Kettlebell History



Russian Kettlebell A traditional Russian weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle attached to the top. During exercise, the bell’s handle rotates around the hand, changing the center of gravity depending on how you swing, pull or push the bell.

Strength and stabilization are required to control the large ranges of motion.  These ballistic movements develop deep internal muscle strength while training the body to work as a whole.

A kettlebell truly is an “old-school” piece of equipment; a throwback to the dawn of strength training.  In the 1800’s, Eastern European vendors at the markets used weights of varying sizes for their scales.

They entertained – showing off their strength and power by pressing, swinging and juggling them.  In Russia these weights were called “girya” and became part of their culture and were used for strength training and entertainment.  These movements evolved into technical lifts requiring great skill and strength. Russian immigrants brought them to the U.S. in the 1920’s and were used mainly by Russian strongmen and weightlifters.

In the 1970’s the fitness revolution hit; kettlebells were considered old-fashioned and too simple to be effective.  The exercise industry quickly developed and cycled through complex equipment offering quick-fix workout solutions.

Today, fitness has come full circle back to “Old-School” training methods and tools. Kettlebells are the premier old school training tool.