Saturday, December 15, 2012
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Kettlebells range in weight. Find the size that is right for you.
A great resource for all things kettlebell is DragonDoor.com. This company was founded by Pavel Tsatsouline, the master Russian Kettlebell Instructor who led the introduction of the kettlebell to the U.S. You can also find a list of kettlebell instructors in your area on this web site.
What is a Kettlebell?
For those of you unfamiliar with kettlebells, let me give you a brief introduction to them. Although kettlebells have been used in Russia for centuries, they were only recently introduced to the United States around 10 years ago (circa 2000).
Called a girya in Russian, the kettlebell is made out of cast iron and looks like a cannonball with a handle. A traditional Russian kettlebell weighs 1 pood, which is around 35 pounds or 16 kilograms. Commercially, kettlebells range in weight from 4 pounds (my baby boy has one of these) to weights upwards of 100 pounds.
A kettlebell workout can be more effective than a dumbbell work out. The kettlebell’s center of mass hangs below its handle, making it more difficult to control. By its very nature the kettlebell causes the user to have to stabilize and balance the weight, thereby engaging multiple muscle groups in every exercise. From your arm to your core, your entire body has to work much harder to control the kettlebell than you would with a dumbbell. Because of its versatility, users can seamlessly transition from one exercise to the next without stopping to change weights. This makes your work outs shorter and more efficient. In addition, a kettlebell workout will increase your heart rate and so it is a combination of cardio and weight training in one workout session. Your body is going to burn more calories with kettlebell exercises and that’s why I think it is the best exercise to lose weight.
One thing to note is that while kettlebell exercises are very beneficial, technique is very important. One can easily get injured using a kettlebell incorrectly. I recommend finding an instructor to help you get started with the basics and then either continue working with them or find some great kettlebell exercises videos.
"In-the-know Americans are purchasing ancient Russian fitness equipment, resurrecting old exercise philosophies and obtaining significant gains in cardio conditioning, muscle tone and strength as a result..."
—Marty Gallager, WashingtonPost.com, Feb, 2003.
What size kettlebell should I start with?
My first kettlebell was a 25-pound kettlebell. Keep in mind that I was in great physical condition at the time. I worked out several times a day and had a lot of experience using weights. For the beginner woman, I suggest starting with a 10-pound weight until you get your technique down then graduate to heavier weight. For the guys just starting out, I suggest starting out with a 16- or 18-pound kettlebell and working your way up.
Simple Kettlebell Workout
So this is what you're going to do for this simple kettlebell workout. Watch the videos below to see the basic technique for the kettlebell swing, kettlebell snatch, overhead press and the turkish get-up. These videos are from Jason C. Brown of Kettlebell Athletics. You can see more of his videos at kettlebellathletics.com. Then you are going to follow the work out below:
10 double-handed kettlebell swings
10 right-handed kettlebell swings
10 left-handed kettlebell swings
10 right side kettlebell snatches
10 left side kettlebell snatches
10 right side snatch and press (combo snatch with overhead press)
10 left side snatch and press
6 turkish get ups (3 on right, 3 on left)
Beginners - repeat twice
Advanced - repeat three to four times
Kettlebell Overhead Press