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What are Kettlebells?

A "kettlebell" is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle. They've been around for about 300 years and were so popular in Tsarist Russia that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a giravik, or a "kettlebell man".

Mr. Pavel Tsatsouline brought the kettlebell method to the United States around 20 years ago and skillfully promoted it's uniqueness by writing books and producing videos, then eventually starting an organization to teach instructors. His words and methods spread widely. My personal journey with kettlebells started by reading one of his books, Simple and Sinister, (now in its second edition and available on Kindle if you are curious.)

Why train with kettlebells? Because they can deliver all around fitness and really no other single fitness "tool" I have seen does it better. Kettlebells are compact, virtually indestructible, inexpensive and can be used in a small area anywhere. Many elite U.S. military personnel deployed around the world use them to maintain readiness for combat.

The shape and compact size of a bell allows one to safely accelerate it in exercises like "swings" and "snatches." There is a growing body of research that kettlebells are exceptionally effective, efficient and safe at improving many components of fitness for both men and women. Because the unique benefits of the kettlebell's offset center of gravity, kettlebell lifts allow you to get a powerful training effect with a relatively light weight. You can replace you whole gym with a few kettlebells. It's a quick workout and you get a "big bang for your buck" in a very short amount of time (strength and cardio/ aerobic benefits at the same time.)

Kettlebell routines require a good deal of repetition and practice to accomplish correctly, and in my opinion are difficult to learn on your own from reading a book or watching videos. Trust me, I tried that route and it was not pretty! Learn from someone like me, who has received personal instruction by master instructors. It is more safe and you won't have to un-learn bad habits, like I picked up from originally trying to learn on my own via books and videos.

In the kettlebell world (see, the organization where I received instruction), we say that "strength is a skill". Kettlebells are not for everyone; they require some dedication, focus and concentration. "They are not for sissies but they are not elitist", said Pavel. "The price of admission is a strong spirit and attention to detail". If this sounds like you, I would love to teach you the basics, and if you progress, more advanced moves.

And if not, that's perfectly fine too! I will never try to force you to use kettlebells. I wrote this post because I am skilled in their use and not many trainers in the Albany area know much about them. So I just wanted to tell you how I felt about them and give you a little background; that's all. There are several ways to improve your fitness with me as your personal trainer. We have other fitness tools and methods to choose from here at Keepfit Studio, and I will help you find a path to your liking! I promise!

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