The weight based exercise tools known as kettlebells have been around for a while and have become more and more prevalent in mainstream fitness as an enjoyable and beneficial way to workout.
Kettlebells, in different styles and variations, have appeared in various cultures throughout world history. There is even evidence that they were used in ancient Greece; a kettlebell weighing 143kg found in an archaeological dig and put on display at the Archaeological Museum of Olympia in Athens. It’s possible that they had their origins in the ancient Olympic Games.
Kettlebells went off the radar somewhat for several hundred years. The start of kettlebells as a contemporary sport and fitness craze occurred in Russia in the early 1700s. A word, ‘Girya’, which translates into ‘kettlebell’, first appeared in a Russian dictionary in 1704. It was apparently used as a tool to measure quantities of grain and other goods.
Physical strength was an important and much admired quality in the Russian culture of that time, with many people demonstrating their strength in various ways at fairs and festivals. The strong men who used to showcase their strength at these events apparently recognized kettlebells as a useful strength training tool, and began lifting them regularly as a way to condition their bodies for competition.
The popularity of kettlebells grew and grew throughout Russia over the next three centuries, and in 1974 it was officially proclaimed the country’s “ethnic sport”. The first National Kettlebell Championship of the USSR was held in 1985 in Lipetsk in Russia.
If you’re a fitness enthusiast who wants to build their muscle strength, you should seriously look at taking up kettlebell training. We spoke to Jordan Downing, strength and conditioning expert and personal training course tutor at Discovery Learning, to find out more about the advantages of kettlebell training:
“For one thing, it’s not just about strength building; it’s also a serious cardiovascular workout. It gets your heart and lungs racing and improves your fitness, so it’s good for people who don’t like to spend a lot of time running on the treadmill.”
“The main benefit of kettlebell training over conventional weight training and bodybuilding is that kettlebells present an entire body workout. They strengthen every muscle from head to toe, instead of focusing on a specific muscle group in the way that something like dumb bells or bench press does.”
“In addition, kettlebells don’t just build muscle; they also improve flexibility and strengthen one’s tendons and ligaments, which cause the joints to be tougher and more resilient to injury.”
“Another big advantage is that a kettlebell is just a single, portable device, so it can be taken anywhere, like your local park for example. It’s great for people who prepare to exercise outdoors instead of being cooped up in a gym.”
Thanks for reading. We hope you found this helpful and have been persuaded to give kettlebells a try. If you do, you’ll probably be surprised at how fun and beneficial they are.