“We'd be totally exhausted and the Russians wouldn't even be catching their breath.” says...[a] Secret Service agent..."It turned out they were all working with kettlebells.”
So says the website for Elite Kettlebell Gym, which made me even more excited to try it. There's nothing like an old-fashioned Cold War rivalry to invigorate your workout.
I showed up feeling all-Boris-and-Natasha-"Moose-and-Squirrel-must-be-destroyed" at the invitation of my friend Horace Long, who is the only the second Horace I know, the first being an eighty-year-old accordion player. Horace is an amazing photographer who took all these arty photos of kettlebells, which is why he's become a convert to an old-fashioned Cold War workout.
Sidenote: One of the reasons I heart Horace is because his name reminds me of the Egyptian god Horus as well as whores, both of which are positive associations as far as I'm concerned. And I especially heart him because he's only the second Horace I know. You see, I recently went through my address book and discovered I knew 67 Davids or Daves. Which I why I'm retiring the whole first-name basis thing. From now on, I'm calling everyone Mister or Ms and their surname. Because surnames are more memorable and I have to declare name bankruptcy when it comes to all the Johns, Daves, Mikes and Steves. Not to mention a world full of Gen X Jennifers.
Okay, back to the kettlebells, which I insist on calling kyettlebyells because it made me feel more KGB. These things started life as counterweights on Soviet farms. At some point people started tossing them around and a work-out was born, along with wholesome activities like bench-pressing logs and swinging from the rafters, just like Rocky did in Rocky IV when he took on the evil-scientifically enhanced Dolph Lundgren, even though apparently Sylvester Stallone was taking steroids just like everyone else.
(I swear, there was supposed to be a period in that last sentence somewhere.)
The Elite Kettlebell Gym, the first of its kind in Oregon, continues the Soviet farm theme with all kinds of similar low-tech activities.
Here's owner Michael Skogg power-lifting an actual log:
And tossing big tire around. (It's important to lose definite articles when doing Russian workout.)
One peek at Michael's arms and you can see how well this works. He looks like a pumped up Vladimir Putin. But he's not a brutal dictator. Indeed, he was super patient with a girly man such as myself.