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Kettlebell Question

Hello All. I'm a 4HB newbie and this was my first day using a kettlebell. (20#) I am a 55 year old female, very athletic but could only complete 4 reps of 20 while keeping good form. Please tell me that not everyone is able to complete a full 15 mins. on day one. Am I that out of shape? : (

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I don't know where you read the bit about doing it for 15 minutes, but you should be concentrating on doing it for about 75 reps. It's up to you if you want to keep it at 75 while going up in weight as you're able to or to increase reps as it gets easier. If you hunt around on here you'll see people who do it either way. My wife and I bought the stuff to make the T-handle and are going the increase in weight route. Not to mention that 15 minutes of kettlebells would be boring. Mix it up, there are other exercises like lunges for example. Have fun and keep it up.

  • LittleByLittle commented Aug 1st 2011:

    Thanks for the support and great suggestions. I'm finding the kettlebell swing to be much easier, more fluid...almost to the point of enjoyment! Now I'd like to add a short toning/strength kettlebell DVD. Any suggestions? Thanks again.

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Hi! I feel your incredulity, and I want to hop in here and hope to reassure you: you're probably in wonderful shape, but don't underestimate the 'bell. :D

My brother is a CSCS and the one who introduced me to kettlebell swings years ago. He's going for his RKC certification soon; it's fun to watch him handling his 100-pounder. I wish I could articulate the specifics as knowledgeably as he can, but two bits of info gleaned from him:

1. This is a conditioning exercise. Your form is key, because it's a workout that's about quality, *not* quantity, as is often true of strength and conditioning workouts—they tend to be far more intense than exercises like running or even Nautilus-style circuits, because they engage so much of your body at once in such a complex way.

2. If you're going to work out on your own at first, check out Enter the Kettlebell by Pavel Tsatsouline. He will set you straight on the fundamental principles and safety issues in kettlebell training. I got the DVD from Amazon, and it's a quick, entertaining and comprehensive guide that will explain a lot and likely make you feel much clearer about things.

Just a note from my own experience, as I'm doing the swings twice a week now: the next time you pick up the 'bell, I can almost guarantee that as an athletic type, you'll find it significantly easier than you did the first time. But don't be tempted to simply add more swings; my sense is that it would be better to incrementally increase the number in each set each week (e.g., stage 1: 4x20, stage 2: 3x25, etc.). And then there's the get-up exercise if you want to expand your workout a bit more. I would encourage you to check Pavel out and respect the amazing work your body is doing with the 'bell.

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