Using Kettle Bells for a Healthy Heart

By Charlotte Libov….
What does an ancient Russian tool have to do with keeping in shape? Everything, when it’s called a “Kettle Bell,” as these cast iron balls are one of the most cuttingedge tools for keeping in shape, I discovered, as I swung one around my shoulders in Sean Centifanti’s class at Equinox South Beach.

A kettle bell (or “kettle ball,” as it is sometimes also called) is a cast iron weight that resembles a cannon ball with a handle that you grasp while performing a special exercise routine to build up cardio, strength and flexibility. The lightest one weighs in at about 10 pounds, and they go up to 100.

Sean Centifanti is Equinox’s kettle bell guru, and, at Equinox, he works with people in varying stages of fitness; many of the participants in my kettle bell class are fit and strong, but we also run the gamut, in terms of age and fitness level. This suits Centifanti just fine, as he’s done rehab work with stroke and Parkinson’s disease patients as well.

Using kettle bells for strength training dates back to early 17th century Russia, and they enjoyed a heyday in the early 1900’s. Their current Renaissance dates back to their adoption as a training tool by both the armed forces in the U.S. and Soviet Union. Indeed, Centifanti learned about them from a marine.

“Kettle bells go all the way back to the 1700s when they were used in Russia. Kettle bells are an old fitness tools, but they are also cutting edge. Using them gives you a full body workout. You get a stronger grip. You get stronger from the ground up, and you get stronger from the inside out,” he says. Kettle bells are a serious piece of exercise equipment so, of course, and I can certainly attest to this. When I first walked into the kettle bell class, I looked at even the lightweight one with dismay. “You can use a lighter dumbbell,” Centifanti told me. Of course, I took that as fighting words. Nowadays, I heft the lighter ball easily, and am starting to work with the heavier, 17.6 pound one as well.

I’m working with the nearly 10-pounder and gaining on the 17.6 one, but the results I’ve received so far have been nothing short of phenomenal. In the past couple of months, I’ve gotten results in toning and strength that just doing cardio alone never gave me. I’ve whittled my waist to the extent that my previously “skinny” jeans are now my “fat” ones, and my strength and balance are on the uptick. Still, I don’t imagine I’ll ever heft the 35-pounder that Centifanti sometimes uses. But, you never know.

For information on Equinox South Beach, call Andreas Heuser at 305-673-1172.

Charlotte Libov lives on South Beach and the author of five published health books, including “The Women’s Heart Book,” and “A Woman’s Guide to Heart Attack Recovery.” She is also a national speaker on preventing heart disease in women. To learn more about how to bring Charlotte’s health wisdom to your business, call 305-333-8844 or zip her an email at The information provided in this column is for information only and should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction.

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