Consider kettlebells for fitness resolution |

Consider kettlebells for fitness resolution

What are kettlebells, you ask? They look like a round weight with a handle on top, but are much more than that. Certified strength coach Eric Kenyon is now teaching these classes at Penn Valley Dance and Fitness through his business, Form is Function.

Kettlebells are not new. In fact, they originated in Russia hundreds of years ago, according to Kenyon, and are patterned after counterweights for scales used in grain weighing. Back then, laborers and farmers started having weightlifting contests at fairs. By the late 1800s, these Russian ‘strongman competitions’ caught on and spread to Europe and the U.S. Soon the Russians realized they were on to something and started testing athletes and sharing information. The Soviets began investing a lot of money into Russian sports science and their view of health and athletics, which also included propaganda as to why it was superior.

Kenyon says this philosophy centers on looking at the person and his or her goals, and designs a fitness system to meet the goals, without pain and without fear. Kettlebells are borne out of this philosophy.

Kenyon says kettlebells are appropriate for just about any age or fitness level, whether you are a serious athlete, someone recovering from an injury, or even wheelchair-bound. Benefits include: burning fat (more than twice as many calories per minute than aerobics or spinning), increased bone density, increased heart strength and cardiovascular capacity, increased joint mobility and flexibility, protection of the back and joints against injuries, and making people faster and stronger without an increase in size.

“Where kettlebells shine is all these benefits are accomplished in one movement, one second, so they are extremely efficient. And that’s the way you use these qualities in real life,” Kenyon said.

Currently Kenyon is strength-coaching full-time along with five assistants.

Kenyon’s classes at Penn Valley Dance and Fitness are from 10:15-11:15 a.m. Wednesdays from and from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. He says now is a really great time to try kettlebells, because through the month of January, he is offering a buy one month of classes, get one month free special. He also offers personal training. For more information on his classes, go to or call him at 510-393-2568.

Since 1996, Penn Valley Dance and Fitness has been specializing in Pilates and dance. For studio information, go to or call 432-8985.

Lori Woodhall is with Penn Valley Dance and Fitness.

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