Finding the Fun in Cross-Training! Part 5: Kosama (HIIT- & Kettlebell-based fitness)

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Kosama is a new(er) group fitness movement that is built around using high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and kettlebell training to boost cardiovascular fitness and strength. It guarantees results in 8 weeks if the prescribed plan is followed. By guarantee, they mean they “will give you your money back” if you don’t see results. Of course, there is the stipulation of having to attend at least three classes a week, so it does require dedication! After testing out the Kosama method in recent weeks, I have found that it is a great addition to any running workout.

The Kosama Legend

On Kosama’s homepage they give a brief description of their “legend.” It brings to light an ancient culture that did different exercises every day, including rolling stones, jumping, and punching bags of sand. “Boulder pushing was just one part of their physical journey to reach what they called Kosama — a complete transformation of body and mind.”

Kosama Legend

On to the Fitness:
I’ve been to classes for the past two weeks. I love them and I hate them. I love the workout, I hate being sore. Kosama is based around fitness that doesn’t require any fancy machines. We use boxing gloves/bags, yoga mats, and kettlebells.

Just like in the legend, there are different classes everyday: kettlebells, plyometrics, kickboxing, upper/lower body (which is kettlebells in a slightly different form), circuits (which incorporates a little bit of everything) and Chaos. It alternates every week.
I have not experienced Chaos yet, but I think it is going to be high-intensity interval training. HIIT has gained popularity in the past few years and honestly sounds too good to be true. Burning tons of calories while only doing a few minutes of incredibly intense activity. Wikipedia defines HIIT as “an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 9–20 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning.”

HIIT is incorporated into almost every workout. There are minute long exercises followed by 15 second breaks.

While having an instructor yelling encouragement, pacing (with the help of a t.v. screen counting down intervals and displaying the next move) and providing tips for technique is nice, I think the workouts, once learned, could be done at home.


At first I had issues with the kettlebells. I had only used traditional weights and was unsure how to handle the kettlebells. Kosama bases most of the kettlebell exercises on the squat position. Coming up out of the squat gives the kettlebell enough momentum to rotate in your hand, and, if you do the exercise correctly, can slow it enough so as to NOT break your wrist. There are several ways to hold a kettlebell. Generally, if you are holding it with one hand, you hold the handle. If you are holding it with two hands, you hold it from the bottom. has a great library of kettle bell exercises that can be found here.

Incorporated into the kettlebell workout are cardio exercises to increase  heart rate. The most used of these exercises are jumping jacks, mountain climbers, high-fives (jumping up with your hands in the air, like you are high-fiving), skaters, 4-way jacks, plank jacks (in plank position, moving feet in and out), sprinting, in/outs (jumping jacks without the arms), Marios (leg up and opposite arm up jump, like Mario), burpies and booty kicks.

All in all, the kettlebell work out give you strength and definition while the cardio in between sets keeps your heart rate up for more calorie burning. It is a great way to change-up your training and keep your exercise routine interesting.