The Shape Issue: We Tried Buckeye Kettlebells

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

As I write this, my shoulders, lower back, thighs and butt still hurt-mementos from my Buckeye Kettlebellsworkout now two days passed. I attended a 5:30 p.m. beginner's session (available five days a week at no charge) at Dave Clancy's garage-like Gahanna gym, having never before touched a kettlebell (essentially, a cast-iron ball with a handle). The workout space is simple but airy. Typical radio rock provides the soundtrack. Five or six others were there-some young, some old, some fit, some not.

I expected more formality, but I was partial to Clancy's style. We talked and even joked our way through three standard workouts: the two-hand swing, the one-hand swing and the midair switch. With a bell at your feet (men typically start at 35 pounds, women at 26), you squat, drag the weight backward and explode upright, snapping your hips, straightening your back. It's all about form. The trick is to lift the bell with your entire body, not your arms. Kettlebell training is about "right-sizing" you, Clancy says. A caveat: This kind of ballistic training, even at the beginner level, is strenuous. And though Clancy and his assistants are on hand, you could easily strain a muscle or throw out your back (hence the safety waiver). But chances are you'll improve your day-to-day posture and, like I did, work muscles you forgot existed.?

Intensity: 3 out of 3

Intensity scale:

1 = Not too bad

2 = Worked up a great sweat

3 = Pushed me way out of my comfort zone