A Smarter Gym Workout: SmartBells Classes in Ulster County

Forget dumbbells; SmartBells help you get fit

In this age of “smart” phones and other genius technology, a new gizmo has come along to make life in the gym a little easier — the smart weight. A sharp-witted cousin of the dumbbell, the “SmartBell” is a curved, 11-inch disk with cutout handles on each end. Made of iron or aluminum and weighing from one-and-a-half to 72 pounds, these colorful disks are used in low-impact exercise workouts that emphasize whole-body movements — twists, lunges, circular arm lifts, and yoga-like poses — all performed in a gentle, fluid motion. “The sophisticated yet simple circular movement patterns work the entire body and all major muscle groups in concert,” says Paul Widerman, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, the inventor of SmartBells, and an Ulster County resident. “Exercises using SmartBells are similar to movements in yoga, martial arts, and dance as well as sports such as tennis, golf, swimming, and baseball.”


Although SmartBells have been around for more than a decade, classes using them are just beginning to crop up in the Valley. Kingston’s Benedictine Hospital hosts a Thursday morning SmartBells workout for men and women 50 and older. Dubbed the “Smart Class” by participants, instructor Ujjala Schwartz calls it “the great energizer.” “I have gained strength in my upper body, helping my posture,” she says. “And I have seen many improvements with my students, particularly in their energy and strength. SmartBells are like a key that unlocks intuitive movement in the body.”

SmartBells classes

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  • Benedictine Hospital, Kingston. Thursdays at 9:30 a.m.
  • Ellenville Public Library & Museum, Ellenville. June 7 & 21, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
  • Marbletown Community Center, Stone Ridge. “Rise & Shine” class incorporates SmartBells into workout. Mondays & Wednesdays 8-9 a.m. 845-626-4218

For further information about SmartBells, visit http://thinkfit.com.

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