Get Into the Swing of Things

Kettlebell instructor Paul Katami explains why his favorite weights outsmart dumbbells

January 15, 2013

Instructor Paul Katami, middle, emphasizes proper form in the DVD “Ultimate Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners.”

What’s that round heavy thing? No, I don’t mean you! I’m talking about the cannonball-shaped weight with a handle called a kettlebell. If you picked up a few pounds over the holidays, that’s what Paul Katami thinks you should grab next. The Hollywood trainer — whose new DVD, “Ultimate Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners” ($17), provides a tutorial session and two additional 25-minute routines — explained why you should ring in 2013 with a kettlebell.

How did you get into kettlebells?

I did a kettlebell workout with a trainer seven years ago. I couldn’t walk the next day. It was an epiphany that my muscles could be worked in a different way. The kettlebell changes the power and force in your body, and the center of gravity is displaced, so you have to create unique ways of dealing with those forces. And with kettlebells, you’re thinking about cardio and muscle conditioning, but also range of motion and agility. The other thing I love is how much you have to think. I see people making shopping lists in their head because they’ve gotten so familiar with bicep curls. With kettlebells, they have to focus.


Why is form such a big deal on the DVD?

I just taught a four-hour kettlebell workshop and we were in this studio with glass windows, and through it, we could see a guy doing the worst kettlebell swings imaginable. Form is the most important thing with kettlebells. It’s a new way of looking at a squat, figuring out how to create momentum. You’re going to struggle through these things.

Your exercise combinations aren’t typical kettlebell moves.

I was only doing Olympic lifts, but then I got interested in using bells for more movements. In plank, I can use a kettlebell for rotation. You have to balance on the other hand, while using the core and stabilizing the shoulders. With the combination side lunge, bicep curl, then backward lunge and row, you can’t lose mental focus. It keeps people on their toes.

How do you know what the right kettlebell weight is for you?

There are grinding movements, like bicep curls. And there are power and momentum moves, like the swing, and for those you can use one that’s slightly heavier. I always encourage people to have more than one and go with what feels right. Pick up a bell and try a few exercises. If you can do a minute of swings and aren’t feeling much, you need to go heavier.

Watch & Burn

Working out to these new DVDs must be a blast. At least, that’s what their titles say.


“The Biggest Loser: Power Ab Blast” ($15)

If the contestants on “The Biggest Loser” can do it, you can, too. That’s the familiar formula on this disc, which features four core workouts led by trainers Dolvett Quince and Bob Harper: “Standing Abs,” “All Out Abs,” “Yoga Abs” and “Cardio Abs.” The routines go by quickly — three are just 10 minutes — and prove that an ab workout doesn’t have to be limited to crunches (although they do make an appearance).

Sample Exercise: “Woodchopper.” Stand up and hold a dumbbell in both hands above one shoulder. Then step forward with the opposite leg and lunge, while bringing the weight across the front knee.

 

 

 

 


“Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast” ($15)

Mary Helen Bowers is an impossibly graceful lady with a sweet voice. And after a few minutes of hearing her count “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8” over soft piano music, you will hate her. But if you’re looking for an effective, low-impact workout, you’ll be back for more “Classic Swan Arms.” That’s one of four 15-minute routines on the disc — there’s also a total body workout and “Butt Series” parts 1 and 2.

Sample Exercise: “Ballet Bicycles.” Sit on the ground, lean back on your palms and extend one leg forward while bringing the opposite knee to your chest. Alternate legs, and try lifting your hands up.

 

 

 

 

 


“Dr. Lisa: Yoga Blast” ($17)

Lisa Masterson, co-host of “The Doctors,” leaves the instruction up to trainer Elise Joan. (Dr. Lisa mostly interjects with proclamations about the medical benefits of exercise.) Your clue that this isn’t traditional yoga comes when Joan introduces the “first hip-hop move.” Of three 20-minute workouts, only “Power Stretch” is mostly yoga poses. But overall, it’s a well-rounded routine suitable for beginners.

Sample Exercise: “Funky Chair.” Standing up, lift a leg and place that ankle above the opposite knee, then squat down. While balancing on the leg, fold your arms and chest forward, then lift back up.

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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