Zar Horton, a twenty-three year veteran of the Albuquerque Fire Department, and his team of fitness specialists have brought Russian Kettlebell training to denizens of the Duke City. Working out of their studio aptly named Firebellz, Horton and crew put elite athletes and everyday folks through the paces of efficient, functional workouts by way of the kettlebell.
The earliest recorded mention of the Russian Kettlebell dates back to the turn of the eighteenth century, when they were used as a training tool for Russian Armed Forces. It wasn’t until 1998 when Pavel Tsatsouline, a Russian Special Forces Instructor, brought the Kettlebell to the attention of the American public that its popularity took off.
Regarded as the “Modern King of Kettlebells” Tsatsouline developed a Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) program that requires years of dedication and is granted only to those who can master its numerous exercises and techniques. It also become especially popular for women’s boxing.
Zar Horton first met Pavel in 2000 and instantly became enamored with Kettlebell training. After four years of intensive training and study Zar became RKC certified, initially incorporating the kettlebells into his training programs at the Fire Department. Zar is now a Senior Level RKC instructor and offers kettlebell training to the public at the Firebellz studio. Some of his better known clients include UFC veterans Keith Jardine and Clay Guida as well as Major League baseball player Kyle Blanks. On the day I visited Zar was putting Team Jackson’s MMA fighter Clint Roberts through a rigorous session.
“Kettlebells develop functional strength, they utilize the body’s entire musculature throughout the movements,” Zar explained. “Because the Kettlebell hangs to the side it creates an odd load which promotes core strength and balance improving ground force transfer, the ability to generate power from the ground up, through the hips and shoulders to the implement: a bat, racket, club or in the case of fighters a punch. The thickness of the handle increases grip strength. Of course you don’t have to be an athlete; kettlebell training can help anyone improve strength, flexibility and endurance.”
If you’re interested in learning more about kettlebell training check out the Firebellz website at www.fire-bellz.com or pay them a visit at 6203 Osuna NE. Also, catch Zar in action July 30th at the inaugural Southwest Combat Sports Expo at the Santa Ana Star Center where he’ll perform two Kettlebell demonstrations. For more on the Expo check out www.combatsportsclub.com.