Customer Reviews: Kettlebell Rx: The Complete Guide for Athletes and Coaches
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on December 20, 2011
I have been a kettlebell enthusiast for about five years, and in those years I have explored videos and books produced by several different coaches and "experts." But I can say with certainty that I have found a book, Kettlebell RX, that is written with the primary focus on safety and a "get it right the first time" attitude.

The book is written by one of the premier experts to the modern kettlebell movement in North America, Jeff Martone. Amongst his many qualifications, Jeff is one of the first Senior RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) instructors, creator of H2H (Kettlebell juggling for athletes), Candidate Master of Sports in in the Long Cycle (Kettlebell Sport Clean & Jerk), and is both the subject matter expert for Crossfit and Head instructor for the Crossfit Kettlebell trainers course worldwide.

Kettlebell RX is written to address both athletes and coaches in the most important kettlebell movements that generate results. It starts off by explaining the importance of safety and the different ways in applying different techniques to learning the movements. From there the book is divided into three different parts: Kettlebell for Crossfitters, Rotational Power Development, and an Introduction to Kettlebell Sport Technique.

In the first part, Jeff goes into great detail to explain the importance of functional fitness, the selection of the correct kettlebells, and places an emphasis on safety and the mastery of the drills and movements. He then goes into different sections that explain and demonstrate every movement in detail both in writing and in vivid pictures. This ranges from Joint Mobility, The Swing Series, The Turkish Get Up Series, The Clean Series, and The Overhead Series. Each section shows the correct movement, common faults and corrections. What makes it easy and comprehensive are the pictures. The pictures show the movement step by step and leave no question on how to perform anything.

The second part explains Rotational Power Development. It goes into detail on why it is important and the uses of the drills. The drills in this section are the basic movements of Jeff's H2H (Hand to Hand) system, and the foundation to expanding any athletes or coaches kettlebell repertoire. Once again, this part is filled with tons of pictures explaining each step and correction. Also, Jeff explains how to be safe before and during the drills.

After sections 1 and 2, Jeff touches on some program design for both beginners and advance users. This gives the reader a way to apply the new skills learned and it provides weeks of training.

The last part of the book provides insight on Kettebell Sport. Jeff explains what the sport is and the different lifts that are evaluated (which are all covered in the book). Jeff tells his personal story on how he was exposed to the sport and gives examples of different Kettlebell sport athletes and coaches. There are highlights of the feats that those personalities have accomplished and how the techniques and attitude of the sport translate to other sports and movements. Leaving the reader with a question, "Why not give Kettlebell Sport a try?"

So is "Kettlebell RX" the book to have? YES! After reading several books on the same subject, "Kettlebell RX," is the only one that has left me complete. It literally covers everything form A to Z, with great emphasis on safety and correctly mastering the movements. This book relates to all types of athletes, both new and old, from the practitioner to the coach. It is written straight to the point with all the non-sense left out. The pictures are great, as they breakdown the movements and explain all the mistakes and corrections. It proves that Jeff Martone is a master of his craft. If you are a Crossfitter, fighter, personal trainer or coach, "Kettlebell RX," by Jeff Martone, needs to be in your library.
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on January 7, 2012
This book is an instant classic, and is destined to become the standard reference for kettlebell fitness and sport. You can only learn so much about kettlebells from a book, but Kettlebell Rx is as good as it is going to get.

Jeff Martone's kettlebell resume speaks for itself. He is certainly an expert and also an excellent teacher and coach. Martone has experience with both of the two major styles of kettlebell lifting, the so-called "hard" and "fluid" styles. He is able to explain the styles clearly and also point out that these names are more about marketing than any kind of fundamental differences.

Part one of Kettlebell Rx addresses flexibility drills and kettlebell exercises. This is by far the longest section of the book. The exercises are clearly explained and are accompanied by photos showing how they should be performed. Martone also demonstrates the common mistakes that people tend to make and gives advice on how to correct the errors. Also included is great information on how to structure the exercises into a safe and effective workout program. Not to be missed is the section on "lifting people" where Martone demonstrates his popular stunt of using a person in place of a kettlebell for a Turkish Get-Up. I don't think I'll be trying this anytime soon, but it is awesome to see! The production value of the book and the photos is very high. I am surprised the book does not cost more, given that every page is in full color on high quality paper.

Part two deals with rotational power development, such as hand-to-hand drills, "hot potato" exercises and other drills that use a lighter weight. This part of the book has the same high quality of instruction and production value.

Part three introduces kettlebell sport. Many people simply lift kettlebells for general fitness and/or to increase their performance in their other sports. However kettlebell lifting is itself a sport, with its own set of rules, tournaments, titles, etc. Martone introduces us to the sport, describes its history and champions, and also recounts his own experience in achieving his first title.

As good as this book is, and as Martone himself points out, there is no substitute for having a trainer if you are just starting kettlebell lifting. Having a knowledgeable trainer watch and correct your form is the best and safest way to begin lifting kettlebells. I know it is expensive (believe me, I know!) but your health is worth it. In my experience, a trainer can teach you the basics that you need to know in around ten sessions. That and a kettlebell or two will be all you need for a lifetime of fitness. It is a terrific bargain!

If you absolutely can not, or will not, get a trainer then at least have another person watch you lift and help you correct your form with the guidance in the book. But I would really recommend a trainer.

I really can not recommend this book highly enough. If you are a kettlebell enthusiast, you simply must have this book. If you are thinking about starting kettlebell lifting, this should be your first book. It could really be your only book.

It's that good.
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on December 16, 2011
I have been waiting eagerly for Jeff Martone's new book "Kettlebell RX" to come out. I have read books in the past on kettlebells but non of them gave me a complete understanding of kettlebells. I always had to piece knowledge from one book to another to see the big picture.

Jeff came out with one of the most comprehensive books I have ever seen on kettlebells giving you the big picture. He covers everything from A to Z leaving no question in the readers mind on what to do next. Kettlebell RX covers flexibility and joint mobility drills with hundreds of other movements broken down. In this book you will learn various series on cleans, swings, turkish get ups, rotational development, program design and much more. His attention to detail and step by step methods makes it easy for the modern athlete to the common fitness enthusiast to learn from. His step by step illustrations shows the proper techniques as well as common error in techniques that you may come across.

This is the complete guide to kettlebell training and a must have in anyone's training arsenal. I was once running a 7:00 minute mile but since I have been using kettlebells I have knocked a minute off of my run time without even running. Kettlebells will give you a complete aerobic, anaerobic, and strength conditioning level of fitness. I highly recommend Kettlebell RX to anyone wanting to take there fitness to the next level. You can use kettlebells anywhere and keep fit with brief intense workouts. Jeff Martone set the bar extremely high with Kettlebell RX. It is a true no nonsense approach to true functional strength training.

Steve Vernon
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on October 9, 2012
To begin, it is important to realize that this book is pretty substantial in size. The photo for this item does not really give a sense of what the book looks like. It is slightly bigger than a magazine size format, but much thicker. The quality of the paper and the pictures are also really good. So, enough of the aesthetics. The book itself is really informative. It does not cover a large variety of exercises, but it does a great job fully covering swings (1 and 2 hand, Russian and American), cleans, presses, the Turkish Get Up series, and a couple of other relevant exercises.

The strength of the book is its in-depth descriptions of grips, hand position, body alignment, and trajectory of the kettlebells. I found the instruction very helpful for each of the exercises. As an instructor, he has had numerous shoulder issues, which he has overcome with kettlebells, but is also sensitive to the potential for injury in setting up the exercises. The book has a lot on technique, philosophy of progression, and some suggestions for pursuing kettlebells as a sport.

The downside of the book is that there is not much in the way of individual workouts or an introduction to developing a personal workout. He is very minimalist in his approach, so he recommends a lot of 10 set, 10 rep workouts in very short sequences. He does recommend some crossfit routines at the end of the book, but as a kettlebell purist, I did not find these helpful.

Overall, this is a great book for beginners or those that can use a visual reminder of good form and technique!
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on January 24, 2012
I have long been a fan of kettlebells. I bought my first shortly after Pavel Tsatsouline reintroduced them to the US and have since expanded my collection. Along with martial arts, they have been my preferred form of exercise ever since. They've gone from being a pretty hardcore training tool to the mainstream market--they're even sold in Dick's Sporting Goods and Ocean State Job Lot.

Although kettlebells are more forgiving in some ways than heavy barbells, it is still easy to hurt yourself if your form is bad, and frankly, a frightening number of "instructional" videos out there right now are almost recipes for injury. The best way to prevent this is to get good coaching. If coaching isn't available, the next best thing is Jeff Martone's excellent book, Kettlebell Prescription (Kettlebell Rx).

Martone has a very impressive resume in fitness, combatives, and kettlebells. He is a Kettlebell Sport Lifting Coach for both the American Kettlebell club and IKSFA in St. Petersburg Russia, and was one of the first senior Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) certified instructors. He is also a CrossFit Level II certified instructor and does a lot of CrossFit's Kettlebell training. Along with that, he's a Controlled Fatigue Training Level II certified instructor, a Warrior Diet Nutrition certified instructor, and a Physical Fitness Specialist certified instructor with the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research.

In other words, he knows what he's talking about.

A lot of Martone's work these days involves teaching kettlebells for Crossfit gyms, and this book was written with that audience in mind. Even with that focus, Kettlebell Rx includes so much good information that anyone interested in fitness, particularly those who use kettlebells or who simply want to try them out, would benefit tremendously from reading and studying it.

Kettlebell Rx is remarkably comprehensive. The first chapter includes a thorough basic joint mobility section and post workout stretches. The book then provides step by step progressive instructions for four major classifications of kettlebell exercises: swings, Turkish getups, cleans, and overhead pressing exercises.

The Turkish getup is worth an additional comment. Jeff had severely injured his shoulders--multiple surgeries, dislocations, etc. His shoulder would sometimes go out of joint even while in bed. He ultimately managed to rehab it using the Turkish getup and says that if he had known about it earlier, he believes it would have prevented some of those surgeries.

The chapters on these exercises have a number of unique features. Martone shows a step-by-step process for learning the exercise, including preparatory movements to help perform the exercise correctly and safely. He also shows the most common mistakes and explains how to diagnose and correct them. This is the most important part of the book, since it lets athletes, coaches, or even just workout partners without much experience with kettlebells learn the exercises properly and fix mistakes in form. Martone then gives a "prescription" for an exercise protocol with each exercise.

The next section of the book deals with programming, including advice for different populations, a simple but effective strength program, conditioning, and various circuits using kettlebells.

The next section deals with rotational strength, developed through "H2H" kettlebell drills, a.k.a. kettlebell juggling. Jeff has DVDs devoted specifically to this subject and was the first person to emphasize this aspect of kettlebells in the US. I personally find this fun, and it has done more to improve my hand-eye coordination and hand speed than anything else I've done. Martone also includes programming for this kind of exercise and sample circuits. If you are going to try these drills, do them outside on a soft surface, because sooner or later (probably sooner), you will drop the kettlebell.

The last section deals with competitive kettlebell lifting. It's really more of an introduction to the sport and is intended to alert people to its existence and to challenge people (particularly Crossfitters) to try it out.

Kettlebell Rx is easily the best book on kettlebells that I have seen, as well as a great source of information on most aspects of physical fitness. If you have any interest at all in kettlebells, this is the book to buy. You'll be glad you did.
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on June 3, 2014
I realize that buying a book on learning kettlebells isn't like a personal trainer; I don't have access to a trainer; so books like this will have to do. This IS a good guide to learning, self-correcting yourself as you do kettlebells. He does leave out kettlebell exercises that I do. But it is a detailed book, on what he does teach.
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on December 14, 2011
I spent 24 years in the Army and have lived a life of physical fitness, but only recently discovered kettlebell training. Unfortunately few people knew how to use kettlebells, so I only trained with them once in a while and then it was only a few rudimentary movements. Even those basic moves built strength so I've been interested in learning how to use kettlebells effectively for a long time. This book provides the quality instruction I've been looking for on how to train effectively with kettlebells using a systematic approach from beginning to end. It also shows some of the most common errors people like me use when they don't know what they're doing and how to correct them. I especially like the section that targets CrossFitters, which shows the great ways CrossFit movements and routines can be adapted for kettlebells. It's strange to look at Jeff Martone's thin physique and think of him as a leading strength and conditioning coach, but google him and you'll find a surprising amount of kettlebell records and accolades to his name. He's the best person to teach kettlebell training and this is absolutely the best book for anyone wanting to use this equipment to it's fullest potential.
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on January 17, 2012
This is not a review of this book in the proper sense of the word "review". My only comment is that I learned more about kettlebell exercise from this book than from all of Pavel's books combined.
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on August 27, 2013
I'm 70 years old and in need of strengthening my core muscles. I didn't get off on pilates and sit ups are boring. So I got this book, read it carefully, and followed the instructions. Especially helpful were the illustrations of mistakes and wrong positions. I learned new postures which challenged my core and leg muscles -- just what I needed. The many photos made it possible for me to learn this on my own. I bought some kettlebells and contributed them to my clubhouse fitness center. This isn't just for the heavy lifters out there. I have developed a whole routine in which swinging movement is much easier on the joints. The exercises are very aerobic. I get puffing quite quickly. I had found other advice and videos online, but nothing compared to this book.
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on November 18, 2015
This is a great book but takes a backseet to Pavel's Simple and Sinister. If only buying one book on kettlebells I would buy Pavel's Simple and Sinister. If you are buying two or more books then get Simple and Sinister Kettlebell book first and this second. The difference is the programming. The programming here is a bit too much all over the place whereas Simple & Sinister has a very simple and easy to understand and effective program. For those wondering, Pavel taught Jeff about Kettlebells.
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