Pavel thinks women should use tiny toy kettlebells?

Another trainer in Taiwan is telling the public that women should start kettlebell training using tiny toy kettlebells and he’s saying that we put them at risk by starting them with a heavier weight. In Chinese, here’s a recent post he wrote on it: sampilates3

He’s quoting Pavel Tsatsouline to justify his position. Pavel was the guy that brought kettlebells to the US back in the late 1990’s and it caused a resurgence in kettlebell training. Here’s Pavel:
Kettlebells had been used in the US and the West before but they had died out. Pavel re-introduced them along with the Russian system and they’ve been popular ever since then. He wrote a number of books on kettlebell training, all of which I have and have read numerous times. This trainer claims that Pavel in his book Enter the Kettlebell (2006) says that women start with the 4kg and he supposedly translated the chart into Chinese here:
So supposedly, Pavel is recommending that women start with a 4 or 6kg. Except Pavel never said anything of the sort. The picture above is completely wrong. Here’s the actual chart from Enter the Kettlebell page 3:
So what size does Pavel recommend that women start with? 4kg? No. 6kg? No. 8kg (18lbs). In fact, 4kg (9lbs) and 6kg (13lbs) aren’t even on the chart. And not only that, but Pavel recommends that women should get the 8kg (18lbs), 12 (26lbs), and 16kg (35lbs) to start with if they can. So Pavel is NOT recommending AT ALL what this trainer is suggesting and in fact Pavel seems to think that women should start with fairly heavy kettlebells — the EXACT OPPOSITE of what this trainer claims Pavel is saying.
We follow Pavel’s model in our training and most of our women start with 8kg. If they’re strong, we start them with 12kg. But for lady trainers, we demand that they pass our kettlebell cert with the 12kg. So most of out ladies likely won’t start with 12kg.
This post also has the following picture listing different kettlebell organizations, suggesting that all of these organizations support this trainer’s ideas. Otherwise, why include the picture?
kettlebell systema2
My guess is most readers have no idea who these organizations are but since they were included in the post as supposed support for his statements, let me tell you about a few of these organizations.
The first organization is the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting. They are the larger organization that oversees all kettlebell competition around the world. Needless to say, they do not think women should start with the 4kg.
The second and third organizations are roughly the same. The American Kettlebell Club is part of the larger World Kettlebell club and is lead by former world champion Valery Fedorenko. This is a picture I took of Valery when I attended and passed their three certifications in 2011.
Here’s me with Valery’s second in command Catherine Imes at the certs:
Here are the three certs I received from the World Kettlebell Club:


At the cert, I had to use the 16kg for multiple 10:00 sets and we used heavier kettlebells during the strength and conditioning cert on day two. What weight did Valery think women should use? It certainly wasn’t the 4kg. Women also had to pass the cert using the 12kg just like ours. So I have three certs and have personally trained with the founder of one of the organizations (WKC and AKC) the trainer above is using to justify his position. Let’s move on.
Another organization listed is the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF) led by Steve Cotter. Which Steve Cotter? This one:
me and stevec
That’s me on the left and I received my level one cert from Steve in 2009, making me the first certified kettlebell trainer in Taiwan. Here are my two certs from the IKFF:
This is me taking one of the roughly 16 tests I had to pass over two days with the 16kg kettlebell:
Here’s Steve lifting heavy kettlebells:

Do you think that Steve believes ladies should start with the 4kg? I can assure you he does not. Both Valery and Steve taught me that you can not properly use the correct muscles while lifting the kettlebell without using a weight sufficient enough to activate your hamstrings and glutes.So I have 5 certs in two of the organizations that this trainer is using to support his claims and they don’t suggest what he suggests.
Does Pavel think women should be using tiny toy kettlebell? Pavel started the Iron Maiden Challenge for women: 24kg press, pullup with the 24kg, and a pistol while holding the 24kg. What do you think?

One of the other organizations listed is StrongFirst, started by Pavel after he left the Russian Kettlebell Club (RKC). Notice the name — Strong First. What do you think that means? Use a 4kg first, right? So maybe Pavel changed his mind after he left the RKC and started StrongFirst? Let’s take a look at what he recommends women should start with when they lift the kettlebell. This is from his recent book Simple & Sinister (2015):
simple sinister
So Pavel in his latest book tells ladies they should start with the 8, 12, and 16kg. No mention of 4 or 6kg is there? So I think we can see that Pavel absolutely does not think ladies should be using tiny toy 4kg kettlebells. The idea is absurd.

We suggest the heavier weights because we are trained to teach people how to lift them correctly. In fact, we no longer offer the 4kg for sale because a woman trained THE RIGHT WAY will go beyond that weight usually in 5:00 or less. Why buy a kettlebell that will not be useful to you long term?

Be very, very careful who you get your information from. We do everything we can to bring correct information and safe, effective exercises to you. Thank you.

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