Honestly, I thought the kettlebell was just a passing fad, for the yuppies (is this still a valid term?) and cardio bunnies who swing around a pink, 5 pound kettlebell when they decided to weight train. BUT, when Ironmaster came out with an adjustable kettlebell handle, I decided to give KB training a try.
Holy Crap, batman, this is a workout! Just do two handed swings and you'll find muscles you didn't know you had AND, my heart rate went the highest it's ever been. Just a great cardio/weightlifting workout in one. Pavel Tsatsouline calls a kettlebell workout "cardio without the dishonor".
Since incorporating KB workouts into my regular strength training routine, my resting heart rate has dropped to 57 beats per minute EXCELLENT! I'm hooked on this type of training.
Just like doing barbell or dumbbell lifts, there's a right way and a wrong way to lift a KB. You need proper instruction, or you might drop a cannonball on your face!
Pavel Tsatsouline is a fitness instructor from the former Soviet Union. He is involved with the evolving field of martial arts fitness and is a major proponent of the traditional Russian fitness tool, the kettlebell, as an exercise and strengthening tool.
His book, Enter The Kettlebell! Strength Secret of The Soviet Supermen is a good beginners book, but expensive at $34.95. Even though I am a beginner, I’m not going to spend $35 on a book that will only take me so far in my KB training.
In Pavel’s KB lifting book, he mentions Steve Cotter multiple times, so I figured I'll check out Steve's new book: The Complete Guide to Kettlebell Lifting. Since this is a brand new publication, I could not find one Complete Guide to Kettlebell Lifting review. I decided to get the book anyway and write my own review.
A quick search on google and I found out about Steve Cotter. He is a world renowned martial artist and strength and conditioning instructor. Steve is also the Director and Founder of the world's most prestigious kettlebell and fitness certifying organization, the International Kettlebell & Fitness Federation, with certified instructors in every continent.
His new book and DVD combo The Complete Guide to Kettlebell Lifting was exactly what I was looking for. This book is packed with all of the top lifts in full color detail showing not only the lifts themselves, but important tips and mistakes that many lifters make. It has 191 fully illustrated exercises + a 3 hour DVD showing each exercise from different angles. And when I say it's fully illustrated, the book contains over 1,000 full color photos!
The Complete Guide is broken up into 10 full chapters covering the full range of Kettlebell lifts from upper and lower body, core and abs and many more. Both single and double Kettlebell lifts are covered in this amazing brand new book.
Each exercise has a photo for every step of the lift. For example, the Turkish get up-lunge variation is illustrated with 18 individual photos! Plus you can reinforce this by watching the exercise on the included DVD.
On the DVD, Steve comes out and gives a short introduction and states that this will be the only time he will talk on the DVD. Every exercise instructional sequence is done in completely silence with the exception of two KB's clanking together. I found this strange....at least have some music playing in the background.
One of the exercises Steve demonstrates is the "Pistol", which is a one legged squat. Have you ever tried a one legged squat? Where your ass touches the back of your ankle? This is tough to do! Steve not only demonstrates this exercise with bodyweight only, but then completes this with one KB, then two! Impressive.
The one criticism I have about the book is that it does not contain one KB workout example. Here you have 191 beautifully illustrated exercises but absolutely not one example of a KB workout. Other KB books have workouts. Pavel's Enter The Kettlebell! Strength Secret of The Soviet Supermen and The Great Kettlebell Handbook have three workouts each.
I guess the workouts were left out of the Complete Guide so you would have to buy Cotter's Extreme Kettlebell Workout DVD package. I ended up creating my own workouts just by choosing one or two exercises out of the different chapters of the Complete Guide, such as two exercises from chapter 1, one from chapter 2, and so on.
CHAPTER 1 - Prepatory Lifts
CHAPTER 2 - Core Lifts
CHAPTER 3 - Upper Body Lifts
CHAPTER 4 - Lower Body Lifts
CHAPTER 5 - Core / Abdominal
CHAPTER 6 - Supplemental Lifts
CHAPTER 7 - Grip Exercises
CHAPTER 8 - Advanced Lifts
CHAPTER 9 - Explosive Powerlifts
CHAPTER 10 - Kettlebell Juggling
You can structure a pretty decent full body workout this way, and with so many exercises to choose from, you could never do the same workout twice. But, it would have been nice if Steve provided a few routine examples.
Putting the lack of routines aside, this is one of the best fitness related books in my collection. Every exercise is fully explained, illustrated and demonstrated, no wonder it took over one year to complete the book. I was skeptical of KB training at first, but now I'm thinking if you bought four sets of KB's of different weight's, and a couple of boxes to step up on, you could replace a fully equipped gym!
I thought the book and DVD combo were a bit expensive at first, but now I'm thinking it was a bargain because of all of the info you receive.
This book and DVD combo is the only resource on kettlebell training you will ever need.
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