Book Review: "Kettlebell Rx" by Jeff Martone
Jeff Martone’s new kettbell book, Kettlebell Rx: The Complete Guide for Athletes and Coaches, is aptly named given that it is aimed primarily at CrossFit athletes and coaches. While the book could be used by anyone looking to investigate kettlebells, it is clearly an excellent resource for coaches and trainers and is written from a coach’s perspective.
The book is broken into three distinct parts:
- Kettlebells for CrossFitters
- Rotational Power Development
- Introduction to Kettlebell Sport Technique
The first section, Kettlebells for CrossFitters, is the curriculum author Jeff Martone developed for the CrossFit Level-1 Kettlebell Trainers Course. He has been using this curriculum successfully for years to teach coaches about kettlebells. While useful for trainers, this section can also be used by anyone looking to implement kettlebells as a fitness tool. Despite being aimed at CrossFit practitioners, this section is loaded with information applicable beyond the world of CrossFit.
The CrossFit section is further broken down into:
- Joint Mobility/Flexibility
- Swing Series
- Turkish Get-Up Series
- Clean Series
- Overhead Series
- Program Design
The mobility/flexibility section is, in and of itself, a valuable lexicon of movements applicable to any training modality. Likewise, Martone’s section on program design contains pointers that would be useful for any coach planning to incorporate kettlebells into their programming. Martone also includes sample workouts and kettlebell versions of the CrossFit Girls and Hero workouts.
For each movement presented in this section there are detailed pictures and explanations outlining not only the movement itself, but also movement prep drills and corrective exercises for faulty movement. This book isn’t just about seeing how a movement is done, but preparing you for it and growing an athlete through all the common errors until their movement is perfected. The book also attempts to develop a coach’s eye by offering photographs of incorrect positions and asking the reader to identify the errors.
In the second section of the book, Rotational Power Development, Martone puts forth a series of exercises to develop rotational force and core strength. Again, exercises are clearly demonstrated in photos along with the associated common errors and how to correct them. The section ends with sample workouts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced athletes. Given that much CrossFit programming is lacking in rotational movement, I found Martone’s inclusion of this chapter interesting and useful.
The third and final section of the book is an explanation of and introduction to kettlebell sport. Martone explains his own personal journey from being dubious of the sport to becoming a competitor. He details the history, the movements involved, how the competitions work, and why one might choose to try out kettlebell sport.
Throughout this book, one of the great things is the attention to detail. It is chock full of information from general knowledge down to minute bits about the subject matter. Everything from how to shop for kettlebells to the various styles and stages of learning are addressed in this book. For a coach, Kettlebell Rx would be useful to take you more in depth into not just kettlebell training, but training and human movement in general. For an athlete this book would be a great introduction, complete with workout routines and tips to ensure your success.
The design of the book is well thought through and executed. Visually it is both pleasing and logical. As a coach, flipping through this book got me excited; it reminded me of movements I had forgotten, excited me to try movements I had not yet seen, and gave me inspiration to write new and interesting workouts for my clients. I would recommend this book to any CrossFit coach as an essential for their library and would offer that non-CrossFit coaches would find great use of Kettlebell Rx, as well.
Kettlebell Rx: The Complete Guide for Athletes and Coaches is available online at www.tacticalathlete.com for $34.95.
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