Kettlebells swing to a full body workout

Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:03am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Few workout tools are more versatile than kettlebells, the ancient market counterweights that were hoisted by Russian strongmen and now can be found in weight rooms at gyms across the country, fitness experts say.

But kettlebells, which come in varying weights, are often thought mistakenly to be the preserve of strongmen and extreme athletes.

Steve Cotter, a former Kung Fu competitor and the founder and director of the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation, said part of the problem was that the kettlebell was marketed as a hard-core tool that implied intensity.

"It prevents beginners from giving it a shot," said Cotter in an interview.

But the San Diego-based author of "Kettlebell Training: 95 exercises for strength, toning, stamina and weight loss," said novices should not be deterred.

"If you only have 30 minutes a day to commit to exercise, the kettlebell is an all-in-one, hand-held gym," he said.

The key to kettlebell training, Cotter added, is incremental progression. He recommends starting off with light weights, using one or two basic moves like the swing, during which the exerciser moves the kettlebell between the legs like a pendulum, forward and up and then back and down.

Normal, healthy women might begin with an eight-kilogram (17.6-pound) kettlebell, he said, while men can start with 16-kilograms (35.2 pounds).   Continued...