FORTITUDE - July 2005 - Issue #5

Welcome to the fifth issue of FORTITUDE!

Message of the month: Benefits of KETTLEBELLS

On June 24th - June 26 I attended an INTENSIVE Russian Kettlebell Challenge Instructor course. This was an amazing course, I learned a lot from these Master and Senior Instructors! All you of you training with me will benefit from this!

On June 27th, after the RKC Certification course, which was held in St. Paul, Minnesota, I flew out to Jacksonhole, Wyoming for a week of vacation. This town is 5,000 feet above sea level, in which oxygen level is lower, challenging breathing when doing any activity or exercise. Although this is a great training modality to help increase your endurance and breathing capacity!
As I am checking in the airport to go back to New York my check-in luggage weighted 70 pounds which is 20 pounds over the limit according to air safety guidelines. They gave me an option to take some items out or pay $25 for the exceeded limit. Most of these representatives at the airport look weak, heavy, and deconditioned. All these people should be working out on a training program to increase their strength to learn how to lift heavy luggages, instead of complaining of getting injured! I had an argument with the airport manager. She asked me: "Would you be able to lift your heavy luggage over your head?"  I said "Absolutely! I can lift over 200 pounds over my head! All you people should be strength training to be able to lift healthfully!" She remained silent and walked away, I wonder why!

Many of you have been training with me using machines, barbells, dumbells, thickbars, medicine balls, chains, bands, grip devices and various other implements for your training program. Only some of you have been working with kettlebells.
What is so special about the kettlebell?

A kettlebell or girya (Russ.) is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle.

As the 1986 Soviet Weightlifting Yearbook put it, "It is hard to find a sport that has deeper roots in the history of our people than kettlebell lifting. So popular were kettlebells in Tsarist Russia that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or a kettlebell man. Not a single sport develops our muscular strength and bodies as well as kettlebell athletics, wrote Ludvig Chaplinskiy in Russian magazine Hercules in 1913. In the Soviet times weightlifting legends such as Vlasov, Zhabotinskiy, and Alexeyev, started their Olympic careers with kettlebells. Yuri Vlasov who defeated mighty Paul Anderson once interrupted an interview he was giving to a Western journalist and proceeded to press a pair of kettlebells. A wonderful exercise, commented the world champion lifter. . . .

It is hard to find an exercise better suited for developing strength and flexibility simultaneously. The Russian Special Forces personnel owe much of their wiry strength, lethal agility, and never-quitting stamina to kettlebells. Soldier, Be Strong!, the official Soviet armed forces strength training manual pronounced kettlebell drills to be one of the most effective means of strength development representing a new era in the development of human strength-potential. Voropayev (1983) observed two groups of subjects over a period of a few years and tested them with a standard battery of armed forces PT tests: pullups, a standing broad jump, a 100m sprint, and a 1k run. The control group followed a typical university physical education program that emphasized the above. The experimental group just lifted kettlebells. In spite of the lack of practice on the tested exercises, the kettlebell group showed better scores in every one of them!

Researchers at the Lesgaft Physical Culture Institute in Leningrad (Vinogradov & Lukyanov, 1986) found a very high correlation between the results posted in a kettlebell lifting competition and a great range of dissimilar tests: strength, measured with the three powerlifts and grip strength; strength endurance, measured with pullups and parallel bar dips; general endurance, determined by a 1000 meter run; and work capacity and balance, measured with special tests! Shevtsova (1993) discovered that kettlebell training lowers the heart rate and the blood pressure.

Gomonov (1998) concluded that Exercises with kettlebells enable one to quickly build strength, endurance, achieve a balanced development of all muscle groups, fix particular deficiencies of build, and they also promote health.

Most methods that claim all around fitness deliver no more than compromises. Accept no compromises choose the Russian kettlebell!

Until next time continuing training intelligently towards your goals and have a blast doing so!


"My heart and soul is vibrating like a volcano, and I am breathing like a dragon, The Fire of Life."