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The Russian Kettlebell Challenge

The Russian Kettlebell Challenge (paperback) - $34.95
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If you are looking for a supreme edge in your chosen sport--seek no more!

Amazing Success Stories Of Stunning Fat Loss, Maximal Strength Gains And Huge Strides in Conditioning with Kettlebells

Both the Soviet Special Forces and numerous world-champion Soviet Olympic athletes used the ancient Russian Kettlebells as their secret weapon for xtreme fitness. Thanks to the kettlebell's astonishing ability to turbocharge physical performance, these Soviet supermen creamed their opponents time-and-time-again, with inhuman displays of raw power and explosive strength.

Now, former Spetznaz trainer, international fitness author and nationally ranked kettlebell lifter, Pavel Tsatsouline, delivers this secret Soviet weapon into your own hands.

You NEVER have to be second best again! Here is the first-ever complete kettlebell training program for Western shock-attack athletes who refuse to be denied -- and who'd rather be dead than number two.


Dragon Door is the sole U.S. provider of these
exclusive strength and conditioning tools -- modelled on the original, authentic Russian kettlebell.
    • Get really, really nasty -- with a commando's wiry strength, the explosive agility of a tiger and the stamina of aworld-class ironman
    • Own the single best conditioning tool for killer sports like kickboxing, wrestling, and football
    • Watch in amazement as high-rep kettlebells let you hack the fat off your meat -- without the dishonor of aerobics and dieting
    • Kick your fighting system into warp speed with high-rep snatches and clean-and-jerks
    • Develop steel tendons and ligaments -- with a whiplash power to match
    • Effortlessly absorb ballistic shocks -- and laugh as you shrug off the hardest hits your opponent can muster
    • Go ape on your enemies -- with gorilla shoulders and tree-swinging traps

"In-the-know Americans are purchasing ancient Russian fitness equipment, resurrecting old exercise philosophies and obtaining significant gains in cardio conditioning, muscle tone and strength as a result..."

—Marty Gallagher,, Feb, 2003.

AIR CANADA- en Route Magazine
APRIL 2003

By Michel Defoy



In training rooms across the land, from urban fitness centres to basement gyms, strength-training addicts are bulking up with the latest fitness toy: kettlebells. Best described as cannonballs with handles, these steel and epoxy spheres originated in Russia as the muscle-building tool of choice for Red Army soldiers and athletes. Today "KB" workouts, which produce particularly impressive gains in the legs, hips and shoulders, are all the rage in North America. The credit goes to Pavel Tsatsouline, who was a special forces trainer back in the USSR and is now a fitness guru. This Russian Mr. T. has come out with several kettlebell books, along with the requisite videos and Website ( to promote the kettlebell program. As Pavel likes to say, if it's good enough for comrade Ivan, it's good enough for your average North American Joe (or Josephine - lighter versions of kettlebells are also available for women).

From Russia, With Tough Love 

Tuesday, August 27, 2002; Page HE02 

The kettlebell workout is one new fitness trend that has actually been around since the turn of the last century -- in czarist Russia, to be exact. The cast-iron ball with an easy grip -- think a cannonball with a handle -- is a low-tech comer finding new popularity with hard-core lifters and other fitness enthusiasts.

Andrea Rippe, a trainer at the Sport and Health Club in Reston, uses kettlebells herself and with several clients. "I like them because they're so old school; it's a retro-style throwback that really gives you an efficient full-body workout." A few other gyms have shown interest, but for now most individual enthusiasts have to buy the bells on their own through masters like Pavel Tsatsouline.

Tsatsouline -- whose grueling Russian kettlebell workouts have earned him the nickname "The Evil Russian" -- traces the girya, or kettlebell, to strongman competitions in pre-revolutionary Russia. "Kettlebells were used . . . to give that extra edge in strength and endurance training," says Tsatsouline. "Back in czarist times, a strongman or weight lifter was called a girevik, or kettlebell man." More recently, the bells were used in training by Soviet Olympians and members of the Spetznaz, the Soviet equivalent of U.S. Special Forces.

Tsatsouline, a former Spetznaz instructor who now trains SWAT and special police response teams in Texas, New Mexico and Washington state, is the author of "The Russian Kettlebell Challenge: Xtreme Fitness for Hard-Living Comrades" and a one-man kettlebell industry. The Evil One's kettlebell books, videos and kettlebells, as well as training tips and a list of certified trainers, are distributed through the Web site

Kettlebells come in a variety of "poods," an old Russian measure of weight; one pood equals about 16 kilos, or about 35 pounds. Kettlebells designed for women come in quarter-pood and half-pood sizes and sell for $90 to $100. The next size is 1.5 poods, followed by 2- and 2.5-pood models, which cost up to $140.

Many of the exercises that Tsatsouline outlines in his kettlebell books and videos are familiar from conventional weight training: dead lifts (in which you lift a weight from the ground, keeping your back straight and head up), clean-and-jerks (in which you explode up from a squat position) and military presses (in which you press the weight overhead from a seated position). Others, such as the windmill, the one-arm swing and the Turkish "Get-Up!" -- in which you start on your back, holding the bell above you, and slowly get up, still holding the ball above your head -- are not.

"It's the momentum," explains Gunnery Sgt. James A. Coleman, chief instructor at the Marine Corps Martial Arts Center of Excellence at Quantico. "There are more muscles involved in balance and leverage with the kettlebell; you work every muscle just keeping them up."

The 34-year-old career Marine, a powerlifter who has set four U.S. armed forces records, says he has seen a big difference since introducing kettlebells into his training: "Everything has jumped up: my power -- I've increased my squats by 100 pounds -- and my endurance has more than doubled. It's easy to see why they're popular here at the center."

A caveat: Swinging a 53-pound cannonball-shaped weight over your head can be a hazardous proposition. Rippe, who advises novices to consult with a trainer before trying them, uses her own checklist to see if clients are kettlebell-worthy; to qualify, they must be able to perform basic pull-ups and dead lifts, have good core and lower back strength and possess good coordination.

Walt Thompson, a professor of kinesiology and health at Georgia State University in Atlanta and a fellow with the American College of Sports Medicine, advises caution. "I can see the appeal," says Thompson. "But ouch! These weights are clearly for those with a good sense of balance and coordination. Otherwise, I'd advise a helmet. This would take a high level of fitness at the start." 

-- Wendi Kaufman 
" 2002 The Washington Post Company

Some thoughts on Kettlebell (KB) training and Infantry fitness.

"I just finished Annual Training (AT) with the National Guard Light Infantry unit to which I am assigned. We spent 6 days in the field doing Search and Attack missions. Not as long and grueling as most of the field problems we did when I was on active duty, but a pretty good test nonetheless.

Daily movements were dismounted and fairly long. I found I was as tired as usual during movement, but my recovery time was much shorter when we stopped for a break. I "caught my second wind" in about half the time I used to.

When we made contact and began rushing or crawling, my movements were faster than before I started with the KBs. As before, I was able to shorten the time between rushes because my recovery time was quicker. I attribute this to many sets of high rep, one arm snatches. I figured that short bursts of intense activity with short rest periods in between would closely mimic dismounted movement and 3-5 second rushes. Seems I was right.

This led to some problems, as I ran off and left the platoon.

Most interesting was the ability to absorb repeated impacts. The shock absorption effect of KB training was demonstrated when I hit the ground. There was none of the usual jarring and crunching associated with hitting, crawling and rolling. While I had the usual number of bruises, I had no soreness or stiffness, even after 5 nights of sleeping on the ground. (I'm too lazy to carry the sleeping mat.)

After we redeployed and I got home, I grabbed the KB's and started in. I only lost one rep off each set (I usually do 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps) but had no trouble completing my workout. I lost nothing on the one arm snatches, but because we had been wet for so long, my hands had softened so much I couldn't complete the cleans. I had no trouble pulling the weight; I was just shredding my hands. My muscle tone was undiminished, proving Pavel's contention that this muscle is "real" not "virtual," pumped up fluff.

Best of all was grinding a bunch of buffed 20-year-olds into the ground. At 37, I was the third oldest guy in the platoon and am in better shape that I was at 27, on active duty. We really need to keep doing this."

Randy Bartlett, former active duty Army Infantry Officer,
currently employed as an Instructor with Wackenhut Services, Inc.
under contract to a federal agency.
Currently assigned to C Company, 1/153D Infantry. 
Randy is a Master Fitness Trainer and a former SWAT Officer

Party Members Share Amazing Success Stories
Of Stunning Fat Loss, Maximal Strength Gains 
And Huge Strides in Conditioning
From Using-And Loving-Their Russian Kettlebells

A select, lucky few (why am I saying lucky? I mean WISE-AS-ALL-GET-GO) have been secretly building a dramatic physical edge with the aid of Pavel's Russian Kettlebell Challenge. Well, not so secret, because many Party Members were so startled by their gains and so sorry for those still mired in ignorance, they couldn't but help spilling their guts all over Dragon Door's Discussion Site.

On top of that, Pavel really let the cat out of the bag by agreeing to train the U.S. Marines in kettlebells. Next thing I know, there's Pavel on national TV shows like Extra and Fox News with live-footage of him and his Marine buddies hefting KB's at Quantico. And then, to cap it all, Muscle Media puts out a ridiculously fantastic 14-page spread of Pavel, again, terrorizing the Marines with KB's (the kind of terror only a Marine and a Party Member could love).

So much for keeping this thing under wraps for the elite few…the word is terribly out there that Russian kettlebells are going to be the Next Big Thing in 2002. Who am I to try to stem a tidal wave and insist that only card-carrying Members get to be stronger, faster and leaner than all their friends (and enemies)?

But what I can do, is set the record straight and acknowledge those first pioneering Party Members who had the nerve to take the The Russian Kettlebell Challenge when first issued. And who survived and more-than-prospered.

So the Evil One himself, Pavel, has culled our Discussion Site for the first wave of KB stories. We've done our best to leave the stories as pristine-raw-authentic as the original posts. Just put them through spell-check, basically.

Here they are, for your enjoyment and inspiration.

John DuCane

Fantastic Fat Loss with Magical KB's

"I have been training with the KB's and DB's for about 2 months or so. To date, I started at a bodyweight of 220. I stepped on the scale 2 days ago and was at 192. A net loss of 28 pounds. In reality, I have lost about 33 pounds of fat, and put on 5 pounds (at least) of muscle. Give it all you have comrade, the weight will fall off."

ZenTrainer Date/Time 2001-06-20 13:06:13

I added forty pounds to my deadlift in one month

About a month ago I suspended my Westside Barbell method powerlifting workout and went for a month of straight KB workout. I just did the max effort on reg. deadlift and get this folks. I just added forty pounds to my PR on 1RM. My 1RM deadlift went up from 325lb to 365lb. My deadlift technique got a lot more snap in it and more explosive. I noticed the same thing on my squat technique.

If you think that KB workouts are the easiest way to raise your PR on your lifts, think again, KB workouts are tough! But you will get excellent results.

I like to thank Com. Pavel and the party for the results I am getting. I am 6 feet and weight 180 lbs. Lifting twice your body weight is pretty cool eh?"

Craig, Date/Time 2001-10-29 09:47:25

I lost 16 lbs in the last four weeks since I started the KB lifts

" I love KB's! I have lost 16 lbs in the last four weeks since I started the KB lifts. Also, I haven't jogged in 2 weeks and last night I went jogging after my KB workout. At the end of the course that I run there is a big hill. Before KB's I was dying at the beginning of the hill, and a complete goner at the top. Last night I threw the hill aside like a little pink plastic dumbbell!!!"

Gediminai, Date/Time 2001-10-05 16:58:42

Kettlebell results report

"After about 2 weeks of kettlebell training, I've noticed some thickening of the musculature through my neck, traps, shoulders & upper back. My wife has also commented on it, so it's not my imagination. My grip strength has also improved. I've also noticed that my pants feel a little looser in the waist. All this from only training 3 days per week!"

Ginko Date/Time 2001-06-02 14:03:05

Incredible gains in energy, strength, explosiveness, power, speed, overall coordination, balance, flexibility

"After 6 months, at age 68, I have experienced incredible gains in energy, strength, explosiveness, power, speed, overall coordination, balance, flexibility, joint mobility, restoration of all ranges of motion, ability to do difficult body weight exercises, dramatic increase in overall endurance, posture, correction of lower back weakness, completion of the repair of a very serious shoulder injury from 6 years ago and far better muscle definition than ever in my entire life. From a typical aging old codger to being able to keep up with some of the best young whipper snappers. All from a funny looking iron ball with a big fat handle introduced by some evil dude from Russia!

All I can say is that if you want a wild ride just put aside anything you know about training the human body, get one, and follow the directions."

Andy68 Date/Time 2001-11-20 10:25:53

Read Reviews For: The Russian Kettlebell Challenge (paperback)
9.13 out of 10 (16 reviews)
Rated 10/10 The book that started all.
By Tom Gelveles PT / Brightwaters, NY

This is a fantastic book that offers a brief history, use of, and the exercises involved with the kettlebell. I started with ENTER THE KETTLEBELL to be instructed in the mechanics, and bought THE RUSSIAN KETTLEBELL CHALLENGE to experience the broader use of the kettlebell.
I have many years experience in weight training but with just six weeks of practising with the kettlebell my body composition has radically changed. The workouts are gruelling and more satisfying then the traditional barbell exercises. The engagement of the nervous system is incredible, it allows for the use of heavy resistence with PNF principles. In a word the workouts are three dimensional, awesome.

Rated 10/10 If you want hard core it's HERE in RUSSIAN KETTLEBELL CHALLENGE !!!!!
By I am 69 years old and loving life. / Freeburg,ILLinos,62243

Well,what can I say, this is my second copy of the book. I wore the first one out from using it so much. Now,if you really want hard core
training do the workouts in this book and you will have it,HARDCORE!!!!
I hear people complaining about the Windmill,Bentpress, and the other
exercises in this book,WHY!!! these are the ones that give the core strength we all are working so hard to find,Soooooooooo, stop
complaining and get to work on all of the basics and you will find what
you are looking for!!!!!!! OH,and the hard bodies that all of the old
time strength MEN had back in the 1930's had. I want to say one more thing,these will get you to the poetry of the TURKISH GET UP faster
than anything you can do!!!!!!!!! SO BALLS TO THE WALL,and it will

William J.Jones

Rated 10/10 I made the mistake of lending out my original...
By Brett Jones, Master RKC / Pittsburgh, PA, USA

I made the mistake of lending out my original copy of the RKC book and purchased it a second time. (might be third time since I "lend" books a good deal)
This is the book that started it all and resulted in me attending the second ever RKC in 2002 so all I can say is that if you serious about kettle bells and do not have this book then you are missing out.
After 10 years as an RKC this is still my one of my favorite resources.

Rated 10/10 Mutant Stamina and Endurance Guaranteed!
By Rob / Battle Creek, MI

After having great success using Power To The People to boost my strength, I thought I'd give the Russian Kettlebell Challenge a try. I read where others had great results trimming fat while using this simple tool.

I asked for and received my first kettlebell Christmas, 2003. Over the next 6 months I trained with kettlebells exclusively. I lost 25 lbs. of body weight, going from 250 to 225. But, that's just a small piece of the story. My body fat percentage has dropped from over 30% down to 17% during the same time period. 13 percentage points averages out to almost 2% bodyfat drop per month. Those who can do the math realize I lost more fat than body weight! Some of that fat was being replaced new muscle. My resting heart rate is down from 72 bpm to 66. My ability to keep up with my sons when doing physical task has increased tremendously. Things I struggled with last summer are a breeze to me now. I purchased two more bells just a couple months ago. I'll probably ask for a couple more this Christmas. Kettlebells have changed how I train for endurance, stamina and fat loss. Pavel has changed how I'll train for the rest of my life!

Rated 10/10 You say you want a revolution, here it is

In 25 years of training, I've used free weights, Nautilus, Cybex and all the rest of the machines. And I've studied all the books and tried all the protocols: high rep, low rep, multi-joint, isolation, circuit and interval.
Simply put, kettlebells and Pavel's book demolish all the other hardware and protocols. Yes, Pavel's ideas seem shocking, and the hardware seems too simple, and that's exactly the point. Using only two drills that Pavel details in RKC, my body has been revolutionized: I'm stronger and leaner at 44 than I've ever been, and there's no end in sight. The book is smart, inspiring and fun, and most importantly it delivers on all its promises.

Rated 10/10 The definitive Kettlebell Lifting Reference
By Mark Hancheroff / Redmond, WA

I picked up this book as a biginning Kettlebell Lifter so I could understand a greater variety oflifts, even though I didn't polan to usethem yet. It has a fantastic trove of lifts, from siompleo complex, and is invaluable when trying to understand what more advanced lifters are discussing. The section of Siviet workout programs is fasicnating, and worth the price itself. Thanks! Another great DragonDoor Book.

Rated 10/10 Amazing strength and athletic ability, all in a magic iron pill
By Brian C / Providence RI

I love when pencil necks wince as their soft little palm gets crushed by my calloused vice grip. I look em dead in the eye because I earned that shake, kettlebell style.

This book gave me an execellent introduction to the kettlebell. I would highly reccommend this book. I would also asap purchase Power to the People.

These two texts contain all you really need to get strong, to tell the truth even one or the other will do, but both is better. I say about 6 week cycles between the two is really productive.

If you are not using kettlebells you are wasting your training time and losing out on a still somewhat secret weapon. Now go get strong, or go away.

By Paul S. / Garden City, NY USA

I started training with kettleblls at the age of fourteen with a 12 kilo for about 6 months. Pavels great techniques helped me to acheive muscle mass increase, my strenght went trhough the roof, and my endurace is amazing. Everyone from my school wanted to know my secret, and i told them simply kettlebells. They looked at me like i was crazy. After i started to get really strong for my 15th birthday i decided to get two 20 kilo kettlebells. I got tottaly whipped out the first few workouts. However, after a couple of months of training my strenght increased by at least 70 percent and my muscle mass inreased as well. Now everyone fears me and my potential, and takes me as a threat in sporting competitions. My new knickname has become girevik and the BEAST all thanks to Pavels book and Kettlebells. I am curently training to become an elite in the sport of wrestling, and shot put in my school. Standing at 6 foot 2 inches weighing 200 pounds i have become already an elite in fitness within my family thanks to kettlebells and Pavels ideas. I'm thinking of taking up Power to the People, and i already am using the Naked Warrior and Bullet Proof Abs. Simply this is Pavels Best work yet, THANKS AGAIN!!!!

Rated 10/10 As a Personal Trainer, I prefer kettlebells
By Frank DiMeo / Sarasota, Florida United States

As a Personal trainer, I have access to two "fully-equipped" fitness centers to for my own training, at no charge, and don't use either one any more.
Here's the point, I find kettlebells superior to anything I find in those gyms for what I want to accomplish. That is not to knock those facilities, I just want a more functionally-balanced program.
I am 53 years old, and train six days a week with kettlebells.
My wife, also a Personal Trainer, and a medical professional finds kettlebells superior for her training. She trains four times a week with them.
This is the best equipment and training strategy I've seen, period!

Rated 9/10 I like the enthusiasm and easy instructions to follow exercises.
By Mike Hubbs / Alexandria, Virginia

I have worked out for years. I am 51 and in relatively good shape. I think this will get me to the next level in fitness.

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9.12 out of 10 (16 reviews)