What led you kettlebells and training in our classes?

I think it was curiosity initially, I’d been doing a lot of HIIT workouts, killing myself each and every time to get fit, and I was just wondering if there was something different I could be doing that still had the benefits of exercise but wasn’t as intense. I also wanted to get stronger.

Did you have any prior experience of using kettlebells or weights? 

I had some previous experience, but nothing that I’d maintained consistently. And whilst I’d used kettlebells before, I hadn’t really learnt the basics properly before. 

What do you like most about training in the classes? 

I love that we have a focused goal. Pete develops bite size training programmes, each with a different goal. We test ourselves at the start, to have a benchmark, before testing again at the end of the programme. We’ve worked on strength training with a specific movement, as well as endurance (snatch test). The confidence and satisfaction I’ve gained from seeing the progress over these last couple of years has been amazing. 

It’s a good sign that the training always seems to go by really quickly (apart from during the 5 min snatch test ha ha), it’s also varied and fun. Pete really encourages us to push ourselves too, as it would be so easy to just turn up and lift the same weight as last time without that nudge. 

What’s your favourite kettlebell exercise (s) ? 

Upper body wise, it’s definitely the military press, and for the lower body probably the static lunge.

I do also love the stretching and mobility exercises we have done using the kettlebells.

What is the personal best you’ve achieved that you’re most proud of ? 

It definitely has to be a double military press with 2 x 20kg. This came after a long period of training in the class on our military press development, and whilst I’d not achieved the PR I’d hoped for with a single bell, I’d made massive improvements to be able to increase to the double press and for multiple reps.

How does it compare to other forms of exercise you’ve done in the past? 

Previous exercise classes I’ve done has had more of a cardio focus, you just turned up to the class and went home again, there was no link from one to the next. Here, you want to go to the classes, as you know the training has been devised for you to get the maximum benefits from the progression built in over the weeks. It really gives me something to focus on.  

Pete also gives us the opportunity to help steer the classes in terms of structure/focus, and will take our views into account in terms of what we want to do and achieve. Pete is obviously the expert, but we always feel involved.  

If there’s someone reading this who’s concerned about signing up, what would you say to help them overcome that? 

It can sound quite daunting to be flinging heavy weights around, but the quality of the teaching from Pete is second to none, and you will soon have the basic skills you need to be able to progress, and once you can do that, it’s addictive!

Everyone is so supportive and encouraging too, we all started somewhere! 

Fitness centres and gyms always promise results, can you talk about specific results you’ve achieved since joining the club?

My squat has improved so much since I first started the classes almost three years ago now. I suffered from a lot of hip pain whilst squatting, and had poor mobility. Whilst I still have to work on this regularly, the depth I can achieve now is so much greater than I ever thought I could do.

I’m also really proud of my progression with my press up. Recently managed to break the “10” mark, which had been a real mental challenge as much as a physical one for a very long time.

If like Helen you’re into the idea of gaining confidence through progressive strength training, you can get involved by heading to the book page and joining a beginner session.

Beginner sessions are every Tuesday at 7-8pm in Ashton and also rotate between Thursday 7-8pm and Saturday morning 10-11am every week.

After attending 2-4 beginner sessions (less if you already have experience), you can come along to our Monday, Wednesday, Friday sessions at Ashton park school and start building your strength and conditioning.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Pete, owner/coach @ Bristol Kettlebell club