The History of Kettlebells

“When we say Strength, we mean Kettlebell. When we say Kettlebell, we mean Strength.”

The Kettlebell originates from Russian where it is known as Girja, the people who use them are known as Gireviks. The kettlebell looks like a cannonball with a suitcase handle and has been used for many centuries in Russia, the first appearence in a Russian dictionary was in 1704. They were originally popular with farmhands who recognised that if they lifted them regularly they would gain the functional strength needed for their job. Later the Russian weightlifters, Judo players, wrestlers and Sambo competitors started to use them regularly.

Kettlebells come in poods. A pood is an old Russian measure of weight. Traditionally there are one, one and a half and two pood Kettlebells which equates to 16, 24 and 32kg.

Auther Saxon

“Not a single sport develops our muscular strength and bodies as well as kettlebell athletics” reported Russian magazine Herkules in 1913.
Many of the old time strong man used them like Arthur Saxon, and Eugene Sandow. This is the manner that Arthur Saxon did his still standing record of 448 pounds. He put a barbell weighing 336 pounds up with his right arm then lifted a 112 pound ring weight with his other.

Kettlebells were used to develop strength, flexibility and endurance by physical culturalists, strongmen, wrestlers and weightlifters like Klein, Krylov, Poddubny and Alexeyev respectively. These guys were not only leaders in their respective disciplines, but they were strong as hell!

What is the different between dumbbells and kettlebells?
With barbells and dumbbells you tend to isolate parts of the body, when training with Kettlebells on the other hand the whole body works as a unit.

Here’s a simple question: If you want to push your car out of a ditch which part of your body would be used? Undoubtedly your whole body would be most the effective. With kettlebells every single drill makes the body stronger and able to move more explosively. Ballistic drills like swings and the snatch give excellent stamina and conditioning. You can’t do these ballistic drills with barbells and dumbbells in the same way as the kettlebells. The Kettlebell handle makes it safe and simple.

With kettlebels you can practice more than one hundred different drills and save time and space.

Why is it so popular?
With good instruction, you can make very quick progress, the movements are simple and easy to learn, you only need one or two Kettlebells and you can train in a small space… and it’s fun!

Pavel Tsatsouline

Pavel Tsatsouline is the leader and founder of the RKC (Russian kettlebell challenge). Pavel was originally the strength trainer for the Russian special forces. In 1998 Pavel moved to the USA where he developed the Strongfirst/RKC system and leads the StrongFirst community continually making it better and more effective every day with other instructors.

Today kettlebells are used all over the world, from physiotherapist to special forces; “It’s as simple and effective as an AK47”!

If you want to loose weight, gain strength, muscle stamina and conditioning try it out and you wont be disappointed!

There are endless exercises to do with Kettlebells. First though, you need to find an RKC instructor to learn the drills safely and effectively.

Everyone has imbalances and asymmetries, some of us have more than others.
Kettlebells is a great correctional tool to fix this problem.