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Two black kettlebells on a wood floor

OK folks, I don’t quite know how to talk about how The Russian Kettlebell Thing started, but suffice it to say that this is now something I’m really getting into with no end to the fun in sight.

Thinking back, I guess it all started with Chris Maranon at Onnit Academy, who I’ve been working with since 2019 and still do every week. I had two major injuries in 2019 and 2020 that made me evaluate and reassess what I would need to do to remain a dancer in my 50s and beyond. Strangely, neither of these injuries was dance related – both were from random falls almost exactly a year apart, which is something that for some reason happens to dancers a lot I’ve noticed. We can do all these wonderful unconventional things with our bodies, but we most often get injured just running around in everyday life when we fall strangely. It’s weird. Anyway.

For the first year of working with Chris, I didn’t understand kettlebells at all – why we used them, how to hold them, what I was supposed to be feeling. Then, suddenly, in late 2021, it started to “click” and I started making new, subtler, but more powerful performance and strength gains quite quickly. So now I’m all over learning about the Russian kettlebell thing and also some of the strange psychological worlds it leads into.

Quite honestly the first 37 seconds to 5 minutes of this Pavel Tsatsouline video  is one of the best things I’ve watched on YouTube during the pandemic. Comrade, watch it! Also, there is Eric Leija’s channel. I’ve met Eric many times at Onnit in the past, he is an absolute beast of an athlete and also an incredibly nice guy, and his kettlebell form is PERFECT.

You have to love these guys who are like “okay let’s do some nice easy joint mobility, nice warmup, ahhh….Feel good? NOW LET’S GO INTO 300 REPETITIONS OF INCREDIBLY COMPLEX MOVEMENT HOLDING A GIANT IRON BALL. ARE YOU WITH ME COMRADE?!”
Well, I don’t know if YOU have to love it. *I* love it.

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