You don’t ring a kettlebell. And you don’t use it to boil water for a soothing cup of tea. No, the roundish cast-iron weights with the sleek handles, which range in heft from 9 to 88 pounds, anchor a fitness regimen that practitioners pledge will increase strength, endurance, flexibility and balance - all at the same time.
You don’t ring a kettlebell.
And you don’t use it to boil water for a soothing cup of tea.
No, the roundish cast-iron weights with the sleek handles, which range in heft from 9 to 88 pounds, anchor a fitness regimen that practitioners pledge will increase strength, endurance, flexibility and balance - all at the same time.
Jim Osenkowski, a retired teacher, said he was “hooked” on kettlebell three years ago when police officer Tom Clark brought him to “A Better You Kettlebell Gym” in Taunton, Mass.
The former math teacher, who also taught physical education, was already a fitness enthusiast and competed in “natural” body building from 1988 to 1994 -- when the athletes were rigorously drug tested.
Today, Osenkowski is a kettlebell instructor, certified by the International Kettlebell Fitness Federation, and teaches four classes per week at East Coast Fitness in Lakeville, Mass.
The class is limited to 16 participants at a time, he said, because the gym needs to buy more kettlebells to meet the increasing demand. Some of the exercises require the use of two at a time, he said.
“We’re riding a wave of popularity right now,” he said. “Everyone’s doing kettlebell.”
Regular participants in his class range in age from 16 to 62, and a recent Saturday morning class included more women than men.
“It appeals to women,” Osenkowski said, because while it increases strength it doesn’t increase muscle size. It’s also an excellent fat burner and heightens a person’s metabolic rate – an effect that can last up to 24 hours.
“The basic advantage to kettlebell training is that you’re not just training for strength or endurance, but for both. The longer lasting stuff helps get you through the fourth quarter.”
Classes are 45 minutes long and Osenkowski brings them home right on schedule. “That’s enough,” he said, and a boxing timer is employed to make sure the workout-rest intervals are precise.
Classes are held in a recently opened second-floor level at East Coast Fitness, which is celebrating its 21st year in business.
Glenn Ducharme, who owns East Coast with wife Lisa, said the new space coupled with popular programs like kettlebell have driven a spike in membership. He said 1,500 new members have signed up since the new space was available last April.
“It’s brought in volume,” Osenkowski said.
Osenkowski jokes with his recent class as they work out to the inspirational strains of Guns N’ Roses. “Have we done 12 things yet? Oh, how could I forget – windmills.”
His is not a drill instructor’s style, but it’s efficient, and not a second in the 45 minutes is wasted.
He noted before starting class that participants “are their own judge” when it comes to pace. He also cautioned that those interested should seek certified instruction.
“There’s some good stuff on YouTube, but you can see bad stuff, too.”
Contact Frank Mulligan at email@example.com