Looking to lose weight? Try our FREE Calorie Counter »  |  Log In
Articles Fitness Nutrition

An Introduction to the Kettlebell

A kettlebell is a kind of weight that is shaped like a cannonball, except that it comes with a handle. It is made of cast iron, and it can be used for a wide variety of ballistics exercises that can improve strength, endurance and flexibility. Traditionally, kettlebells have a standard weight of 35 pounds, but they can weigh anywhere between 5 to more than 100 pounds.

History of the Kettlebell

The earliest mention of the kettlebell appeared in 1704. It was referred to a "girya" in a Russian dictionary, and those who used it were known as "gireviks." In 1913, the kettlebell was mentioned in Hercules, a popular fitness magazine, and it became known as an effective weight loss tool. In the later part of the 20th century, a man called Pavel Tsatsouline, a fitness author and former trainer of the United States and Russian forces, helped to popularize the kettlebell in the US. A national committee for kettebell lifting was established in 1985, and it organized the inaugural National Championship of Kettlebells in the same year. Presently, the kettlebell has become a popular piece of exercise equipment in both fitness centers and homes of fitness enthusiasts.

Benefits of Kettle Lifting

Over the years, it has been proven that kettlebell lifting is beneficial to the human body in many ways. It can be used to strengthen and tone most of the muscles in the body. Since it engages many different muscles at the same time, especially the core muscles, it gives you a complete body workout. Exercises can also be performed to train specific muscle groups. The kettlebell can help you lose weight, as well as improve your flexibility and endurance. Since it is a comparatively small piece of equipment, it enables you to get a good workout without having to go to a fitness center.

Kettlebell Exercises

There are many different exercises that you can perform with kettlebells. Some of the more popular ones are windmill, 2-hands anyhow, figure of 8, pass between legs and Turkish get-up for the abdomen. For the chest, there's the alternating floor press, one-arm floor press and leg-over floor press. The alternating press, press-on Indoboard, jerk, double push press, alternating seated press, Arnold press, long cycle press, seesaw press, military press and para press are great for the shoulders. You can work your hamstrings with the hang clean, alternating clean, snatch, swing and open-palm clean, and the alternating row and renegade row for lats. Squat, split jerk and split snatch work the quadriceps. The one-legged deadlift works the lower back and the bottoms-up clean from hang position works the forearms.

Kettlebell Safety

When they are not properly done, kettlebell exercises can result in serious injuries. You need considerable skill, coordination and a lot of practice to perfect kettlebell techniques. If you fail to control a kettlebell, you may sustain nasty joint injuries. As such, it is recommended that you choose lighter ones when you're starting out. After you have become more adept in handling light kettlebells, you can begin to use heavier ones. It is necessary to do proper warm-up and stretching before you start exercising. Make sure that you have ample space to perform your exercises, or you may hurt yourself or someone else.

Article Comments