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WARNING: Moderately geeky post about why kettlebell workouts are good for you.
I tried to use common, everyday language and keep it ‘short’.  

TL;DR version: Kettlebells are awesome, but not everything. I am an exceptional and intuitive trainer and will help you reach your goals using kettlebells and / or other equipment and / or your bodyweight.  I will not yell at you, but I will also not let you miss out on your best results.  You will have fun.

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With kettlebells you can IMPROVE:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Balance
  • Cardio
  • Weight loss
  • Coordination

Read on to understand the problem, what a ‘typical’ kettlebell workout is like, how cross-training works and why you need it.

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The problem.  Traditional weight training, especially at the start, is primarily about isolation and stabilization. Clients are started on machines to isolate a particular muscle or muscle group. A large focus in most weight training is restricting movements to one of the three planes; sagittal, horizontal/transverse and frontal. 

If we stop to think about our everyday lives, we realize that very few activities are single plane activities and most involve all 3 planes. {Think about picking up a baby or being a construction worker} Why not train your body to be able to do the things you NEED to do…then build from there?!

We’ve found kettlebell training to be a more effective way to train for overall strength and functional fitness.

Here’s why:

Kettlebells improve power and balance due to the effort required to balance your body while performing dynamic, swinging kettlebell exercises.  There are lots of articles about the science behind this.  (Don’t worry, we won’t bore you with that.)

YOU NEED TO BE READY FOR YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE:

Kettlebell training requires multi-joint / multi-plane movement, just like your real life activities! Training the body in movement patterns that are natural to everyday activities is the safe and effective opportunity for strong muscles and stable joints. Kettlebell training provides an excellent opportunity for this stimulation that develops the entire body.

SO IS THIS JUST FOR OLD LADIES AND MOMS WHO PICK UP BABIES?

In a typical appointment you may move upwards of 3,000 lbs!  That’s a workout! But don’t worry, we won’t have you harnessing up to pull a Dodge Ram or anything like that. We help you choose weighted kettlebells ranging from light, moderate to heavy for each part of your workout. Those pounds accumulate during your workout as your body efficiently moves the weight either forward and back or up and down.

POWERFUL MOVEMENT, FEELING LIKE AN ATHLETE

Properly used, kettlebells lay a foundation for healthy and powerful movement. Hips become mobile, spine stable, shoulders mobile and stable. The body is becoming more symmetrical and resilient. You start moving like an athlete and are making dramatic changes to your body composition.

STRENGTH IS GOOD BUT I NEED MY CARDIO!

We not only train for strength we train for endurance (BONUS: the more proficient you become, the better calorie burn) as well. Our trainings consist of 11 primary lifts, 6 ‘quick lifts’ to promote good cardiovascular health and 5 ‘grind lifts’ to build strength. Each warm up and finisher drill is centered around our primary lifts.  So you are always moving in context, training for the next lift and learning more about safe, efficient movement patterns.

YEAH, BUT ALL THAT HAS TO BE BAD FOR YOUR BACK.

Nope. According to a study in 2012 by McGill, kettlebell training rather than being bad for the back provides unique muscular pulses to the abdominals which, “[t]ogether with the muscle bracing associated with carries create kettlebell-specific training opportunities” makes McGill et al. conclude that the “unique loading patterns discovered during the kettlebell swing […] which is opposite in polarity to a traditional lift” may in fact be the reason why “many individuals credit kettlebell swings with restoring and enhancing back health and function, although a few find that they irritate tissues” (McGill. 2014). Note: Dr Stu McGill is also know as “THE back Doctor” repairing and strengthening the backs of olympic lifters, premiere athletes and MMA fighters including GSP.

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CAN’T I JUST DO THE SAME THING WITH A DUMBBELL?

Nope. Well, you can, but you won’t get the same results. We WILL use dumbbells, for somethings…But, the asymetrical weight distribution of the kettlebell with the soft curve of the horns (handle) make this easy to hold and maneuver while forcing you to use more stabilizer muscles and work the targeted muscles through a longer range of motion.

BONUS: Kettlebell handles are typically thicker than dumbbells and will give you a vice grip in no time.

YEAH, COOL, BUT I AM AN ATHLETE

For combat athletes and anyone else that likes it tough, the ballistic shock of kettlebells teaches you how to absorb shock efficiently which is critical for combat sports such as: wrestling, MMA, football, and hockey.

The above reasons are why MMA fighters such as Frank Shamrock, BJ Penn and Fedor enhance their workouts with kettlebells. Also, it is why top strength coaches such as Ethan Reeve and Louie Simmons recommend kettlebell training to their athletes. Kettlebell is an AMAZING cross training tool, helping you find that place of relaxation just before you need to recruit all your muscles for power or impact.  And this is simply what happens during the hard-style swing!  …all the while training your entire core.  There are countless other moves to build strength in the areas you need.  We do that.

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SO HOW DO THE CLASSES WORK?

Not every appointment is a strictly Kettlebell but a Basic Kettlebell appointment set-up looks like this: Warm-up and mobility work that prepare the body for that specific class. DRILLS for kettlebell: One each: ‘grind’ lift and a ‘quick’ lift drill for training or setting personal record.  FINISHER- training exercises to accomplish any of the following: Heart-rate kick, delve deeper into specific drills, spot strengthening, FUN!  

WHAT IF I DIE TRYING KETTLEBELLS?!

It’s been our experience that you won’t.  We do have you sign a standard waiver in any case. 😉 But joking aside…. you are always encouraged to work at your pace and level. I help you define this and it can vary day-to-day. Sometimes I will be cheering you on to bigger and more.  Sometimes you will hear, “You ok?  Should we back off and push for volume instead of weight?” (or something like that) Find your level and press into it.  Grow incrementally or in leaps and bounds.  They both happen to everyone.

IS THAT ALL YOU DO? KETTLEBELLS?

Nope.  We are generalists.  The goal is to be pretty good at lots of things – not experts at one thing.  Also known as: Variety is the Spice of Life.  You can expect to become fitter, more mobile and have better movement skills.

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For the record….
*At Center-Fit we train bodies for specific use.  If you are an olympic weight lifter, you will do well to train for and practice olympic lifts… however, if you aren’t, there may be more risk than potential benefit from moves like that. Is it wrong? Nope. We just don’t train in that way. We do like to train hard, tho.  We also take care to not push past safe limits just for the sake of being ‘tough’.

Some days are PR (personal record) days and some days are training days.

You each get to choose.

Now get it done!