By Sarah Lurie

Review by Scott Keith

It’s an odd-looking object. Kind of a mix between a bowling ball, a cannon ball and a floating buoy. It’s heavier than heck; don’t let it fall on your foot. It’s a Kettlebell, a method of exercise that’s gaining in popularity.

A great way to introduce yourself to this strange, but effective exercise tool is to read Sarah Lurie’s “Kettlebells for Dummies.” Lurie, a nationally recognized kettlebell expert, writes kettlebells date all the way back to the 1800s when the Russians first used them for exercise. She says this fitness regimen has been gaining popularity over the last five or so years. “There’s a huge kettlebell movement happening right now, and it’s just really starting to gain some momentum, probably in the past 12 months.”

For the uninitiated, and there are many, the kettlebell resembles a cannonball with a handle. The weight of the ball can vary. Don’t think the kettlebell will only build your biceps. This exercise will work most of your muscle groups and, as an added benefit, get your heart pumping. In an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, Lurie says it’s a “complete” exercise routine. “It’s great for conditioning your heart, conditioning your muscles…It really is kind of the magic pill or bullet that people are looking for.”

Lurie says a kettlebell fitness program is affordable (especially in these economic times) and can fit easily into your busy routine. “You just need one very simple piece of equipment…for budget-conscious people and people who don’t have a lot of space, this is a great mode of exercise. You can do it in your apartment, you can do it at the park. You’re not limited in that way,” says Lurie.

“Kettlebells for Dummies” provides a great introduction to this novel, but straightforward exercise regimen. A Primer on Kettlebells is found in chapter two, where you’ll learn about kettlebells, the benefits of the exercise and how to stay safe during a workout. Various chapters explore proper techniques; the book is richly illustrated with photos.

Lurie explains that kettlebells are not just for the buff. It’s an exercise program for young and old. “I have clients who are 14 and 83. I think it’s for somebody who likes the challenge. They have to be willing to learn the exercises and be very focused during their workouts. Other than that, you’re really not limited by age, fitness level or body type,” says Lurie, adding that it’s wise to see your doctor before embarking on an exercise program.

The book describes the importance of proper spine and hip alignment. “The movements are very dynamic,” explains Lurie. “You’re moving the kettlebell very dynamically, around your body, and it’s important to be positioned properly and to know how to move and use your hips.” Otherwise, you could get hurt.

The exercises offered in “Kettlebells for Dummies” have catchy names. A couple of foundation exercises are The Swing and TheTurkish get-up. These routines, says Lurie, teach you how to move for all of the other exercises. More advanced, and tougher, kettlebell exercises include The Pistol and The Overhead Squat.

Lurie says kettlebell exercising is mentally challenging. “You really have to think about how you’re moving, how your body feels, where you’re feeling it. With each repetition you’re really focusing and concentrating, so you get that mental challenge as well. People really like that,” says Lurie.

Even pregnant women can benefit from reading this book. Chapter 15 explores how you can prepare for a prenatal kettlebell workout. Lurie says, “Strength training for pregnant women is fantastic for several reasons…it will help them sleep better, it will alleviate back pain, it will help you get back into shape quicker, it will help you during labor and delivery.”

Lurie says baby boomers love kettlebells because they’ve tried everything else. “It will make you feel better. It’s almost instant. After a few workouts, you’ll know.” She says you need to be open to trying something new.

Softcover, 342 pages, $21.99, Wiley Publishing, Inc., Available at Amazon.com and major bookstores.

Visit Sarah Lurie at www.ironcorekettlebells.com

For information on instructors in your city or state: www.dragondoor.com.

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