Students put the kettle to the metal to get fit
By Sandra Fischione Donovan
Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Ann Donohue of Point Breeze has back and knee problems. But this grandmother of 29 still wanted to be able to golf, play tennis and pick up her grandchildren.
Tammy Mayle of Robinson does much of her work at a desk and said it resulted in shoulder tension.
And Matt Burk of Marshall retired as sergeant with the Northern Regional Police Department but wanted to stay in shape.
“I refuse to let myself go downhill physically,” said Burk, 60.
All three decided to train using kettlebell weights at Pittsburgh Kettlebells in Ohio Township. Donohue and Burk have individual training sessions with studio owner Kerry Swick; Mayle takes kettlebell classes. All three have noticed a difference.
“I feel physically better after I take the classes,” said Mayle, 42. “I think I'm stronger. I'm lifting 45 or 55 pounds. I never thought I could lift something that heavy.”
Burk said his flexibility and core strength have increased. He said he is “trim, strong, solid and very quick in my movements.”
And Donohue can pick up her toddler grandchildren without any back pain.
Swick, 45, of Ohio Township, said the kettlebell classes and personal sessions are holistic, which means they work several muscles simultaneously, are accessible to anyone and “can be grueling.”
Because of the unusual shape of the kettlebell, students can lift, accelerate and then release the weight, which helps them become more explosive.
But Swick said she is “a fanatic about safety” and works carefully with students to make sure they are moving properly so they don't injure themselves. Classes are limited to 10. Kettlebells resemble a kettle without a spout or “a cannonball with a handle.” They come in various weights ranging from 10 pounds to more than 100.
Lifting and swinging the kettlebells provide cardiovascular and strength training, said Swick, who like the other instructors at her studio is certified by Dragon Door Russian Kettlebells, the original kettlebells certifying body in the United States. The Dragon Door organization was established by native Russian Pavel Tsatsouline, who trained Russian special forces.
“You really can get everything done — all in one workout,” Swick said. “We train movement in the whole body.”
Russell Demczak, 34, of Elliott, a Pittsburgh Kettlebells trainer, said although professional athletes train with the weights to enhance performance there are “people with back problems and knee replacements who use them to improve mobility to have a high quality of life.”
Jason Swanson, 32, of Bloomfield, who is a martial arts instructor in Russian at Pittsburgh Kettlebells and a member of Swick's kettlebell classes, said using the weights builds strength and health, “two pillars that can last forever.”
Mayle, Burk and Donohue gave high points to Swick for making sure her trainees perform lifting and other movements correctly. Burk said he lifts six or eight grocery bags at a time from his basement garage up to the kitchen. Mayle recently picked up a wheelbarrow full of gravel, remembering the proper lifting movements.
“It helps you in your everyday life,” Mayle said.
“My mind-set has been reformed on how to pick up a child or pick up a package,” Donohue said. “If I didn't do this, I wouldn't be able to keep up with my grandchildren. If we're going to live longer, we might as well take good care of what we have.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Concerned parents, organizations moving to get kids moving
- Workshops educate students, dispel myths about mental illnesses
- Silk dance program gives females chance to get ‘circus fix,’ build strength
- Moon OKs agreement to secure property