How I Started Using Kettlebells

My Story - Part 1

It was in 2009 and I had gotten sick of paying for a gym membership where I was pretty much just used the squat rack. I looked at the money that was going out on fees and thought, stuff it, I'm going to spend two years worth of gym fees and I'm going to set up my own gym. So I sourced a squat rack I was happy with, haggled with a workout supplies store over price and ended up coming in a few hundred dollars under budget.

It was at this point that one of the Australian retailers at the time sent me an email talking about the benefits of kettlebells - get android work capacity, a core of iron, etc. etc. - you know the drill, and I thought, 'why not?' So I order the first bell, got upsold to the second bell and ended up hanging out for my two 16kg kettlebells to arrive. I got the bells, watched the extremely corny, "Enter the Kettlebell" DVD and read the excellent, "Enter the Kettlebell" book. I used the bells, played around for a little while, and thought, they're cool, but... I'm not sure they're that cool...

I kept on reading and re-reading Enter the Kettlebell though, and thought, I should find myself an SFG instructor (they had a different name then, but it is essentially the same thing...), so I hunted through the list on the website and there was one guy who was a couple suburbs over in West End, I sent him an email, and promptly got the response, "sorry mate, I live in Auckland now", so I thought, oh well, I'll just keep following along on the forum.

Eventually though, the opportunity to participate in a two hour workshop came up, and I looked at the price and thought, '$150 for a two hour workshop, that's pretty steep,' but I chatted to the instructor and thought, well, I guess I'll give it a try, worst case scenario I lose $150 bucks...

I ended up going to this workshop and was basically taken through the StrongFirst progressions for the swing and the goblet squat at light speed. It seemed pretty cool, but that was all I thought.

I started to apply the principles and was playing with the Rite of Passage program from Enter the Kettlebell (pretty much swings and military presses) and then some pretty cool things started to happen. At the time I was playing a lot of sport - touch football, futsal, volleyball and soccer - in structured social competitions every week, and my body was starting to break down. In the past few months, I had torn a small tear in my quadricep, had multiple hamstring strains of varying levels of intensity, and a few other minor injuries. These started to dry up... not slowly, within about 4 weeks of starting to use the kettlebell properly, all of these injuries disappeared. The thing that I was really excited about though was the performance improvement. I've never been quick, so it was incredibly surprising when I had the unusual experience of finding a gap during a game of touch football, and then actually being able to run away from someone. The thing that shocked me though, was that it happened multiple times during games in the weeks after I began to apply StrongFirst principles to my training.

These were the most obvious benefits to me, and these benefits, when added to the postural and body improvements made me super enthusiastic about kettlebells, leading me down the path towards the founding of Queensland Kettlebells, but that's a story for another day...