Product Review: “Enter The Kettlebell”
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that kettlebells are a big part of my approach to self-defense training. Unlike more “mainstream” exercise programs, kettlebell training transfers over quite well to the qualities that you need in a fight.
They provide an awesome full-body workout in a surprisingly short amount of time. They also develop pretty much every aspect of your conditioning: strength, flexibility, cardio, body composition, balance and coordination.
The popularity of kettlebells has exploded in the past few years and there are all kinds of books, DVD’s and people teaching how to use them popping up all over the place.
Some of these resources are great, some of them so-so, and a lot of them are total crap. (Just check out youtube if you don’t believe me)
I am often asked to recommend the best starting point for learning how to train with kettlebells.
My first suggestion is to track down a certified instructor and receive some hands on instruction, feedback and guidance.
Other than that (or in addition to it) I highly recommend that you get your hands on both the book and DVD entitled, Enter the Kettlebell by Pavel Tatsouline.
I first heard about Russian kettlebell training about five years ago. I knew nothing about them but the history and training concepts behind them made them sound like a perfect fit for my self-defense training.
At the time, kettlebells were unheard of in fitness supply stores in my city. I ended up buying a couple through mail order.
I searched out books and DVD’s on the subject of kettlebell training in order to teach myself how to use them. I found Pavel’s book and DVD through a web site called DragonDoor.com.
“ Enter the Kettlebell” turned out to be an excellent resource and allowed me to teach myself how to use the bells safely and efficiently without personal instruction. In fact to this day, after having studied dozens of kettlebell books and videos, I still review the material and follow the training guidelines contained ETK.
In short order I was able to “fix” some nagging shoulder issues from years of martial arts training. I have been training, injury-free with kettlebells ever since and have shared kettlebell training with hundreds of people.
In 2009 I became a certified instructor and teach KB’s professionally as part of my training and consulting business. To say that ETK provided me with a strong foundation would be an understatement.
Since that time, I have purchased and studied many more kettlebell resources (I‘ll review several of them in future posts) but ETK stands out as my #1 recommendation as the best place to start.
About Enter The Kettlebell
Enter the Kettlebell is written and instructed by Pavel Tsatsouline who is a former physical training instructor for the Russian Special Forces. (hence the Soviet reference in the title of the book) He is considered by most to be THE GURU of kettlebell training and is credited with launching the recent explosion of interest in kettlebell training world-wide.
Although you can buy the book and DVD separately, I highly recommend that you get them both. The book has historical, technical and training advice that is not contained on the DVD and of course the DVD is more helpful in learning proper body mechanics and technique. They compliment each other quite nicely.
Content Of Enter The Kettlebell
Enter the Kettlebell contains the following information:
A history of kettlebell training, basic training principles, teaching points and safety tips.
A solid foundation in the basic kettlebell exercises such as:
• The Turkish Get Up
• The Swing
• The Clean
• The Press
• The Snatch
The book also outlines a clear, thorough and progressive workout plan that can give you a solid program for months, if not years, of training.
The RKC Minimum Program – consists of TWO BASIC kettlebells exercises that provide a full-body workout and develop a strong foundation for more advance training, and…
The RKC Rite of Passage Program – is a periodized workout program that outlines a progression of kettlebell workouts based on easy, medium, hard and variety workouts.
(FYI – “RKC” stands for Russian Kettlebell Challenge which is the certification system that Pavel has developed)
What I didn’t like about ETK.
I’m probably being nit picky here, but I have since purchased kettlebell DVD’s that do a more thorough and descriptive job of explaining and demonstrating the intricacies of kettlebell training. Many of them include several more kettlebell exercises and drills than ETK.
If you are a “detail nut” like me, you’ll probably want to delve deeper into the science and specific body mechanics of kettlebell training. Gray Cook and Brett Jones for example dedicate a full two-DVD set on a single exercise!
That being said, Pavel’s Enter the Kettlebell is a rock-solid starting point. Sometimes less is more. Often when you are learning something new, you don’t want to get bogged down by every minute detail of a skill. Many prefer to get up and running with the basics and then refine their technique from there.
I have also found from teaching others how to use kettlebells, that it is much safer and easier to start with a few fundamental exercises to prepare the body and program proper movement patterns before moving to more advanced movements. That’s exactly what ETK does.
If I could only recommend a single resource to someone interested in incorporating kettlebell training into their self-defense conditioning program I couldn’t recommend Enter The Kettlebell highly enough. It’s an excellent place to start.
I’ve set up an affiliate link here so that you can buy a copy or find out more…
Note: I’m in the process of developing a comprehensive list of my favorite training resources. You can check out the Resource Page through this link.
Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions or comments.
About Randy LaHaie
I’m the founder of “Protective Strategies,” a training and consulting company providing self-defense and combative fitness solutions to law enforcement, high-risk professionals and private citizens since 1994. I am a retired police officer, court-declared expert in use-of-force and critical incident performance, and a life-long student of self-defense and combative fitness. “My Thing” is to help people incorporate functional and minimalist workout strategies to improve their health, fitness and personal safety.