A blog about my journey as an athlete and a woman. Come step into her shoes...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The 411 on Kettlebells

I have recently been enjoying a Thursday morning Kettle Bell class at my gym. I used to do them all the time, but with my crazy schedule some how they fell out of my routine. I am now learning them all over again, and loving it! In fact they are pretty addicting. My abs are still sore from this past Thursday’s workout!!


What are Kettlebells?

“Kettlebells are bowling ball-sized cast iron weights with a single looped handle on top. Kettlebells range in weight from two pounds to over 100 pounds Kettlebells are a favorite item in most CrossFit gyms, along with some other basic training items like weighted medicine balls, pull up bars, jump ropes and lots of free weights.”

What's So Great About Kettlebells?

The reason for the boost in kettlebell training it that it gets back to basic training that requires functional, whole body fitness. When lifting KB’s you are using your entire “box” or the core, to contract as a group, building both strength and stability at the same time. Kettlebell workouts engage multiple muscle groups at once. In this way, they are a great option for getting a whole body workout in a short time.

Kettlebell Safety

When I did kettlebells in the past, I didn’t think too much about safety, in fact I didn’t work on my form at all. It's important to start slow and get some training when using kettlebells. When used incorrectly, kettlebells can cause some nasty injuries. Proper use of this cast iron weight requires strength, coordination and lots of practice with a light weight before increasing weight.

“Each kettlebell exercise involves multiple joints and many muscle groups working together. It takes most athletes time to adjust to these new movement patterns that are often different than traditional weight-lifting moves. To master these movement patterns requires guidance, instruction and patience. After the basics are mastered, increasing the weight provides a strength workout unmatched by machines or even dumbbells”

The biggest mistake beginners make is lifting too heavy a kettlebell before they can control it. This can result in serious injuries to the joints, and especially the neck, back and spine.

Kettlebells Exercises

There are a ton of exercises you can do with the kettlebells, but I do recommend you get a video or go to a class before you start. You can purchase a kettlebell at most athletic stores, and Target sales them too. There not cheap, but well worth the purchase! This is a great thing to add to your at home gym.

You can check out this motivating workout with Charlotte Ord.(video)


So if you are in need of challenge, I highly recommend GoFit Kettlebells the Iron Core Way DVD Volume 1.

(information found at about.com)


Anne said...

Thanks for this post! I've been hearing about kettle bells, and I was curious about them. I'll be on the lookout for classes or dvds using them!

Anonymous said...

How awesome! I saw these in a flyer and had no idea how you'd use them.

Robert Troch said...

Yes, yes. Very important that you know what you are doing when using KB's. Personal instruction is best but, if you choose to use a DVD then make sure you go through it again and again. Check your form in a mirror. Take your time and re-teach yourself how to move correctly. Its not just about picking up a KB and swinging, pushing, pulling it...and then the magic happens.
If you choose to enroll in a class and the instructor does not work with you one on one first then I am not too sure that he/she is a top instructor either. Once you are in a class setting he/she just cannot watch you closely enough to get you through the learning stage. Everyone has weak/tight spots that need to be identified first. Technique also has to be practiced first.
The good news is once you start "getting it" the rewards are fantastic. Like any kind of exercise really. KB's are so cool because you can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. That means the fat burning, muscle tightening, strength/stamina building that many people want happen without hours on a treadmill or elliptical etc. They are portable (I love using one outside in a park for instance), and depending on how you use them can provide different results. They are definitely in my small arsenal of must tools.

Pearl said...

thanks for sharing the information about kettle bells!

Taylor said...

That does seem like a pretty good workout. I might have to try it sometime soon.

Melissa @ For the Love of Health said...

Bobbi- thanks so much for review on Kettle bells! I own one and was looking for a great workout! :-)
Have a great night!

Anonymous said...

Wow! If your abs are still sore from Thursday, I've gotta try a class! I love how you're willing to do all kinds of fitness!
P.S. I LOVE that my McAlister's post brought you back to college :) Yay!

Alison said...

What size kettle ball do you recommend buying?

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to learn more about kettlebells since I've seen them talked about a lot lately. Great post. Thank for the info! I will definitely have to try a kettlebell workout soon!

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Nicole said...

I just started using kettlebells and i'll tell you.. my first workout i used an instructional dvd but recieved it before i got the kettlebell, i couldn't wait to try it, so i used a 5 lb dumbbell... Sounds easy enough, right? I got through the entire thing (30 min) fine, but the next 2 days after i was sooo sore!! Not the injury type sore, but the sore that you get from a kick butt workout!! My legs and butt were so sore, I limped when I walked. It was so ridiculous that I felt so much out of this workout from using a 5 lb dumbbell, I was excited about getting my 10lb kettlebell!!! Love kettlebells so much, great workout in a short amount of time!! I'm totally hooked!!!!