In the swing of things

tania equipment

Posted on: 6th February, 2017

Category: Sport & Fitness

Contributor: West Cork People

Danish freelance journalist and fitness professional Tania Presutti, who now resides in Clonakilty, delivers a series of efficient DIY fitness exercises you can do at home.

So, how are you? How is your New Year resolution doing 31-plus days after?  If you are amongst those who hold the course steady towards your goal, I commend and applaud you.

Tania headshotChanges are not easy, so if you made it work: Good job.

And now, if you are amongst the majority of people, you are probably struggling to keep the ‘New Year – New Me’ spirit high. Every day life sneaks in, making it hard to stick with the meal plan, coping with the stress without the cigarette, getting to the gym three days a week or sticking with only a couple of drinks at the weekends. I’ll tell you straight up: I feel your pain! I’ve been there; I’ve struggled too, but don’t forget, there’s always a new day. A fresh start.

Are you contemplating giving up on your resolution on a healthier life, due to – yes, your everyday life? Don’t. Make it work, and if you fall in, get back up. Don’t wait till next Monday, next full moon, next year. Start fresh now!

Are you amongst the many who paid many euros for a gym membership you now realise that you can’t/ won’t/ don’t use? Classes are at times your schedule doesn’t accommodate, the instructor is not what you expected or there are too many people using the machines? Reasons are many to quit, but before you do, consider if you could make it to the gym two times a week, instead of three. Try out a different class with a different instructor. Even if you don’t care much for the class, the instructor might just be the right person to inspire you.

What I am trying to say is, keep at your goal. You might have to modify the road to get there, but stick with it. Don’t give up ‘cause there’s a few bumps on the road. It’s easier said than done I know, but it is the truth. Life happens all the time and we create our own little bubble of family, work, home, friends, going-out, habits (good and bad). So create something good for yourself. You will be rewarded in time.

Now one of the questions I’d received went straight to the heart of this column. It read in all shortness: ‘I don’t have time to go to the gym, as there is none near me, but how do I motivate myself to train at home?’ Before my mom-life, I too was a gym-person and even if I did train at home from time to time, I much preferred the gym. The classes are full of other people to train with, there’s loads of equipment and there might be an instructor who can help with certain exercises. But now, my home is my gym and I’ve come to appreciate clearing the floor, putting out my mat, changing clothes, finding my few pieces of equipment and then go the moving, lifting, sweating part. The feeling is the same, whether training is done in the comfort of your house or the gym. After about seven to eight minutes, endorphins start spreading that ’happy mood’ feeling, your heart is pounding faster, breathing is deeper and you’re focused on the task.

So my answer is this. Yes, it is an odd feeling the first time you clear the floor for training, but do it still. You will feel good afterwards. Also don’t think you need tons of equipment to start training at home. A (yoga) mat and a kettlebell or dumbbell is enough. Swiss ball, pull-up bar or elastic bands can also be useful for home training, but the bare necessities are: Space on the floor for the mat and a weight. Put on a good mix from your ipod or laptop, set a timer and get to it. Don’t worry about looking odd there in your living or sitting room. No one is there to see you anyway. Enjoy that your shower is only through the door and fresh clothes are on the rack.

If you are out of ideas for home training and haven’t been following my column, get in touch on the mail, and I will be happy to provide you with excellent home-training exercises. One of my favourite ones is the Kettlebell Swing (and you can also use a dumbbell, though this won’t ’swing’ at the top of the exercise.

This is a fantastic exercise because it trains your whole body: Legs, glutes, back, abs, shoulders and even your grip.

The Kettlebell Swing

First and very IMPORTANT if you haven’t tried the exercise before, don’t start off with a heavy kettlebell or dumbbell. Either practice the movement without a weight, or get a light version to practice with, as weighted exercises needs proper technique: Injuries are more likely to occur with weights. Besides using the instructions here, you can also benefit from getting a friend (who knows how to) to show you, or find a good instruction video on YouTube. (Steve Maxwell is one of the guys who create great videos f.ex).

Warm up your body before starting.

Stand shoulder width (or slightly wider) on one end of your mat, with your toes pointing towards the other end. Make sure the room is empty in front of you in case you drop the weight. (Don’t swing towards your big screen TV or glass table).

Place the Kettlebell slightly in front of you, in the middle between your legs. You should be able to lift the Kettlebell without leaning forward. Simply squat down and keep your back upright. Let your arms hang from this position and lift the Kettlebell up with both hands (remember to lift with your legs, not your back). Start the swing by bending your knees to a 30 – 45 degree angle and hinge your hip. Keep your back and core straight, stick your bum out like you are preparing to sit down, and lean slightly forward with your upper body (to balance the position out). Keep your weight on your feet, not your bum. The Kettlebell is held with both hands in almost straight arms, hands pointing down towards the floor.

To get to the end position, start to straighten your body up, from the knees to your hips, your spine, shoulders and head. Squeeze your glutes, quads and core as you ‘go up’ and let your arms follow your body going up, by lifting them in the same ‘straighten up’ movement. Some people suggest pushing outwards with your hips, to get a better swing. I find this is optional.

Let the kettlebell move out and up from your body, still holding it tight with both hands. This movement by the kettlebell is rather explosive to get the weight up to a horizontal line. At the end or top position your kettlebell should be around shoulder height if your swing is explosive, if not don’t worry, with practice this might change.

At the top your glutes, hamstrings, quads and core are all tight. Your arms are straight (out from your body), but don’t lock out the elbow joints. Let the kettlebell drop down to the start position between your legs, follow it back by bending your knees slightly and hinge your hip.

My recommendation for the Swing (with a light weight) for beginners is three sets of eight to 10 repetitions with a good two-minute break between each set. Perform this two to three days a week, with a day of rest in between. If you are experienced with Kettlebells or training in general, you can adjust your reps and sets as you see fit, but as always, for weighted exercises have your technique correct and take small steps.

I hope you enjoy the February drill. If you have any questions for the Swing, home-training or other fitness- related questions, you’re welcome to write me at:

Latest News Articles:

Schull Garda Station wins ‘Leading Light in Road Safety’ award from Road Safety Authority
Go quackers at the 2018 West Cork Bird Race
Bandon in danger of losing its youth café
Local professionals invited to Anam Cara information pack launch
Bandon Transport and Public Realm Enhancement Plan shortlisted for Irish Planning Awards
Christmas on the beat
Clonakilty town aims to get snowed under with the return of the Clonakilty Christmas Express
On call for Christmas
Have your say in shaping the future of Clonakilty
Dursey Island project passes first phase in Failte Ireland’s Grant Scheme

Join us on Facebook

Visiting restrictions in place at Bantry General Hospital due to Flu Presentations

Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus.

People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
... See MoreSee Less

8th January, 2018  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Cope Foundation's Happy Christmas from Cope Foundation. ... See MoreSee Less

What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
... See MoreSee Less

15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

Jump to: