In Praise of the Humble Kettlebell


Kettlebells by Cajie, on Flickr

Confession: I totally love kettlebells. I like walking, I like running, there is definite pleasure to lifting other kinds of weights. I despise all machines, including treadmills and ellipticals. But I LOVE kettlebells.

I’m not sure why, but there is something incredibly satisfying to me in swinging a heavy kettlebell. Currently my record is swinging a 60 lbs kettlebell a total of 225 times over the course of an hour-long class. I was sore afterwards, but very proud and happy. I am woman, hear me roar.

Of course, there’s always room for improvement. I can do a clean and overhead press with 20 lbs.  I can do a Turkish get-up with a 15 lbs kettlebell for sure, and on a good day with a 20 lbs one. But my aim is one day to approach the strength and concentration of this incredible girl (that’s a 28 KILOGRAM kettlebell she’s got there, that’s over 60 lbs).

A good kettlebell workout is weight training and high-intensity interval training rolled into one, so when you’ve finished a session, you don’t have to do anything else. That’s an important plus for people with busy lives, especially moms. You lift, you swing, you squat with different weights according to your abilities, and your muscles respond with love.

I’ve been playing with kettlebells for a couple of years now, and I’ve had people tell me I look younger – I’m certainly in better shape than I was in my thirties and early forties. To be fair, I produced three children in seven years during that time, so I’m not too hard on myself. But it’s nice to be strong now. I’m hoping to escape the batwings of my heredity, or at least reduce them severely. There are other parts of the female anatomy that respond well to this kind of exercise (as well as going easy on the carbs, of course, but that’s another post).

It’s not just vanity, though. It’s great to be strong and healthy in everyday life. I can pick up a potted coffee plant that’s as tall as I am and put it out on the deck without any help. I have lifted my fourteen-year-old, much to his chagrin, so I know I could get him out of a burning building, G-d forbid. My mother lost her battle with the complications of diabetes at the age of 69, and that is not going to happen to me.

How about you, what is your favourite workout? How do you keep yourself strong and healthy? Who wants to come to kettlebell class with me? I promise we will give you a small one to start with!

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3 Responses to “In Praise of the Humble Kettlebell”

  1. Peter Wright Says:

    Good description of what kettlebell exercises can do for you. Your 225 swings of a 60lb weight in an hour sounds like a punishing work out for any one.

    Don’t you miss the quiet solitude of running though? I did try daily gym sessions when I was preparing for ultra-marathons.

    They helped with upper body strength and all round fitness but I much preferred the solo early morning runs combined with the camaraderie and good natured competition of organised weekend races.
    Peter Wright recently posted…Diving InMy Profile

  2. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    Oh, it wasn’t punishing, although by the end I was tired, of course. it wasn’t a solid hour of swinging, that would have been awful. We did other things in between, then kept returning to the swinging. Hence the comment of it being high-intensity interval training.

    I do enjoy running, although I am not interested in running long distances – I don’t think that is a healthy thing to do. I wouldn’t go to the gym daily, either! Didn’t you spend any time recuperating and letting your muscles grow and recover? I’m glad you don’t do ultra-marathons anymore – what made you stop?

  3. 06.25.13 | CrossFit 312 Says:

    […] article in praise of the humble kettlebell recipe asparagus ribbons in lemon dressing […]

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