Old Russian workout hot in U.S.

September 21, 2008

When you think of weights in a gym, you think of dumbbells and barbells.

But there's a new kid on the block - kettlebells.

Angela Sundberg, an instructor and studio owner, says, "The kettlebell is basically a cannonball with a handle."

Kettlebells were originally used by the Russians to increase strength and endurance.

Now, American gyms are embracing them.

"You have one piece of equipment you can use anywhere, take anywhere, and it's virtually indestructible. For fat loss, you probably can't beat it," Sundberg says.

Kettlebells weigh from 4 to 106 pounds.

You work up a sweat by swinging the kettlebells up and down and into various positions.

They give a big impact in a short time.

Sundberg says, "You can spend 2 hours a week using kettlebells, maybe 15, 20 minutes a day and get the same benefits as if you were running 4 or 5 hours."

The cast iron weights have some enthusiastic followers.

Rachel Sahlman gushes, "Probably one of the best core workouts you could ever get."

And Jim Montague says, "I got like the best workout of all the workouts I've ever done."

The workout is aimed at teaching you how to use your body more efficiently.

Montague has seen another benefit - at the age of 53, he's back at his high school weight.

He proudly says, "I just feel like I'm more physically fit than people my age."

But Sundberg has a small caution: before you pick up a kettlebell workout, get some instruction, to avoid injuries.

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