The kettlebell is a traditional Russian cast iron
weight, looking like a cannonball with a handle.
Kettlebell workouts are intended to increase strength, endurance,
agility and balance, challenging both the muscular and cardiovascular
system with dynamic, total-body movements.
Since ancient times in Russia, Russian people have valued physical
strength. Historically, it was an honor to be known as The Strongest
Many strength contests were held in all villages and
towns around Russia. The Strongest Men were referred to as Bogatir which means
'extremely strong and honorable man.' Bogatirs also were honored for
their goodness. They used their super strength for good and against
Still - even at that time, kettlebells were not considered to be a "real sport." It was more a
form of entertainment than sport ro exercise.
Men would show
off their abilities with kettlebells at town fairs and events, and were admired for their strength and physical skill.
After World War II, weight lifting became popular all around the world.
People were motivated by the idea of winning, becoming Masters of their Sport, and earning accolades and recognition. Nothing like that was offered in
the sport of kettlebells; however, kettlebells were still used by
farmers, fishermen, military and navy soldiers, who adapted their love
of competition into kettlebell contests.
There were no rules or regulations. It was just
plain simple. The man who lifted the heaviest kettlebell more times
than the others was the winner.
In the 1960s, more and more contests were held. The rules,
regulations, and general policies were different
from one place to another, and there was no unity
in the organization or judging of the contests.
They recorded results, but there was no official way to determine the
Master of Sport title.
In the 70s, kettlebells became part of the
United All State Sport Association of USSR, but there were still no
official rules or standards. In 1985, a Committee of Kettlebell
Sport was organized.
Finally, after years of informal, unrecognized physical skill, there were national rules, regulations, and weight
categories set up. In November of 1985 the First National
Championship of USSR was held.
Iin 2000, Kettlebells were finally introduced for the first time
in America, and to this day, Kettlebell lifting is growing in the United States. In fact - in 2002,
Kettlebells were actually called the "Hot Weight of the Year" by Rolling Stone magazine.
More and more people are finding out about kettlebells and are impressed
with the results they get.