What is a Russian Kettlebell?

imagesThrough my school years, I was an athlete in various sports that worked hard off the field to improve my game in each sport. This ‘off the field’ work included weight training, running, and other skill work.  However, I hardly noticed how much the traditional weight training had bulked me up and tightened me up, making me less functional over time. I was perhaps stronger, but my faulty training approach led to a less agile and deconditioned body. My career as an athlete ended with a slew of injuries due in large part to the dysfunctional body that my dysfunctional training had created. Although, at the time, I chalked it up to bad luck. As my disappointment and frustration persisted, I wondered, ‘What can I do to efficiently improve strength, conditioning, and mobility so that I can function better for sports and the real world?’

Eventually, I ran across an article by an interesting Russian fellow named Pavel Tsatouline. I remember being challenged in my thinking to the very principles that I had been using for years in my training. Could he be telling the truth? But everyone seemed to be training the same way I was….surely, we all couldn’t be using the wrong approach. Is there really a better way to train that would incorporate strength, conditioning, and mobility all in one package?

Seven years ago, I began lugging in this strange contraption to various gyms in Raleigh getting the strangest looks and comments from people like ‘you’re going to hurt yourself with that thing.’

What is a ‘kettlebell’?

‘A cannon ball with a handle’  is the often used description of the now popular Russian Kettlebell. They certainly are not so strange anym0re, as they are seemingly popping up in every gym in America. The kettlebell goes way back, it first appeared in a Russian dictionary in 1704 (Cherkikh, 1994). So popular were kettlebells in Tsarist Russia that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or ‘a kettlebell man’. They are now considered by many professional trainers and coaches to be the ultimate tool for extreme all-round fitness. “Not a single sport develops our muscular strength and bodies as well as kettlebell athletics,” reported Russian magazine Hercules in 1913.

What makes a Russian Kettlebell so special? Some may say it is the kettlebell design that inherently makes it better than other free weight and machine training, but I say it is also the quality of the teacher and the training system that is equally as important and beneficial to the kettlebell trainees success.

 Join me in my next blog as I discuss ‘the whos’ and ‘the whys’ of Russian Kettlebell training.

Training Myth # 4 – It’s Best to Rest Between Exercises

Resting between exercises at OTransformation.com studio in Raleigh, NC

Should I rest
between exercise sets?

We’ve all seen it at the gym – the big, muscular man that spends 30 seconds grunting, groaning and moaning to bench press a weight that we only dream about lifting. Then we watch him sit around for five minutes before starting another exercise. So in order to obtain large muscles and maintain fitness, we should do the same. Right?


Get the Most Out of Your Workout

One of the biggest excuses among Americans is that they just don’t have time to work out. Do you only have thirty minutes? The best way to achieve maximum results in a small amount of time is to reduce or eliminate rest between exercises. Choose an exercise that works one muscle group and then move to another exercise that doesn’t use that muscle group to allow recovery. For example, if you’re doing an upper body workout after you finish doing a chest press, move on to pull-ups or another exercise that doesn’t specifically target the chest.

For those of you looking to lose weight or excess fat, eliminating rest between exercises also has the added benefit of keeping the heart rate up which means you’re burning more calories and losing weight faster!

If you want a great workout to try, Barry Seneri has come up with one that’ll get you well on your way. Check it out below:

The Organic Transformation Weight Loss & Workout Program in Raleigh

Stepping Outside the Box – “Flab Busting” Workout 1 with Kettlebells –

Immediate Download PDF

Barry Seneri explains how to “rethink” your workout for best results. Completely illustrated and laid out step by step, here are five simple, yet functional body exercises combined for a complete body workout. If you’re tired of the same old boring gym routine – this is a quick and effective way to spice things up. By practicing this routine, you’ll soon see how engaging all of your muscle groups will maximize fat burning for the desired lean body result. The demonstration works best with a set of kettlebells, but it can also be done effectively at home with dumbbells. 10 pages.

Price: Only $9.95

The Organic Transformation Personal Training Workout Download Link

Training Myth # 3 – Moderate Exercise Is Best for Weight Loss & Fitness Results

TV programs and newspaper articles published today frequently emphasize the benefits of getting off the couch and going for a walk to achieve heart benefits. While walking or exercising at the gym without working up a sweat might make you feel better, it will rarely help in achieving the weight loss, fitness and toning results that most are searching for.

Interval Training

Short bursts of intense intervals will give you the desired results in less time. It is important to choose exercises that get the heart rate up and make you feel slightly uncomfortable for a short period of time to achieve maximum weight loss and muscle tone.

Barry Seneri doing Interval training at OTransformation.com studio in Raleigh, NC

Barry Seneri
practicing interval training on the treadmill

Kick Up the Training Intensity

The idea is NOT to go to the gym and run on a treadmill as fast as you can for as long as you can. Rather, you should choose some cardiovascular-based exercises or mix in some running intervals to get your heart rate into the uncomfortable zone every few exercises. If you are able to carry on a normal conversation throughout your entire workout, you need to add some intensity! Aim for exercises that use large muscle groups and more than one muscle group to burn even more calories in a shorter amount of time. All of the added sweat and heavy breathing from kicking up the intensity will get you the results you’ve been searching for.

Intense Interval Cardio Training

Interval Cardio Training is style of cardiovascular exercise in which the intensity varies for the duration of the session. ‘Intensity’ is defined by the individual’s perceived level of exertion. You can think of your intensity as a number that coincides with your effort on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the hardest. The scale can go something like this:

1- Extremely Easy – the amount of energy it takes to get up from a chair
5- Moderate Effort – activity that you can do for 30+ minutes
7- Challenging – you can do the activity, but it is difficult to sustain
8- Difficult – the activity demands some focus, and it’s getting hard to hang in
9- Very Difficult – the activity takes all of your focus, and you pray it’s over soon
10- Nearly Impossible (But Not Quite!)- you’re thinking of a happy place, which is just about anywhere compared to where you currently are…you can’t possibly push any harder

Simple. Right? You can apply this ‘perceived level of exertion’ to any activity. Take a look at the following sample workouts:

Warm up at YOUR Level 5 Intensity for 3 to 5 minutes before all of these workouts.

  1. Go to Level 9 for 1 minute, then back down to Level 5 for 1 minute.
    Repeat 3 to 5 Times.
  2. Start at Level 6 for 1 minute. Go to Level 7 for 1 minute. Go to Level 8 for 1 minute. Then, go to Level 9 for 1 minute.
    Repeat 3 to 5 Times.
  3. Start at Level 7 for 30 seconds. Go to Level 9 for 30 seconds. Go to Level 10 for 30 seconds. Walk for 1 minute. Repeat 3 to 5 Times.