IT’S a long time since I darkened the doors of a gym. These days I prefer walking in the great outdoors or playing tennis.
But I was prepared to give the kettlebells a try, as there’s no doubt I could do with a little firming and toning here and there – or, in fact, everywhere.
Deborah warned me that the kettlebells are so effective at exercising every muscle that I would, almost certainly feel a few aches and pains the day after. (In reality, the stiffness lasted for two days).
An averagely-fit woman should be able to work with kettlebells of 12kg in each hand. Anyone used to carrying babies or toddlers should be more than up to this. Men can try 20kg weights to start.
Deborah began by teaching me the basic swing, performed with feet apart, flat to the floor. The kettlebells are swung between the legs and up to shoulder height, then down again, in a fluid, swinging motion. This works the large muscles in the thighs, bottom and abdomen as well as the arms and shoulders.
Other moves, ranging from the ‘Turkish get-up’ and ‘military press up’ to the ‘windmill’ and ‘squat’, combine balance and strength with a cardiovascular workout. There’s no running around but I did feel mildly out of breath and was quite hot by the time we finished.
Some floor exercises look like yoga postures and work a wide range of muscle groups, all in one go.
After just a few minutes there can be no doubt that your muscles are working hard.
Kettlebells can be bought over the internet or from sports suppliers but beginners should be warned: this is not an exercise system that is easy to master without expert help. What’s more, it could be positively dangerous as the kettlebells are heavy enough to pull muscles and break toes.