Little did I know that when I lifted my first kettlebell yesterday, that I would ache with every step today. I mean this in a totally good way. In other words, my first kettlebell work out worked me hard. Every muscle in my body is a bit sore, especially my quads and hamstrings from all those weighted lunges.
If you have no clue what the heck a kettlebell is, you’re not the only one. Up until a month or so ago, I didn’t either. But workouts using these Russian, cast iron weights are rapidly becoming all the rage. So I decided to try a class at Vitality, a studio in downtown St. Paul that also offers yoga and pilates classes, as well as private training and massage.
For starters, a kettlebell class is not just about weight lifting. There are specific moves you do while lifting or holding a kettlebell, all aimed at giving you a full cardio, strength, agility, and core workout. With time and regular practice, kettlebells can improve your balance and cardiovascular fitness, and from what I’ve heard, lead to some serious weight loss, too. All ages and fitness levels were in my intro class, in which our instructor Kimson, walked us through several of the basic kettlebell moves.
Sure, you can buy a DVD and try this at home, but after taking a class, I can’t imagine doing that without instruction first. Let me count the ways I could have injured myself! Kimson wouldn’t let that happen though. He demonstrated each move repeatedly and gracefully, making it look easy (it’s not), talking us through the proper ways to hold our kettlebells, swing them, lift them, and move with them. When I didn’t get certain moves right, Kimson helped me individually until I understood the move he was teaching more fully. I definitely need more practice…
The class I attended was an intro class, and a new session of the kettlebells gets underway next Monday at 4:15 p.m. Drop-in classes are $16.50, but it’s cheaper if you purchase a class pass. Give Vitality a ring to sign up for the next kettlebell session.
Or, sample an outdoor class for free this Saturday from 9 to 10:15 a.m. (Meet at Vitality at 8:45 a.m.) The description for this weekend’s “Iron & Grace” class says you’ll “find the strength of a Russian strongman and the grace of a Russian ballerina.” I think by then my legs should be feeling mostly normal again, and will be craving another go at it. Count me in.
Where: Vitality is located at 145 E 10th Street in downtown St. Paul; (651) 225-4151
Parking: There is plenty of on-street parking, but bring quarters to feed the meter if your class is anytime Monday through Friday before 4:30 p.m. After that, parking is free.