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The History of Kettlebells

The History

Kettlebells originated in Russia, and the first recorded mention of them was in 1704 within a Russian dictionary. The Russian word for kettlebell is "girya," and the men who lifted these weights were called "gireviks." Kettlebells gained recognition as an incredibly effective exercise and weight loss tool when they were featured in the fitness magazine Hercules in 1913.

This lead the official Soviet armed forces strength training manual to pronounce kettlebell drills to be “one of the most effective means of strength development" representing “a new era in the development of human strength-potential.” Every Red Army Unit has a basic gym, which is well equipped with kettlebells in so called 'Courage Corners', and a key component of physical testing in the Russian military is the 10 min snatch test.

Soviet scientists recognised the value of kettlebell training with studies showing amazing improvement in seemingly unrelated physical tests among those athletes who trained with kettlebells. Olympic athletes involved in a wide variety of events were subsequently programmed onto kettlebells, their importance reflected in the commemorative medals of the Moscow Olympics where USSR swept gold in all throwing events.

In the recent history of the kettlebell, they have become increasingly popular within the United States and large parts of Europe and once athletes noticed that they could not endure as long as their Russian counterparts within various competitions, they began incorporating the kettlebell into their training routines.

In 1985 a committee for the sport of Kettlebell lifting was created, and the first National Championship for Kettlebells was held in Russia in 1985 with its own set of rules and standards.

Today, the Kettlebell is being introduced into the fitness routines of the fitness professional, celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Vanessa Hudgens, Matthew McConaughey and Jason Statham and the everyday man, as their benefits have proven them to be one of the most useful tools for building strength and keeping fit.

The Benefits - Kettlebells for Ultimate Cardio, Strength and Core

As the long history of the kettlebell has proven, its benefits to those who use them on a regular basis can be both spectacular and lasting. To put it bluntly, there is no better way to shed fat, get your lungs burning and drastically increase your heart rate than a high intensity 20-30 minute full body kettlebell workout. Whether you're doing high repetition kettlebell swings or snatches and clean and jerks, the high tempo balistic exercises work the entire body as one complete unit making it work incredibly hard and incinerate calories.

A recent study carried out by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that during a controlled study and routine of competent kettlebell users over a 20 minute period, the average calorie burn was a staggering 272 before you take into consideration any calorie burn from the anerobic exertion. Considering thats equivalent to running a 6 minute mile or cross country skiing for 20-25 minutes, I know which I'd rather do!

Kettlebells are also the perfect tool for building a killer core. Due to the way in which your body reacts when you move the kettlebell your abdominals, obliques, abductors, lower back, hips and glutes all engage together creating a rock solid core which in turn gives you the platform to lift heavy weights consistantly and without injury whilst protecting your spine.  

So if you’re looking for a change to your daily gym routine in between sessions or as an alternative and cost effective option to the gym altogether then kettlebells are the perfect tool you cannot live without.

But beware......the more addicted you become to kettlebells, the stronger you become!

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