Kettlex Basics

Lorna Kleidman
Year Released: 2014

Categories: Kettlebell, Total Body Workouts

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NOTE: I received a free copy of this DVD for review.

This DVD is offered by instructor Lorna Kleidman, who created the KettleX method of working with kettlebells. According to Kleidman's web site, KettleX involves "fluid dance-like movements." The web site also claims that the KettleX method is unique in that incorporates both resistance training and cardio, but of course this is true of all kettlebell workouts.

The Main Menu of the DVD offers 4 options: Tutorial - Warm Up - Start Workout - Cool Down. I have broken down each segment below (all times listed in parenthesis are approximate). The setting for all segments is a featureless studio with a white floor and white walls.

TUTORIAL (17 mins.)
Here Kleidman is featured alone. She briefly breaks down each exercise featured in the workout, spending about 60-90 seconds per move. The following exercises are included: 1) The Halo, 2) Good Mornings, 3) Swings, 4) Single Arm Swings, 5) Transitions, 6) Double Arm Zip to a Catch, 7) Lateral Lunge Open Arm & Press, 8) Swing Pullback, 9) Overhead Chop with Pivot, 10) Overhead to Situp, 11) Plank Complex, and 12) Russian Twist.

WARM-UP (4 mins.)
Kleidman is alone for the warm-up as well. She starts with alternating arm circles, moving into shoulder circles and shoulder reaches. She steps back (lunges) to the rear with arms and then moves into side lunges. She then moves to the floor for a series of spine stretches which includes several repetitions of down dog to plank to push-up. Coming back to standing, Kleidman concludes the warm-up with about 1 minute of high impact cardio moves (e.g., jumping jacks).

WORKOUT (31 mins.)
Here Kleidman is joined by a background exerciser who shows slight modifications for some of the movements. The workout features the moves from the tutorials performed in rounds, usually completed three times as described below. (Note: although there are no chapter headings, each round is internally chaptered, allowing you to skip on your remote.)
*Round 1, 3x total: 1) Halos with Chop, 2) Good Mornings (with kettlebell held at base of neck), 3) Double Arm Swings to Alternating Swings
*Round 2, 3x total: 1) Double Arm Zip to Catch with Rear Lunge, 2) Lateral Lunge with Open Arm & Press, 3) Swing Pullback
*Round 3, 3x total: 1) Overhead Chop with Pivot, 2) Large Circles with Kettlebell (front of body), 3) Mountain Climbers (no kettlebell)
-transition to floor-
*Round 4, 2x total: 1) Overhead to Situp, 2) Plank Complex (plank with one hand on kettlebell to side row), 3) Russian Twist

COOL DOWN (4 mins.)
Kleidman is alone again for the cool-down. She begins with a lunging hip flexor stretch, moving into a runner's stretch for the hamstrings. Coming to standing, she stretches the forearms and triceps, and she concludes with breathing.

This DVD certainly has the potential to provide a decent workout, and it will appeal to some exercisers. But it did not click with me for various reasons:

1) This is not how I like to do kettlebells. I have been working with kettlebells on and off for several years. Although I have not worked with a personal trainer, when I decided to learn this method, I studied many videos and DVDs based on RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) techniques. One DVD spent over an hour teaching the swing; Kleidman spends less than 2 minutes here. For this reason, I do NOT think this is an appropriate kettlebell DVD for beginners. Furthermore, her recommendations for starting kettlebell weights (her DVD cover suggests 10-15 lbs. for women, 15-20 lbs. for men) are significantly off from what I've always read, which are more in the range of about 8 kg (16 lbs.) for women and 16 kg (35 lbs.) for men. Although this sounds counter-intuitive, using too light a weight can throw off form. And this brings me to the next issue.

2) I question Kleidman's form. For the swings in particular, she is not getting down very low, and she doesn't seem to have much a hip snap, the key to the swing. I can't help but question whether this is due at least in part to the weight of her kettlebell--the kettlebell she is using looks VERY tiny, maybe as light as a 5 lb. bell. (She never says what she is using in the workout, which I believe is another oversight.)

3) I question the safety of some of the moves. Several of the moves felt VERY uncomfortable to me, such as the Good Mornings with the kettlebell held behind the neck--ouch! Other exercises were performed so quickly that it was difficult to maintain good form--e.g., the Overhead Chop with Pivot.

4) I didn't like the workout format itself. Working out in rounds--or any style routine where you complete a series of moves and then "take it from the top"--is simply NOT my style; I much prefer to complete a set of moves and then proceed forward. It didn't help that I didn't like the music used during the workout either (I found it loud and jarring, like something you'd hear on a "booze cruise"). I also didn't like having high impact moves in the warm-up.

Again, I am sure that there are some who will like this workout, but I simply don't think it is the best that kettlebells has to offer, and especially not for beginners.

Instructor Comments:
Kleidman does a decent job instructing this workout, but as noted, she doesn't teach in the RKC style that I prefer. Furthermore, I don't feel that the tutorial provides enough instruction for beginners.

Beth C (aka toaster)