Getting into the ‘kettlebell’ swing of things

By By LINDA KELLETT/For the Recorder

Heavy black weights resembling cannonballs with handles were propelled upwards in a smooth, pendular motion as Fit “1” Training center partners Ed Korona and Ken Brittain demonstrated the kettlebell swing Saturday morning. The pair’s demo took place during a lull in the center’s Kettlebell Challenge fundraiser for the American Heart Association.

How did the challenge work?

Korona and Brittain explained that participants were allowed to select weights within their own comfort range.

During the first 60 seconds of each challenge, they swung their weights once. With each successive minute, the human pendulums added additional swings to their repetitions.

In the second minute, for example, participants swung their kettlebells twice. Three swings were squeezed into the third minute, four in the fourth, and so on—until the individuals reached their physical limits.

Their exertions involved the muscles of their legs, abs, chest, back, arms and shoulders. Korona said, “It’s a full-body cardiovascular workout… It gets your heart rate up. It’s cardio and muscle-building.”

In quick succession, the partners said, “The first five minutes are incredibly boring. By the time you hit 10, you’re starting to feel it. By the time you reach 15, you’re praying you’ll make it to 16.”

Ultimately, it’s about doing your personal best, they said.

By 11:30 a.m., five of the dozen or so people registered for the event had already stopped by the Guy Park Avenue fitness center. A mother and her son were among that number.

Brittain said 9-year-old Garrett McHeard of Amsterdam used a 15 pound weight for his challenge. In 21 minutes, he reached the equivalent of 211 swings.

Garrett’s mother, Colleen, used a 20 pound weight. She stopped at 18 swings in the 18th minute, it was noted. That was 171 swings in all.

Brittain said the kettlebells originated in Russia, where they were used as a fitness tool for many years. It’s only been in the last five to 10 years that the cast-iron weights have been embraced by physical fitness trainers in America.