Friday, June 02, 2006

Kettlebell Training

Pavel has released a new kettlebell training book, titled Enter the Kettlebell. It's based on his experiences of the past five years of kettlebell training in the US and it serves to correct one of the main complaint of his titles so far- by producing a strict training program to follow. When I bought his Russian Kettlebell Challenge I expected it to contain a training guide, but all it really did was to introduce the exercises and offer advice on how to structure your own program. Many people were apparently unhappy with this- I must admit it was a bit daunting to not only learn to use this new tool and technique but also to have to put everything together myself.

For those of you unfamiliar with the kettlebell, or girya, this sums it up pretty well-

AK-47 of physical training hardware. Hunk of iron on a handle. Simple, sinister, brutal—and ferociously effective for developing explosive strength, dramatic power and never-say-die conditioning. The man’s man’s choice for the toughest, most demanding, highest-yield exercise tool on the planet. Guaranteed to forge a rugged, resilient, densely-muscled frame—built to withstand the hardest beating and dish it right back out, 24/7.

I can't disagree with that at all. Of all the varied training I've undertaken (competitive road cycling, running, swimming, weight training and even being trained by the PT instructors of the Royal Marines), nothing has been as simple and effective as the kettlebell. With just a handful of exercises, the KB works your entire body, producing real strength endurance.

At the moment I'm struggling to get back on my feet after a bad few weeks of back pain. It's hard just to stand upright right now, or even sit upright for that matter, and my muscles feel like they've turned to jelly- but I can't wait to start swinging that hunk of iron again. I'm also keen to get my hands on Pavel's new book- in addition to providing a foolproof training regime for girevik's of all experience levels, it also has some sections on dealing with back pain.

If you're looking to lose weight, build muscles or just gain some functional strength, the kettlebell seems to me to be the way to go- and Enter the Kettlebell would appear to be a great place to start. I'll hopefully add a review here when I get my copy.

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