What are kettlebells and why are they popular?

What are kettlebells and why are they popular?

By Sandra Almonte

A Little History

The exact history of the origin of kettlebells is unknown. The earliest documented record was in 1704. The word “girya” (meaning kettlebell) was published in the Russian dictionary. Kettelbells became popular in the U.S. when a man named Pavel Tsatsouline wrote articles about them. The articles were published in two magazines, Dragon Door and the MILO Journal.

Tsatsouline was a former trainer and drill instructor for the Soviet special forces. He founded the Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC). Tsatsouline also does consulting work with the U.S. Military as a kettlebell training expert.

What exactly is a Kettlebell?

A kettlebell looks like a cannon ball (or bowling ball) with a handle. It’s made out of cast iron. The cast iron kettlebells come in plain, painted, or with a covering such as vinyl or neoprene.

Kettlebells also come in fixed weight or adjustable kettlebells. The adjustable kettlebells allow you to increase weight in 4 pound increments. They come in handy when you don’t have the space to dedicate to them.

Purchased by weight, kettlebells are usually measured in kg. They come individually or in sets of single weights. They can start as light as 4kg (9 pounds) and go as heavy as 92kg (203 pounds).

The Present and Future of Kettlebells

Kettlebells are great for beginners as well as advanced fitness enthusiasts. The learning curve for using kettlebells is short. They’re also versatile in that they’re useful for light workouts as well as heavy weightlifting.

Kettlebell training helps increase strength, flexibility, speed, and endurance. Other benefits include increased coordination, metabolism, and aerobic and anaerobic capacity. And best of all, you only need one.

One thing to keep in mind is that safety is always emphasized when using kettlebells. So, getting proper training on how to handle a kettlebell is recommended.

Considering that there are a few kettlebell certifying organizations such as the American Kettlebell Club, Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC), CrossFit Kettlebell, and the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF), kettlebells are here to stay.

Sandra Almonte Certified Fitness Trainer (ISSA & NESTA) and a Certified Health and Wellness Coach (Wellcoaches)

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