How Did I Find Kettlebells and What Have I Done?

I don’t quite remember how I found out about kettlebells, but I do remember the first time that I put my hands on one I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. My first kettlebell was a kettlestack. I still have it but rarely use it.

In early 2006, I visited one of the few kettlebell gyms in existence and improved what I learned had via video. There is only so much one can learn without live instruction. I still practice occasionally at that gym and cherish the friendships I have made through the gym.

I ordered a few kettlebells from the sole US kettlebell supplier at the time, and began a swinging, stretching, and snatching program. I went from 210 lbs to 195 lbs in short order without modifications to my eating habits, and I got to where I could press 28kg for repetitions by year end 2006. Still, my conditioning was not where I wanted it to be, but I was thinner, healthier, and stronger.

In the spring of 2007, I took a look around and discovered that there were other, perhaps quicker paths to kettlebell improvement. I began lifting for timed sets – snatches and jerks – and stopped pressing. I also began swinging the kettlebell for longer and longer sets. Most importantly, I began paying attention to what I ate. The results – about 17 lbs lighter to 178 lbs (as of today) and my joints felt great with this new (to me) style of lifting.

In June, I drove to the American Kettlebell Club certification in Cincinnatti and (re)learned kettlebell technique from Valery Federenko, a world champion lifter. A couple of weeks ago, I received my competition spec set of kettlebells and haven’t looked back. I am training for progressively longer sets of jerks, snatches and swings with a light weight. You know what? I have not lost an ounce of strength, and I can press the 32kg consistently (which I have never been able to do before).

I enjoy the heck out of kettlebells. There is a lot of dissension in the kettlebell world these days, and it will all work itself out over time. I have my own opinions which I won’t explicitly share here (been there, done that, doesn’t change anyone’s opinion, pisses people off, and doesn’t really matter anyway in the grand scheme of things), but whoever you are, I hope that you feel welcome here and most importantly, I hope that you enjoy the benefits of lifting kettlebells.

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3 Responses to “How Did I Find Kettlebells and What Have I Done?”

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