Archive for August, 2011

Ever wonder how much weight you’re swinging?

Here’s a conversion chart from kilograms to pounds:

2 kg (4.4 lbs.)

4 kg (8.8 lbs.)

6 kg (13.2 lbs.)

8 kg (17.6 lbs.)

10 kg (22 lbs.)

12 kg (26.4 lbs.)

14 kg (30.8 lbs.)

16 kg (35.2 lbs.)

18 kg (39.6 lbs.)

20 kg (44 lbs.)

22 kg (48.4 lbs.)

24 kg (52.8 lbs.)

26 kg (57.2 lbs.)

28 kg (61.6 lbs.)

32 kg (70.4 lbs.)

36 kg (79.2 lbs.)

These days it seems that everyone is “busy”.  Too busy, in fact, to take the time to understand things at a deeper level.  I believe we have reached the tipping point on this “busy” excuse because it’s starting to impair people’s judgement.  Whether it’s politics or exercise, everyone has an opinion… I just wish people would “seek to understand” a bit more than they “seek to be understood”.

I stumbled upon this quote “Don’t reject it just because you don’t understand it”… and it immediately resonated with me.  I found this just when I needed it (don’t you love it when that happens?)   Here’s the deal, a few days ago I had a bit of a dialogue with someone who was fervently against kettlebells.  As passionate as I am about them, he was against them… and with great anger.

This was upsetting because it was obvious he hadn’t taken the time to understand:
1. The origins of the kettlebell,
2. The efficiency of the exercises, and
3. The sheer perfection of the movements. 

If he had, he would understand why kettlebells are enjoying a resurgence, and rightfully so!

He dismissed them as a fad (never mind that they have been around for centuries!) and as someone who has been swinging kettlebells since “before they were cool”… I reject this premise!  Dismissing something because you simply don’t understand it, or perhaps feel threatened by it, is doing yourself a disservice.  And then jumping on the “it’s just a fad” bandwagon is a cop-out.   Are we all really “too busy” to take the time to understand things at a deeper level?

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, because we are all kettlebell fanatics… but this topic is a bit timely with election season starting up for 2012!  The rejection of ideas without fully understanding them will be in full swing soon with Republicans and Democrats at each others throats… wow, but I just never thought I’d see such passionate hatred for a kettlebell!

Peace Out,
Kate

Every Kettlebell Has a Story

Posted: August 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’ve had a few questions regarding the brand of kettlebells I use at home, as well as how to choose the right weight to get started.

I often refer to my kettlebells by color, and that’s because I use the PerformBetter brand.  There are several reasons why I prefer this brand over some of the others:

First, the vinyl coated ones have a rubber base on the bottom, making them easier on my floors at home.  It’s one thing to work out at a gym and use whatever they’re offering.  All the kettlebells at my gym are the same color (black) and they are all scuffed up… which is fine for a gym… I don’t have a problem with that… but I do think that when you’re making the investment to bring equipment into your home, you should think about where you’re going to use them.  I don’t have a separate workout room, which means these kettlebells usually end up on the carpet, the hardwood floors or the tile.  Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to scratch up my floors with the rough edges on the other kettlebells.

The handles on these kettlebells are also a selling point for me.  They are not too wide, which makes them easier to grip.  Also, the shape and curve work well for two-handed swings, and they’ve never given me callouses.

Finally, and this may seem like a minor point, but I really like the ease of scripting a workout by color.  When I draft a new workout, I will often write “yellow” or “green” in the margin.  It’s simple, I find it much easier to calculate reps based on color… (I know Yellow is my easy day, Green is my hard day… Red is just tough all around.)  But scripting my workouts out by color avoids confusion and helps me move quickly through the workout and keep up my level of cardio.

Every Kettlebell Has a Story:

Tinkerbell

I got little Tinkerbell here (the blue one) as joke for my husband.  It was supposed to be just a gag at 8.8 pounds, but I’ve actually found a good use for it: Kettlebell Windmills.  I hold this one above my head, as I lift a heavier one (usually green) with my lower hand.  This is a great way to get started on windmills.  When you outgrow it, use it as a paperweight at the office… but this should absolutely not be your first kettlebell. (Unless you’re in kindergarten.  Seriously, my 5-year old son does kettlebell squats with this one!)  Start with yellow.

Best "Beginners Kettlebell" for Women

I started training with the yellow kettlebell about 2 years ago, and looking back I would say this is the best “beginners kettlebell” for women at about 17 1/2 pounds.  Even if it feels heavy in the store, remember: you are swinging it, not lifting it like a dumbbell.  There’s a huge difference between lifting and swinging.  If you work out at home with 10 or 15 pound dumbbells, you can absolutely bump up to a heavier kettlebell.  For men, you guys should most likely start heavier so that you can keep your reps low.

Old Greenie

“Old Greenie” has been my friend for a long time now.  He has traveled many places with me (by car) and would be the one I’d pack in my suitcase if it weren’t for the airline restrictions.  At just over 26 pounds, this is a good all-purpose kettlebell for me.  I use it for nearly every exercise at this point and it still challenges me on quite of few of them.  When I just can’t take it anymore, I switch down to yellow for a bit of a break… and that makes yellow and green a great pair.

The Beast

Big Red is my newest addition to my little family of kettlebells.  I came home one afternoon to find it sitting on my doorstep.  Hallelujah!!  (My trainer dropped it off… talk about service… Thank you Dr. Dan, “Kettlebell Trainer Extraordinaire”!)  I’ve been working my way up to this one.  It’s considered the women’s competitive weight and it would probably be the one used in the women’s Olympic competitions if they ever decide to make it an Olympic sport… (which is a discussion for another day!)  This one is challenging.  I use it for two-handed swings and around the worlds… but it is  One… Heavy… Beast!

Here is a kilogram to pounds conversion chart, by color code according to the PerformBetter brand.

Blue 4 kg = 8.8 lbs

Yellow 8 kg = 17.6 lbs

Green 12 kg = 26.4 lbs

Red 16 kg = 35.2 lbs

Silver 20 kg = 44 lbs

If you’ve been following any of my previous posts about Pyramid Training with Kettlebells, then you’ll understand how important it is to have a good spread of kettlebells at your disposal.  If you’re just getting started, use the ones in the gym for now and invest in a single kettlebell for home.

Happy Swinging!

Peace,
Kate

Running on the Sand…

Posted: August 11, 2011 in exercise

Since I was just at the beach, I thought I’d bring up an old debate about running in the sand.  The question is, should you should run closer to the water where the sand is harder, or further away where the sand is soft and sometimes deeper?

Here’s my answer: I’m a big advocate for changing things up when you can.  The body gets used to the “same old, same old”.  The flat, hard sand is fine but as long as you’re looking for a different sort of run (not the same old trails and bike paths back home) then go run in the deep soft sand!  Shoes or barefoot, either way is fine, but I prefer barefoot.  (I suppose that’s another debate, but some experts say that soft-sand running barefoot will strengthen your arches and will help prevent plantar fasciitis… so there you go!)

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/video/2719-do-soft-sand-running/#ixzz1Uk86s7IB

You’ll need to shift your body forward, get up on the balls of your feet and dig in with your toes.  You’ll find you need to pick up your knees in the soft sand and you’re going to engage your calves more, and that’s awesome!  You’ll work on your balance, engage your core, your pace will need to be slower, but you’ll find that you’re using muscles you don’t normally use on a regular run.  It’s a nice change of pace.  A day or two later you’ll wake up and feel those different muscles talking to you, and you’ll know it was good decision to change it up a bit!

Have fun!

Peace,
Kate

An entrance to the Cape Cod National Seashore ...
Image via Wikipedia

While I look forward to relaxing into a slower pace of life on vacation, I also don’t want to compromise my training while I’m gone.  The night before I leave, you can usually find me standing over my suitcase pondering how I can fit at least one kettlebell into my luggage.  But with all the airline baggage restrictions these days, and a 50-pound limit per bag, I usually come to my senses and leave all my kettlebells at home.

my wacky solution on this vacation was to find a large rock:

I went to my favorite beaches (Coast Guard, Nauset Light and Marconi… all part of the fabulous Cape Cod National Seashore) and found a rock about the size of a kettlebell.  It probably weighs around 6 pounds or so (slightly more than a bag of sugar which can also be a good alternative, but unfortunately less than my yellow 8KG kettlebell) but it worked well for a few quick exercises each morning.

I took about 15 minutes at the start of everyday to do some stretching and knock out a few of these “rock exercises”:

1.  Sit ups with the rock instead of a kettlebell

2.  Plank hold into a set of push ups

3.  Seated oblique twists with the rock

4.  Burpees or one-legged push ups to a pop-up

5.  Wide and low squats with an upward rock swing

6.  Dancer pose into rock presses.  (because the rock is light, try to balance on one leg and “press with rock” at least 20 times on each side)

7.  Finally, once warmed up, finish with a shoulder stand into plow position to seal those abs.

Basically you’re holding the rock in place of kettlebell.  Because there’s no handle, you just grip it and lift through the various movements.

I just returned from my two-week vacation, and this was a great addition to a few runs around the Cape and some beautiful pond swims.  (Hey, I have to earn my S’mores over the bonfire, right!?)

Peace, and happy trails!

Kate