Welcome to Baltimore Kettlebells and thank you for visiting the site! If you are looking for safe, high-quality, professional kettlebell instruction you have come to the right place! My name is Danyelle Berger and I am an experienced RKC instructor and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and I have been teaching kettlebells in the Baltimore area since 2009. All of my classes are held at the Baltimore Martial Arts Academy in Catonsville, MD.
So what is a kettlebell and what makes it so special?
A kettlebell is a cast iron ball, similar to a cannon ball, with a handle attached. What makes it different than a standard dumbbell is where the center of gravity lies. A kettlebell is held by the handle and the weight of the bell is extended beyond the hand whereas the weight of a dumbbell is centered in the palm of the hand. Then, depending on how the kettlebell is moved, a constantly changing center of gravity is created which the body must constantly adapt to and control.
The swing is the foundational movement of kettlebell training. It is a move that I have heard cleverly described as simple, but not easy. In the two handed version (video to come), the kettlebell is first hiked through the legs while maintaining a neutral back and neck position. This is achieved with a rapid stretch of the hamstrings and a deep fold in the front of the hips. Also, it is crucial to properly brace out the mid section to protect the lumbar spine and reinforce its neutral position. After the bell is hiked through the legs, the hips rapidly and reflexively snap forward until full extension is reached. Full hip extension, let alone POWERFUL hip extension is simply not possible unless the glutes are turned on. Of course the mid section is braced out hard to control the momentum and the shoulders are locked down into their sockets. So basically your hips are moving the bell and your arms are guiding the bell.
Okay, so what?
Obviously this is a very simple breakdown just to give you a taste of what kettlebell training is all about. But one point I want to get across is this – you are using your legs, hips, and butt to move a weight that is held in your hands – therefore every single muscle between that weight and the floor is on duty. This is an example of “linking the kinetic chain” and is exactly what powerlifters are doing when you see them throw 300lb+ barbells over their heads. It is exactly what Olympic Judoka are doing when they successfully throw their opponents. It is exactly what any trained athlete is doing when they function at a very high level within their sport. The human body is meant to function as a unit and it should be trained like one regardless of what your goals are.
This is very important and also obvious when it comes to professional athletes but what about you? Doesn’t your every day life involve using multiple muscle groups in concert to execute even more complicated movement patterns than the kettlebell swing I just described? How about carrying your two year old in one hand and pushing a shopping cart with the other? How about running uphill to catch the recycling truck while carrying a weeks worth of recycling in front of you? How about hauling your 16kg kettlebell on your shoulder while carrying your gym bag, foam roller, and also herding two uncooperative children into the gym? Okay, those are examples from my life, but you get my point. Train your body like a unit to save time, save energy, save yourself from injuries, and to really see a difference in how you look and feel.
Will it really make a difference in how I look?
Uh…..yeah! At the age of 35, nine months after the birth of my second child, I earned my RKC certifications. I was stronger, leaner, and in better shape than I had ever been in my entire life. This is no exaggeration! With two little boys, I just didn’t have the time (and quite frankly the energy!) to spend nine plus hours in the gym every week any longer. Kettlebells let me train hard and smart and get out of the gym fast so that I could go back to being a wife and mother. Kettlebells let me have the best of both worlds.
One point I should mention however, is that it doesn’t matter how hard you train, if your nutrition habits stink than so will your results. While I’m not a nutrition expert, I do draw upon my own personal experience and my substantial research on the subject to counsel my clients. I am also an advocate and user of Dr. John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition Plan.
But I’m too old, too young, too small, too big, too short, too tall, etc.
Is kettlebell training for me?
Do you have a human body? Then, yes, kettlebell training is for you. In the course of my teaching I have come across all sorts of different people with varying needs, experiences, and histories and watched them all find success with kettlebells. I have yet to come across a person who couldn’t benefit from kettlebell training.
Here are some of the reasons my students have made kettlebell training a part of their lives:
- Some use it to compliment their martial arts training or sports endurance training.
- Some use it to build powerful shoulders, arms, and lats to be the envy of all at the beach.
- Some use it to correct and improve posture.
- Some use it plain and simple for fat loss and an improved body composition (aka the “toned” look – I hate using that word).
- Some use it to improve the look of their backside, who doesn’t want that!?
These are just a few reasons why people use kettlebells. Come give it a try and tell me your reason.
Just contact me and let me know when you want to have your free one on one introduction. No hassle, no obligation, just a very simple movement analysis along with a couple of swings. You won’t be sorry!
Danyelle Berger CSCS, RKC
6020 Meadowridge Center Drive
Elkridge, MD 21075