The History of the Kettlebell

The History of the Kettlebell

If you are interested in strength training, then you are probably familiar with the kettlebell and its benefits in weight training. But, have you ever wondered about its history, and how it became a popular form of strength training? No? Well then read on to learn more about this efficient and effective piece of gym equipment.

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Not Originally Meant for Exercise

File:Russian villlage. Kostroma reg. Российская деревня ...

The majority of research on the kettlebell points to origins in Russia, with first record of it in the 1704 Russian dictionary as a pood. However, the kettlebell did not originally start out as a form of exercise, but as a weight to measure crops, grains, and other products.

It is speculated that farmers and blacksmiths would spend their downtime throwing these weights back and forth, and increasing distance between themselves, until someone missed. By the late 1800s, kettlebells were being used by strongmen who traveled with circuses through Europe, North America, and parts of Asia.

Gaining Recognition

It wasn’t until 1913 that the kettlebell was seen as an effective tool for weight loss when it was featured in the magazine “Hercules.” It became popular, especially in the USA, when Pavel Tsatsourtine, a trainer and fitness author, used it to condition both the United States and Soviet armed forces. Finally, in 1985, a committee for the sport of kettlebell was created, and the first national championship was held in Russia the same year.

Modern Day Use

Crossfit Gym Workout Setup by Ryan De Hamer
Crossfit Gym Workout Setup by Ryan De Hamer

Today, kettlebells are found in home gyms and establishments like CrossFit. Martial artists are known to use kettlebells in conditioning programs to build strength and stamina, but still maintain a sleeker physique that is harder to do with traditional strength training programs. With its long history, the kettlebell has been proven to be an effective form of exercise. It uses whole body and real life movements, exercises can be done slow and controlled, or sudden and quick, and the kettlebell helps build endurance, increases strength and toning for most muscles, helps shed fat, and promotes flexibility.

Kettlebell Specs

by Jesper Aggergaard
by Jesper Aggergaard

Most kettlebells are shaped like a cannonball with a handle. They are generally made of cast iron, but some are now made of steel. They come in a variety sizes and weights. Weight limits can be as little as ten pounds, and as high as 100 pounds. 

What’s in a Name?

There are many different brands of kettlebells on the market to choose from. Here are just four that stood out as being good options.

Omnit Kettlebells

These kettlebells have a chip resistant powder coating that make them easier to grip during a workout. The unique feature about this particular brand is that the bells are color coded by weight, making it easy to know what size you are using, especially if you’re them in pairs.

Vulcan Kettlebells

These kettlebells are made of steel, instead of cast iron, for better balance. With a patented design, these bells are one of the most innovative and ergonomic kettlebells you can find. With a wider grip and powder coated finish, they are ideal for fitness or competition.

Metrixx Elite Precision E-Coat Cast Iron Bell

This brand uses the original design of kettlebells, and has a wider handle that helps to prevent the pinkies from getting pinched during strength training routines.

Kettyl Gryp Adjustable Grip Kettlebell

This might be one of the most unique kettlebells on the market. This specialty kettlebell is a grip handle that transforms into a kettlebell when a weighted dumbbell is locked and latched into the foam grip. The handle itself weighs less than one pound, making it easy to take almost anywhere. This kettlebell is portable, adaptable, and budget friendly.

Got to Keep a Movin’

Like most strength training programs, the kettlebell has some specific exercises that target different parts of the body for a total workout. Here are some of the more popular moves and their benefits.

The Swing

Maternity Fitness, Mom doing kettlebell swings  by Lindsey Saenz
Maternity Fitness, Mom doing kettlebell swings by Lindsey Saenz

This exercise is like getting two workouts in one because you are combining strength training and cardio in one movement. When done properly, this exercise has the highest fitness return.

Goblet Squat

by Sergio Pedemonte
by Sergio Pedemonte

This is one of the easier kettlebell exercises to perform. Besides overall conditioning, this move help to improve the ability to lift heavier weights and loads.

Turkish Get-Up

Turkish Get-Ups by Diego Lozano
Turkish Get-Ups by Diego Lozano

This exercise is meant to build strong shoulders, improve hip and trunk strength, and increase mobility.

The Strict Press

Comparable to an overhead press, this exercise uses the entire body for ultimate pressing power and force.

The Clean

Similar to the swing, this move is perfect for total body strength and training.

The Snatch

This exercise is the most physically demanding and technical of the kettlebell exercises. Designed for total body strength and conditioning, it requires accurate technique, extremely strong hips, and a high level of athleticism.

Wrap it up

The kettlebell has been around for years. While not initially a workout tool, it has evolved into one of the most useful pieces of gym equipment. It provides a complete body workout from strength training to even some cardio, depending on the type of exercise move you are doing. They are compact enough to have at home to workout whenever you want.

Since we are still in a pandemic, you might want to check out ways to work out at home and how to purchase home gym equipment and save money. Why Working Out at Home is Still Your Best Option During the Coronavirus and Saving Money on Home Gym Products by using Price Tracking Software are two great articles to read.

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