If you’re a member of a local gym, you may have noticed some odd looking little lumps of iron sitting in the weight training area. Kettlebells have been around for a very, very long time but only popular in certain countries. It’s only in the last few years that they’ve stared to pop up in gyms as an alternative to the more ‘normal’ weight training methods.
So that’s what they look like, a metal ball of varying weight and a looped handle on the top. The shape is important because it allows a huge range of movement when exercising, making it possible to combine several exercises into one. For this reason, kettlebell enthusiasts regard them as something of a total body workout.
Kettlebells originate from Russia, a country where the strongman competition has a long and respected history. Competitions would be held in towns and villages and the winners would gain local celebrity status. Bogatirs was the name given to these regional strongmen, as well as Girevik, which means ‘kettlebell man’. It was kettlebells that these champions traditionally trained with – they would be made out of solid iron by local blacksmiths. They could be manufactured in a variety of different weights for people of different abilities and the variation also meant that different body parts could be exercised. One of the biggest users of kettlebells is reputed to be the Russian army who are said to use them as an integral part of their training.
As we said earlier, the design of the kettlebell ensures a total body workout if the proper techniques are learned and applied properly. Importantly, there is plenty of focus on the legs, back and other often neglected parts of the body. With kettlebell exercises, if you want to exercise the shoulders with a kettlebell swing, it will involve the back muscles, hips and quadriceps to name a few.
Kettlebells are widely available in most sports shops now so check them out, learn the techniques see what sort of difference they can make to your training.