New Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning Classes

Several students have expressed interest in learning to use the kettlebells (the old-timey weights along the front wall) for strength and conditioning training.

Kettlebell training is great for martial artists.  Unlike conventional bodybuilding exercises, which train muscles in isolation, kettlebell exercises work across multiple muscle groups to develop coordinated, total-body strength, the kind of strength you need for powerful, explosive kicks, punches, sweeps and throws.

Normally I train people one on one with kettlebells, at $150 for a package of four one hour lessons, scheduled at your convenience.  But because a number of people have approached me lately, I’ve decided to offer small group lessons at a discounted rate.

Kettlebell exercises are highly skill-intensive and require focused instruction and attentive practice.  it is like doing yoga with a cannonball held over your head.  It is not: tune out and watch “Real Housewives” while you slog away at the stair-stepper!

I would love to have a regular group kettlebell strength and conditioning class going, but before you are ready for a large group class, you need to learn safe and effective technique with an instructor carefully monitoring your form.

So starting this coming week of 9/20, Monday & Wed 5:15-6:15,  I’ll be working with a small group of students to teach the basics of kettlebell training.  If we end up with 3 students, the cost will be $60 for four one hour lessons.  If we end up with 4 students, it will be $45 for four lessons.  I expect it will take 8 lessons to become proficient in the exercises.

The first lesson will be $20.  If you decide to continue, I’ll apply that to your package of four lessons.

Let me know ASAP if you are interested!

More information on kettlebells:

What is a kettlebell?
A lump of cast iron resembling a cannonball with a thick handle, the kettlebell is an old-time strongman implement that has been enjoying a new wave of popularity since Pavel Tsatsouline, a former physical training instructor for the Soviet Special Forces, first published an article on kettlebell training in MILO, a journal for strength training professionals, in 1998.

Why train with kettlebells as opposed to free weights or machines?
Kettlebell drills, unlike bodybuilding exercises, work across multiple muscle groups to develop integrated strength. The result is a strength training that builds athleticism by teaching coordinated movement, not muscle isolation.

Kettlebells develop lower back endurance, strengthen the glutes, stretch the hip flexors, and train proper core alignment for better back support.

Strength and Conditioning
Kettlebell exercises fall into two basic categories. “Grind” exercises are performed slowly, under high tension and for low reps to develop maximal strength. Like yoga or pilates, these exercises often incorporate holding the body balanced in difficult postures to develop stability and strength at odd angles. The “Turkish Get-Up,” for example, has the practitioner lying on his back with the kettlebell pressed overhead, and moving from there up to a lunge, then to a standing position, then back down again without bending the arm.

The grind exercises are designed to recruit type IIb muscle fibers, the kind of muscle used in short bursts of all-out exertion.

The “ballistic drills” such as the swing, clean, and snatch, develop explosive strength from the toes to the fingertips, making them perfect for athletes who punch, kick, or who need to sprint, stop, and change directions quickly.

Intervals of intense, explosive movements punctuated by short periods of rest are the hallmark of most athletic endeavors. Elite athletes, whether by instinct or through training, develop the ability to recover quickly in the intervals between intense bursts of movement. I call this skill ‘managing tension’, the ability to go from all-out effort to deep relaxation. The more efficient a competitor in any sport is at doing this, the more ‘athletically gifted’ they appear.

Unlike long slow aerobic work on machines, kettlebell training is an integrated mind-body discipline. “There is no chance to drift off mentally when working out with these things,” says brown belt Mark Wilson. “You must be aware of your entire body at all times. This aspect of kettlebell training has increased my awareness of where my body is and what it is doing at all times and which has led to more proper distancing and increased power when striking and being able to more effectively evade attacks.”

Purchasing kettlebells

It is not immediately necessary that you purchase your own kettlebell, but look here for links to the two best sources I have found:  Dragondoor, which makes the best quality, and Perform Better, with decent quality at a lower price.

Most men will probably start with a 16kg/ 35lb kettlebell. Most women will start with an 8kg/ 18lb kettlebell or possibly a 12kg/ 26lb. It’s probably a good idea to try some of the exercises before purchasing a kettlebell.

The Grinds
“Grind” exercises are done slowly, with low reps and high tension and an awareness of proper body alignment.

Grinds are for building strength, often at unusual angles not trained with in other weightlifting methods.

“The Turkish Get-Up”

“The Wrestler’s Bridge Press”

This is an advanced exercise, just to give you an idea of what a versitle and ever-challenging tool a kettlebell can be.

“Renegade Row”

Ballistic Drills

These exercises train explosive movements from the toes to the fingertips.
They condition through periods of intense effort puncutated with short intervals of rest.

“The Swing ”

Contact me to enroll in the class, or if you have any questions.

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~ by nolashaolin on September 18, 2010.

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