Something that I have recently gotten a lot of questions about are kettlebells. You know what kettlebells are right? They are those things you see sitting on the weight room floor that look like cannonballs with handles. If you are like some of the people who have been reaching out to me lately, you probably have wondered at least once, “What in the world do I do with those?”
I admit I didn’t know much about them myself until I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Kettlebells For Dummies. I have always been a huge fan of the Dummies series. I started my fitness journey with a copy of Weight Training For Dummies. When I decided a wanted to pursue a career in fitness, I got a copy of Becoming a Personal Trainer for Dummies to learn what I needed to know about the business side of fitness.
Kettlebells for Dummies really opened my eyes. Even as a fitness professional, I did not realize all that went into learning how to work with kettlebells. I appreciate the author’s (Sarah Lurie, RKC, CSCS) thoroughness. She spends a great deal of time helping you learn form, breathing and proper bell size before you even attempt to pick up an actual kettlebell.
Being a newbie to this form of training, I decided to try out some of the tests and exercises working up to the classic kettlebell move, the swing.
Just like traditional weight training, form and breathing are extremely important. Before I even picked up the kettlebell I walked through her exercises to find my stance and practice my “hip snap”. It took a little work, but I finally found my rhythm. Once you find it, as Lurie states, it feels pretty natural.
Then I picked up the kettlebell. If I doubted the book’s claim that a few moves in a short full body workout would get your heart rate up and your metabolism moving, my mind was changed after practicing the two arm swing.
It was more challenging than I, a seasoned exerciser and trainer, thought. Using your whole body to move the bell, not just your arms, is key. And that takes every muscle you have. After only a warm up and a few reps, my heart rate was already elevated.
Integrating the swing with your hip snap takes some practice. While I don’t have my moves perfected, thanks to Lurie’s great instructions, I feel like I did okay my first time out. Moreover, I want to keep working at it because I can see know how intense it can be. Now I have a tool that will help me learn to do it correctly and safely.
Kettlebells for Dummies has detailed yet easy to understand descriptions of all the basic moves, plus many advanced ones. I read the book, now I want to go back and practice the book. Not that I plan on giving up my ‘traditional” weight training workouts, but I believe kettlebell training can be a great compliment if done on a sensible rotation.
So if you don’t have access to a certified kettlebell instructor and want to learn how to use them I would highly recommend this book. I give it an 8 on a scale of 1-10. While there may be a few issues, in my opinion with the writing (organization and repetition of phrases), the instructional information is very sound and useful.
Any kettlebell fans out there? If you’ve seen this book I would love to hear the perspective of someone with kettlebell experience.