A product review? On Cranky Fitness?
Yes, I know. I do product reviews about as often as I say something nice about... well, about pretty much anything. I made an exception in this case because I was intrigued by the name. What the hell is a kettlebell? Something that rings when it's made a pot of tea?
What the hell is a kettlebell?
Turns out it's a hand weight with a luggage handle on top. Cute as the dickens.
Don't knock the power of 'cute'! Hand weights are like people: both are much more likely to get picked up if they're cute. The son of Charlotte (from The Great Fitness Experiment) named her kettlebell 'Tinkerbell'.
What are you supposed to do with it?
Hey, it's a hand weight. You do the math.
(Sorry. I always wanted an excuse to use that expression.)
Okay, in case you're as mathematically challenged as I am, there is help. Sarah Lurie has put together some fitness DVDs showing how to get a workout with a kettlebell. What's really cool is that her DVDs combine working out aerobically with lifting weights. To someone like me, who would rather clean house than lift weights, this idea out-wows sliced bread.
The DVD I was given was called Kettlebell Basics, but Gofit.net has a list of several different DVDs that you can choose from.
Reasons to use a kettleball
1 - It's fun. Doing something different spices up a workout routine, which means I'm more likely to keep exercising.
2 - It's a workout. For several of these exercises, you hold the kettleball with both hands, thus using more muscles than you would with holding a weight in just one hand. Kind of like using a snowboard rather than two separate skis. With a snowboard, you end up using more core muscles because you're desperately trying to stay vertical.
3 - While it's nice to use muscles I wouldn't ordinarily put into play, even nicer is the idea of lifting weights while getting a cardio workout. Sarah Lurie guides you through a series of exercises that have you doing lunges, squats, and such like while raising and lowering the kettlebell. (The handle makes it much easier to swing the weight around than it would be to swing a regular hand weight.)
Things I didn't like so much
To be completely fair and unbiased, there were a couple things I didn't like.
- Between exercises, the DVD lists key bullet points about form, things to keep in mind. Which would probably be useful if the font weren't so small that I couldn't read the text from 4 feet away.
- One of the exercises involve grasping the kettlebell with both hands, swinging it between my legs and then up to above my shoulders. These people have great faith in my ability not to accidentally lose my grip on the kettlebell and send it flying across the room. [Some manual dexterity is required to use a kettlebell.]
To read another review of Sarah Lurie's Kettlebell Workout DVDs, check out Workout Mommy's blog.
What about you? Have you tried using one of these things before, and if so did you like it?
P.S. My apologies to Nitmos. Here at Cranky Fitness, we are keenly aware of the robust necessity of remaining dynamically sensitive to our readers' needs. However, this is a serious product review, and it would be totally inappropriate to work in any gratuitous Martina Navratilova references. Besides, I could not find any indication that she had ever used this product.