Kettleball class offers unique workout technique


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

The kettlebell, for those unfamiliar with the term, is neither a kettle nor a bell. It's a conveniently crafted iron ball with a triangle-shaped handle, a ball whose sole purpose is to build strength and increase cardiovascular endurance.

An emerging presence in the workout world, kettlebell training has athletes from all backgrounds stepping up and grabbing the regimen by the handle. Emily Gehrke has been revealing the secrets and padding the foundation for the simply shaped tool to a wide variety of students for the last two years. By guiding her pupils through intense interval training revolving around swings, squats, lunges, jumps, and presses, she takes full advantage of the 45-minute sessions that are meeting on Monday and Wednesday mornings for the next four weeks in the UI Campus Recreation & Wellness Center.

A large portion of the students are unaccustomed to using a kettlebell, but Gehrke is used to getting inexperienced users up to speed. The classes don't necessarily have a waiting list to get in on the action, with the room typically housing five to 10 participants. It seems natural, however, when in some cases users have the equivalent of a 100-pound bowling ball in their hands.

"I think a lot of people think they're intimidating classes, just because they are cast-iron balls," Gehrke said. "They see the balls and they think these are primarily strength classes, but it's also very metabolic, and they help build cardio and burn fat as well."

Hanan Fadel is taking part in the class in order to properly educate herself on the form of kettlebell. When it comes to an exercise that works so much of the body's core, it's important to commit the techniques to memory to boost results and reduce the chance of injury.

"I've used them before, but not with the proper technique," Fadel said. "I thought this would give me the opportunity to learn the basic moves, and from there I can teach myself how to use them."

Despite the program being designed around increasing one's overall fitness level, Fadel said he knew a very specific body part will be feel the brunt of the work she put in.

"Probably my butt. You really have to squeeze it," Fadel said.

It's safe to say that Gehrke has earned her stripes when it comes to passing on kettlebell training. Already she's received a certificate for passing the Russian Kettlebell Challengeat the Dragon Door workshop, and she still has plans to return there and conquer more of the gauntlet that awaits. In the meantime, one of her short-term goals is to eventually host an advanced kettlebell workout.

Jeff Salsbery, an experienced weightlifter in his own right, was feeling the results from Gehrke's step-by-step instruction. However, he doesn't see the kettlebell as an obstacle for beginners to avoid.

"Everybody works at their own strength," Salsbery said. "Somebody that's never lifted weights before can come in here and use the lightest kettlebell and learn the fundamentals, while still taking part in all the exercises she teaches."

In today's issue:

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.