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Thursday, November 5, 2009

An Interview with a Kettlebell Instructor!

A friend of mine started using kettlebells last year. At the time I had no idea what kettlebells were, but it was the first time she was excited about exercise in a really long time. She felt strong and confident with her new physical fitness routine. As the months went by she would comment about how good she felt. She was building muscle, toning up and telling everyone about her new efficient workout.

This past summer was the first time I was able to take a kettlebell class. I had been looking forward to kettlebells for months. I had not been able to do weight training for a long time and I was nervous about injuring myself yet again. I told the trainer about my "issues" and she made sure to explain proper kettlebell form. After that first class I was hooked. Meet my trainer, Dawn Wittenberg.

Dawn Wittenberg is a Certified Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, and RKC Certified Kettlebell Instructor

What is a kettlebell?
A kettlebell is a cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle.

ow is training with kettlebells different from other types of strength training?
It is uber efficient.  Kettlebell training taxes several bodily systems in one power-packed workout.  Along with muscular strength and endurance, a kettlebell workout also challenges the cardiovascular system, balance, stability, mobility, core strength and power.  All too often, I see people go to the gym and do their cardio workout followed by their strength workout followed by their core workout and two hours later they are finally done.  Seriously, who has time for that?

Do I need special training to use a kettlebell?
In short, yes.  As in all forms of strength training, form comes first but this is especially true with kettlebells.  Kettlebell training is dynamic by nature.  The weight is moved by swinging it back between the legs then out in front.  For some exercises the weight even finishes overhead.  Proper technique is imperative.  There have been many improvements in the "how to" videos out there, but a video can't point out the errors in your form or give the needed corrections.  The assistance of a certified instructor can set you on the right path.

Who should use kettlebells?
Training with kettlebells can benefit everyone from Olympic athletes to professional paper pushers.

How do I get started?
Begin by finding a qualified trainer.  The trainer you choose should have a kettlebell certification such as RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) or an AOS (Art of Strength) Kettlebell Certification.  Then you need to decide if you want to work one-on-one with the trainer or if you would prefer a class setting.  If you have special considerations such as a back, knee or shoulder injury, beginning with one-on-one lessons is recommended to ensure that you get the necessary attention.

What is your background and where do you teach kettlebell training?
I am a Certified Personal Trainer, a nationally licensed Massage Therapist and an RKC certified Kettlebell Instructor.  I love what I do and it comes across in my work.  I train and teach kettlebell classes at the Midtown YWCA in Minneapolis.  Kettlebell classes and personal training are available to members and non-members alike.

OK, last question.  Why do you like kettlebells?
Kettlebell training is a learned and practiced skill.  I love seeing the pride people take in improving on their form or learning a new drill.  Training with kettlebells is also really fun!  The number of exercises and drills that you can do with them is limitless.  There is no excuse for getting bored.

(In this photo Dawn is showcasing the windmill move. She is pressing a 16 kg bell in her right hand and holding a 12 kg in her left)

Dawn's Contact Info:
dawn wittenberg
personal trainer
ywca of Minneapolis
NSCA Certified Personal Trainer

Nationally Licensed Massage Therapist, NCBTMB
RKC, Russian Kettlebell Certified
Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) Certified
voicemail (612) 215-4357
cell (612) 770-4604


Anonymous said...

So, these are safe for people with back "issues"?

MulberryMary said...

I have some serious back issues and I must say since I started doing kettlebells I haven't had any problems. Which is a huge blessing because I love to workout and I hate having to rest and recoup. But, I would say that as with any weight training activity you have to be really careful. I can imagine that with improper form you could just as easily hurt yourself using kettlebells. However, if you want to lift the kettlebell you really have to be mindful and use your body properly. The minute you aren't paying attention you realize it and you adjust your body or drop the bell.

Are you interested?