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We Did It: KettleX
Earlier this week, the Greatist team hopped the 6 train and made our way uptown to meet Lorna Kleidman, three-time world kettlebell champion, and two of our friends from Chobani, Elizabeth and Karen. Many of us had never laid our paws on a kettlebell — the fitness tool gaining attention for it’s ability to simultaneously build strength, cardio, endurance, balance, and flexibility . And there they were, lined up by size and corresponding color like painted bowling balls with handles.
We staggered ourselves in the dimly-lit studio, kettlebell, towel, and water bottle at each station. Kleidman, in a set of badass spandex and with perfectly coiffed curls, prompted us to shout out some adjectives that come to mind when we think of kettlebells. “Hard!” “Heavy!” “Intimidating!” Kleidman acknowledged that there tends to be a sense of nervousness with kettlebells, and rightly so as many of us had never trained with them. “It’s not hard, it’s challenging,” she told us. “If it’s hard, you wouldn’t want to come back.” Spoiler alert: It was hard, but many of us said we’d absolutely do it again.
The first few minutes of the hour-long class consisted of active stretching and jumping jacks. Then, Kleidman had us practice a basic swing without the weight — hinge at the hips, bum out, eyes forward, wrists right into our lady (and gentlemen) bits. I couldn’t help but wonder the pain I’d endure if I mistakenly swung my hands just a few inches higher. But, miracle of miracles, when we practiced our first weighted double-arm swing the kettlebell followed the arc it was supposed to (phew). We swung the kettlebell higher, allowing momentum to help it along. It was actually kind of fun (Exhale. Whee! Exhale. Whee!) Then things got real.
We lunged to the left and threaded the kettlebell behind and around that bent leg, passing it from one hand to the next. Then came simple upright rows. OK, simple enough… until Kleidman instructed us to zip the bell up in front of our bodies and swiftly press it overhead. All manageable until my hands began to sweat profusely, and I became more concerned with the implications of losing grip and accidently throwing a 12 pound weapon at one of my coworkers.
We continued through Kleidman’s routine of kettlebell exercises, from front and side lunges to figure-8 squats and plank rows. We circled the weight in front of the body, around our heads like a halo (talk about coordination), and then dropped down for some push-ups between sets. While we learned fewer than 10 movements total, the challenging part was moving through the circuit seamlessly (for a bajillion reps, roughly speaking) and at a fairly rapid pace.
The up-tempo mashups blasting through the speakers and Kleidman’s motivational musings like “You can do anything for 30 seconds!” made the class fly by as quickly as I thought the kettlebell would fly out of my hand and smash the mirrored wall in front of me. (Note: Not everyone had the sweaty palm problem, but Kleidman suggested light grippy gloves for next time).We finished off with a light stretch, toweled down our faces, and took solace in the fact that we burned somewhere between 600 and 850 calories in the one-hour session. On our way out Kleidman gave us the best instructions yet, “Go home and eat!”
Second photo by Jordan Shakeshaft
To learn more about Kleidman, her KettleX classes, and coaching, visit www.lornafit.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter at @LornaFitness.
Have you tried kettlebell training? Tell us what you think of the bells in the comment section below or tweet the author @nicmcdermott.
Comments Leave a comment
Gloves are a bad idea for getting grip. They tend to bunch up at the base of the fingers and cause blisters. A kettlebell moves a lot more in your hand than a dumbbell or barbell would. Chalk is good, but building up your grip strength is best.
@Staleek Thanks, Staleek! Lorna also suggested chalk. Hopefully one or the other would combat sweaty palms :)
OMG! I'm glad I am not the only one in the universe that has visions of accidentally letting go of the kettlebell & having it fly across the room into a wall...or another person! LOL
My trainer is making me do a kettlebell circuit that she calls The Matrix. It is brutal...in a good way. However, I still imagine dropping that 30 lb monstrosity onto my foot or my head or letting go on a swing & having it land on someone else.
It kind of freaks me out. I hope I get over it. I think a bit more confidence would help me out. I have gloves, which don't seem to cause me any blisters or problems. My problem is nervousness & timidity. I need to develop an attack mode, when it comes to these things!
@AngelaLight Hey Angela! Right there with you with the nervousness. Glad to hear that your gloves don't seem to be a bother. If I pick up kettlebells again, I may invest in a pair. Keep up the good work!