While the kettlebell has actually been around for centuries, hoisted by Romans and Russians alike, the fitness industry has given this handled cannonball-looking weight a major facelift to appeal to the modern masses. GoFit has been with the pack, launching a set of brightly colored kettlebells in 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, 35- and 45-pound weights.
GoFit's kettlebell has a textured handle for better grippiness, so you don't feel like it'll swing out of your hand when switching from hand to hand during a single-arm swing. The handle is also on the wider side. Several female testers noted separately that their fingers didn't feel squeezed in the space, even when doing maneuvers where you switch the weight from one hand to the other, and two males made similar comments. The space also allowed a little room to adjust side-to-side when performing an exercise. When one user's palms got sweaty, she said she felt more confident that the kettlebell wasn't going to slip out of her hand and sail into the TV. Other testers liked the somewhat sticky feel and firmness of the handles.
The rounded weight portion has a vinyl coating that makes it pleasant to touch and keeps the kettlebell from marring floors when it's set down. We liked the flat bottom because it kept the kettlebell from rolling around on the ground and being unwieldy.
GoFit's kettlebells are packaged with what the company called an instructional DVD as well as a booklet, each highlighting seven exercises. The company partnered with kettlebell guru Sarah Lurie, who is the face and voice of the DVD. Each exercise starts with key bullet points on form presented in text, and then segues into a slow-motion series of images with an explanation voice-over by Lurie. One tester, who happens to be a firefighter, said he felt as if the bullets intruded on the flow of the demonstration. It continues with Lurie demonstrating each move in real-time, encouraging users to practice the moves themselves. Lurie is a sharp instructor, and her directions are clear and easy to understand, but she unfortunately looks a bit like a deer caught in the headlights on screen. Although most of our testers prefer to avoid the overly chirpy types, Lurie's presence wasn't something you would look forward to. We found that odd since we’ve seen her and worked with her in person, and she's much more personable than comes across on the demonstration DVD with her wide-eyed, non-smiling look.
When looking at the kettlebell package, our testers thought the enclosed DVD would also provide a mini workout routine and felt it came up a bit short. The packaging was even a bit misleading. It said, "Melt fat with the Iron Core Kettlebell DVD workout" and it showed still shots of "what you will see," but two of the four photos (showing a small group) weren't in the included DVD routine. The 17-minute routine was more of a run through on the basics of each move, presented separately as isolated moves. Although it was helpful, our testers said they would have liked an additional 10- to 15-minute demo workout on the DVD, so they could dive in once they had the moves established. Without that, we felt a tad "teased" as we had just warmed up and were ready now to try a real workout -- whatever that meant. We still don't really know. At the end of the demos, Lurie then says, "Now you're ready to purchase my workout DVDs," and although she's right, it comes off a bit self-serving. As much as we like the kettlebells, we'd like to know just a hint more about what a workout entails to see how it really feels.
We had been leery of the kind of moves we envisioned with kettlebells, but most if done correctly with full muscle control could be done by many intermediate to advanced exercisers. We were concerned that certain moves—where you swing the weights down then up—might not be safe for utter beginners without personal instruction. Even our very fit testers didn't like the feel of a squat move that asked a user to squat with the buttocks toward the ground, over-flexing the knees. And we still definitely would not recommend a solo, DVD-led workout for anyone with knee or back problems.
Now, all that said, we really like the feel and heft of the GoFit kettlebells, and the moves themselves will definitely be a full-body workout for even the most fit.
SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested retail: $30-$90
For more information:www.gofit.net