As a keen fitness enthusiast and member of different gyms for several years, just as I thought that there was nothing new under the sun and resigned myself to the universal dominance of Les Mills classes everywhere (Body Pump, Body Combat, Body Attack, RPM etc.), I completely fell for a refreshingly new group exercise class called Kettlercise. In my previous article I talked about why I really like using kettlebells and I did not expect to discover that there IS actually a fitness programme built on using kettlebells! It was “love at first sight”. The guy who is behind this new exercise programme is called Guy Noble – he is a reputable fitness expert and owner of Kettlebell Seminars Ltd., official suppliers and trainers to the Registrar of Kettlebell Professionals, offering a range of seminars and instructors’ courses.
Guy with his trademark orange kettlebells
In a nutshell, the class is designed to provide an overall total body workout using only one piece of equipment (the name says it all!). The basic kettlebell exercises work the whole body as one unit including arms, torso, legs, hips and bottom whilst also working the cardiovascular system. This is a truly challenging class – as opposed to Body Pump, there are virtually no breaks between the exercises. There is also a greater variety of moves – I counted about 40 different exercises during the class, which are introduced by the instructor just before the start of a new move to ensure continuity. But the real beauty in all of this is that because you are only using one kettlebell, there is no need to fiddle with changing weights as you inevitably end up doing during Body Pump. (However, having said that, I sometimes use more than one weight – a heavier for the legs and bigger moves and a lighter one for the arms – to challenge myself more).
Given that the exercises involve high reps (you get approx. one minute for each move) and most of them involve some swinging motion, they bring up the heart rate quite quickly and keep you working at a high cardiovascular intensity for 50 minutes. Therefore it is recommended that slightly lower weights are used in this class than what you would normally use in the weight room for a quick conditioning workout. I usually work with 8 – 12 kg kettlebells when I do my own high intensity interval workouts, but I find that a 6 – 8kg kettlebell is more ideal for me in this class, due to its length. By the end of the workout, you will not find a single spot on your body that is not aching… But I can wholeheartedly say that it’s totally worth it as you will see the difference in the mirror after a few weeks if you regularly stick to this workout!
- What I liked the best about this class is that it provides a great cardiovascular workout combined with strengthening and sculpting moves, making it a very efficient fat burner.
- Given the variety of the moves, it is really hard to get bored with this routine. Time passes so quickly as you move on from one exercise to another, being completely absorbed in getting the transition and the new move right. You will quickly learn the new lingo: swings, snatches, lunges, pulls, presses, you name it!
- As opposed to classes like Body Pump, there are lots of moves that involve side bends and torso twists, moves that are great to improve the mobility of the spine and torso but are often neglected.
- In comparison to barbells and weight plates used in Body Pump, kettlebells allow you to carry out explosive movements as well that use momentum to multiply force, whilst dumbbells/barbells are best for slower movements that require control. Kettlebell movements cause your body to work more as one unit because you utitilize stabilizer muscles on a lot of the moves. Also, the movements can be quite fast and after several reps and sets, you will have done an incredible cardio workout!
- The downside is that a small number of the exercises could be more effective if done with a heavier kettlebell, but there may be a limited supply of kettlebells available for the class and you may have to stick with the same weight for the whole class. Choose your weight wisely! (And try to be among the first ones to enter the classroom during peak times…)
The only caution I would take if I was a complete beginner is getting the technique right first. That said, this is paramount when trying out any new class that involves the use of some kind of equipment. When it comes to using kettlebells, some of the moves require so much precision that getting it wrong may lead to decreased efficiency, not to mention exposing yourself or others to injury. I have seen kettlebells flying loose because the person’s fingers slipped off the handle!
To sum up the benefits of this class:
- Overall improved fitness
- Leaner body
- Increased strength
- Improved posture
- Increased flexibility
- Improved endurance
Not entirely convinced? Below is a short video to give you an idea of what a proper Kettlercise class looks like:
If your local gym does not offer this class, I have saved up the best news for the end of this article – you can now order the home workout version of Kettlercise! Check out Amazon and Kettlebell Seminars. (It is worth signing up for their newsletter to get updates about the latest special offers and discounts.)