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Cotter bells the kettle
Steve Cotter at BPT Gallery. Pictures: Sayantan Ghosh

A t2 beginner’s guide to kettlebells — straight from master trainer STEVE COTTER, who was in town for a two-day workshop hosted by 212-The Extra Degree at ICCR on March 22 and at BPT Gallery (at Stephen Court) on March 23.

What is a kettlebell?

Best described as a cannonball with a handle, a kettlebell is a fitness tool with a unique design that allows a variety of exercises. You can go through a series of drills and change leverage to make an exercise easy or difficult.

What is kettlebell training?

It is a fitness tool for strength conditioning that combines various elements — power, endurance and mobility training. Making it efficient is the blend of anaerobic exercise (strength training) and aerobics.

What does it do for your body?

For one thing, kettlebells allow full body training. While body building tends to isolate muscle groups, kettlebell involves athletic movements that use the entire body. The movements begin ground up, starting with the legs, integrating the mid-section and then the upper body. So, with many of the basic kettlebell exercises you work most of the muscles at the same time.

How many kcals does one burn?

This usually depends on the intensity of the workout, that is, light versus heavy kettlebells. According to a study (conducted last year) by the American Council on Exercise, kettlebell routines can be compared with running and it burns (on an average) 850 calories per hour. This means, an active KB lifter does not really have to count calories while eating!

How long is an usual kettlebell session?

From 20-30 minutes to an hour. During hour-long sessions, one has to do several warm-up exercises to relax the muscles used during kettlebell training.

What areas of the body would feel the strain?

Certain areas of the body become sore or fatigued — commonly the lower back. If you’re working a desk job, the muscles in the lower back and core tend to become underdeveloped. So when you start exercising with kettlebells, these areas will feel sore. Also, most people have an underdeveloped grip. So the grip is another common area that feels the strain. The legs and shoulder will also become fatigued, but that’s a good thing. It’s important that one distinguishes discomfort from pain.

Gopa Pincha