Photo: Behdad Mahichi

In review: kettlebell camp

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By Adena Ali

There is something about a challenging workout that really appeals to me. Even if I am gasping for air, falling on my face and on the verge of throwing up, it leaves me motivated and wanting more. Now I can safely say that I want more Kettlebell Camp.

Hosted at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, Kettlebell Camp takes place at the Topline Studio three times a week.

Instructor Arianne Milot-Ledoux put an enthusiastic group, including myself, through their paces with a combination of cardiovascular and strength training exercises — all with the use of a kettlebell.

“It’s a tougher class and a lot more work is done,” says Milot-Ledoux.

The challenging sequences provide a full body workout, making the kettlebell a very versatile piece of equipment.

The kettlebell is unlike your standard set of free weights because it requires more control and coordination. Despite this, it becomes addictive. I may be speaking for myself here, but once you get into a rhythm it’s difficult to stop.

“It’s almost like a dance due to the constant movement,” Milot-Ledoux said. This is part of the reason why she loves it.

Using an eight-kilogram kettlebell we began with double arm swings, switching to single arm swings half way through. To the naked eye this technique appears simple, but there is much more to it, making it rather difficult to master. Checking yourself out in a mirror every so often to ensure that you haven’t gone off track doesn’t hurt.

Some of the other techniques tackled Thursday night included: figure-eight to bottoms-up catches, which tested our coordination; curtsy lunges to overhead presses, which pushed our arms and legs to their limit; and star crunches combined with overhead presses, which put our abdominals, back, shoulders and arms to work. In a little under 20 minutes exhaustion kicked in, but this was countered by a feeling of accomplishment once the full 50 minutes were over.

Milot-Ledoux is both incredibly engaging and thorough. You can’t help but smile through the pain because she is so supportive. She understands that every individual learns and performs differently, and suggests alternate ways of taking on techniques so that nobody is left out.

In the end, this is surely a class that I will be taking as often as I can. If you are open to challenge and want to spice up your workout, Kettlebell Camp is definitely worth a try.


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