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Kettlebell Konnect: A new take on an old weight for a mind-body connection

November 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A new take on a very old fitness tool is said to offer mind-body benefits similar to that of meditation or yoga. It's the kettlebell. The unbalanced heavy weight used in strength classes can help users increase focus and concentration with a unique technique.

"Yoga and meditation is fantastic because there is a stillness to it, there's a focus to it," says Paul Katami. "But that focus can translate into skill-building in your body as well. And that's what we do in the Kettlebell Konnect class."

A group exercise coordinator for Equinox, it's Katami's job to keep clientele happy, so he experiments with all kinds of fitness formats in the quest to mix things up. His new take on the old fitness tool, the kettlebell, has an added feature to the strength benefits kettlebells are known for.

"We actually take the movements that are more powerful and more endurance-based, and we link the mind to that as well, because if you think about it, whenever you think about a movement or if you need to lift something heavy or move something heavy in your everyday life, you're not going to meditate right before, you just gotta do it," says Katami.

And how do the mind and body connect?

"The central nervous system sends that sensory impulse to the muscle and the muscle has to react to it," says Katami.

Let's face it: Those who exercise are often on auto-pilot. Change that and you'll train your body to react to that, which makes your body and your mind stronger.

If you've seen the kettlebell in action, you know it is tough. Imagine stringing a squat, a lunge with overhead press and a row together for a brain to body sequence.

If you find the sequencing awkward or tough to follow, Katami says that's a good thing. It's that extra concentration that makes all the difference.

"Make your mind think about the next movement versus doing it by rote," says Katami. "What we do is we try to link those pathways in the body and make sure that the central nervous system and the muscles are working really well together."

Which makes clients like Jenny Karr happy. "It's fun rather than boring repetition," says Karr.

Katami's kettlebell class uses the concept, but those who aren't Equinox members can learn the concept from his Kettlebell Konnect DVD, which costs about $20.

And yes, if you don't have a kettlebell you can use a hand weight, as shown on his DVD, although the bell provides a more dynamic workout.


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