Holy Kettlebells Batman!

Making a change to “Zone in” during your workouts.

Feeling like a hamster in the gym? Zoning out during your workouts?  If your answer was yes and yes, kettlebells might be a solution for you!   A workout routine that involves lifting and balancing an object that looks like a bowling ball and a dumb bell combined, kettlebells have been seeing a resurgence in fitness centers over the past couple of years.

Dating back to 1704, kettlebells originated in Russia where they were used to keep the military in optimum fitness.  With a workout that involves repetitive movements that combine strength training, rigorous cardiovascular exercises, and challenging balancing, kettlebells are a fantastic way to zone back in to your workout.

Lance Armstrong using kettlebells in his home gym as featured in Men’s Health Jan ’09

For a more in depth description of kettlebells from About.com click here.

I’m not sure how I first learned about kettlebells but as soon as I went to a introductory workshop at The Swedish Institute in NYC, I knew this would be a challenging and fun way to achieve my fitness goals.  After years of doing yoga and using weight machines at the gym, I was looking to mix it up.  Kettlebells engage both your mind and body like no other exercise and can compliment any existing fitness routine.  Since the use of kettlebells involves your entire body, you develop strength and power that will no doubt translate to your everyday life.

So what do you do?  Check out this video to get a better idea.  Of course, these guys are pretty advanced but they are using some basic techniques that you can learn during your first class.

I’m lucky to have an instructor with extensive knowledge of exercise physiology.  First, I was instructed to start by focusing on proper form using a lighter weight and then gradually increasing weight.  How do you know how much weight to use?  My instructor phrased it perfectly, “if the weight isn’t heavier than the the groceries you carry, strength will not improve.”

Like any other weight training, form is key and so is regular practice.  Above all, the workout requires a lot of presence.  You can’t zone out with a 25 lb. bell in your hand as you swing it into the air.  There’s an amazing rhythm that you can develop after practicing a few times which is heightened in a group setting when everyone is in sync.   Running on a treadmill watching Tyra won’t get you there and I know because I’ve been there too.

For more information about the class I’m taking visit my instructor’s website Kettlebell Boot Camp NYC.

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