Vail Daily health story: Get in the swing | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily health story: Get in the swing

Kim Fuller
Daily Correspondent

A cast-iron cannonball may not be the first thing you want to swing around your body, but Russia may have had it right when it comes to strength training and conditioning.

"Kettlebells are really making a big push," said Mark DelVecchio, certified personal trainer and local ski patroller. "They have been around for a long time, but with the introduction of CrossFit and that type of varied training, they have definitely re-emerged into the scene."

DelVecchio is offering a new "Kettlebell Training Program" at Vail Cascade Resort's Aria Spa & Club. He said the training series will introduce people to the seemingly formidable fitness technique.

"My idea with this program is to get everyone comfortable using kettlebells and not being afraid of them, because I do think they do have a lot of benefits for individuals," he said.

Fundamental fitness

Ryan McCombs, manager of Manic Training in Edwards, said Manic generally incorporates the use of kettlebells in every class — in either the warm-up or the workout.

Recommended Stories For You

"We like kettlebells because with every move you are using your entire body," McCombs said. "They don't limit what you are working to any one thing, and there is an extreme focus on both the front and rear of your core."

Manic Training classes are designed to make everything you do outside the gym easier and better, said McCombs, including walking, running, biking and playing with your kids.

It's this same lifestyle-functionality of kettlebell workouts that DelVecchio said gives himself and his clients that extra edge in their recreational activities and overall fitness.

"Since last October, kettlebells are pretty much all I have worked with," he said. "I am still skiing, snowmobiling and biking — doing all the things I love to do outside — but I felt this winter was one of the best ski seasons I've skied; after snowmobiling, nothing was super sore the next day; and just the couple of bike rides I have been on so far, I have felt stronger than I have in years past going uphill.

"My shoulders have never felt better," DelVecchio continued. "And this training has made a tremendous improvement in the way I look, the way I feel and all of my activities outside of the gym."

It's the full-body, dynamic movements that make these weighted tools so effective. DelVecchio explained that kettlebells are great for increasing strength, increasing stability and mobility in different areas, as well as targeting fat loss and improving cardiovascular capacities.

"I like to incorporate kettlebells in some manner with every single person I work with," he said. "Whether it be for shoulder stability, to correct incorrect movement patters, or for building muscle and burning fat.

"When you're moving a pretty heavy piece of iron with your whole body, you are getting the heart rate up and working with weight for an extended period of time, so your going to burn a lot more calories," he said.

The Vail Athletic Club of The Vitality Center at Vail Mountain Lodge offers a class Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays called "X Total Body training," which is structured to train the muscles of the core, as well as stabilize the spine and strengthen upper and lower limbs. The club's executive director, Jeff Morgan, said kettlebells are a specific station in each class, and trainers closely observe individuals, giving them guidance on their form.

Dogma Athletica in Edwards also uses kettlebells in some workouts, and the facility also has a kettlebell training class called "Whipped." Other Dogma classes, dubbed "Live it! Sweat it!" "Butts and Guts" and "Tabata," also incorporate kettlebells into high-interval circuits.

Emily Lonsway, club attendant at The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, said kettlebells are used in training classes there, such as "Crank Training," and she said they are available for personal training and free weights.

Dynamic movements

The program DelVecchio offers focuses on three fundamental kettlebell moves: the "Kettlebell Swing," the "Goblet Squat" and the "Turkish Get Up." These are the cornerstones of his "Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification" through the Dragon Door kettlebell training program. In less than a month, he said he will be the only person from Denver to Aspen with a "Russian Kettlebell Challenge" certification, which incorporates a total of six kettlebell exercises.

"We may be expanding this program to incorporate the other three exercises as well," DelVecchio said. "Once individuals are comfortable with the kettlebells, then they can begin to take them into their own training safely and effectively."

Kettlebell training program

The training program at Aria Spa and Club is broken down into five sessions. DelVecchio said at the end of the specialized program, individuals will be able to correctly perform kettlebell fundamentals on their own.

Session one: Kettlebell assessment

The opening session will include a Functional Movement Screen, with seven different tests designed to look at the way an individual's body moves. DelVecchio said the assessment will have a few other exercises attached to it — including pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups and planking — to set a baseline for what a person needs to work physically and what his/her goals are.

Session two: Kettlebell Swing and Goblet Squat

Session two incorporates the Kettlebell Swing and the Goblet Squat. The swing exercise will help to improve core and hip strength, as well as cardio fitness. The squat move works lower body strength — leg strength and core strength — and puts a person in a better position than a squat with a barbell on his/her back. DelVecchio said the use of lighter kettlebells provides a pretty similar result to using heavier kettlebells, and that people with different needs can work specific to those.

Session three and four: Turkish Get Up

Two sessions — three and four — are used to work the Turkish Get Up because it's a very involved exercise. It's seven steps, starting on the floor and ending standing up, and then works back down to the ground. This exercise will focus on core and shoulder stability throughout the entire movement, as well as increase single leg strength with the move up to standing.

Session five: Combining the fundamentals

In the final session, individuals will use the original fitness assessment and combine it with the three functional kettlebell exercises for a workout that they can do on their own.

"You will find out that you have burned a lot of calories during that time," DelVecchio said. "And by doing the movements comfortably and correctly, you will greatly reduce the risk of injuring yourself and can further your training from there."

The new Fundamental Kettlebell Training Program is $40 per session for Aria Club & Spa members ($200 total), and $50 for non-members ($300 total). Single sessions outside of the package are the cost of a single personal training price at $83 per session. Contact trainer Mark DelVecchio at mdelvecchio@destination hotels.com to set up a session, or call the club at 970-479-5942 for more information.

Reap the results

What you’ll see from continued and consistent kettlebell training:

• Increase in core stability.

• Alleviated back pain.

• Increase in shoulder strength and stability.

• Increase in hip strength and stability.

• Increase in overall muscle strength.

• Increase in cardiovascular capacities.

• Decrease in overall body fat.

• Increase in body’s metabolic rate (metabolism).