The kettlebell seems to be all the rage! I recently went to a course where the instructor showed us various moves to do with the versatile kettlebell. Apparently this unique piece of equipment (imagine a weight shaped a little like a cow bell) has been around for over 300 years! Like any weight equipment, it is important that it be used correctly to avoid injury. In fact, whenever I see someone using it, I feel the need to stand back a few feet because it always seems like the weight of the kettlebell will cause someone to hurl it as they swing it. I know that is unlikely…but you never know!
Some of the things that the instructor stressed in the class had really nothing to do with kettlebells, or even weight lifting for that matter. She stressed posture, for instance. I have never had great posture, even when I was younger. Carrying babies around all these years has not helped me to stand any straighter! But the instructor had been a dancer and her posture reflected it. One of the tips she gave us was to engage the back muscles when standing, and especially when lifting weights. That is a new concept for me!
I don’t own a kettlebell (yet), so I’m not familiar with all the different ways to use it. One of the exercises I do know, and I really like, is the kettlebell get-up. Not only does this totally engage your core muscles, it is a difficult exercise and very efficient. Seven or eight repetitions on each side is enough to make you work up a sweat! And when they are done as a part of a circuit, you can repeat the get-up (7 reps each side) two to three times for a tough workout! Starting with the 7 lb. kettlebell, I have worked up to the 10 lb. kettlebell over time.
Recently our oldest son, Charlie, was home on spring break. He tried the kettlebell get-up. As a college swimmer, he is a pretty strong guy. When he finished, he agreed that the get-up is a lot harder than it looks! Alan Tyson, physical therapist and founder of Architech Sports in Charlortte, NC, says he uses the kettlebell for many of his elite athletes. He particularly likes the get-up because it combines balance, strength, core, and even cardio, all in one. Before trying the get-up with the kettlebell, Alan suggests practicing it without the weight until you are comfortable with the movement. To see a get-up, follow this link to watch kettlebell instructor Betsy Collie demonstrate this unique exercise. Kettlebell videos. (It is one of the last videos in the series.)