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Russian National Junior Team swimmer and former dancer moves to England — and discovers the shape-changing power and strength-generating benefits of the kettlebell

January 18, 2011 09:42 AM

Svetlana Writtle. The shape-changing power and strength-generating benefits of Russian Kettlebell Strength Training

Dragon Door: Tell me how you got into athletics, and what your achievements have been.

Svetlana Writtle: It started when I was six years old, in Russia. I tried lots of different sports, but I ended up swimming. I swam for about 16 years. From there I had about three years on the National Junior Team.

I mastered the sport of swimming. I did Freestyle and Butterfly, my favorite strokes. I eventually gave up swimming, and because my big passion was dancing, I went into dancing. I did it for more than three years.

D.D.: Professionally?

S.W.: Sort of. It was a theatre, but it was more like pantomime mixed with modern ballet. Later, I wanted to become an aerobic instructor and teach gym exercises. After swimming, my posture wasn't right; a lot of things weren't right.

D.D.: From swimming?

S.W.: Yes, from swimming. All swimmers are very slouchy. When I learned dancing skills, I had a very good teacher who helped me to straighten up. Later I began teaching dance to children and I started to teach some aerobics at the same time. I got qualified as an aerobic instructor in Russia. I also have two university degrees: Electrical Engineering and Physical Education.

By the age of 23 I left my country and went to Switzerland, to learn the language and teach there. I spent about five years teaching aerobics, doing gym routines, coaching and training swimmers. I did some personal training as well. I worked for a Swiss-American family, and tried to learn some English.

Soon after that, I moved to London and within a year I completed the YMCA Personal Trainer Award. It has eight different qualifications including nutrition, sports conditioning, client appraisal and gym training level three. It was very interesting. I did a core stability course as well.

I started to work as a personal trainer in London and I have been doing that for the past 4 years. I was self-employed, but recently I found a job in one of the sport clubs in London. I like to train different people, see how they progress, encourage and motivate them. I enjoy building up appropriate programs for each individual.

I like to keep my knowledge up to date and get to know new things in the training industry?it’s very important if you want to succeed. I’m getting good experience at Holmes Place, where I now work, and some new knowledge of fitness training. They do put you through some tests, so it’s good to refresh your memory from previous experience.

D.D.: It gives you a base.

S.W.: Yes, it does. Then about six months ago, I heard from a friend of mine that such a thing as a Russian kettlebell exists and you can use it as a part of your fitness training. Being Russian myself and a fitness-addicted person, I was very interested, of course.

Svetlana Writtle discusses the strength-generating benefits of Russian Kettlebell Strength Training
Svetlana Writtle on The shape-changing power and other benefits of Russian Kettlebell Strength Training

D.D.: So it was through a friend that you learned about kettlebells?

S.W.: Yes. This person lived in America for a while and trained with a kettlebell instructor. He was very happy about his achievements, saying that his body shape had changed a lot. He came back with remarkable faith, and his general state of health has improved greatly. This was great and I became very interested. I went back home and searched on the web to find a Russian kettlebell site. I emailed Dragon Door first and Dennis Armstrong replied back to me.

D.D.: How do kettlebells compare to the other kinds of strength training and conditioning you’ve done? What is special about them?

S.W.: Well first of all, they’re different. Secondly, it doesn't take much space to keep KBs. Thirdly, it’s more fun to work out with the kettlebells than with weights (as you do get bored sometimes), and you see greater results.

Dennis [Armstrong' said that you have English RKC instructors. I found their addresses on the Dragon Door website. I found Jonathan Lewis, who was closest to me. I called him and asked to meet him, and we had a talk and he showed me a few things with the kettlebells. I loved it. I think that a big future lies in them, and lots of people would be interested to train with kettlebells.

My body shape changed, endurance increased, I gained muscle mass and I like the way I look now. So I am very happy about it. Kettlebells give you an enormous amount of energy. I don't feel tired after training, I feel different. We did a session yesterday and you’re supposed to be exhausted, but for some reason I felt like I was flying.

D.D.: Excellent! So what are you hoping to do with this in England?

S.W.: Hopefully this will help me to develop as a kettlebell instructor in London. And I definitely want to concentrate on kettlebell training. I think that I can be a role model for Russian kettlebells as I’m Russian myself. Why not?

D.D.: As a woman, do you see kettlebellss having anything to offer specifically to females?

S.W.: Oh, yeah! Definitely! I think the problem for women normally lies below their stomachs. Stomach, legs and bottom. Exercises with kettlebells cover all these three parts and by doing these exercises myself, I know how quick you can get the results.

D.D.: So you get more defined glutes…

S.W.: Yes, yes, and then your stomach will go. You don’t have to do special exercises, like crunches, to wear it away. I think that perhaps now I’m stronger than I have ever been. That’s a fantastic thing.

D.D.: Great! What’s your experience been here at the RKC certification?

S.W.: I was looking forward to it when I was in England. I had such a wonderful feeling that it was going to be great! I am so glad that I flew nine hours to be here. I am happy! [Laughter'

Svetlana Writtle talks about the benefits of Russian Kettlebell Strength Training

Svetlana Writtle lives in London, England. To arrange to train kettlebells with Svetlana contact her at