Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS

-Wanna Learn Kettlebells? Don’t Watch Jillian!-


Swings a'la drop down into a squat!

Swings a'la drop down into a squat!

Okay, so last night, I was furiously working away on my laptop…and i’d migrated to the couch to “wind down,” as I try so hard to do these days.  I had eaten a yummy dinner of grilled salmon and a stuffed potato (hey, this girl can get away with it, lol) while i’d begun watching Tuesday night’s episode of “The Biggest Loser,” which i’d DVR’ed.  Problem with working in front of the TV is that I don’t watch the TV.  I can’t focus on it.  I love DVRing shows b/c I can fast forward thru the commercials and I feel it’s a more efficient way to watch the boob tube!  Anyhow, roughly three quarters of the way through the episode, I see “Trainer Tips” flash up on the screen and I pay attention.  I always crack up at the “Trainer Tips” because most of the time, they are the most obvious, “not rocket science” tips…and there’s either Bob or Jillian up there reading a scripted dialogue and getting paid who knows how much to do so.  I really think it’s funny when they “pitch” products, too, but that’s another post altogether.  

This is a Jillian clean...she has no rack!

This is a Jillian clean...she has no rack!

So, I see that Ms. Michaels is dangling a blue TEN POUND kettlebell from her right hand, and is talking about how great kettlebells are for fat loss, etc.  Then it cuts to a few reps of her doing swings.  My jaw hit the floor.  First off, she dropped down into a squat and performed a funky overhead swing!  For lack of a better term, my brain was saying “WTF?!” as I watched in shock/amusement.  Then she goes on to do a clean & press, and oh…my…goodness.  Her “clean” was a weird around and over the shoulder flopping motion, and she apparently has no clue what she’s doing.  Jillian Michaels has no rack!  

What’s even better is the fact that I was discussing this with two of my clients this morning, who had also watched the show.  Both made remarks regarding how horrible her form was, and one said she was thinking, “Sarah doesn’t do swings like that!” LOL!  Priceless.  My clients know how to swing a kettlebell better than Jillian Michaels!  Move over, Jillian, because you may have little ol’ me vying for your glorious position on the show…okay, just kidding, folks!  I don’t want that job!

Sloppy overhead pressing form...note the break in the wrist!

Sloppy overhead pressing form...note the break in the wrist!

So, who knows how many viewers saw this and are now picking up 10-pound kettlebells and flinging them around ferociously.


Flinging them around ferociously…say that ten times fast! ;D


47 responses

  1. Carl

    I also saw this segment and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I just knew the fitness blogs would go crazy!

    April 9, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    • I was appalled! Yikes!

      I’m not an RKC or CKT, and I have no problem saying that. I do know that I am a stickler for making sure I can do exercises properly and safely MYSELF…regardless of if I have a client perform them down the road. I have learned a great deal about kettlebell training, and I know there are probably people out there who see me and my blog and my vids and think “oh, well, she’s not an RKC, so she really has no idea what she’s doing.” LOL! To them I say, “if that makes you feel better!” I have put in a great deal of time and effort into my own kettlebell practice, and I may get certified eventually, who knows. Right now, it’s really not a necessity for my business.

      I feel I know a heck of a lot more about kettlebells than a lot of trainers out there. Obviously, lol, I know a heck of a lot more than Jillian does! I wonder how much she got paid for that little segment of improper instruction? How embarrassing for her! I wonder if she even realizes?

      April 9, 2009 at 2:20 pm

  2. Debbie

    Oh Sarah, I just shook my head at that last night. I watch that show on mute because of all the complaining and I know most of the drama is for ratings but zillions of people watch and her form is just so wrong. I looked up at the TV as Jillian was hurling the bell above her head (WT?) was my same reaction.

    Well I could go on and on, but bottom line is thank goodness for people like you who care to take the time to post correct info and videos that are accessible. I love my AOS DVDs but appreciate good tips. I did your 4 min KB circuit yesterday and still struggling to move beyond 8 kilo bells. I only have one kettlebell buddy but whoa, 2 extra kilos is such a challenge! I work at it daily though. Thanks Sarah!

    April 9, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    • You rock, Debbie!
      All I gotta say is it’s much easier to make money the cheesy way than to do so with integrity. I wouldn’t be caught dead being on TV having my clients do the crap those contestants do. I was shocked watching Bob have Sione (I think) do pushups with his hands on the BOSU (or a ball, can’t remember now) and then he picked up his feet in a “human wheelbarrow” position, and had him keep going…all the while, Sione’s low back was sagging BIG time and his shoulder blades were retracted…bad stuff…and I believe that Bob is genuinely a good person…he has a good heart. Usually it’s Jillian who’s clients are doing stuff with bad form…okay, so a while back I had a major issue watching Bob have each of his then-very-obese clients do box jumps…seeing who could jump onto the highest box…I was thinking “WHY?” Why have these morbidly obese, sedentary people doing plyometrics as much as the show shows? I don’t get it at all. That and the fact that Jillian must be part-monkey b/c she seems to love climbing on her clients. It’s all for show, I guess?

      PS – the kettlebell buddy rocks! I lent (loaned?) mine to a friend so she can bump up her 4 kilo baby kettlebell…before anyone laughs about the 4kilo bell, know that this particular client/friend has Fibromyalgia and we’re taking baby steps to get her to the 8 kilo…she has improved leaps and bounds since we started training in October! Most of our work is done long-distance! Yet another success story and proof that there is NO excuse, people!

      April 9, 2009 at 2:33 pm

  3. Carl

    Sarah – Your reply reminded me of the segment when Bob was having Sione do a bird dog while balancing on a stability ball. I couldn’t believe my eyes! What a sure-fire way to get a client injured. When will people stop using unstable surface training as a circus act?

    April 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    • AMEN, Carl! My clients and I were re-enacting that this morning! I actually attempted to do it…unsuccessfully! I have never and will never have a client do that kinda stuff. Standing on a ball is even worse. I just don’t get it. You know they threw that segment in there to have viewers go “ooh” and “aah” over it. A long time ago on here I made a post that features a ridiculous vid of this dude doing all sorts of exercises while standing on a ball…I think I called it “Core Training? More Like Circus Training!” or something like that. I could go on and on about this kinda crap!

      April 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm

  4. Paul

    Most of the fitness related infomercials/shows I catch on TV (those rare times I flick the tube on) pander to the problem they are trying to save: laziness. Now, I am not saying you cannot have an exercise that is time efficient and brings results: my thoughts are that hard work is what is needed, but you cannot sell that. If they could invent a magic machine or pill — and they do claim to have developed both — we would see a society that is far more physically fit. Most of the knowledge I have learned about fitness is through experimentation, reading, and watching videos online. Fitness is a perpetual action which to me is enhanced by an ever developing library of knowledge that I collect. I guess a quick way to reduce the previous lengthy reply is that I value the work I put into researching and executing my fitness plans making it more worthwhile than buying some plastic crap for three easy installments of 19.95.

    April 10, 2009 at 11:02 am

    • Paul-

      I couldn’t have said it better myself! That was awesome! 🙂
      We seem to live in a society that encourages laziness…and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better! I’m doing my best to promote a work ethic, because as you know, hard work = results! I think people want to believe there is a “magic solution”, so they buy the pills and gadgets, when in reality, what works is the plain and simple stuff…no fancy exercise machines and expensive diet food. People need to wisen up!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      April 10, 2009 at 11:16 am

  5. oh Sarah…you crack me up:) But right on…
    you gotta post this on the FB IC forum..
    Thank you for all

    April 10, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    • Hey G!

      Hehehehe! I’m here to entertain and enlighten! 🙂
      I will definitely post about this over on the forum!
      I was planning on an afternoon of WORK and getting online…but alas, i’m off to a crawfish boil, so looks like no work today…all play! I could use a day off!
      Also, I need to email you a few workouts for Sure Results 2. For those of you who don’t know what i’m talking about, Sure Results is an awesome BIG book of bootcamp workouts! So, if you’re looking for ideas for your bootcamp, it’s a must!

      You rock!

      April 11, 2009 at 10:20 am

  6. Mark

    Hi Sarah…

    Found this site because the vid you posted was crossposted into another article on There’s a discussion going on there about the kettlebell fiasco and her most awesome new book (sarcasm) Master Your Metabolism.

    Jon Fass made this post in the thread, and I thought it was pretty damn funny…..

    “I wonder when she’ll get around to writing books about Russian history, astrophysics, Ancient Greek philosophers, or the social behaviors of wolves…I mean, why is she limiting her writing to crap that she doesn’t know or understand about in exercise & nutrition, when there’s an entire world of crap that she doesn’t understand out there to make money off of! ”


    April 10, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    • Hey Mark!

      OMG! I LOVE IT! That is priceless stuff! I’m gonna go check out tomorrow…when i’m back in “work mode!” Sounds like a place I would like! 🙂

      Now I wanna go buy her book so I can give my “review” of it…not a bad idea! People seem to think she knows everything, and that’s pretty scary! It’s the blind leading the blind!

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Yours in Health,

      April 11, 2009 at 10:35 am

      • Mark

        FLzine is pretty cool. It’s a new site started by Leigh Peele, who wrote The Fat Loss Troubleshoot and The Metabolic Repair Manual, and a few other articles, etc. As she put it, she wants the site to be a combo of The Onion meets Mental Floss meets Spin meets The Colbert Report, but all with a fitness and nutrition theme. She wants it to be kind of an indie style underground fitness site that entertains, but also educates. Overall, kind of a neat idea.

        April 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm

        • That IS a cool idea! I’ll be there for sure! 🙂

          April 12, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson

      LMAO!! If you read her twitter feed, she still has to create and market her own protein bars, cosmetics/skin care line and electrolyte replacement drink, on top of just finishing her new book. I am not sure what it is about, but it could be Russian History…

      October 25, 2009 at 8:43 pm

      • I have the feeling that she’s sensing her time in the limelight is coming to an end! 🙂 She’s reaching for any and every type of opportunity with which to pimp herself out!

        October 27, 2009 at 8:49 am

  7. You know, I wish that something would be done about this. She is CONSTANTLY doing dangerous/wrong/unsafe things on that show. I’m a Spinning instructor and I’m appalled at what she makes the participants do on the Spin bikes.

    Very aggrivating for us to always have to explain why what is on tv is not correct.

    April 11, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    • Kala-
      Yes, yes, yes!
      It’s like she feels the need to put her “own” slant on Spinning, and there’s simply no need for it…especially b/c the stuff she does on those bikes is really bad!
      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      April 12, 2009 at 3:23 pm

  8. that looked quite painful

    April 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    • Painful to watch, too, huh? 🙂

      April 12, 2009 at 3:23 pm

  9. Giz

    Sarah, I know zip about kettlebells. What’s the best resource?

    April 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm

  10. Giz

    Thanks, Sarah! As soon as I get a chance to go through the site I’ll let you know…

    April 13, 2009 at 6:13 pm

  11. Pingback: Jillian Michaels Butchers a Kettlebell Exercise Demonstration « Fitness Insights by Jamie Atlas

  12. Shana

    Thanks again for posting this helpful information….

    I was on my way to buy an Ab Circle to help tone my lower abs…. 🙂

    Its sad and frustrating to see so many people making a butt load of money off mis-information…there are so many people out there who are searching for good, correct information and they aren’t getting it. Jillian and Bob have an awesome opportunity to really help the masses by giving them practical and truly helpful fitness and nutrition tips…instead they are there to sell items and teach incorrect exercise technique, but look cool while doing it….

    As I say to my students in class….”use your power for good and not evil”….Jillian and Bob need to take that advice and use their popularity to really make their break away segments helpful and worthwhile!!

    September 23, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    • Hey Shana!
      You are welcome, and thank you! 🙂
      LOL! Ahhh…the Ab Circle…I should do a post on that gadget!
      Sometimes I feel like our industry is riddled with fraud…and people want to maintain this because it’s a means to an end…as if the general public will all of a sudden begin to know everything, and not need the fitness industry anymore…I dunno…part of me feels ashamed that the industry I hold so dear can be so bogus.
      I like your quote! It’s so true! Using our power for good would mean putting out info that actually HELPS people…while using it for evil would mean jumping on a bandwagon for the sake of making more $. Being in a position of power is not something most people can do with integrity.
      I can’t think of any true professionals who would WANT to work on that show. I think about what would happen if I was in Jillian’s position…and I seriously feel i’d be fired on day one!
      Yours in Health,

      September 26, 2009 at 3:12 pm

      • YouAreNotAFitPerson

        lol, yes you would be fired the first time you said, ‘climb up on my client and yell at them while I am doing it, I’d rather not…’.
        It is shocking the people who are trying to make money off of unfit people. It makes me sick. I have written a couple of things about the Ab Circle Pro and Jennifer Nicole Lee here and here
        I think it would be awesome to see some more articles about what a piece of crap the ab circle pro is. I think is is very important that those of us who are so ashamed about the fraudulent behaviors in this industry speak up.

        October 25, 2009 at 8:35 pm

        • Hola Mark!!!
          I’m gonna check out your posts right now!!!!! The Ab Circle cracks me up, and so does that damn “Shake Weight”…ridiculous crap!
          I agree with you. Until more of us speak up, the market is gonna continue to be flooded with crappy, fraudulent products and people. Consumers simply aren’t educated and they want results NOW, therefore these sleazebags are able to capitalize on this. It’s definitely a soapbox subject for me, and I have no problem with doing what I can to expose how shady and fraudulent the fitness/diet industry can be.
          Thanks for being a whistleblower!
          Yours in Health,

          October 27, 2009 at 8:52 am

  13. Pingback: Video: Massive Kettlebell Fail By Jillian Michaels on The Biggest Loser |

  14. Wow, Sarah, I’m amazed by your post. I don’t watch TBL anymore – I tried to sit through an episode and couldn’t stand it – but the more knowledgeable I became about fitness, the angrier I became about TBL… and the more I realized the show was screwing with my ability to understand and appreciate the developments I was making in my OWN growth and health.

    I’m not surprised by the complaints about her form, though… I decided a while back that she was a sell out – how do you do a show where you’re “making” contestants bust their asses, but then hock SUPPLEMENTS (?!) on FitTV?


    October 29, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    • Erika,

      Great comments!!!!! 🙂
      I’ll give TBL this: the show IS doing something in that it’s encouraging people to be healthier. With that being said, it all goes downhill from there. The methods utilized are simply ridiculous and the general public has no idea that they are completely bogus for the average person. The general public just sees these contestants on the show, without realizing that the exercises/methods utilized are at many times inappropriate for a morbidly obese person. Thank you for taking the time to speak your mind!

      Yours in Health,

      PS – don’t even get me started on Jillian’s “snake oil” pills…ugh.

      October 31, 2009 at 8:08 am

      • YouAreNotAFitPerson

        Lol Sarah, yes don’t even get started on the snake oil pills… You will be disgusted once you do. She claimed her cleanse was developed by the respected Dr. Astrup, but it turns out that they appear to have been developed by a company with multiple convictions for mail fraud and an FTC settlement for selling ‘fat burning creams’ and children’s diet pills with non-existent ingredients and because they cited non-existent studies.
        You can see the whole expose here:
        She still hasn’t answered the questions in here or on twitter. People should be making her answer these by continuing to press her for a honest answer. I don’t know if it is more disappointing to see how far people will go for profit or to see how ‘not far’ people will go to research what they should be doing…

        October 31, 2009 at 12:50 pm

  15. YouAreNotAFitPerson


    I think Jillian Michaels missed this blog entry. If you read her latest twitter, you will discover that she is working on her new video, a workout with kettlebells and yoga:
    @Pepamint83 people love Shred so I took same principals (different levels, 30 min workokuts etc) & applied it to yoga, kbells, & core.
    Sad, sad day…


    November 3, 2009 at 12:57 am

    • Eventually her stuff will run it’s course…and she will bomb…that’s what I think. Fads die out. Jillian Michaels is a BIG fad.

      November 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm

  16. Shari

    Can you offier some suggestions for a great Kettlebell DVD? Thanks…it needs to be beginner level 🙂

    November 5, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    • Hi Shari!

      I recommend the AOS “Clinic” DVD for beginners. You will learn the basic drills and things are broken down step-by-step in an easy to understand manner.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Yours in Health,

      November 13, 2009 at 1:32 pm

  17. Pingback: Kathy Smith’s kettlebell secret « Arrow Dynamic Mom

  18. Pingback: guest post thursday! deb h. « meals & moves

  19. Joel Burman

    Here is the clip I think you are discussing:

    April 13, 2010 at 10:19 am

  20. Jamie Atlas is a colleague of mine…nice site 🙂

    September 26, 2010 at 11:18 am

    • Thank you, Ryan! 🙂

      October 11, 2010 at 11:54 am

  21. Pingback: Jillian Michaels pisses off the kettlebell community « This Journey Is My Own

  22. Sarah,
    I just caught this post via your twitter feed. I remember that episode and thinking the same thing, but then again there are a lot of things on BL I am constantly concerned with. Thanks for bringing light to it as there are many who follow BL and live by the words Bill and Jillian say.
    Cheers and thanks again for posting-


    January 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    • Hi Erin!

      Amen to that! I guess it’s a good thing that I am too busy (& ADD-ified) to watch the show…even when I have it DVRed! lol 🙂
      I feel more people need to realize that the techniques/exercises/workouts the contestants are put through are not always legit.
      Kinda scary how many people worship Jillian and Bob…as if they are fitness Gods!
      You are more than welcome, and thank you for leaving your comments!

      Yours in Health,

      January 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm

  23. Red

    Honestly, TBL bothers me to no end. Before it was just their methods of weight loss. When Jillian began hawking her own weight-loss products like pills and such, any residual willingness I had to give her a chance was flushed away.

    But dear lord… how can people be so willing to defend this woman after numerous experts in the field have stated what she does is not only incorrect but DANGEROUS?

    February 7, 2011 at 1:20 am

    • Hey there!
      I’m with you. It’s like a circus, really…with tons of product pitches and injured obese people. 😦
      People will be eternally seeking a “higher power” when it comes to weight loss. If someone seems to have the solutions, and stands out b/c of their “do as I say or die” attitude, those who are lacking any sense of self will most likely follow right along. Sad but true. All we can do is keep calling her out as a fraud!!!!!
      Have a great day!

      February 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm

  24. Pingback: Introduction to Kettlebells « SmoothieGirlEatsToo

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