Take a Look Inside Spring Garden’s Sleek New Kettlebell Gym
Plus, what to expect in your first class at KTL.
We’re calling it now: Kettlebells are going to be big in 2019. And sure, yes, kettlebells are by no means a new fitness instrument, and even in Philly, we’ve had Katie Gould’s amazing kettlebell classes and Precision Kettlebells for years. But recently, we’ve seen kettlebells get a fresh new look, and we’re excited about where things are headed.
While to most people, kettlebells may be that heavy thing you use as a doorstop or that decade-old hunk of metal gathering rust in your basement, kettlebells are starting to get the same update that SoulCycle gave to spin bikes. In other words, kettlebells are, well, cool now?
As proof, there’s the shiny new boutique gym, KTL, which is located in Spring Garden and opened this week. Inside the minimalistic space, there’s green turf, a natural wood wall, a gold kettlebell mural, and lots and lots of kettlebells. And that’s it.
Earlier this week, I stopped by to try out a class and see what all this kettlebell hype is about. The class started with a 15-minute warm-up, beginning with some foam rolling on our legs and glutes. After, we moved into rounds of exercises to get our blood pumping and wake up our muscles, like planks with shoulder taps.
Next, we shifted into a 15-minute strength circuit. For this, we did one-arm presses with a kettlebell, followed by holding a yoga “cat” pose with our knees hovering above the ground (and yes, I felt that in my abs).
KTL divides up members based on experience — there are white bells, black bells, and gold bells, similar to a martial arts belt system — and requires that you test to show proficiency before you can move up a level. So while the “white bells” were doing the cat hold, the “black bells” were doing the cat hold with alternating shoulder taps.
The workout finished with 15 minutes of conditioning — rounds of pushups, followed by half Turkish get-ups, which involve moving fluidly into a seated position, while holding a kettlebell overhead. While the Turkish get-ups require keeping to a very strict form — no one wants a 26.5-pound kettlebell dropping on their faces, right? — the good news is that the small class size allowed for the KTL trainers to keep an eagle eye on us, gently prompting tweaks here and there to make sure we were lifting the weights safely and efficiently.
While all this sounds simple enough — and it is, which is kind of the beauty of kettlebells — you’d better believe I was sweaty, shaky, and sore by the end of the class. While this first session was more about the education than killing myself with weights, I can imagine that as you learn to adopt the proper form, you’d be able to see some serious improvement in your kettlebell use and overall strength.
KTL is located at 1822 Spring Garden Street (entrance on 19th Street).