You may be seeing and hearing more and more about kettlebells and yet your commercial gym may not have them. This is the case for me, so I tried dumbbell swings, which I really don't care for as I find them awkward. Then I started doing swings with a weight plate (the kind with a hole close to the edge). After one of my friends accidentally shattered a wall mirror by loosely placing a dumbbell on a rack (which then caused an avalanche that crashed into the mirror) I decided I would swing my weight plate toward a wall instead. Plus my husband is a builder so maybe he could bail me out cheaper with drywall repair if I lost control, right? I'm pretty sure I was scaring the gym management as well as the few that were brave enough to walk in front of me. It was time to buy a kettlebell. I wish I hadn't waited so long! If you're ready to add something new, I would recommend at least one kettlebell to start, learning the basic moves and obtaining one solid workout. For all of this check out Art of Strength.
Even if you are in good shape I suggest women start with a 8kg (18lb) and that men start with a 12kg (26lb) or 16kg (35lb). You will be surprised how heavy they feel due to the weight being offset and how strenuous even the double-handed swing can be. Some of those that you see in the stores, especially in the lighter weights, will have handles that are too small. You will want to get a kettlebell with a wide handle that you can comfortably use with two hands, or pass from hand to hand with a somewhat fluid motion. Another odd-ball thing to suggest is wrist bands. Kind of dorky looking but until you get your form down or when you begin using really heavy kettlebells it's easy to bruise your wrists and the bands just help.
Now, what to do with it? The possibilities are endless, so it's hard to know where to start. Check out this feature called Minute of Strength E-news. You will find over 100 short videos demonstrating common and not-so-common kettlebell drills by Anthony Dilugio and team. These are very well done and easy to follow. You can also sign up for the newsletter there. It's a great way to learn and practice the moves. I would start with the swing first and get the form down. The swing can be combined with just about anything for a good hard workout.
Once you get the basic moves down, you're ready for a more structured workout. The one I am using right now is Providence.
I'm really not a DVD kind of gal but this is the best I've ever seen. I love it! Anthony Dilugio takes you through an interval-style workout with 2 minutes work followed by 1 minute of rest, for 14 rounds. He doesn't mess around or talk too much. Upper body and lower body focus is altered so you get rest for specific body parts without breaking your momentum. It ends up being a full-body workout that benefits strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. Some of the moves include swings, clean and press, squats, tactical lunges, figure 8 with a hold, etc. One cool feature is that there is a visible time bar on the screen (which is encouraging because 2 minutes is longer than you think!). It's filmed outside and the music tracks to choose from are great and fit the workout well. Also, you're told exactly when to break, you get a preview of what's coming up next. It's just enough time to chug some water and catch your breath. At the end of the tape there is a snatch test. Whew, good luck!
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