• December 10, 2022

Kettlebells

exercise modality that is so efficient that you would reap faster gains in far less time than more traditional methods? Furthermore you could cut your workout time in half because this program encompasses both strength and cardio elements in one great package. You will also be able to improve your balance, power, coordination and flexibility while building incredible core strength, burning fat and creating a beautifully lean muscle tone. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it…but it isn’t. This incredible fitness tool does exist – and it is the kettlebell. It is almost impossible to believe that a humble cast iron weight resembling a cannonball with a handle could be at the centre of a fitness phenomenon, but let me assure you that the incredible benefits of this excersice modality has been documented for centuries.

THE HISTORY OF THE KETTLEBELL

Archaeological records show evidence of kettlebell use in Ancient Greece. Kettlebells made their way to Russia at the beginning of the 18th century. Initially used as a measure of weight, it’s health benefits became quickly recognized by vendors and strong men who would lift kettlebells to show off their prowess at festivals and fairs.

In 1880 doctor Kraevsky introduced exercises with kettelbells and training with kettlebells became common practice for people in rural areas, the military and Olympic athletes. Soviet Olympic weightlifters utilized kettlebells unilaterally in order to strengthen the weaker side of their bodies. To this day, countries of the Old Soviet Eastern Bloc rely on kettlebells for supplementing the training of many of their athletes and armed forces.

Kettlebells were virtually unknown to the rest of the world until 1998 when Pavel Tsatouline, former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor, wrote an article discussing kettlebells in a popular American magazine for strength athletes. This article was hailed by many readers for its insight.

THE KETTLEBELL RECEIVES CELEBRITY STATUS

In 2002, the kettlebell made it on to the Rolling Stones Magazine Hot List as ‘the Hot Weight of the Year’. A great proof of the effectiveness of the kettelbell was the physique of lead actor Gerard Butler in the film 300. Butler used Kettlebells to develop his Spartan warrior physique for the Hollywood blockbuster.

KETTLEBELL SPORT

Kettellbell Sport is well established in Russia and only in Russia there are up to 1000 well qualified Kettelbell coaches. This sport is also getting popular around the world. Russian athletes have proved to the rest of the world that they have mastered the efficiency of kettelbell movements and can perform high repetitions of the exercises during world championships. These days some Russian world champions are traveling around the world and conducting workshops and sharing their knowledge with students. Kettellbells as a result are used in major sports development programs ranging from swimming to rugby, which shows the versatility of this humble piece of equipment.

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE KETTLEBELL

So what makes the kettlebell so effective? Unlike a traditional dumbbell the kettlebell’s center of gravity is extended beyond the handle, which facilitates ballistic and swinging movements. This permits swing movements and release moves with added grip, wrist, arm and core strengthening. The unique shape of the kettlebell provides the “unstable force” for handling which is key for the effectiveness of kettlebell exercises. Typical kettlebell exercises build strength, endurance and flexibility, particularly in the core, lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength. Unlike the exercises with dumbbells or barbells, kettlebell exercises often involve large numbers of repetitions. Kettlebell exercises are holistic as 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 with traditional weight lifting. The principle of High Intensity training is performing exercises with high levels of effort, which is fantastic for fat burning, and gives you lean muscles in no time as well as a super fit body. The kettlebell is an amazing fitness tool for men and women at any level of fitness. As a personal fitness trainer, I have yet to find any client who has not benefited from the kettlebells. If you have been wanting to start an exercise program or are tired of spending so much of your precious time doing workouts, I challenge you to give kettlebells a try! Get in touch with a qualified instructor to teach you proper form and give you expert guidance. I’m sure that you will find this workout with a bell quite a ball!

SWING

1. Place a Kettlebell in front of you. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Pick up the Kettlebell with both hands holding the handle. Start swinging the Kettlebell forward and backwards in a small swinging motion so you build a rhythm and get used to the weight of the Kettlebell.
Make sure your core (lower back and stomach) is driving the motion, keep your back straight and keep your eyes always gazed on the Kettlebell even when you swing it behind you. When you swing the Kettlebell behind inhale and try to keep it above your knees. Remember this is a swing not a squat.

2. Exhale while pushing your hips forward and swing the Kettelbell in front of you. Keep your arms straight. Avoid driving the Kettlebell up by using strength from your arms.

Power for the swing movement must come from your hips and core. Keep your core engaged throughout the movement. Allow the Kettlebell to drop back and swing between your legs with the same momentum.

Aim for 20 reps. 2/3 sets

LUNGE

1. Hold the Kettlebell upside down close to your chest. Keep your feet together. And focus your mind on your core (lower back and stomach).

2. Step back with your left leg to a lunge position. Place your left heel on the ground and drop your left knee closer to the ground. Allow your upper body to fall forward a bit. Keep your shoulders back, chest open and back straight. Place your right foot flat on the ground and press through the heel.

3. Exhale while stepping forward with your left leg, and press your arms straight up. Then bring your hands back to chest and repeat the desired amount of repetitions.

Aim for 10-12 reps with each leg. 2/3 sets

Sasha Tolstikova

is an American Council of Exercise certified personal trainer with a wealth of experience in helping clients get in the best shape of their lives. Sasha’s training tool of choice is the kettlebell, with certifications from IKFF, KetAcademy and IKSFA. Sasha has competed in many international kettlebell events such as endurance marathons and competitions, such as the Annual Thailand Kettlebell Meet 2014 where she won a gold medal for best female lifter in Long Cycle discipline. Sasha has trained with and run workshops with some of the world’s top kettlebell coaches, including multiple world record holder Sergey Rachinskiy. Sasha conducts both group classes and one on one sessions at the Lifestyles Gym. For advice Sasha can be contacted at s.tolstikova@gmail.com

Read Previous

A Chest to Impress

Read Next

Jeet Kune Do: The On Guard Stance