It was purely accidental. In this day and age of social media, people see something, “I’m going to be this. I’m going to go do this.” At the time, it was like “All right, I want to be a better athlete. What’s going to make me a better athlete?”
I just happened across kettlebells. My sports were all non-contact sports, but they were all rotationally based, so it’s baseball. Then I got very into tennis. Because I didn’t make baseball in high school, I jumped into tennis. Got really good at that fast, and then played college tennis and started teaching tennis.
Everything I did was how can I get stronger and more explosive rotationally with tennis. I just came across an article by Mike Mauler on kettlebells back in 2005.
At the time, I’m like, “F, I’m not spending $200 on this little weight that doesn’t look any different than anything else. No way.” I tried to do the workouts with dumbbells. That’s my first experience with these full-body, explosive, weightlifting-style of movements with a dumbbell and incorporate them into a circuit.
I’m like “OK, I like the way this is.” At the time, I was just doing bodyweight workouts or maybe some traditional lifting. Finally bit the bullet, got a kettlebell, and it was like “OK. I’m fairly strong. I’ll get a 53-pound kettlebell. I don’t want to buy more than one of these things.
The first time I took it, I’m probably like, “What the hell.” Just the anatomy of the bell, the way that it pulls you, and how it’s so asymmetrical, that 54-pound bell felt like a 100 pounds. Immediately I’m like, “All right, this is unique. This is different.”
I started going down the rabbit hole of all of Mahler’s articles; loved all the stuff he had put out. Going down Pavel, went through RKC, went through Steve Cotter, went through IKFF, went through Steve Maxwell, Jeff Martone, Jason Dolby, Buckley, from Kettlebell Sport to hard-style; everything in between.
It was like I want to see everything that this tool has to offer, and then I’m just going to pick and choose what I want to use for my clients. I was in love with it, but then in my gym, people didn’t give two shits about kettlebells. They’re like, “You just got to be stronger.”
My passion for it, I had to water down a little bit and add more variety to make sure that it had more mass appeal, and it was still delivering the results that I was getting from doing just swings, and snatches, and cleans.
It was that blend of how can I get something that is very powerful, very useful, very simplistic, and then expand on it so it doesn’t completely dilute what it is, but it is interesting to everybody has a fresh approach to it.
Adding the rotational stuff was the first thing. I started doing them, like OK, this is definitely much, much more different. Then just training my pro athletes. The pro fighters was the thing that I saw the biggest transformation with kettlebells — grip strength, hips speed, that coordination awareness, structural integrity of the shoulder and hips. Things that you don’t necessarily do with other tools.