Are we exercising or are we Training? That is a good a place as any to start. If we’re exercising, we’re likely concerned with improving our general state of fitness & well-being. If we are Training, the answer resides somewhere near the end of the question: What am I Training to do? Are we training for SFG or RKC certification? Maybe Girevoy Sport? Our Kettlebells could be auxiliary tools, used to train for other athletic pursuits such as MMA, Football, or even endurance sports, such as Running or Cycling.
All of these are good & relevant questions, but they are each external. Deciding whether to go Heavy or Light requires some internal investigation.
Where are you right now? Are you new to Kettlebell training, or do you have time stashed & tucked under your belt? Are you gearing up for a Training regimen, or coming down off a cycle? Do you have any injuries to consider? Will you be working around or through any possible injuries? The truth has never been “out there,” it’s been inside the whole time, waiting to be recognized & acknowledged.
Once we get here & inside the question, we have to accept that heavy & light are relative terms, and are really only meaningful to our personal abilities & experiences. Just because the 32kg Kettlebell is someone’s lightest bell doesn’t mean it should be yours. Even if someone says 16kg or 24kg is a good starting off point, we should give ourselves a more honest assessment than that and proceed accordingly. There is no shame in going lighter than expected, especially when form, technique & safety are primary concerns.
Going heavy can also enhance form & technique, but really only for more experienced Kettlebell athletes. Unless you already have significant time logged under the bells, don’t try to use heavy to enhance skill.
Heavy is primarily used to improve Strength, power & explosiveness. For an experienced Kettlebell athlete, heavy bells can also be used to increase endurance, but the experience aspect is as close as we get to being set in stone.
Deciding to proceed heavy or light takes authentic & sincere self-evaluation & assessment. Your coach (if you have one) should be able to help you determine your path from here, but it is still up to you to know how you got to this point, and consider why heavy or light is even a question.