Updated: Jul 28
Whether online or in person, it can be overwhelming to start something new! That's why I decided to write this article so you know what to expect from a kettlebell class and how to gain the confidence to go in bells blazin'!
What are kettlebells?
Before you walk into your first kettlebell class, what are kettlebells? Sure, you've probably seen them before whether online, in a gym, or one of those old-timey photos where they're using scales (you know what I'm talking about!). But what are they really?
Primarily, kettlebells are cast-iron or steel balls with a flat bottom and a handle. They originated in Russia and are a national sport over there before they came to North America in the 60s.
Kettlebells are excellent tools to build strength and endurance simultaneously.
Benefits of kettlebells
There are multiple benefits to using kettlebells including improved grip strength by holding on to the handle in a more focused and engaged position than what barbells or dumbbells may require.
Kettlebells improve your core stability, they build strength, and they improve endurance. Many kettlebell exercises require ballistic movements and are a great way to integrate cardio and strength training into one effective, efficient workout.
Kettlebell exercises are often designed to mimic movements that we perform in our everyday lives, such as bending down to pick up groceries or lifting a child. By incorporating kettlebell exercises into your workouts, you can improve your overall functional fitness and make in-personeveryday tasks easier.
What is a kettlebell class?
A kettlebell class is a fitness class that utilizes kettlebells as the main tool. You will use kettlebells while learning proper form and potentially different techniques, depending upon the level of class you are taking.
The majority of in person kettlebell classes I teach are beginner-level. Therefore, we really focus on proper form and functional moves, over specific kettlebell techniques and sport-style training where we are hitting and setting personal goals or personal reps in an allotted amount of time.
Many people in my area are brand new to kettlebell training and they are intimidated by kettlebells. I aim to ensure they have solid foundations and form, and then hopefully one day we can offer more advanced classes.
What can I expect from a kettlebell class?
In a kettlebell class,greet you can expect to sweat!
Seriously! Even the beginner classes I teach that are 30 minutes had folks sweating. Most of my classes I keep around 45-minutes which gives us time for a mobility session in the beginning, 2 circuits, a core finisher, and a quick cool down.
Kettlebells are highly effective and higher-intensity. You will get your heartrate up, burn calories, build muscle, improve balance, and mobility. A lot of things are happening at once!
Now, kettlebell classes can be structured a variety of ways. I like to structure my classes to utilize circuits and time, versus having to count reps. It's just easier for all of us and keeps my clients on the same pace (versus if one person were at 6 reps while the other person had already repped out 12).
When you step into my class, I like to great you, introduce myself, and I help you choose a weight. The first thing we do is hit a couple of minutes to warm up and mobilize and I briefly go over the structure of the day's class. After that, I'll run through the moves demonstrating what they look like before we head into Circuit 1. Usually, we work on for 45 seconds with a 15 second rest between each exercise and we tend to have 3 or 4 rounds before heading into Circuit 2. The core finisher is typically less work/rest time to really burn out the core, and then I guide you through a quick stretch.
I am HUGE on doing what feels best for you, so I like to provide regressions and progressions as much as possible and emphasize stopping if something hurts or stepping back for a second. We're here to work and improve ourselves, not injure or make ourselves sick.
What do I need to bring?
This can depend on the kettlebell class you are attending, but as a general rule I would highly recommend bringing water, a towel, your mat, and your own kettlebell. Sometimes studios or events can have kettlebells for you to use, but you should really have your own kettlebell anyways to practice with and to get familiar with.
How can I find a kettlebell class near me?
If you are near Greensboro or Burlington, North Carolina, visit me online to see where I am teaching next.
Pro tips for your first kettlebell class
I have a couple of final thoughts and some pro tips so you know what to expect from your first kettlebell class and can feel confident.
I highly recommend ensuring you long-hair fine folks have your hair braided. It's seriously the best and keeps it back because once you start swinging, it's going to get annoying real fast.
I also recommend wearing low-profile shoes, think Converse and Vans, or even barefoot shoes. You want to grip the ground and be able to feel the floor. Training or running shoes that are padded or have a heel are going to interrupt that connection.
The last tip I will give you is to really listen to your instructor's tips. You need to understand their queues and listen to them because they will help prevent injuries and pain if you are listening and adhereing to their advice (well, and so long as they are a good coach).
If you want me to write an article on how to find a good fitness instructor or how to know if your fitness instructor is any good, drop me a comment and let me know!