As a qualified kettlebell instructor I am a great advocate of these training aids. My kettlebell training centres around three core basics- the swing, snatch and clean and jerk. What links all these elements together is that they force the body to work as a unit. Power is generated from the legs, driven through the hips and expressed through the arms. Every single muscle is brought into play and every single muscle is worked.
As you replace excess fat with lean muscle your metabolic rate increases and you utilise calories more effectively. The handle and off centred weight develops grip strength and grip endurance, useful in everyday life from undoing lids and carrying shopping to martial arts and many other sporting activities. The swinging movements develop great muscle control and the muscles are taught to contract and relax properly and the joints experience a full range of movements, fantastic for ironing out muscle imbalances and for bad backs and poor posture!
Who benefits from Kettlebell training?
That’s what so great about kettlebells because they are for everyone! Both men and women will benefit from kettlebell instruction, whether you’re a young stressed worker or a young at heart older person looking to recapture some of your strength and balance. Kettlebell training is safe and effective for pregnant women and for those women trying to regain their pre-pregnancy state, for anyone who has tried and enjoyed yoga and Pilates and now wants a new challenge. It’s also a highly effective workout for serious athletes who have reached a plateau, who want to cross-train, who are maybe injured or who just want a change of pace.
Kettlebells have a rich international history and have been used for hundreds of years. The first mention of them seems to be in a Russian dictionary of 1704, men who lifted these weights were called girevik, based on the word girya which is the Russian word for kettlebell or handlebell. But the Scots also lay claim to the kettlebell and there seems to be some argument to their origins.
Laying that aside and fast forwarding to present times, kettlebells have enjoyed recent popularity in America mostly due to Pavel Tsatsouline, Pavel emigrated to the USA following the breakup of the old Soviet Union, a nationally ranked kettlebell competitor and former training instructor for the Soviet Special forces, he unleashed his wealth of strength, flexibility and conditioning knowledge to the masses and introduced Kettlebells to the mainstream. Kettlebells are so called because they somewhat resemble old cast iron kettles, other names are ring weight, handlebell or cannonball with handle! The weights were standardised centuries ago into units called poods – 1 pood = 16.3 kg