Tuesday, 6 May 2014

King of the Swingers : Kettlebells 101

It was back to school again for me last weekend to do a course I'd been looking forward to for a while, the latest in my FutureFit adventure, kettlebells. This time I got to go to the wonderful facility that is the UEL SportsDock. I want to go back to University... purely to study somewhere like that.
We had a double whammy of instructors, James and Jacqueline. Jacqueline actually designed the course and James has a great method of delivery. Kettlebells are thought to have originated in Russia and the exercises you perform are built on a philosophy of effectiveness of movement. This was reinforced a great deal throughout the course. When you get your head around that the techniques make a lot more sense. When you learn that the Russian masters of sport have to have spent at least 10,000 hours in training alone to merit the award then you know they mean business.
I'm sure many of you have wielded a kettle bell at some point in your fitness life. Maybe you've done deadlifts or swings or even presses. Now I thought I knew how to do a kettlebell swing. Boy was I wrong! 
"More hip snap Vikki"
"You're extending your arms too much"
"Don't lift with your arms!"
Kettlebells are a very humbling thing. They can give you a great full body work out but so much comes from the lower body. Anything that involves lifting the bell, pretty much comes from the glutes. We've sent so much time being told to stand with feet hip distance apart that the wider base you often need feels alien, as does sticking your hip out to rest on in the rack position. 

We had about 2 hours in the class room and the rest of the course was a constant work out in the studio, learning and practicing techniques and exercises. As a beginner you run the risk of getting horribly bruised. By the end of the first day I already had the beginnings of callouses, bruised forearms and biceps even with sweatbands to pad the area and chalk to reduce friction. On the plus side my core has never felt so toned!
Another bruise for the collection
Beginnings of callouses
It was a fantastic course; challenging but so rewarding. I got to meet up with Louise who I met on the Level 2 Fitness Instructor course and I get to spend the weekend with James again this weekend as I take on the Level 3 PT workshop. However if I hear one more joke about cups of tea when I mention kettle bells then I might scream. Or throw one at the offender. And man would that hurt, believe me.
Oh and the course... yeah... nailed it!
Just about in shot flaunting H&S rules and NOT looking at my kettlebell in windmill pose 

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