A kettlebell is a cast iron weight that resembles a cannonball with a handle. The smallest kettlebells weigh around 10 pounds, and the experienced can use kettlebells of 100 pounds or more. A kettlebell class involves fluid yet powerful momentum-based movements holding one or two kettlebells. The workout improves strength, flexibility, and balance together with cardio-vascular fitness, all in one session.
The CIA, octogenarians, horse riders, moms and professional wrestlers use kettlebells to help them beat the bad guys, improve balance and flexibility, and fit into skinny jeans.
Someone who believes passionately in the benefits of kettlebells is Brad Nelson, who opened his own self-described "torture chamber" of kettlebells in Woodbury, east of St. Paul. You'll find Brad at Kinetic Edge Performance. He's the one wearing a "Cast Iron Balls" shirt.
Brad discovered kettlebells in 2003 from an obscure advert run by a Russian kettlebell master in a fitness magazine. Kettlebells turned out to be salvation from his previous run-of-the-treadmill exercise routine, and intense but physically ruinous weight-lifting. He completed a grueling certification course and is a certified Russian Kettlebell Challenge Instructor.
Dripping with scorn for those as-seen-on-TV fitness machines and believing that anything that involves resting your behind in a padded chair while you lift weights is a pathetic excuse for exercise, Brad's attitude is sure to antagonize many weight lifters. But there's certainly something appealing and more rewarding about doing it all by yourself, rather than having a machine kindly lining it up and catching the weight if you let go.
Complete an introduction class at Kinetic Edge Performance, and then move on to hardcore workouts with names like Inferno and Incinerator that have more than a touch of boot camp to them. In the winter you'll burn up such a sweat you'll be able to defrost your own car post-workout just by sitting in it.
Kettlebell beginners will need to be prepared to endure two or three sessions to get comfortable with the weights, especially if you are used to pumping iron with a machine. But if testimonials from kettlebell fanatics are anything to go by, it's worth the investment.
Kinetic Edge Performance
683 Bielenberg Drive Suite 203
Woodbury, MN 55125
More Kettlebell Classes in the Twin CitiesThe Sweatshop in St. Paul offers regular kettlebell classes.
In downtown Minneapolis, CES Fitness holds kettlebell classes.