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Fitness 101: The lowdown on Kettle Ball Training


Benefits of kettlebell training  

• Helps you lose body mass  

Increases speed of movement  

Targets multiple muscle groups  

Strengthens tendons and ligaments  

Increases flexibility and lubricates the joints

Kettlebells have been a small part of my personal training session for a couple of years now. I am always amazed at how much of my body is used during a short burst with them, plus how quickly my heart rate increases!

As with all weights, many of us assume incorrectly that using them will make your muscles big. For most women, this is the last thing we want – longer, leaner muscles is the ideal. Emmanuel from Singapore Kettlebells is living proof of this, and as he points out, you just look at the top women involved in the sport of kettlebells if you need more proof.

He comes from a sports background that included boxing, and was a personal trainer at one of Singapore’s large gyms. “I used to weigh a lot more,” he says, “and I was bigger. Though I was strong, I was fairly slow, and no amount of training was improving my performance and speed.

“I also needed to strengthen my tendons and ligaments because I was always injuring myself. Other people around me were in a similar situation, and I guess we all thought this was always going to be the problem with our sport. We would have to live with it.”

So, what changed? “A friend said he had something that would solve all my problems, but I wasn’t to tell anyone about it. He was one of the first to bring kettlebells into Singapore and train with them here.

“It felt like having a new toy. But after the first session, I could feel every part of my body, and I soon saw the benefits – I became faster, more flexible and, most importantly, injury-free. I did some research and found out that kettlebells had been used in Russia since the 1600s as a training tool, and later became an official sport.”

Emmanuel got involved in the sport and became a trainer himself, and is now a partner in Singapore Kettlebells with James Lai.  

Me, Emmanuel and my new, pink kettlebell

In previous kettlebell sessions, I had used only two basic movements, and thought there wasn’t much more you could do with the little bomb-like apparatus. That all changed when Emmanuel arrived at my house bearing a large pink kettlebell! (You have to have your own.)

After a half-hour session that began with a fabulous warm-up that seemed to oil all the joints, I could see how this sport could become addictive. There are so many ways and positions to hold the kettlebell: you can walk with it, squat with it, swing it around your torso – and the list goes on. I can’t imagine getting bored with it, firstly because of the many ways to use it, and secondly because sessions can be kept short.

The benefits

Many of us cannot find the time to walk or jog for the recommended hour every morning, but we know we feel better after we have exercised. Emmanuel’s 15-minute warm-up session, which includes some yoga moves, lubricates the joints and invigorates you. It can be done every day, and it really does make you feel so much better.

A half-hour kettlebell session can burn 600 calories, a lot more than going for a jog, and it increases overall body strength as well as cardiovascular fitness. Emmanuel stresses that even fifteen minutes each day will improve your shape, size, flexibility and mental state.

Being able to do cardio and muscle toning all with just my big pink kettlebell, in such a short time and in the comfort of my own home, is very appealing.

An 8kg kettlebell costs $80. You pay $900 for a package of 10 individual sessions, but small group sessions are priced differently. To find out more, call Emmanuel on 9680 0265 or visit www.kettlebells.sg .