Boston Kettlebell Frequently Asked Questions

Kettlebell FAQ

Kettlebell FAQ

What is a kettlebell?

The Kettlebell is a no-nonsense, work capacity tool. It is designed for repetitive base lifting and teaches principles essential in athletic development and in achieving any fitness or weight loss endeavor. A kettlebell is a solid cast-iron ball fitted with a handle and flat bottom. Kettlebells range in weight from 9lbs to 108lbs. Because the handle is offset from the tools center of mass, it is much more demanding to use than a conventional dumbbell or barbell. The Kettlebell will insist on pulling you off balance, asking you to constantly use your CORE and stabilizers to be in control.

It is a century-old, Czarist Russian military training tool. "Girya" is the Russian word for kettlebell and a lifter or strong man is known as a "girevik", meaning "a kettlebell man". Kettlebells simultaneously build strength with flexibility, a 'killer' cardiovascular system, prevent injury and develop joint health, all at the same time. Kettlebells burn away fat, and achieve lasting results you can see and feel, even in the first weeks of training. The Kettlebell is an all-in-one strength and conditioning solution.

Who Uses Kettlebells?

Kettlebells were used to train Russian military troops and now are used by everyone from Olympic strong men and professional athletes to Guess Jeans models. Top fitness trainers and even the United States military elite train with Kettlebells. Kettlebells are the ideal general preparedness training tool. Stay-at-home moms and dads, business professionals, athletes, martial artists, law enforcement personnel, firemen, and the military all use kettlebells for physical conditioning. This is because kettlebells fully cover all platforms of physical training (strength, flexibility, endurance, joint mobility, and health and rehabilitation) and provide a fast, intense, effective and an extremely addictive solution. The training is open to all men and women, people young and old, those with a history of injury, and seasoned athletes looking for a challenging, more efficient and effective training platform.

What size Kettlebell is right for me?

Kettlebells come in 'poods'. A pood is an old Russian measurement of weight, which is approximately 16kg, or 35 lbs. Do not underestimate the demands of this weight—it feels a lot heavier than it should because the handle is removed from the weight’s center of mass and therefore will constantly challenge you to stabilize yourself through any range of motion.

The majority of women will begin with either the 9kg (18 lbs) or 12kg (26 lbs) and go onto a 36-pounder. Some women will go beyond to defuse the myths around strength and size and gender.

The majority of men will begin with either the 16kg (36 lbs) or 24kg (53 lbs). A 53-pounder is the standard issue size for Russian military personnel.

The next jump up is usually to the 32kg (70 lbs) kettlebell, which is used only by a few advanced practitioners and in elite competitions.

What should I bring to class?

Bring along a towel (you will definitely sweat), lots of water (you will definitely want it), a composition notebook and pen to take any notes at the end of class to support your home training. And don't forget your enthusiasm to learn and work!

What should I wear during kettlebell workouts?

Wear loose-fitting clothes, or clothes that allow you full range of motion. Make sure they do not retain too much heat or allow you to be too cold. Flat-soled shoes are highly recommended but bare-foot Kettlebell training is ideal. You want to be able to grip and feel the ground with your feet to develop a better connection with the floor. This feedback is paramount. Shoes fitted with excessive cushioning disable your ability to feel the ground. Running shoes or cross trainers are counterproductive and even dangerous when worn training with Kettlebells. THE MORE WE CAN FEEL, THE MORE WE CAN DO.

Some examples of acceptable flat-soled shoes are Adidas soccer shoes, Converse Chuck Taylors, Diesel and Puma Speed Cats.

How Do I get Started?

Contact Mandla Nkosi to book a New Student Orientation Session. Cellular: (617) 803 6982

Setting up the orientation process is as easy as contacting us by phone. Make an appointment to see what we do in our unique facility. Orientations involve assessing your current level of physical fitness, determining clear fitness or athletic performance goals, and an introduction to the training.

What are your rates?

Our current rates are posted on the Classes page.

What are the Benefits of Kettlebell Training?

The Kettlebell is truly an all-in-one fitness tool delivering incredible weight loss, fitness and athletic performance development results. It offers your body feedback in a unique way uncovering how dynamic the human body actually is and can be. Kettlebell Training combines components of athletic development, building multiple components of fitness simultaneously.

Do Kettlebells Build Strength?

Kettlebell Training lays the groundwork to develop incredible levels of strength by teaching the individual to find, connect, recruit and incorporate more of their body into the production of force. The design of the Kettlebell asks the body to include smaller postural musculature and building this strength right through to the tendons.

Want to know how?

Through Force Production and Force Reduction:
The primary Kettlebell ‘Classical Lifts’, the 'Swing', the 'Clean & Jerk' and the 'Snatch' all employ an eccentric loading process of the posterior chain or back portion of the body unique to its own nature. The Kettlebell not only trains the body to produce greater amounts of work and force, but to be able to articulate the reduction of force. This is the ability to ‘catch oneself’ when falling, the ability to cut and change direction in sport, and absorb the blow of being checked or tackled and keep on moving.

Connective Strength:
This involves being able to link the body’s core with the extremities and elicit power right through this kinetic chain. This is a skill that requires the recruitment of the connective tissue that spans across the body’s joints. Kettlebell training incorporates the use and development of these connective tissues (muscle and tendon) into each and every lift. The result is a high-level strength, creating stronger joints, superior posture, mechanics and joint health—all of which carry over into any lifting, fitness or athletic skill.

Do Kettlebells Develop Endurance?

The Kettlebell is a work capacity tool. The cardiovascular and strength endurance benefits of Kettlebell Lifting are completely unique and challenge the fitness levels of even the most conditioned endurance athletes. Marathon and distance runners shave as much as 12 minutes off their times in only a month of Kettlebell and Joint Mobility practice.

Kettlebell Training teaches the body efficient and effective use of energy during high repetition lifting. A pace must be set for the duration of the lift to maximize the use and application of force and an understanding of what is the appropriate amount of energy for the task.

This is an extremely beneficial skill set to develop and to have in a strength and conditioning platform, especially for endurance athletes.

Do Kettlebells Create Flexibility?

Kettlebells also encourage a full range of motion in each lift, producing flexible bodies. This is again due to its removed design and the nature of how the tool is used.

Do Kettlbells Produce Coordination, Quickness & Agility?

Kettlebell Training builds coordination, quickness and agility while simultaneously developing your strength and cardiovascular conditioning. This is done by inserting hand-to-hand drills or ‘Juggling’ into your training regimen. You can also plug in a variety of footwork patterns to the basic ballistic lifts to give the repetition lifts a more dynamic component.

All of the skills listed above are combined into a single learning and practice atmosphere.

Will the Kettlebell help my Back or Shoulders?

The kettlebell conditions your back to be strong and supple in movement. Unique exercises performed in static or dynamic positioning condition your back in even the most awkward angles.

Because the majority of the weight of the Kettlebell is removed from the handle it maximizes rotator-cuff stability, shoulder joint health, and range of motion. The dynamic aspects of conditioning it provides make it an amazing platform for rehabilitative, injury preventative and strength-training development all around.

What training equipment do Kettlebells replace?

Kettlebells replace barbells, dumbells, belts for weighted pullups and dips, thick bars, lever bars, medicine balls, grip devices, and cardio equipment, and provide all the benefits of using these pieces of equipment to strengthen and condition the whole body and change body composition to any desired result.

Why Kettlebells?

Because the majority of the weight of the Kettlebell is displaced from its center of mass, meaning that you are never handling it from the most optimal position (its center) it will feel heavier and provide more work.

The kettlebell will constantly challenge you, trying to throw you off balance, and as a result, encouraging you to stabilize the body in each and every lift. The strength and endurance conditioning provided is not only to the major muscle groups, but also the smaller more intricate postural musculature. Each lift asks the whole body to play a part; there is no part of the body that is ever left out.

These demands lead to greater amounts of work imposed on the body, in less time, and teach the body to learn to move and function as a 'whole' or integrated unit.

What is strength and conditioning at Boston Kettlebell?

A combination of Joint Mobility and Kettlebell Training to create individual-based athletic development to achieve specific goals. Through assessments, refinement of quality movement and a progressional approach to skills development, we achieve fitness results and unlock the true athletic performance potential in every individual.

Our training environment is a comprehensive learning atmosphere, providing the client with the focus and guidance necessary to develop, perform, and excel in any movement skill set, practice or sport.


Joint Mobility FAQ

What is Z-Health?

Z-Health®, created by Dr. Eric Cobb, is a high-tech, cutting-edge exercise system designed expressly for retraining your nerves and brain (the nervous system) for maximum performance, maximum recovery and maximum health.

In other words, Z-Health is a neural re-training system that helps people get out of pain, improve their health and maximize their athletic performance.

What Makes Z-Health different than other mobility programs?

This is a question that we get asked a lot because of the growing popularity of mobility training programs. If you search the web you will find some stellar mobility products by a number of excellent coaches. That being the case, why would you choose Z-Health?

To make this simple, let’s break dynamic joint mobility (DJM) training down into two distinct categories:

  1. DJM for improved joint function.
    Almost all mobility programs currently focus on mobility for improved joint function. This type of training—as compared to Z-Health—uses larger, less specific ranges of motion for the joints and typically emphasizes speed and a high number of repetitions. If you want to increase circulation and lubrication around a given joint, this works well.
  2. DJM for nervous system re-education.
    The Z-Health approach focuses on a set of training principles with the goal of re-educating your nervous system about maximally efficient movement patterns. Z-Health is very precise, uses a low number of reps throughout the day, and emphasizes the perfection of movement skills. As a result, not only will Z-Health help you improve joint lubrication and function, it will also teach you how to eliminate poor movement patterns that you may have developed over time.

Just the Painful Facts

1) If you have a pain problem, you have a movement problem.
2) Your movement problem is almost certainly NOT where you are hurting.
3) To get out of pain permanently where you hurt, then you MUST fix your movement problem.
4) Because your specific movement problem can literally be anywhere, you need a specific, body-wide approach to finding and fixing it fast. Only Z-Health® can do this!

Z-Health® helps you quickly identify the REAL cause of your pain and gives you simple, powerful techniques to re-train your body for pain-free living.

Why Joint Mobility?

Joint mobility drills troubleshoot pain and injury, provide immediate answers to poor range of motion and develop quality patterns of movement. An increase in range of motion and the quality of movement results in a greater usage of the appropriate musculature involved in that movement. This ensures the desired changes in body composition and athletic development.

Joint mobility is an excellent training platform to overcome stagnation in achieving weight loss goals, as well as drastically heightening athletic performance simply by teaching the individual to move well.

At a more advanced level, joint mobility drills can be built upon and combined to create challenging strength and conditioning routines. They are an ideal preparatory practice for Kettlebell Lifting and any athletic endeavor.

Why does Z-Health focus so much on the nervous system?

This is because the nervous system rules! If you are looking to make fast changes in pain, range of motion, strength, coordination, speed, agility or any other physical attribute the fastest path to getting there is to change your nervous system.

In our certification courses we explain that the nervous system has three vitally important characteristics to remember:

  1. It is the governing system of the body.
    In other words, it runs the whole show!
  2. It is the most stable system of the body.
    Research has shown over and over that the nervous system can continue to learn and adapt at ANY age which means you can improve your body at ANY point in your life by focusing on the nervous system.
  3. It is the fastest system of the body.
    Your nerves communicate throughout the body at lightning fast speeds. What is wonderful about this is that you can make nearly instantaneous changes in the body if you impact the nervous system correctly.

How does Z-Health Target the nervous system?

Through very specific joint range of motion exercises called dynamic joint mobility drills or DJM. When they are performed correctly they offer you a powerful pathway to making your nervous system function far more efficiently.

Can you tell me more about the joint exercises?

The Z-Health ‘path’ to the nervous system is dynamic joint mobility or DJM. It is, in our experience, the missing link for almost everyone: from “regular” people to world champion athletes.

DJM training is exactly what it sounds like: a system of joint specific exercises designed to not only improve joint function, but overall body coordination, agility and control. Done correctly, DJM training can make you stronger, faster, more flexible and mobile more quickly than you would believe.

It is critical that DJM training be specific and it must hit EVERY joint in the human body for maximum benefit. Our bodies are completely integrated systems that are all interdependent, therefore when we train we train all the body all the time.

You keep talking about joints. Why should I care about my joints if they don’t hurt?

Just because you are not in pain does not meant your joints are functioning properly! In Z-Health our simple rule is that if a joint is not functioning properly the muscles that attach to that joint will not function optimally. In practical terms, this means that if you have “low-grade” or non-painful joint problems they are still impacting on your performance by creating muscle weakness or poor coordination.

I have heard of people getting results in just minutes, is this really possible?

Honestly, when you target the nervous system correctly it is not only possible but expected!

Strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline is famous for saying “Your muscles are already capable of lifting a car, they just don’t know it yet”. If you know what to do, you can create dramatic, near instantaneous changes in the body by showing people how to take off their “neural brakes”.

The nervous system is an integrated web that runs throughout the body and operates at an astonishing speed. This means if I can ask the body the right question through a specific exercise to elicit the positive change I’m looking for, I’ll see a result immediately.

Can Z Health benefit just normal, non-competing people?

If this system only worked for elite athletes it wouldn’t be of much use! The reality is that your nervous system and the nervous system of the world’s fastest man both run the same basic software. Since our focus is on the nervous system it doesn’t matter if we are working with a 75-year-old person or a 15-year-old high school athlete, a gym rat or a weekend warrior. All of us have the same potential for tapping into our best performance ever when we focus on the nervous system.

What we normally tell people who are new to Z is to give us 10 days of consistent effort. Whether you are an athlete or an office worker, we guarantee that you will see changes in how well you move and how you feel!

Why do a private session with a Z-Health Certified Trainer?

A session with a Z Health Certified Trainer will provide you with a few targeted Z exercises that are specifically what you body needs right now! If you have a specific pain or performance issue you will be getting started immediately in the right direction.

Contact: Mandla Nkosi

What is a Z-Health Certification?

Z-Health Certification is a distinction that indicates that an individual has dedicated themselves to study and train not just in the exercises of Z-Health, but also in the principles and proprietary assessment process necessary for providing exceptional results to their clients.

Learn More About Certification!

What are the R-Phase and I-Phase levels of Z Health Certification?

R-Phase Certification is Level 1 - the foundational six-day Z-Health program. This course provides training and expertise in all of the R-Phase exercises, the Level 1 Neural Warm-Up, our proprietary client assessment process, in-depth analysis of how to apply Z-Health principles in the gym and in life, as well as the science and rationale behind all of the major concepts and principles of Z Health.

I-Phase Certification is Level 2 - This course is designed to take those individuals who have completed the R-Phase certification to the next level and beyond! I-Phase, which stands for “integration” phase, is a much more athletic approach to Z-Health. During this course, trainers develop expertise in the I-Phase series, learn more advanced client assessment techniques for the visual, inner ear and myofasical systems, and develop the skills necessary to assist more challenging clients.

So what does Z-Health look like?

People say it looks like a lot of things – from yoga to martial arts to dance to stretching and every other “named” system under the sun. We don’t consider this unusual because the body can only move in so many ways! What makes Z-Health different from so many other systems is NOT the exercises so much as HOW YOU PERFORM THEM.

The depth and specificity of Z-Health makes it very different from many other approaches to mobility. Plus, the actual training techniques of Z and its focus on the NEURAL components of the process make it extremely fast and effective.

Athletes - Maybe it’s happened to you?
It’s become a cliché in our culture… good athletes, with seemingly limitless potential, failing to make progress or so often injured their careers come to abrupt, early halts! While considered “normal” by many -- even the professionals who train athletes -- we at Z-Health understand that there's a solution!

If you as an athlete struggle with where you “ARE” versus where you know you “COULD BE,” then here’s the likely missing piece of your training puzzle…

Specifically -- precise, controlled, dynamic mobility. It’s the key ingredient separating the “current” from the “real” you!

Injuries and untapped potential are merely a symptom that something glaring is missing in YOUR training world – something that keeps you from finally reaching your genetic potential! The missing piece? In a word…mobility!

To supercharge your training and performance, you must go ALL the way back to basics. But this does NOT mean pushing more weight in the gym, putting in more miles on the road, or hitting an extra bucket of balls.

It means something far more fundamental – developing the basics of good movement and ultra-precise body control. Specific DJM work, done the Z-Health way, bombards your nervous system with the information it needs to take you from “average” on your best day, to “outstanding” on your average days!