Book Review: "Kettlebells for Women" by Lauren Brooks
Lauren Brooks of On The Edge Fitness and BuggyBellz is known for her excellent kettlebell workout DVDs and articles on kettlebell training. Now, Lauren ventures into the world of instructional books with Kettlebells for Women published by Ulysses Press. Having trained many women and worked out through her own two pregnancies, Lauren has a unique understanding of how kettlebells and women’s goals for fitness can go hand-in-hand.
Kettlebells for Women begins by touching on a few different basic areas related to kettlebells – their origination and history, the benefits of training, who is ideal for kettlebell training, things to know before you get started, and also a basic rundown of good nutrition. If you are new to kettlebell training, which this book assumes, knowing how to shop and buy a kettlebell can be a challenge. Lauren addresses this issue, offering suggestions on sizes, styles, and brands.
12-Week Program, 15 Workouts
At its essence, this book is a 12-week program that includes 15 different workouts, plus three Tabata workouts. As repeatedly mentioned in the book, the goal is not to add any bulk to the trainee, but create a toned, strong, conditioned body. The program can be started as a beginner, but is versatile enough to be scaled up in either weight or skill for intermediate and advanced kettlebell athletes.
When it comes to the workouts and the schedule of the 12-week program, the explanation is very clear. Charts are provided for warm-up, workouts, and the weekly schedule, laid out one month at a time. Reps, rest intervals, and number of rounds are clearly indicated, as are scaling options for beginner, intermediate, and advanced practitioners. Page numbers are given next to each exercise for easy reference to the latter part of the book, which provides detailed instruction for a multitude of kettlebell movements.
The first month of programming focuses on perfecting basic kettlebell movements and building a foundation of strength. The second month takes the intensity up a notch, continuing to build strength, but adding intervals and more complicated movements. Month three again ups the intensity, as well as requiring a higher level of balance, coordination, and overall fitness.
Over 300 Photos of Exercises
In the exercise explanation section of the book there are over 300 photographs, demonstrating the movements. Photos, tips, and variations are laid out in an easy to read format. Movements are broken into subsections; some examples are: swings, windmills, core exercises, and squats. There are also subsections explaining the warm-up exercises, joint mobility exercises, and cool down stretches. Although there are a large number of movements outlined in the book, both the table of contents or index can be used to locate them quickly and easily.
One thing I liked about this book, in regards to beginner kettlebell trainees, was its attention to defining terms. Sometimes learning a new way of working out can be so full of jargon it’s overwhelming. Using the extensive introduction section of the book, complete with many sidebars, this book goes out of its way to make sure all terminology is clearly explained.
Overall Kettlebells for Women may not be particularly exciting, but it makes up for it in the sheer amount of information it presents and the workouts themselves look pretty fun to me. You would pay a lot more than $15.95 just to get three months worth of programming from a respectable RKC instructor (which Lauren most certainly is), much less all the exercise instruction this book includes. It is also worth of mention that there is no reason this book is just for women - any man looking to get in shape would benefit equally.
Personally, I am willing to bet this book is just a hint of the knowledge Lauren possesses, but I’d also feel totally confident in recommending it to anyone who wants to safely and efficiently get fit. In fact, it would make a great gift for anyone looking to get started in kettlebells or a garage-gym aficionado.
Kettlebells for Women is available online and in stores for $15.95.
Read Lauren Brooks’ posts here on Breaking Muscle: