Category Archives: Kettlebells

Turn kettlebells into a Kinect minigame with Your Shape 2012

I haven’t yet seen a console exergame that incorporates one of my fave workout tools, kettlebells, but one of the greatest things about Kinect is that you can hold onto whatever you want.  Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 has several fun warmup minigames, and one of them, “Pump It Up”, has you inflating and exploding giant balls for 2 minutes.

You’re supposed to put your arms out and flap them like a bird during this game, but I discovered that it also works with kettlebell swings!  Check it out:

The kettlebell (I’m using a 12k) doesn’t show up for some reason, and it’s hard to tell, but I am leaning back on my heels.  Swings make a great warmup for my glutes and legs and lungs, and with this minigame, there’s no dread.

Adding Wii games to your strength program

Three of my favorite metal objects!

Lisa of Wii Fitness and Gaming asked me to write a guest post for her blog, so I wrote a post about how I add Wii games to my strength training routine of kettlebells and heavy weights.  Check out my post here, and see the rest of her blog (and her Wii Fitness Examiner page) for more great Wii workout ideas.

Do “lighter” weights actually seem lighter?

I keep looking  for news about the next installment in the EA Sports Active series, 2.0.  There hasn’t been much news in the month since it was first announced, but Kotaku asked the EA rep an interesting question: why are the 2.0 controllers white? And they got an interesting answer: according to their research and focus groups and all, they made them white because black looked too heavy.

But what about those heavy bands?

I never really thought about it before, but maybe the pure-whiteness of the Wii is part of why it has been attracting women and “non-traditional” gamers.  White looks so lightweight and ethereal, like an iPod.  My white netbook and pink Nintendo DS proudly show my girly side.

Like Yogi Berra says, 90% of the game is half mental, so maybe we can extend the lightening properties of white to something heavier than a game controller.  If some trainer took a 50-pound kettlebell and painted it white, and didn’t tell anyone how much it weighed, would women find it easier to swing than a black one of the same weight?  I’d love to see someone conduct such an experiment.

Kathy Smith’s kettlebell secret

Last year, popular workout-video instructor Kathy Smith tweeted that she was getting ready to make a kettlebell DVD.  No further details were given, but if ever there was a sign that kettlebells were in the mainstream, that was a big one.  Kathy’s been making workout videos for nearly three decades, and she brought specialty workouts such as yoga and boxing to the attention of K-mart shoppers by having “special guest” experts (Rod Stryker for yoga, Michael Olajide for boxing) do the training while Kathy played the friendly, hand-holding host.  I was really hoping she would do the same for kettlebells:  bring out a certified trainer to do the actual teaching, instead of trying to do it herself.

Well, no such luck.  The resulting product, Kathy Smith’s Kettlebell Solution, is a “system” that includes a DVD, workout chart, the usual diet plan, and 2 plastic, sand-filled kettlebells weighing 3 pounds and 5 pounds.  I haven’t seen the DVD or any clip of it, but with those weights, it is not going to be a real kettlebell workout.  It’s more in the category of “dancing with an object” – whether that object is a stick, flag, pom-pom, Wiimote or 5-pound plastic bell, you might have fun and burn some calories, but it’s not kettlebell training any more than doing the Chicken Dance while clutching a sand-filled rubber chicken.

I’m disappointed, because I like Kathy – her old Fat Burning Workout on VHS was my intro to home fitness more than 20 years ago – but I’m also puzzled.  You’d think there would be a big marketing campaign for this product, what with a big-name instructor, a red-hot workout tool and it being the high season for workout marketing campaigns.  But instead they kind of snuck it out under the radar.  Besides the Stamina website, Amazon had one in stock (now gone) and I can’t find any reviews, press releases or any other hype.  What gives…perhaps all the negative reaction to Jillian Michaels’ (lack of) kettlebell skill made Kathy or her people a little timid?

Exercise should be a skill, not a weight-loss pill

Right now I’m participating in a November 200-swing challenge on a fitness forum, where you do 200 kettlebell swings per day all month.  I’ve missed a couple of days due to a fall chest cold, but otherwise, I’ve taken this opportunity to bone up on the kettlebell technique I learned last summer.  I’d also like to get better at one-handed swinging, and as luck would have it, the guys at Jersey Kettlebell just put up a great video on one-handed swings (I can’t embed it for some reason).

Now that I know how to do them right, I can’t believe how easy and fun one-handed swinging is.  It’s so cool to learn something new and even cooler to get better at it with practice :)

And what do you get when you subtract the work from your workout, and add fun?  Any kid can tell you: it’s called PLAY!  Sadly, too many folks view the joy of movement as a form of punishment and purgatory.  They’re trying to transform into a bikini babe, an action hero, or warrior physique.  Or the gym is “cardio confessional” where (after fighting for a parking spot closest to the door) you try to cleanse away last night’s cheeseburger with the most boring, tedious exercises you can think of.

Instead of flogging your sinful self or chasing some Hollywood mirage (created by drugs, nicotine, surgeons, starvation and Photoshop), use your workout time to actually achieve something.  Do a pull-up, a set of pushups on your toes, a Turkish get-up, run as far as you can in 15 minutes or pass a DDR song on Expert.  Whatever it is, if you can’t do it yet, then work on doing it.  Then do a victory dance when you’re done!  It’ll seem more like play than work, and you’ll end up with a healthy habit and a feeling of achievement that no scale can give you.

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