Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Enter the Kettlebell Addresses Details of Kettlebell Exercises and Routines


For Christmas this year I received a copy of Pavel Tsatsouline’s
Enter the Kettlebell. Since I’ve had a month to thoroughly digest the book and put some of its suggestions to use, I thought this would be a good time to review it.

Enter the Kettlebell is a follow-up to Pavel’s original book on The Russian Kettlebell Challenge which re-introduced the The Russian Kettlebell Challenge, Dragon Door Publishing have started an annual kettlebell convention.

The Russian Kettlebell Challenge introduced lots of exercises that were new to most of the strength-training and body-building community and took a fairly free-form approach to planning workout sessions. This didn’t fly too well with American audiences, because they were used to being spoon-fed detailed workout schedules that they could follow without putting much thought into it. This is where Enter the Kettlebell comes in.

While I had hoped that
Enter the Kettlebell would have more kettlebell exercises, Pavel actually reduced the number of exercises to reduce confusion. In fact, Pavel’s recommended program for beginners (called the RKC Program Minimum) consists of two exercises: the Turkish Getup and the Swing. The advanced program (RKC Rite of Passage) consists of three: the clean, the pull and the snatch.

However, Pavel makes up for the lack of variety, by giving more detailed instructions on how to perform those exercises—which is a good thing since
The Russian Kettlebell Challenge left a lot to be desired in terms of exercise detail and photos and really required the companion DVD to see how they were really supposed to be done. Although Enter the Kettlebell also has a companion DVD, which I have yet to review, the book reduces the need for the video.

Enter the Kettlebell also responds to American demands for imagination-free workouts by prescribing workout routines and schedules with exact numbers of sets and reps. It also includes precise instructions for including some variations and for integrating kettlebell workouts with Pavel’s other popular strength training programs from Power to the People and The Naked Warrior. By the way, both of those programs only consist of two exercises each as well since Pavel is a proponent of doing a few exercises correctly rather than myriads of exercises poorly or infrequently.

Enter the Kettlebell is a great introduction into exercising with kettlebells if they are new to you. However, if you’ve been doing kettlebell swings, snatches, presses and cleans for years and have followed the Dragon Door discussion forums, there is little new here to learn. Once you’ve mastered those exercises I suggest moving on to the More Russian Kettlebell Challenges or Resilient videos—or just get a bigger

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