Kettlebells & Jujitsu

I realized I haven’t given an update for some time on my exercise routine, so here it is.

I found that my enthusiasm for going to the gym in the last few months has really dropped off and so I started looking at what other exercises I was interested in trying.  I had heard a lot recently about kettlebells and as it wasn’t something I had ever done before I decided to give it a try.  Another benefit to using kettlebells is that I can do it at home.  As you may recall the gym I belong to was getting really crowded during the my usual workout times and I’m sure that not being able to use my regular machines had a big part in my interest falling off.  Another benefit was that since I’m training at home, I could rope in the wife and kids to exercise along with me too.

With this in mind I ordered four kettlebells.  The first question I had was what size kettlebell should I start with?  I read on that:

“A male starting to work out should begin with a 16 kg/35-lb kettlebell, while a fit man can begin with a 24 kg/53-lb kettlebell.”

Meanwhile this site and this site stated that men should start with a 35lb kettlebell.

Well, I do go to the gym pretty regularly so considering myself fit I ordered the 24 kg kettlebell.  Now with the benefit of hindsight I should probably have gone with the 35lb!

I bought a kettlebell workout DVD recommended by Joe Rogan (which name I can’t remember as I type this), and with the whole family ready I plugged it in and started it up.  I managed ok with the 24kg kettlebell with all the arm exercises close to the body, and the leg exercises where also the kettlebell is held close to the body.  However problems came with exercises requiring holding the kettlebell away from the body.  For example there is an exercise called the windmill, where one holds the kettlebell with a locked out arm above the head and then bend down and touch the floor with the other hand (thus looking like a windmill), and I just couldn’t manage that with 24kg.  It was just too heavy.

I was a little worried when I started kettlebells about losing some muscle size as kettlebells aren’t really acknowledged as the best type of exercise to put on muscle mass.  This indeed is probably the case for the serious bodybuilder who is training to put on muscle mass for a competition in the future, however for a simple Joe Blog such as myself who wishes to just keep in good shape, I’ve found it to be excellent.  So far I haven’t noticeably lost any size, although if I had to be a severe critic then my shoulders and arms may be a little down.

The kettlebells are excellent for the “core”, which really is just a trendy term for the abdominals and muscles in the lower back.  Doing something like the windmill really forces you to contract your stomach and lower back to keep it firmly in place during the exercise.

The other thing I like about working out with kettlebells is that the workouts are a little shorter than going to the gym. They are more intense, which cuts down on the workout time.  So overall I’m really enjoying the change – which is exactly what I wanted, i.e. getting my motivation to exercise back up.  Yet another added benefit is now that I’m training at home I have a team to keep me on track.  Yesterday I was feeling dog tired after work and would have skipped the workout however once I got home my kids had already set up and were waiting to exercise.  I had no choice but to workout, and once I got going it really wasn’t so bad!

I have also started doing some Jujitsu on Saturdays.  I had heard Joe Rogan rave about how fun jujitsu is and so I decided to try it out, again roping my boys into doing it with me.  Well we had our first lesson on Saturday and I can confirm it is a whole lot of fun!  We can’t wait to have our next lesson next Saturday.  What a wonderful way to exercise – i.e. it doesn’t seem like exercise at all.  One has to really use one’s brain as well as muscles to work out the best place to position hands and body; get the best leverage etc.  It is an amazing combination of mind and muscle working together.  If you haven’t tried jujitsu and are looking for something to help you regularly exercise, I highly recommend trying jujitsu.

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