Kettlebells have been around for at least 350 years. Although their origin is a little murky, it appears that they originated in Russia originally as counterweights for market scales. Some enterprising Russians starting using them weight lifting and a national pastime was born.
In 1948, kettlebell lifting became the Russian national sport. In 1985, the official rules for the sport were finalized and the National Championship took place that year in Lipetsk, Russia. In 2000, kettlebells were (finally) introduced to the United States by the founder of the “Russian Kettlebell Challenge”, Pavel Tsatsouline. Since that time, kettlebells have taken American fitness aficionados by storm. They have been featured in virtually every fitness magazine, found there way into thousands of gyms, and are used daily by millions.
I had heard about kettlebells, but I hadn’t really taken notice until I read this blog post by a favorite author/blogger of mine, Tim Ferris. That certainly got my attention, but I never tried them until about a year ago with one of my first exposures to Crossfit.
I was blown away with the muscular and aerobic workout that Kettlebells provided. After a few rounds, I was exhausted, but I was a believer in Kettlebells from that point on. I purchased a few Kettlebells for workouts at the house from MuscleDriver USA. They are a large supplier of Crossfit equipment, and I have had success with their products and their responsive customer service. I use my kettlebells primarily for a single exercise…the kettlebell swing.
The kettlebell swing is the exercise featured in Tim Ferris’ post. There are some variations to it though. The most well-known and original swing is the Russian Kettlebell Swing.
The exercise taught at Crossfit gyms is the American Kettlebell Swing.
Personally, I’m a fan of the American Kettlebell Swings. I’m not going to argue with 350 years of Russian history, but it makes sense to me to take the muscle groups through a full range of motion with the Americanized swing as opposed to the Russian version.
In later posts, I’ll deal with some of the science and research behind kettlebells. Suffice it to say, kettlebells offer a great workout. But as with any weight based workout, make sure you understand the proper mechanics in order to avoid injury.