100Lame
Men53 lb (24 kg)150Getting Better
Women35 lb (16 kg)150Getting Better
Men53 lb (24 kg)200Good
Women35 lb (16 kg)200Good
Men53 lb (24 kg)250Really Good
Women35 lb (16 kg)250Really Good
Men53 lb (24 kg)275Awesome
Women35 lb (16 kg)275Awesome

Simple & Sinister Kettlebell Workout Strength Standards

This challenge is based on a popular workout program by Pavel Tsatsouline, the man who repopularized the kettlebell in the United States and probably the rest of the world in the late 1990s. 

It’s a test of your total body strength and endurance. There are 2 sets of standards: simple and tougher to achieve, named sinister. 

Simple strength standards for 1 arm swing and Turkish get up 

1 arm swing32 kg24 kg100< 15 minutes
Turkish get up32 kg16 kg10< 15 minutes

Sinister strength standards for 1 arm swing and Turkish get up

Men1 arm swing48 kg (101 lbs)100< 15 minutes
MenTurkish get up48 kg (101 lbs)10< 15 minutes
Women1 arm swing32 kg (71 lbs)100< 15 minutes
WomenTurkish get up24 kg (53 lbs)10< 15 minutes

Beast Tamer & Iron Maiden Strength Standards

Here’s another set of strength standards set by Pavel Tsatsouline. These aren’t time. When you can move the weight for each exercise you’ve met, or maybe even exceeded the standard. If you can’t it’s time to get back to training until you can. 

The standard here is to get at least 1 rep of each exercise with good form using the required weight. 

Men – beast tamerKB pistol, pull up and press48 kg (101 lbs)
Women – iron maidenKB pistol, pull up and press24 kg (53 lbs)

Which Kettlebell Standards Do You Want To Achieve?

In conclusion, the process to meeting kettlebell strength standards is an ongoing process of dedication, determination, and growth. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. In other words, celebrate your discipline to train regularly and small wins every workout. That’s far more important than if you ever reach or even exceed any of these standards. 

One way to help yourself achieve these standards is to keep track of our workouts. It helps you see how you’re progressing and gives you the info you need to plan better workouts. I developed a workout tracker that in my humble opinion is better than any template or app. 

So, keep swinging, keep tracking, and relish the rewarding journey towards meeting these and any kettlebell strength standards you want to achieve.

Curt Pedersen