Kettlebell Workouts: Yes or No?

Dear Fun & Fit:

What do you think of kettle-bells? My niece was trying to get my 77-year-old sister to use them and I thought, “Wow, there is a ligament-wrenching waiting to happen.”
Goleta, CA

Da, please!

Nyet, thanks!

Dear Deb (which is kind of, but not really, like “bells” spelled sideways:

We think kettlebells are wonderful. They make such a lovely noise right around the holidays. All that joyful clinging and clanging. Until the whoomp. But, hey, that’s what Santa gets for sneaking around living rooms.

Do you mean you want to exercise with them? Or you want to throw them at your niece? Not very family-friendly we’d say. As a workout, they are great – if done properly. But isn’t that the case with any tool? However, in the case of kettlebells, lots of people watch the YouTube videos with those crazy Russians, but let us point out two things: 1) they are Russian. 2) they are crazy. The Russians invented the kettlebell workout, probably using spare parts they had around the collective (kolkhoz, for those of us who went to university for Russian Studies). Then they took some of the more, erm, ahem, shall we say “extreme” routines and stuck them up for all to view.

But if you don’t want to roll around a grassy knoll tossing a 70-pound kettlebell up into the rainbows (and your spine into little pieces), there are actual SAFE routines you could start with. One caveat for you and anyone else who is thinking of tossing around a heavy, curvilinear cast-iron object (no, not a frying pan), if you want to take a class or session at your local gym, check out the instructor’s credentials and training for kettlebells. We are huge supporters of our fitness colleagues, but we have seen one or two crazy Americans whom we suspect took their training from a Russian YouTube video. Not to name names, but…

You shut your mouth.

I’m talking ’bout Shaft.

Dear Readers and kettlebell flingers: What is your opinion of kettlebells? And does the name make you want a cup of tea?

Photo credits: Photobucket

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