Bristol Kettlebell club member – Mike Leigh
When did you get into kettlebell training?
I started 2 years ago in April 2010 by taking one of Pete’s courses for beginners.
What attracted you to kettlebell training?
I had started to pick up running injuries and wanted to remain fit until I could resume regular running. I tried weights but turned to kettlebells as they seemed more varied and they have now taken over as my first choice of exercise. With kettlebells you can get a really good work out whatever the weather and in as little as 20 minutes.
Some say it’s really tough, is it?
You can work within your capability or challenge yourself – it’s always your choice. Having others around in the class and a trainer like Pete encourages me to keep improving.
What other types of fitness have/do you enjoy?
For over 30 years I have enjoyed running from 10k’s to half-marathons. Now I wish I had discovered kettlebells sooner as my increased strength and core fitness have improved my running – and I have had no more injuries.
There is a lot of hype surrounding kettlebell training, what kind of results have you seen?
Increase in core strength e.g. from struggling to do 30 secs in plank position to achieving my best time of 5 minutes.
I have gained around half a stone without gaining inches around my waist, so, I guess it must be all muscle!
What size kettlebells do you work with?
For most exercises I use 16 kg kettlebells and have started to use 20 kg for some exercises. This is up from using 10kg when I started training.
What are your future goals within kettlebell training?
Strength. I want to use 20 Kg for more exercises. Specifically I want to focus on upper body strength while maintaining
Endurance. To extend my capacity on timed tests of kettlebell conditioning work.
Words from Pete – Mike is quite the inspiration, at 69 years of age he is stronger than a lot of men half his age and younger! He can deadlift 110kg with perfect form. Mike had to cut back on his weekly running distance due to injuries, this is a common problem for a lot of runners and is mostly due to a lack of strength training in their programs. Building strong muscles, ligaments and tendons will not only increase your endurance but also protect from shock absorption and the high impact of road running to the body. 2 or 3 short kettlebell workouts a week would be enough to gain these benefits. With the addition of kettlebell work in his program he continues to enjoy running and has seen further improvement.