The American Kettlebell Club and Valery Fedorenko

Kettlebell Training is different things to different people, but it shouldn't be. There are those that "train with kettlebells" and those that do "kettlebell training". Please, let me explain.

About ten years ago a Russian flexibility expert brought some exercise programs to the US. Kettlebells were used in a sort of combination of body building and power lifting way. Not the original intention of kettlebells or where the true magic lies. Unfortunately, if you do an internet search, this is the majority of the training you'll find, as marketing was done well.

Personally, my first exposure to kettlebells was to this "Americanized" version. I didn't get too far when, thank God, I met Valery Fedorenko. Valery is a world Kettlebell champion whose records have remained for 15 years. Valery came to America and introduced true kettlebell training with the formation of the American Kettlebell Club. Soon thereafter, I was appointed as the club's Fire Rescue Adviser. (>> watch Valery video)

Kettlebell Sport, or lifting kettlebells for competition takes place around the world. Dozens of countries send their best athletes to compete at top levels. Some of the world's best conditioned athletes (Kettlebell athletes are second to none in physical conditioning) perform sets of Kettlebell lifts that last ten minutes.

There are three competition moves, the Jerk, the Snatch and the Long Cycle (clean and jerk). There is a tally of reps for the various lifts, and most reps wins. Athletes are also classified by bodyweight. But don't let the three move limit fool you. There are endless variations and progressions for every fitness level to work at.

The true kettlebell training, not just lifting kettlebells in a newly created fashion, goes back over one hundred years. Each generation of athletes improved and perfected this incredible tool. Today, as introduced by Valery, I've discovered the most valuable contribution to the sport and fitness industry imaginable.

Sets of 4, 6, 8, and even 10 minutes long, performing sometimes more than a hundred reps, produces unsurpassed gains in strength-endurance. This is meant to be one word, and kettlebells are a strength-endurance sport. In my field of firefighting, one is of little use with out the other.

Other benefits of genuine kettlebell lifting are a dramatic improvement in cardiovascular capacity, as well as the use of a lighter than typical resistance (without the negative aspect of each repetition), which leads to less joint strain.

The main problem is finding real training. At present, there are very few kettlebell coaches that have true knowledge of the sport. But that's about to change. The launching of the American Kettlebell Club is in its infancy. As of August 2007, after Valery's European and East Coast Tour, the website will be in full swing.