As you guys know, I’m not as focused on my fitness lately. An 18 month old can be…distracting. And well, my arms don’t really need much work after toting around 25 pounds all day.
That being said, I’ve been feeling like a bit of a slacker.
But instead of complaining, I did something about it. I looked around at what was available and close — i.e. my workplace gym — and I enrolled in a kettlebell class. Some of you may know that I’m no stranger to kettlebells – I love them! But I no longer have the time (or want to make it) at home, so this over-the-lunch-hour class will be the perfect solution. It’s just one time a week — giving my body plenty of time to recover – and boy does it need it!
As a reminder, a “kettlebell,” or girya, is a traditional Russian cast-iron weight that looks like a cannonball or bowling ball with a handle. The kettlebell goes way back: the term first appeared in a Russian dictionary in 1704. Talk about a tried and true exercise!
Added bonus: Katherine Hiegel and Penelope Cruz swear by kettlebells, as well!
Now, if you really want to get the most out of your time working out, go with kettlebells. The exercises increase your heart rate, much like the standard cardio exercises, but also work every muscle group in your body. From Women’s Health: “Researchers found that people who did 20-minute kettlebell workouts torched almost 300 calories—and that’s just for starters. When you factor in the muscle-sculpting impact (the calories burned after you exercise as your body repairs its muscle fibers), the total expenditure could increase by up to 50 percent. ”
Here is a short list of workout equipment the kettlebell replaces: barbells, dumbbells, belts for weighted pull-ups and dips, thick bars, lever bars, medicine balls, grip devices and cardio equipment. So instead of spending thousands of dollars on lots of equipment, pick up a kettlebell. Without needed all of the traditional equipment, you’ll save tons of space, too!
A key piece of information to remember, courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Tucker, a rehabilitation specialist: “kettlebell exercises are movement-based, not just lifting-based. You’re getting movement training with weight instead of weight training with single-plane movement. We’re not just trying to hypertrophy muscles like a bodybuilder; we’re trying to groove movement patterns throughout the body that are both strong and stable. ”
For those of you wanting to give kettlebells a try, but don’t have access to classes or a kettlebell gym (they exist!), I recommend the GoFit kettlebell models. Why? Because they come with a super cheesy DVD, of course! Don’t roll your eyes. The first step in any kettlebell exercise program is nailing the proper form for the key moves. Each GoFit kettlebell comes with a tutorial DVD that walks you through the key kettlebell exercises.
Once you’ve got your form down, visit my favorite kettlebell site and try out some of their online routines — they are some of the best I’ve found! (and they incorporate jumping jacks, you cardio junkies!)
Some links with good training videos and tutorials:
http://www.liftkettlebells.com/ – GREAT audio workouts here
And a full workout you can do in the comfort of your own home - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkXw9hB0Zpo
Also, if you search for a certain move on YouTube, several great videos come up, as well.
Have you tried kettlebells before? What did you think?