Russian or American Kettle Bell Swing? Which is Right For You?

The kettle bell craze of the fitness industry is not going away any time soon.  Kettle bell exercises are such a great way to combine strength training with cardio output for workouts that really blast fat and target lean muscle building.  As a long time personal trainer, I’m always looking for ways to get the most out of any workout for my clients.  Using Kettle Bells is a great way to get people of all fitness levels into better shape.

The Kettle Bell swing is one of my favorite exercises because it targets so many muscle groups, including the core, and requires cardio output.  So you’re getting more bang for your buck…or bell :-)

In my personal training workouts and especially in the Cross Training boot camp I run in Monmouth County, I incorporate kettle bell swings often.  Depending on the client, we may either do a Russian Swing or the American Swing.   If you’re trying to decide which type of swing is best for you- you should know that the answer largely depends on your personal mobility in addition to the goals you have for the workout.

The Russian swing stops at about mid chest with the arms extended straight out in front of you. It’s better to choose a heavier weight for this swing and let your lower body force drive the kettle bell up to your chest.

The American kettle bell swing brings the bell all the way up above your head, so at the top of the movement the kettle bell is directly in line with your spine.  It requires a little more force from your lower body, and for that reason you should swing less for an American than you can normally do for a Russian.

Is the American Swing safe?

It’s a complicated question.  First- if you have strong shoulders and good shoulder mobility, the American kettle bell swing is generally safe for you. I say ‘generally’ because every person is very unique and we can’t look at fitness as a one size fits all situation.  The danger people point out in the American swing is that having the arms extended all the way above the head, bearing weight down on the shoulders while the hands are in a close grip position can be unstable for the shoulder joint.  If you don’t have strong shoulders or good mobility (or in some cases, even if you do), you could injure yourself.  Now, that doesn’t mean we should never do American swings.  Like anything else in life, it means we practice with proper form, caution and with appropriate weights for our ability. It also means we don’t over use the shoulder joints by performing American KB Swings several times a week and at high repetitions.

Whenever I’m personal training anyone with shoulder joint issues, we work on a Russian swing. If my client or my boot camp clients are capable of doing the American swing, then we work with the American.  Fitness is very unique to you as an individual and that’s why you need to seek out a gym or personal trainer in Monmouth County that can accommodate  your personal needs.

American Kettle Bell Swing

Here is an example of one of our clients doing the American Kettle Bell Swing.  You can see force is generated from the lower body and the Kettle Bell travels all the way up above her head.  She happens to have excellent shoulder mobility, more than most people, and very strong shoulder joints.


I hope I was able to shed some light on the topic of kettle bell swinging.  For information about our Cross Training boot camp in Monmouth County, visit our sister website

Are Kipping Pull Ups Easer Than Strict Pull Ups?

Being a former body builder, presently a personal trainer in Monmouth County, NJ and now having done CrossFit for so many years, I often hear the argument of kipping pull-ups versus strict pull-ups.  If you aren’t familiar with kipping pull-ups, I have included a video below.  The basic movement involves swinging your legs and doing a hip snap to help propel the body up and get the chin above the bar.  Whereas a strict pull-up the body hangs perfectly still and only the upper body is used to pull the chin up to the bar.

The argument is that a kipping pull-up is ‘cheating’.  First – what is it cheating?? The movements are different and can be used to accomplish different goals. It depends on the individual and the individual’s fitness goals.

Because strict pull-ups require more upper body strength, they are better for isolating the back muscles and building muscle as well. People who are involved in CrossFit and cross training that want to work on speed and be able to do more reps use the kipping pull-up.  I will say that before you do kipping pull-ups, you should first work on strict pull-ups.  You want strong muscles around the shoulder before you start doing speed movements like kipping pull-ups.  This will reduce your risk of injury as you will be better able to control the movement at the top and bottom.

There are benefits to doing kipping pull-ups besides speed.  First, more muscles are used to perform the move.  The leg swing and hip snap work lower body muscles in addition to the upper body pull.  Because more muscles are being used, more cardiovascular output is needed.  This can help improve your cardio performance while working on more total body conditioning.  You will build strength as well.

A good workout idea is to do some strict pull-ups to isolate the back muscles, then as you fatigue, crank out a few kipping pull-ups to end the set.  You should learn to do kipping pull-ups from a qualified coach and practice them often to reduce your chance of injury.  This move involves a lot of pull on the shoulder at the bottom.  Having a strong strict pull-up and being able to control the movement at the top and bottom will reduce this risk.

Video: Kipping Pull Ups

About Eddie:

Eddie is a sought out personal trainer in Monmouth County, NJ. His body building back ground mixed with his present day CrossFit training is what helps him create workouts that can taylor to any fitness level, any age, and any results-oriendted individual.  Eddie owners Ultimate Fitness, a 24 hour gym in Monmouth County and Ultimate Fit Zone, a cross training and boot camp gym in Monmouth County as well. He is the director of training at both gyms.

Need to Detox? Try Our 21 Day Meal Plan

The best way to detox your system is to stop eating the chemicals, synthetic hormones, antibiotics and other additives that exist in our food chain.  It’s been said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so to help you do this, we’re introducing our 21 Day Reset Meal Plan.

Our Certified Holistic Nutritionist has created a three week detox meal plan to help you flush your body of toxins while providing your system with health promoting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more.

This meal plan will take you through three stages of cleansing:

  • Week 1: Lots of fruits and veggies, some animal protein (chicken, fish, turkey, eggs), fiber rich grains
  • Week 2: Lots of fruits and veggies, limited animal protein (fish and eggs), fiber rich grains
  • Week 3: Lots of fruits and veggies, plant based protein (no animal food sources this week), fiber rich grains.

Our meal plans can be customized to work with special dietary needs such as gluten free, anti-inflammatory, diabetic needs and more.

Click here to purchase the 21 Day Reset Meal Plan.

You can contact the nutritionist directly by emailing: @

Ultimate Fitness is a 24 hour gym in Monmouth County, NJ.  We offer personal training and nutritional based meal plans.  We can work with clients all over the country for our healthy meal plans.  Just contact our nutritionist or purchase your 21 Day Reset Meal Plan to begin working with her.

Healthy Crockpot Buffalo Chicken

buffalo chicken snack with celeryPrepare healthy meals while you do your errands.  With the crockpot, healthy eating is more convenient and involves less work.

This recipe for crockpot buffalo chicken combines spicy hot sauce with a cool homemade ranch dressing.  Serve the chicken in lettuce wraps, over a large salad or have as a snack with celery dippers.

Ingredients for buffalo chicken: (serves 4-5)

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 can of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce


Place 4 chicken breasts in crock pot and pour in the chicken broth.  Cook on high for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, remove chicken breasts and place in a bowl.  Shred with fork then pour in 1/2 cup of cooking broth and 1/2 cup of hot sauce.  Mix well.

Ingredients for homemade ranch dressing:

  • 1 cup mayo of choice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and dill weed (use a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of dill if you love the dill flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

Now Offering Half Hour Express Spin Classes

Short on time but looking for a great workout? Check out our XPS 30 Spin Class- A half hour spin class at Ultimate Fitness in Monmouth County.

Personal trainer and spin coach Bonnie Cioppa will take you through a series of challenging hills, sprints, jumps and more.  Designed to make you sweat in 30 minutes.

In addition to XPS 30, take advantage of our other 1 hour spin programs for days where you have more time to spend in the gym:

Spin: (1 hour)  Get your legs ready to work on the bike as you cycle your way through sprints, jumps, hills, and more.  Fun music and lots of encouragement from Bonnie for a great workout!

Pump & Spin: (1 hour) Break it up a little!  Some cycling on the bike and some arm sculpting dumbbell work will challenge your upper and lower body to an awesome workout.

CycleFit:  (45 mins) Our own unique program that combines short bursts of cardio on spin bikes interrupted by 30 – 60 second long pulse-pounding boot camp stations. Stations run the gamut of burpees, tire flipping, sledge hammer pounds, wall balls, ball slams, jump squats, sprints, battle ropes and more.

Our schedule of spin classes:

  • Spin: Mon/Wed 6pm, Saturday 9am (1 hour)
  • CycleFit: Monday* 9am, Wed 5pm (45 mins) (*9am class is trial for July)
  • Pump & Spin: Tuesday 6:30pm, Friday 8am, Sunday 8am (1 hour)
  • XPS 30: Thursday 7am  (1/2 hour)

To try a spin class with Bonnie- call or text her directly at 908-433-3535 or fill out the contact form below:

Contact Us

CycleFit Debuts at Ultimate Fitness

CycleFit, a hybrid of Spin + Boot Camp has made its debut at Ultimate Fitness.  This high intensity class consists of short bursts of cardio on spin bikes interrupted by 30 – 60 second long pulse-pounding boot camp stations.

Boot camp stations run the gamut of burpees, tire flipping, sledge hammer pounds on the tire, wall balls, ball slams, jump squats, sprints, battle ropes and more.

This is a great endurance workout that will challenge your cardio capabilities to the next level.  Boot camp stations help to break up time on the bike without losing any of the workout challenge people crave.  Another plus of adding the boot camp stations is that it creates the opportunity to also work the upper body and core.

CycleFit classes can be purchased 1 at a time, within a pack of 10 or as a combo membership with our sister Cross Training gym, Ultimate Fit Zone.

To see CycleFit in action, watch the video below.  To learn more about pricing, text Bonnie at 908-433-3535


Spring Gym Special

For the first time, Ultimate Fitness gym in Monmouth County, NJ is offering a spring training special.  Join our 24 hour gym for no money down AND no contract.

We are a locally owned private gym offering 24 hour access to our members, personal training, massage therapy and nutrition counseling.   We have a large cardio deck with plenty of treadmills, AMT machines, ellipticals, stationary bikes, a rowing machine and more.

You can take advantage of one on one or group personal training at our gym.  You may also request a tour of the gym to familiarize yourself with the equipment and how to use it.

Separate from your membership, there are spin classes that take place several times a week that is available to members at a small additional cost.

Give us a call or come see all we have to offer.  Although we are open for our members 24 hours a day, we are only open for guests to come visit the club on select days and times.  Those times are:

  • Monday 4:30p-8pm
  • Tuesday 9am-12:00pm/ 4:30p-8p
  • Wednesday 4:30p-8pm
  • Thursday 9am-12:00pm/ 4:30-8pm
  • Saturday-10am-2pm
  • Sunday 10:30-3pm

Please feel free to call us at 732-531-3586 or stop by during the staffed hours listed above to join our 24 hour gym for no money down and no contract.  This is a limited time offer!

We are located in Monmouth County on the corner of Deal Road and Highway 35 South in Ocean Twp.

Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

In the quest for eating clean, one thing I have come to realize is that we can do a better job selecting foods that do more for our body than simply satisfy our taste buds.  Finding nutritional yeast as a seasoning is one such example.

A lot of vegans sprinkle nutritional yeast on pasta, salads, popcorn, chili, etc in place of cheese or salt, but meat eaters alike could benefit from this nutritional food flavoring.  First let’s clear something up- nutritional yeast is not like normal yeast. It can’t make bread rise, it is inactive. You can sprinkle this over almost any food to add a very subtle nutty/cheesy flavor.  Seems odd to describe a taste as both nutty and cheesy, but nutritional yeast falls somewhere in-between, with a hint of saltiness, so that’s the best way to describe it.

Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

In addition to cutting hundreds of calories and double digit grams of fat out of your diet when you replace parmesan cheese or butter with nutritional yeast, you’ll also be loading your meal up with TONS of healthy vitamins.

B-Vitamins- Nutritional yeast is packed with B Vitamins, which are essential for energy, stress reduction, anxiety reduction, memory function, aid in cardiovascular health and so much more. 1 tablespoon has 160% of your vitamin B2, 140% B6, 40% B12, 180% B1, 70% B3 and 40% folic acid. That’s huge!

PROTEIN!!! Adding this to your food will add more PROTEIN, and all of us who are eating clean to get lean know how important a diet high in quality protein is.  2 tablespoons has about 7-8 grams of high quality protein!

Fiber: Essential to any diet, especially when eating clean (all that protein can really back you up).  One serving of nutritional yeast provides about 2-3 grams of protein.  That will help keep things moving right along….if you know what I mean.

Folic Acid: You normally hear of pregnant women needing their folic acid, but the rest of us do too. Folic acid is becoming a staple in nutritional medicine for its role in preventing colon cancer, cervical cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, schizophrenia and more.

Nutritional yeast is also gluten free, another added bonus. I sprinkle it over most meals including tuna fish, chili, pasta, chicken, salad and more. It’s such an easy and delicious way to arm your body with natural defenses against disease and sickness.  Many health food stores and even supermarkets now sell nutritional yeast.  Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast is a very popular and well recognized brand. You may even find nutritional yeast for sale in the organic bulk section.



CrossFit Double Unders

If you want to take your cardio workout up another notch or want to turn up the heat on your jump rope workout, try incorporating CrossFit Double Unders into your cardio routine.  The Double Under is just what its name implies; a jump rope movement where you jump once and the rope passes twice under you before you land. Those who are really good at it can do these continuously.

Watch Nikki kill Double Unders during her workout.   This is one of the hardest movements to master. It takes time and a lot of PATIENCE.


Here are some tips on learning and mastering the Double Under:

  • Use a jump rope that comes up to your mid chest (or shoulders, for beginners)
  • keep your midline stabilized, engage your abs and always look forward with your head in the neutral position
  • keep your elbows close to your body
  • maintain a steady jump that’s 2-3 inches off the ground and stay with your rhythm
  •  It’s ALL in the speed of your wrists, not the height of your jump
  • if you’re having trouble with double unders, try this pattern: single under, single under, double under and repeat.




Crossfit Personal Trainers in Monmouth County at Ultimate Fitness Gym

nj personal trainer

Pamela Callahan

Ultimate Fitness gym in NJ is pleased to welcome two new Crossfit personal trainers to our Monmouth County gym.  Pamela Callahan and Scott Spencer are both Level 1 Certified Crossfit personal trainers.

Pam and Scott offer personal training services at Utimate Fitness gym in Monmouth County.

What is Crossfit?

monmouth county personal trainer

Scott Spencer

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning brand that combines weightlifting, sprinting, gymnastics, powerlifting, kettlebell training, plyometrics, rowing, and medicine ball training. CrossFit contends that a healthy, fit person requires proficiency in each of ten general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. It defines fitness as increased work capacity across all these domains and says its program achieves this by provoking neurologic and hormonal adaptations across all metabolic pathways.

CrossFit athletes run, row, jump rope, climb rope and carry odd objects. They frequently move large loads quickly over long distances, and use powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting techniques. CrossFit athletes also use dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, kettlebells, and many bodyweight exercises. CrossFit is used in nearly 2,000 gyms worldwide and by many fire departments, law enforcement agencies, and military organizations including the Canadian Forces, and the Royal Danish Life Guards. (source: Wikipedia)

monmouth county personal trainer

Scott Spencer

Personal Trainer in Monmouth County

For more information, call  732-531-3586.

24 Hour Gym NJ | Ultimate Fitness | Personal Training