The Kettlebell Goddess Workout - By Andrea DuCane, Master RKC
Andrea DuCane is living proof of the results you can get from regular kettlebell training. (If you're not familiar with Andrea DuCane, you can check out the Featured Coach interviews with her to find out more.) Fortunately, Andrea doesn't keep all her expertise to herself. I would love to attend a class with her in person someday, but for now I've been using one of her kettlebell DVDs, called Kettlebell Goddess. This is one of the few DVDs I haven't gotten tired of after a week or so of regular use, and it's really made me appreciate kettlebell training even more than I did before.
The DVD begins with some big promises. In the introduction, Andrea says her workout is ".as close to an interactive workout as possible," and describes it as "an exercise program with the flexibility and effectiveness of a personal trainer in your living room." I'll be honest: I was skeptical at first. However, Andrea's DVD lives up to these claims, for a few reasons:
Andrea provides solid coaching advice for people without previous kettlebell experience. Although I've read and researched a lot about the benefits of kettlebells, I've never had any formal training, and I'm always concerned about my form. Andrea's DVD has a couple informative sections that are geared towards people who are new to kettlebell training. Kristann Heinz, MD, does a informational segment on the medical benefits of kettlebells for general overall health and during pregnancy. In the "Quick Start Review" segment, Andrea demonstates the basic kettlebell movements, including swings, cleans, military presses, front squat, snatches, and windmills. She also discusses power breathing, which was new to me and has really improved my kettlebell workouts.
Kettlebell Goddess has a great variety of workouts and other special features to keep you interested and motivated. The DVD contains 3 upper body workouts, 3 lower body workouts, 2 abdominal workouts, and 3 cardio workouts. Of course, the great thing about working out with kettlebells is you always get a full-body workout, but the different workouts provide a point of focus. Andrea's DVD also has six "Goddess" workouts, each of which places emphasis on a specific area. For example, the "Nike" workout, named after the ancient Greek goddess of strength, emphasizes cardio and endurance, whereas the "Athena" workout, named after the goddess of wisdom, emphasizes full body strength. A little corny? Yeah. But my nerdy side can appreciate it, and the workouts are great. And speaking of my nerdy side, the DVD also comes with a PDF document that outlines some sample workouts and weekly training plans. I'm a chronic list-maker and checker-offer, so I was happy to be able to print out a hard copy.
The intensity of the workouts is easily adjusted. You can use two kettlebells to increase the intensity, or use a lower weight bell on those days when you're sore or are having a hard time maintaining proper form. Andrea does all the workouts with Kristann Heinz and Nicole DuCane, who demonstrate modifications for those who want a more or less intense version of the exercises. If you don't want to do the Goddess workouts, there is also a "Build Your Own Workout" menu you can use to mix and match exercises to meet your specific needs. And although the title suggests that the workouts are tailored for women, they would also be effective for men. I convinced my husband to do some of the workouts with me, and although he's particularly skeptical of fitness DVDs in general, he actually enjoyed it and got a good workout.
There were a lot of other things that made this DVD particularly effective and enjoyable. For one, there's no background music, so you can really focus on your breath and learning the exercises at first. I also like the warmup and cool down segments, and use them with the kettlebell workouts as well as before and after I go running. Finally, just maneuvering the DVD was exciting. It's one of those exercise DVDs where you have about seven different menus, each of which has at least three items listed, so there's lots of material to keep you busy.
Of course, nothing beats working with a certified trainer. Although this DVD was a great supplement for my own training, it certainly doesn't replace that personal attention. That being said, Kettlebell Goddess is an excellent resource for those who want to increase their knowledge about kettlebell training and improve overall wellbeing and strength.