the joy of strength training


April 24th, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Review: Crossfit Reading Kettlebell Workshop

Crossfit Reading kettlebell workshop 

On Sunday I attended Crossfit Reading’s kettlebell workshop, coached by Andy Craig who runs Crossfit Reading.

Although I’ve had some kettlebell instruction before there are a number of gaps in my skill base so I was attracted to the idea of a workshop where I could cover everything I needed to know in one fell swoop. It didn’t hurt that Crossfit Reading’s price for a three-hour workshop was very reasonable, even taking into account the train fare from London.

It was a good session and I’m glad I went for the workshop option. There’s a limit to how much you can learn from books and the internet, especially with an implement as awkward as the kettlebell. It is valuable to have an experienced person to critique your form rather than simply reading about ‘common mistakes’. You also need some training to get you over the initial hurdle of how to handle the thing without it beating you up!

I found that going through the different exercises and skills progressively helped me to understand and appreciate kettlebell training in a way I hadn’t before. I used to have a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude to kettlebells. I do almost all the exercises with dumbbells or barbells and found it hard to understand why so many people rave about the kettlebell.

Now that I’ve had an afternoon of training I can see the appeal! The kettlebell is quite a flexible tool and the way it handles gives the movements a flow and a rhythm that you don’t get with a dumbbell, making high rep training easier.

Workshop content

The Crossfit Reading workshop gives good coverage of all the essential skills and exercises and I didn’t feel that any of the coaching was rushed in order to keep to time. The workshop covered:

  • Squat technique 
  • Swing (various types)
  • High pull
  • Clean
  • Push press
  • Push jerk
  • Snatch
  • Turkish get-up
  • Windmill
  • Side press

Andy generates an easy-going atmosphere. He won’t let you slack off but the feel is informal and friendly. He has a good instructor’s instinct for when to praise and when to critique. I am quite a testing person to coach as I have a habit of directly questioning comments or critique that I don’t understand and I get frustrated with myself if I can’t get the hang of something. Andy passed the ‘difficult client’ test well, as any good instructor should.

I can’t think of much about the session that I would change, which is a sign of a very successful workshop. It might have been interesting to do a proper kettlebell workout though, to show how the exercises can fit together into a workout and give us a chance to try out our new skills in anger!


If you are going to invest money in a kettlebell and train with it regularly, it is well worth the price of a three-hour workshop to set you on your way. It could potentially save you hours of poor training and dodgy technique.

It is also a fun thing to do of a Sunday afternoon. You get to meet like-minded people, have a good training session and learn new skills.

More from gubernatrix

Further reading

Stumble it! Share Subscribe to this blog


RSS feed for comments on this post | TrackBack URI