Kettlebells: A Love Story

photo 1When I first moved to New York City, I was feeling slow and sluggish.  Although the city itself was energizing and living in Greenwich Village provided me with new things to explore daily, I was exhausted from the previous months of commuting. While commuting I would trudge through the hell that is Port Authority, board a crowded, smelly bus, and then drive home to my parents’ house where I would scarf down dinner and plant myself on the couch or in bed only to wake up and do it all over again. When I moved, I had the freedom of a shorter commute and more time after work.  My friend introduced to me the NYC-studio of Dasha Libin Anderson and her class Kettlebell Kickboxing. The first class I was so scared I would pass out or puke.  But I didn’t. Anderson’s class combines martial arts and kettlebells with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  I was hooked after the first class for two reasons: 1. Kettlebells are so versatile. 2. I felt energized and empowered.  The way that Anderson’s body looks–sculpted and strong–was something I was looking for and wasn’t finding on the treadmill or elliptical.  I started seeing a lot of progress not only in the tone of my muscles but also in my pant size and on the scale. But more importantly, I wanted to train harder to improve myself physically and mentally. I had fallen in love with kettlebells and the way training with them made me feel.  Moving to Jersey City, I wasn’t able to attend classes every week at Anderson’s studio, but I purchased her DVD set (Kettlebell Kickboxing The Body Series 11 DVD Set & Nutrition Guide) to work out with kettlebells at home.  The DVDs are just as engaging because Anderson mixes up every move to engage multiple muscle groups and challenge your flexibility, mobility, strength, and endurance. The moment I heard that Anderson was writing a book, I had to get my hands on it.  The 325-page book is your definitive guide to kettlebells, but more than that Anderson encourages you “to be confident to take action and opportunities because our strong, agile, healthy, and fit bodies can move and bend and lift and push and pull and live.” If you’re looking for a fitness program that shows you the moves to sculpt your body, gives you exercises to do and a plan to follow, and provides empowering advice to maximize your results–this is it.

I also recently received a book by Lauren Brooks called Kettlebells for Women. Although I don’t know Brooks, have never trained with her, or viewed her DVDs, I wanted to give this book a chance too.  Kettlebells really are the perfect tool for women to use because the kettlebell swing engages the posterior chain (your booty) rather than your arms.  You won’t bulk up from using kettlebells, but you will tone a variety of muscle groups depending on the moves you do.  And even as you become more advanced there are a myriad of moves to conquer.  And you’ll always have the kettlebell swing as a foundational move that produces results.  I guarantee you, with proper training you’ll master moves you never thought possible like the Turkish get-up and a deck squat. Both books acknowledge the history behind kettlebell training especially their use in Russia and Europe.  Both books provide a program for weight-loss, strength, and conditioning. The moves are shown through step-by-step photographs with descriptions, tips, and important information about proper form and safety.  Below I’m going to list 5 Reasons to Read for each book, because I think they are both great resources for your kettlebell training.

5 Reasons to Read Kettlebells for Women:

  1. This book is an easy-to-follow introduction to kettlebell basics.
  2. Brooks provides a discussion of the program and nutrition up-front before going through the exercises in a very straightforward way.
  3. The design and layout is easy to follow with numbered, stepwise photos and descriptions of each exercise.
  4. Brooks describes modifications and tips perfect for beginners that will help avoid injury and ensure proper form.
  5. Part four on joint mobility demonstrates moves that can be used for warm-up, cool-down, or active rest to target areas like the neck, wrists, shoulders, knees, hips, and ankles that are prone to injury.

Courtesy Ulysses Press


5 Reasons to Read Kettlebell Kickboxing:

  1. Reading this book is like taking a course in kettlebells with sports science at its core. But true to its creator, it is also infused with the fun and empowerment you need to change your lifestyle not just try a new workout.
  2. If you’re already a fan of Anderson whose exercises have been featured in SELF, Women’s Health, Refinery29 and in her four DVD programs, this book will help you master the moves by breaking them down.
  3. While Anderson does cover the basic moves found in most kettlebell training programs, she also introduces unique exercises like the Jiujitsu sit-up, KB warrior, crescent squat, one-inch butt lifter, and tons of combo moves with kicks, punches, and sprawls.
  4. This book not only provides exercise flows to burn 500 calories in 30 minutes and 15-minute workouts for your busy life, it puts them all together in a 4-week structured plan.
  5. The color photos of Anderson and her fellow instructors are flawless–these ladies demonstrate perfect form and their abs speak for themselves.
Courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing

Courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing

The Deets:
Preorder your copy of Kettlebell Kickboxing: Every Woman’s Guide to Getting Healthy, Sexy, and Strong.
Order your copy of Kettlebells for Women: Workouts for Your Strong, Sculpted and Sexy Body.



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