At many fitness centers, large cast-iron balls with handles on top rest next to more traditional barbells and weights. Known as a kettlebell, this fitness tool has made a comeback in recent years as a ‘hand-held gym,’ according to Mark Toomey, Russian kettlebell certification trainer at a two-day workshop at Frederick Physical Fitness Center, June 9.

More than 40 kettlebell enthusiasts attended the workshop hosted by Dragon Door Publications and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation to learn how to properly train with the weights and get the most out of a kettlebell routine.

“It’s something you can take with you,” said Toomey. “Fly-away kits contain a suspended training device and one kettle bell. Using those two tools allows you to get into the appropriate movement and strength patterns so when you come back to garrison, and you go in a gym and walk up to a bar and try to lift 225 pounds, you don’t jack up your back.”

The first day of the workshop started off with drills on how to swing the kettlebell properly.

“The problem with kettlebell training is using them improperly. Without proper instruction, you can really jack yourself up. That’s the whole purpose of this, giving people the opportunity to learn how to use the bell appropriately,” added Toomey.

Attendees seemed pleased with the results.

“Within an hour I’ve learned more about kettlebells than I have in my entire life,” said Greg Hatcher, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. “We fixed a huge problem I was having by shifting the weight back to my heels. Now I have my balance over the entire part of my foot. The drills we’re doing are money, spot on.”

Peter Evans, 91st Civil Affairs Battalion, sees another advantage to the kettlebell workout. “I’m deploying soon so I’m hoping this will minimize the equipment while we’re out,” he said.

Jessica Johns FMWR sports specialist, hopes to see more kettlebell workouts in the future. “I think it’s great to offer this to Solders. Eventually if we get an RKC here, which I hope we do, it will give them the opportunity to learn how to use (kettlebells).”