Kettlebell expert scores at contest
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Justin Thomas, 34, owner of Instinct Fitness in Bridgeville, is now officially "superhuman."
Mr. Thomas placed first in the pentathlon at a regional kettlebell lifting competition in Youngstown, Ohio, June 23. Considered the most challenging event in the competition, the pentathlon consists of performing five one-armed kettlebell exercises within a set time period. According to the World Kettlebell Club, which sponsored the competition, a score higher than 1,441 points is "superhuman." Mr. Thomas scored 1,750 points. He's currently fourth in the country in the WKC's rankings.
A kettlebell is, in essence, a cannonball with a handle. Kettlebells range in size from 10 to 100 pounds. They originated in Russia as counterweights for scales at farmers markets. Athletes and the military there discovered that working out with kettlebells builds strength faster than other forms of resistance exercise and develops explosive power and stamina in ways traditional weightlifting, pushups and pullups do not.
Kettlebells build strength faster because rather than isolate muscle groups, as exercise machines do, they work the entire body as a unit.
When all muscles work at once, a lot of calories are burned. A study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise of 10 male and female volunteers during an intense 20-minute kettlebell workout found they burned an average of 20.2 calories a minute (1,200 per hour). To burn an equivalent number of calories, an individual would have to run 10 miles at an average pace of six minutes a mile.
The World Kettlebell Club was founded in 2006 by Valery Fedorenko, a former top Russian athlete. It also offers kettlebell instructor certification courses.
Next up for Mr. Thomas is the WKC's national competition in Chicago in October. Two of his students, Alison Dempsey and Michelle Eannace, also competed in the WKC regionals in Youngstown. Each finished first in their respective weight divisions in the woman's LongCycle.
Instinct Fitness is at 331 Station St., Bridgeville. Information: http://instinct-fitness.com, or 412-475-0312. Kettlebell instruction also is offered at Pittsburgh Kettlebells, 1524 Mt. Nebo Road, Mt. Nebo Plaza, Ohio Township, 412-741-1000 or http://pittsburghkettlebells.com.
First Published July 9, 2012 12:00 am