Here’s a simple quiz: In what type of exercise class do you practice barefoot and use a two-by-four and a kitchen towel? It’s not one of those crazy exercise fads like P90X, Insanity or pole dancing. Russian kettlebell training is actually a very old tradition that focuses on strength, endurance and flexibility. And it’ll make you sweat, guaranteed.
I went to a couple of classes at Superb Health’s new studio (2225 N. Humboldt Ave.) and it was one of the best strength training classes I’ve attended. We used the props at the first class to help perfect our form and then went through 10-12 minute intense circuits. I was sweating after five minutes and then before I knew it, it was over.
Superb Health is the only Russian kettlebell certified (RKC) studio in Milwaukee. RKC is the original, and a very specific style of kettlebell training. Owner Nick Lynch informs me that it’s also the hardest certification to achieve as a trainer. RKC is in fact the most effective form of calorie blasting and has the lowest injury rate. If you haven’t seen one, a kettlebell is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle. An average man would start with a 35- lb. bell and an average woman would use an 18-pounder. It doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, it’s plenty when you are swinging it repeatedly between your legs and above your head.
I asked Nick to shine light on this functional form of fitness. Here’s what he had to say.
How did you get into Kettlebell training?
As an athlete, I’ve always been interested in functional strength training. The most important role as a trainer is to provide safe, effective tools to progress a client’s level of wellness. With all this said, it was inevitable that I stumbled onto the path of RKC training. Over and over I’ve seen marathon runners with tight hips, sore knees, achy shoulders and a lack of coordination. I’ve seen body builders with torn rotator cuffs, sore knees and blown out backs. I’ve seen moms and dads eager and excited to get in shape only to find themselves feeling sore, tired and achy after every workout. Something was not adding up! Why can some people hold the world’s greatest lifting records and not have injury? Why are all these athletes so damn flexible and strong? They train with kettlebells. That’s why I got into it.
How does it compare to some of the other training you’ve done?
Other types of training such as Olympic lifting, cardiovascular training, plyometrics, bodybuilding and yoga all have their place in this world. Some forms such as yoga, martial arts and plyometric training definitely fall more in line with RKC style training. Plyometrics incorporate some ballistic movements, as well as many plains of motion like kettlebells. Bikram yoga has some very similar postures to kettlebell moves. The difference is that kettlebells build strength and flexibility through weights. Bodybuilding is not comparable to kettlebells since it’s the tearing and rebuilding of muscles that increases size, not necessarily strength or conditioning.
What are some of the most surprising benefits your clients tell you about?
Their aches, pains and injuries go away. They’re fried in 25 minutes or less of exercise. They can run faster and longer without tiring out. Why? Runners have hard and tight muscles. Kettlebell clients that run loosen up their hips, IT band and alleviate all that heavy pounding and impact while strengthening their feet – hence the barefoot training. So, when they go for a long run, the body is conditioned, flexible, and joints are well lubricated. Also for the moms and dads that are super busy with the kids. They can get a full-fledged workout done in 10 minutes with 1 kettlebell. Boom!
Superb Health also offers personal training, nutrition counseling and other functional group fitness classes. Jeff Heath is one client who credits Nick with changing his life. “I was a rollercoaster dieter,” he says. “The difference this time was Nick Lynch. He taught me how to put my health before everything else. I committed to an exercise program through personal training with Nick and he jump-started everything with a 30-day cleanse. That first cleanse I lost 10 pounds and 3.5 percent body fat. After five months, I lost another 30 pounds and built a lot of muscle during that time with four to six short workouts a week.”
Classes are just $10-15 each, sold in packages or drop-ins. Superb Health also offers 25 percent off your next six-weeks of classes if you get a friend to join. Check the website for class schedule and more information on rates.
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