Exercise DVD Review: Bob Harper’s Kettlebell Cardio Shred
When I heard Bob Harper was making a kettlebell workout video, my heart sank a little. After the disastrous results of Jillian’s attempt to cash in on last year’s trendy fitness fashion, I was worried that Bob, who produced the best workout videos I’d ever seen with his Inside Out Method DVDs, would make the same mistakes and tarnish his reputation like his training partner. So, it was with great trepidation, but still hope, that I fired up the DVD and got to work.
I’m going to break the review into two sections: one about the workout itself, and one about the kettlebells. Your partner (along with Bob, of course) is my nemesis, Becky. Anyone who makes me do extra work (see my review of Bob’s cardio DVD) by being a smart ass doesn’t make them particularly high on my list of favorite people. Still, on the plus side, you get to see Bob run her into the ground, so that’s something, although it’s a bit less comforting when you are ready to puke yourself.
Yes, the workout itself is hard.
If you’ve done Bob’s other Inside Out Method workouts, then you will be familiar with most of the moves here. Mountain climbers. Lunges. Oh, and swings. And swings. Then you do some swings. Then some more swings. Honestly, I expected a lot, since the swing is kind’ve a kettlebell staple, and he gives them to you over the course of the workout. It lasted about 54 minutes or so, but the countdown timer from the Inside Out Method DVDs is gone, both a curse and a blessing. Just when you think the workout is over, and Bob has you do some stretches, you then start on the ab work. It’s disorienting, and my look of puzzled hurt bafflement as I went into crunches was probably quite funny. It wasn’t at the time.
Bob is impish and fun as always. He’s a natural teacher, one of those people who are enthusiastic about instruction and are just naturally gifted at it, and who never actually take a teaching job in school or college, which instead goes to someone who knows a lot about a subject but not a goddamn thing about how to actually instruct someone else about it, but I digress. Bob made me laugh out loud multiple times – well, it was more of a hissed chuckle, since I didn’t have the breath to actually laugh per se – and cemented his place as the best DVD excercise instructor I’ve come across.
I used handweights instead of kettlebells. I will not be buying a set of kettlebells now or at any time in my foreseeable future. You will get a workout without them, don’t worry. There are some moves in this DVD that are probably more difficult with a kettlebell, but therein lies the problem.
Here we go.
With kettlebells, the proper form is very important, or you will injure yourself, your cat, and possibly your neighbors. Saving your wrists and forearms from devastating injury and possibly surgery requires that you do the moves properly and well. Bob does a better job than Jillian with instructions about form. He admonishes you to be careful, and shows you over and over the proper form. However, there is one thing that Bob, Jillian, and anyone else on a DVD can’t do, and that’s correct your form. They can’t see you. Generally speaking, you aren’t the person to judge your form either. I’m lucky in that I have Lady Aravan next to me, and we can check each other’s form for a lot of exercises. Unfortunately, neither one of us is a kettlebell expert, and so we aren’t the best judges of form either. This is a serious problem, and one that is inherent with any kettlebell DVD. Several times, Becky is doing it wrong, and Bob corrects her. You will be doing it wrong, only no one will be around to do the same for you.
My advice is this: if you really want to use kettlebells, find a local trainer near you that is certified by one of the recognized kettlebell organizations. Learn the right technique and form from them if you want to use kettlebells. Otherwise, you are risking injury. It’s that simple. Hurting yourself isn’t worth whatever additional benefit that using a kettlebell instead of a handweight will bring.
Originally, I was going to close by saying that at least Bob’s DVD did feel like an infomercial, like Jillian’s did. See, Jillian was hocking her Adjustable Kettlebell Set with Added Consumer Ripoff Features during her DVD. Bob didn’t say a word. I remarked several times about the kettlebells he was using, which are contoured differently than normal, and looked more comfortable.
See, that WAS going to be what I closed with. Then, this morning, I saw this post from Bob on Facebook: “Have you tried my NEW contoured kettlebells? They are available @ Target! Don’t forget to check out my workout DVDs while you’re there!” Sigh. Nevermind.
Bottom line: they are good exercise DVDs. I don’t like them as much as the Inside Out Method. You will sweat and pant and get your heart rate up. If you are looking for variety, pick them up. Skip the kettlebells unless you are properly trained to use them.
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