Kettle bells are a highly efficient way to lose weight, tone your body, increase your cardio-vascular fitness and strength and maintain joint health, mobility and flexibility. They were originally used as handled counterweights (bearing the Imperial Seal) to weigh out dry goods on market scales.
The Russians measured items in “goods.” A Food (16.38 kg, or 36.11 pounds) can be traced back to the 12th century. This type of training was called Shi-SuoGuong (The Art of Stone Padlock) and predates kettle bells by thousands of years.
Kettle bells were used extensively by old time strongmen such as Arthur Saxon, SIG Klein, Clevis Massimo and The Mighty Apollo. His students included the legendary strongman George Hackenscmidt, “The Russian Lion”, who credited him with teaching him everything he knew and Eugene Sand ow, “The Father of Modern Day Body Building”.
In the 1970s kettle bell lifting became part of the United All State Sport Association of the USSR, and in 1985 national rules, regulations & weight categories were finalized. The United States Secret Service & the FBI Counter Assault Team also require their operators to train high repetition, ballistic kettle bell moves.
Today exercising with kettle bells is undergoing a major resurgence and kettle bell training has now become one of the most popular and best ways to lose weight, maintain a high level of cardio-vascular fitness, get stronger and get that sculpted, toned, healthy & beautiful body you've always wanted. Joint health, mobility and flexibility can all be maintained, and even improved, with the correct application of kettle bell movements.
A 16-kilogram (35 lb) “competition kettle bell Arthur Saxon with a kettle bell, cover of The Text Book of Weight-Lifting (1910)The Russian girl (, plural girl) was a type of metal weight, primarily used to weigh crops in the 18th century. They began to be used for recreational and competition strength athletics in Russia and Europe in the late 19th century.
The birth of competitive kettle bell lifting or Gregory sport ( ) is dated to 1885, with the founding of the “Circle for Amateur Athletics” ( ). Russian girl are traditionally measured in weight by Food, corresponding to 16.38 kilograms (36.1 lb).
The English term kettle bell has been in use since the early 20th century. Similar weights used in Classical Greece were the halter, comparable to the modern kettle bell in terms of movements.
Variants of the kettle bell include bags filled with sand, water, or steel shot. By their nature, typical kettle bell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength.
The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once, and in a way that mimics real world activities such as shoveling or farm work. Unlike the exercises with dumbbells or barbells, kettle bell exercises involve large numbers of repetitions in the sport, and can also involve large reps in normal training.
Kettle bell exercises are in their nature holistic; therefore they work several muscles simultaneously and may be repeated continuously for several minutes or with short breaks. This combination makes the exercise partially aerobic and more similar to high-intensity interval training rather than to traditional weight lifting.
Like movements performed with any exercise tool, they can be dangerous to those who have back or shoulder problems, or a weak core, when performed without proper education and progression. They can offer improved mobility, range of motion, agility, cardio vascular endurance, mental toughness and increased strength.
The following is a list of common exercises that are uniquely suited to the kettle bell for one reason or another. A kettle bell exercise that combines the lunge, bridge and side plank in a slow, controlled movement.
Keeping the arm holding the bell extended vertically, the athlete transitions from lying supine on the floor to standing, and back again. As with the other slow exercises (the windmill, get-up, and halo), this drill improves shoulder mobility and stabilization.
It starts lying on the ground with the kettle bell over the shoulder in a straight arm position, as in the top of a floor press, but with the other arm along the floor straight overhead. The trainee then gradually turns their body away from the kettle bell until they are lying partially on their front.
The kettle bell is held hanging in one arm and moved smoothly around the body, switching hands in front and behind. Also called a front leg pass, this is a backward lunge, circling the bell around the front leg, returning to the standing position, and repeating.
Like the slingshot, but the bell is swung forward until the arms are parallel to the ground. Starting with the bell in the rack, the bell is pushed away to the side slightly, the swung down to the other side in front of the body, and reversed back up into the rack.
A variation of the press where the other arm assists by pushing open palm against the ball. Stand on one leg and hold the kettle bell with the opposite arm.
By then lowering and raising the kettle bell you can work stabilization and power. A press utilizing a bent-leg windmill position to lift heavier weight than is otherwise possible.
One bell is rowed to the chest while maintaining the plank position, then returned to the ground and repeated with the other arm. Alternatively performed with a single kettle bell, one arm at a time.
This requires more control than an ordinary push up and results in a greater range of motion. Feet may be elevated to increase the difficulty, until the trainee is performing a handstand push-up on the kettle bells.
In any movement involving the rack or overhead position, the kettle bell can be held with the ball in an open palm (sometimes called the waiter hold) for a greater stabilization challenge, or for even more precise control and added grip challenge, the bottom-up hold, squeezing the kettle bell by the handle upside-down. Holding a single kettle bell in the rack position bottom-up with two hands (“by the horns”) makes for goblet exercise variants.
Conventional swing: The kettle bell is swung from just below the groin to somewhere between the upper abdomen and shoulders, with arms straight or slightly bent, the degree of flexion depends on the trajectory of the kettle bell. Hang clean: The kettle bell is held in the rack position (resting on the forearm in the crook of the elbow, with the elbow against the chest), lowered to below the knees, and then thrust back up in to the rack.
The kettle bell is held in one hand, lowered to behind the knees via hip hinge, swung to an overhead position and held stable, before repeating the movement. Jerk: As a push press, but with two dips, for more leg assistance (as in the barbell clean and jerk) Thruster: A rack squat with a press at the top using momentum from the squat.
Pistol squat: A single-leg squat with one leg held straight in front parallel to the ground, holding the bell in the goblet or rack position. An easier variant for those with less hip mobility is to perform the squat parallel to a step or ledge, so that the foot of the free leg can dip beneath the pushing leg at the bottom.
Carry: Walking with the kettle bell held in various positions, such as suitcase, rack, goblet, or overhead. Row: While bent over anywhere from 45 degrees to parallel with the ground, the kettle bell is held hanging from a straight arm, pulled up to the hips or laterally, and lowered again.
Keeping the bell arm vertical, the upper body is bent to one side and rotated until the other hand is touching the floor. The single kettle bell version is called the suitcase walk.
These build grip strength while challenging your core, hips, back and traps. The kettle bell is swung from just below the groin to somewhere between the upper abdomen and shoulders, with arms straight or slightly bent, the degree of flexion depends on the trajectory of the kettle bell.
The key to a good kettle bell swing is effectively thrusting the hips, not bending too much at the knees, and sending the weight forwards, as opposed to squatting the weight up, or lifting with the arms. The one-arm swing presents a significant anti-twisting challenge, and can be used with an alternating catch switching between arms.
Within those variations there are plenty more variations, some are, but not limited to: pace, movement, speed, power, grip, the direction of thumb, elbow flexion, knee flexion. The kettle bell has more than 25 grips that can be employed, to provide variety, challenge different muscles, increase or decrease complexity, and work on proprioception.
Competitive lifter (Greek) performing jerk with 32 kg kettle bells (rack position). Contemporary kettle bell training is represented basically by five styles. Hard style has its roots in powerlifting and Gj-rykarate training, particularly hobo undo concepts.
With emphasis on the “hard” component and borrowing the concept of time, the Hard style focuses on strength and power and duality of relaxation and tension. Gregory, sometimes referred to as the fluid style in comparison to the Hard style, represents the training regimen for the competitive sport of kettle bell lifting, focusing on strength endurance.
Juggling is a training style where the practitioner releases and catches the kettle bell with all manner of spins and flips around the body. Kettle bell training is extremely broad and caters to many goals, some being, but not limited to: mobility, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength, speed and power.
The sport can be compared to what the CrossFit Games is to CrossFit, however, the sport has been much longer in existence, and is only recently gaining more popularity worldwide, with women participating as well. One such example being Valerie Wazowski, who at age 52, was the first US female lifter in the veteran age category to achieve Master of Sport in 24 kg Kettle bell Long Cycle.
21 (1908), p. 505: “PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE USING SCHMIDT'S Celebrated 'MONARCH' DUMB-BELL, BAR BELL AND KETTLE BELL SYSTEM”; also spelled KETTLE-BELLS (with hyphen) in a 1910 advertisement for the “Automatic Exerciser”) ^ a b c Rathbone, Andy (2009-01-04). “The kettle bell way: Focused workouts mimic the movements of everyday activities”.
Blast Fat & Build Strength With Innovative Equipment!” Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 15 (2011): 542-544 ^ a b Iv ill, Laura (2008-11-22).
“Exclusive ACE research examines the fitness benefits of kettle bells” (PDF). Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 15 (2011): 125-127 ^ Kettle bell Swing Vs. High Pull”.
In any case, by the 19th century the dumbbell as we know it, looking very little like a bell, had become the standard. In the past few years, the benefits of bell ringing have gotten some fresh attention.
Not only are experts recommending an exercise called the Bell Tower Crunch, but you can try a bell ringing fitness class, or even buy your own old school dumbbell for home use. Quasimodo may have had a hunchback, but you can bet he also had some killer abs, pecs, and lats.
The name has a long and interesting history which began with the church, surprisingly! Some bells weighed as much as three tons, requiring a team of qualified men possessing great strength, skill and coordination to affect the proper sound.
In an effort to perfect the technique, bell-ringers would practice with non-clapper bells, called “dumb-bells”. Similarly, Scottish legend has it that would-be strongmen utilized old or leaky cast iron cooking kettles as rudimentary weights.
By filling the kettles with sand, soil, or lead shot, they became load-adjustable strength-training tools which could be lifted, pulled or swung about. I've looked online searched the forums but I have but haven't found why they are called kettle bells.
I understand that in Russia they are Girl, is kettle bell a translation? Curious minds want to know. Tour any modern gym and you're bound to stumble upon a section littered with kettle bells.
It is unclear as to when kettle bells officially became a recognized tool for strength and conditioning, however it's estimated their history dates back over 300 years. Known as a “girl” in Russia, kettle bells were originally used to help balance scales while weighing crops.
The man most notable for Westernizing the kettle bell is Pavel Tsatsouline, chairman of Strongest Inc. and former PT drill instructor for Smetana. Tsatsouline's authored several books that outline simple but effective kettle bell training programs.
Entire workouts can be executed with nothing more than a single kettle bell, whether the aim is strength, hypertrophy, power or endurance. A kettle bell is relatively small (though I dare not say it's “light,” as that all depends on the weight you select) and relatively affordable in comparison to most other gym equipment.
Compared to training with machines or even dumbbells, the kettle bell provides variability and offsets the load so that no one rep is ever truly the same. Kettle bell exercises can at times be the biggest bang for your fitness buck, targeting numerous muscle groups and moving you through multiple planes of motion.
As Tsatouline writes in his book Simple & Sinister, “the kettle bell is an ancient Russian weapon against weakness.” Every piece of equipment brings something unique to the table, and every person is different, so it's foolish to speak in definitive.
Barbells make it easy for a newbie to load a movement heavier than they can handle in a fixed position. A perfect example is that of a Barbell Bench Press, where the hands are pronated and the shoulders are inherently placed in an internally rotated position.
Kettle bells are a great option to keep an individual's load lower while growing their movement competency. It targets the posterior chain and teaches individuals how to hip hinge properly with some force.
This exercise involves holding the kettle bell with both hands (although single-arm and double-bell variations do exist) and using the hip hinge to forcefully drive it out in front of yourself. Your gripping muscles may eventually burn if the set is long or enough or the weight's heavy enough, but your arms and shoulders should essentially contribute no power to the movement.
Once the Kettle bell Swing is mastered, it is an excellent addition to any program or a convenient stand-alone option for a conditioning day. Its goal is simple: Stand from a supine position while keeping a weight over your head.
However, that simple act requires a lot of technique, shoulder stability, core strength, hip mobility and focus to execute effectively. There are also many scenarios where replacing a classic barbell or dumbbell exercise with a kettle bell version can make sense.
It might seem like an insignificant swap, but kettle bells naturally lead to better scapular position, making the move more effective and reducing wear and tear on your body. Undoubtedly the kettle bell is an extraordinary tool with a long history of producing excellent results.
He calls it Leo, and hauls it through airports, on training runs, and even to business meetings. “I’ve had meetings with billionaires where I show up and put the kettle bell on a table,” he says.
Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena knows what makes us happy. It began in 2014, when a 697-pound man showed up at DE Sent’s farm in Vermont to see if the Spartan Race founder could help him.
At any given time DE Sent hosted a mix of current and aspiring racers, along with the occasional project like this guy. DE Sent gave him a 25-pound sandbag, and had him carry it on long hikes every morning and evening.
Now imagine yourself on the other side of the world, trying to explain it to a customs official when neither of you speaks the other’s language. When the sandbag was confiscated, in the spring of 2016, DE Sent asked his wife, Courtney, to buy a 20-pound kettle bell.
I use the past tense because that original kettle bell is long gone, one of four that disappeared in his travels. Carrying Leo through airports and into meetings around the world has taught DE Sent valuable lessons about how people do business.
He grew up in Howard Beach, Queens, where he launched multiple businesses before he reached legal drinking age. He took his talents to Wall Street, gained 30 unwanted pounds, and became obsessed with endurance training.
The day after our conversation, DE Sent emailed me describing the theory of positive disintegration. It was developed by Polish psychologist and psychiatrist Kazimierz Wazowski, who survived three horrific ordeals: the two world wars and the subsequent Stalinist occupation of Poland.
Wazowski believed that the gifted few who could break free of conventional modes of thinking could not just survive extreme hardship and crises. You can see why the theory is appealing to DE Sent, whose life and business are based on finding new ways to make things harder.
* He’s the author, with Allyn Cos grove, of the six books in the (http://www.thenewrulesoflifting.com) series. Thanks to their versatility and effectiveness, they are now a very present accessory even in home workouts, where they take up less space than barbells and benches.
They were actually real cannonballs to which handles were mounted to facilitate movement and which were broken before inserting the balls into the cannon mouth. The first, as it is called in Russian, was then used as a counterweight (this is the translation of the Russian “first”) for the scales of the time by the merchants, who also performed in resistance challenges in lifting tools.
It's all thanks to Pavel Tsatsouline, a former Soviet Special Forces physical trainer and the greatest kettle bell trainer ever, who brought the machine to the United States in 1998 and renamed it so that it is more familiar to that audience. For years one of the few training methods of the Soviet armed forces, today kettle bells are also used in individual training circuits to maintain or gain good physical shape and muscle tone.
Strength: throughout the body, especially in the abdominal and backs that stabilize the position of the torso, but also in the legs, pelvis muscles and arms, depending on the exercise chosen. Resistance: by performing several repetitions and with the effort given by the weight, the cardiovascular system and breathing are also stressed, also increasing the consumption of calories.
Functional training and CrossFit use them a lot, but also athletic trainers for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), rugby, judo, or in all sports where you need to develop a lot of strength and endurance. How to use it and the 5 best known exercises with the kettle bell Although kettle bells are also suitable for training at home, the recommendation is always to be followed by a personal trainer to set up a program suitable for your health and check correct execution, because since these are weights to be lifted, the injury is always around the corner.
It is the preliminary exercise to all the others, the one to start from to learn how to lift a weight from the ground safely. This time, however, the kettle bell is gripped with only one hand and, with a jerk, the tool is swung overhead and brought back down.
The grip is now with one hand and with a swing the kettle bell is raised and then brought to the chest in what is known as the carpal grip, with the elbow close to the hip and the ball resting on the bicep and forearm, movement called rack. There is also a variant in which the kettle bell is raised above the head from here, and then passed back to the chest and down: the clean and press.
Of course there are big differences between men and women, here are the indications given by the producers of the fire: 16 kg Kettle bell : it is the starting weight that they already carry out another type of body weight training.
Kettle bell 28 kg and up: only for professionals or very trained men, who have followed a program with this tool. When I finally decided to purchase my first 16 kg kettle bell to see how this tool could possibly help me, I was blown away.
I was even more blown away when I took my first workshop taught by a phenomenal, high level ROC Instructor (Andrea Duane). Is this type of training really any different from a dumbbell or other gym exercises?” Every time I’m asked that question, I start to feel the passion build and I have to contain myself.
As Tracy Ranking, ROC and author of the great book The Swing puts it, it’s a two-for-one exercise. It combines the benefits of resistance training and cardiovascular conditioning in one very powerful exercise.
Ballistics are fast, explosive movements, while grinds are slow and deliberate. This means you get total body strengthening and conditioning with one single tool.
Virtually every fitness goal you want could be accomplished with a kettle bell, but don’t mistake me saying that this is the only thing you should do. While I still use body weight exercises and barbell programs, kettle bells are an essential part of my training and what I teach today because they offer better results in less time.
This is something I feel very strong about as a former physical therapist, because kettle bells actually teach you to move in a way that is better, stronger, and safer. Unfortunately, many of us today lose some of our basic movements as a result of sedentary occupations and lifestyles.
That’s exactly what happens when we don’t move with full range of motion or become habituated to certain postures (like sitting all day at a computer). I’ve had many clients say how well they move and function again, after learning how to perform this exercise correctly.
The best way to get started is to find a certified instructor and get qualified instruction from the beginning, if you can. For total body strengthening and conditioning, kettle bells are definitely a very special fitness and performance training tool to incorporate into your program.