What do Jennifer Lopez and Sylvester Stallone have in common (besides a string of garbage movies)? They're both big proponants of Kettlebell training. Read more to see what all the hype is about.
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By Mike Galdieri
Whether you’re trying to build or tone muscle, increase your metabolism, or burn fat, you should generally incorporate a cardio routine with some form of strength training. There are a few misconceptions between the sexes that often times prevent this. First, men are convinced that cardio classes are just for women. And somehow women got the notion that if they even think about hitting the weights, they’ll be bigger than a lineman and out-lifting Schwarzenegger by the end of the week—although these days, it looks like most people could (we all saw those flabby beach photos of The Governator in Star Magazine).
If I have one piece of advice for Arnold to get back the toned body that made him famous, it’s to govern that gut and take up kettlebell training. After my first few sessions with David Ganulin, founder of KettleBell Concepts (kettlebellconcepts.com), I’m convinced that kettlebell training is the perfect combination of the aerobic and anaerobic exercise to give anyone that lean, sexy body they’ve always wanted.
David’s fitness background is as diverse as the applications of kettlebell training. He is certified as a USA Weightlifting Club Coach, but also studied Pilates under the world famous Romana Kryzanowska. David first encountered kettlebells in his martial arts training while living and teaching in Japan. After years of perfecting the craft, he now shares his knowledge of kettlebell training with the city of New York.
The workouts focus on full-body motions consisting of lifting, swinging, and balancing differently weighted kettlebells, which are basically cast iron cannonballs with handles. Beginner exercises focus on generating momentum through the legs into the arms in a squat-like motion, pressing the weight overhead with the arms, and stabilizing the weights while performing different core movements.
You’ll feel it most in your hips, butt, thighs, and arms. In fact, you’ll feel it for days. But, the midsection and back do their share of the work too. It’s the perfect workout for women looking sculpt their curves and tighten the backs of their arms. And it’s great for men trying to turn that keg in their midsection into a 6-pack.
Where Do Kettlebells Come From?
Originally used as counterweights for Russian farm equipment in the 1700s, kettlebells were quickly adopted as the preferred method of fitness by Russian field workers. Over the years, it spread throughout Russia, and in the 1940s, kettlebell lifting became the country’s national sport.
Kettlebells weren’t just used for powerlifting in Russia. The entire Russian Olympic team, from deadlifters to figure skaters, trained with kettle bells to achieve a combination of strength, stability, stamina, and grace. Only in the past few years has the rest of the world started to open their eyes to the efficiency of this one-stop workout.
While Hollywood is a far cry from the Russian countryside, a new generation of kettlebell enthusiasts is proving that motion is motion wherever you go. Some of the biggest fans of the kettlebell workout include actresses Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz, Kim Katrell, and Kim Basinger. Fellow actor Matthew McConaughey is proud to show off the results of his kettlebell training and Sylvester Stallone even included a kettlebell session in his new movie Rocky Balboa. Athletes from all walks have proven the benefits, including Lance Armstrong, martial arts strong man, Bob Sapp, and the legend, Bruce Lee.
Why do Kettle Bells Work?
Most strength routines combine the use of free weights and machines, and very few of them incorporate aerobic fitness or stretching. Any strength training will help you to look and feel better, but when you get right down to it, how much are weights or machines helping you to gain strength or stamina in the real world?
Dumbbells have a tight center of gravity, while machines lock your muscles into a predetermined range of motion. Do your kids perfectly distribute their weight when you lift them for a piggyback ride? Have you ever braced yourself on a machine while lifting your groceries?
The real world is not as perfect as our workout routines. Luggage, children, furniture, and all of the things that we lift outside of the gym are bulky and awkward, with an uneven center of gravity. Real world strength can only truly be achieved by mimicking real world motion. That’s where kettlebell training comes in—the perfect workout for an imperfect world.
With an odd shape, and a center of gravity that is displaced from the handle, kettlebells help to mimic the real world objects that we encounter on a daily basis. The momentum and inertia of the kettlebell exercises not only imitate real world motion, they allow for an entire set of strength exercises to be achieved in a combination of fluid movements. Unlike most strength training, which isolate single muscle groups for quick bursts of energy, the constant full-body motion of kettlebell training allows you to achieve a solid cardio workout simultaneously.
Kettlebell training is available at these New York gyms:
54 W 21st St., 8th Fl.
Velocity Sports Performance
133 E. 58th St., 6th Fl.
To find a complete list of kettlebell trainers, check out: kbcinstructorlocator.com
For more information on how to get kettlebells in your home or gym, contact: David Ganulin, KettleBell Concepts. 800.876.6090 - kettlebellconcepts.com