Dumbbells are common when it comes to weight training, but recently a more than 200-year-old tool has become popular at the gym. Since the early 1800’s Russians used the kettlebell to enhance strength and conditioning but it hasn’t caught on in the United States until recently.

Jim O’connell has seen the popularity of kettlebells grow first hand. When he started his kettlebell class a year ago at the Kroehler Family YMCA it had only four members, but now there is hardly enough room for everyone.

“It’s a challenging workout. Its something different that you’re not used to doing so I think that appeals to people from word of mouth or watching on TV or seeing someone do it outside or in a gym,” said O’connell.

A kettlebell workout doesn’t have to last longer than 30 minutes, but that short workout can be much more effective than dumbbells.

“You are able to burn twice the amount of calories lifting a kettlebell as opposed to a dumbbell just because of what’s being used in the body and the core muscles as well,” said O’connell.

“I look better, I think. My husband tells me so and I’ve dropped down two sizes in my dress. I’ve lost 15 pounds,” said Lina Munoz, a member of O’connell’s class.

Kettlebells are used in a swinging motion, technique and form are especially important to avoid injury. O’connell believes to receive the biggest benefit from kettlebells some kind of instruction is a must.

“Yes, you can do squats and yes, you can do curls and chest presses and things like that, which we can do with a dumbbell but if you want to learn to do a swing properly or a figure 8 or a skull toss its one of those things you have to see hands on,” said O’connell.

Once a kettlebell workout becomes a part of your regiment and you have the proper technique down users say the results become clear.

“When I’m not here I go on the bike when I can and I noticed I can go a lot farther and a lot harder and a lot faster for my cardiovascular workouts. Strength wise, I’m a massage therapist so I can give a lot harder deeper tissue massage,” said Chelsea Brown, another member of O’connell’s class.
O’connell says when it comes to kettlebells there are no age restrictions.

“It’s something that can be used at an early age and it’s something that you can use in your senior age,” said O’connell.

Registration for Fall kettlebell classes at the Kroehler Family YMCA is available now and classes start September 6th.


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