What Are We All About?
We, of The Toronto Kettlebell Club, are a group of local American Kettlebell Club coaches and students dedicated to improving our technique with, and spreading the news about, the immensely versatile and incredibly effective kettlebell. We gather weekly to practice our lifts together for mutual support and we are making ourselves available to anyone who wants to learn about the way of the kettlelbell.
Everyone is welcome to come and practice with us, even if you have never lifted a kettlebell before. It is not a group class where there is one leader and everyone else follows. Kettlebell lifting is an individual exercise and when you come to visit with us, we help you work on what you want to work, at your own pace, without any reference to what anyone else is doing. So there is no need to worry about your current ability or conditioning. You just have to show up.
There are a great many benefits to exercising with a kettlebell: they are simple pieces of equipment yet elegant in that they have a tremendous amount of exercise efficiency. For general physical fitness, the kettlebell has a lot to offer as it is most effective at developing what is known as strength-endurance, or the ability to express a high degree of strength repeatedly over a period of time.
Developing this kind of strength-endurance is particularly useful for people who work at desk jobs and are developing postural issues, like low back pain or chronic neck and shoulder problems. They sit so much that their major postural muscles forget how to function properly!
One of the key characteristics of kettlebell use is that the lifts tend to use the whole body at once, which is very different that the conventional strength training approach of isolating one muscle group at a time. It's all about getting your parts to remember how to work together - think integration, not separation.
Not only is this integration the way your body is supposed to work in the first place, it has the added benefit of being a time saver. You already save time by not having to hit each muscle individually. But, using your entire muscular system all at once means a major need for oxygen and the blood flow to deliver it. This is the same endurance effect generated when you use the bike, the treadmill, stair climber, yet it is being generated during a strength activity. The feeling is like lifting weights and going for run AT THE SAME TIME!
So kettlebell training sits squarely in the middle between pure strength and pure endurance exercise. All cosmetic motivations aside, kettlebell work probably has the most overall functional value for people interested in general fitness simply because it offers so much within a very small window of time commitment. Typical workouts can range from 10-30 minutes and once you get used to the lifting techniques and the specific characteristics of the kettlebell itself, recovery tends to be quick.
Although the kettlebell is not the only tool in our collective toolbox, we at the Toronto Kettlebell Club do recognize the validity and the potential benefit of kettlebell training, for ourselves and for others. We also recognize that there is more than one way of training with a kettlebell, although our preference is mostly for the very simple and user friendly method of the American Kettlebell Club. We focus on developing good techniques around a handful of core lifts, starting with lighter weights, performed over time at a safe and sustainable pace. This type of approach is excellent for beginners and yet is highly effective even for advanced lifters. If you come to train with us, we will make sure you stay safe and whole and we will teach you exactly what you need to know.
Come out and play!