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Kettlebells Part I - What are they?

Here's the first part of my blog on kettlebells. In this blog I'll discuss what exactly kettlebells are and a bit of their history.

Basically a kettlebell is a cast iron weight which looks a bit like a metal ball with a handle attached. The parts of a kettlebell are known as; the handle (quite self explanatory, the part you hold on to), the bell (the round ball part) and the horns (the parts which join the handle to the bell).

Where did it originate?

Well there is no definitive answer on this as there are several ideas as to the very first use of them, some from Greece (they were of course the original Olympians), reference to China and even Scottish descent, however generally it has been long associated with Russia.

The Russian Girya was a weight used to measure crops in the 18th Century. The traditional girya measurement was in poods with 1 pood being the same as approximately 16kg. The Russians started using the girya to throw around as entertainment. The English word for it "kettlebell" has been used since the 20th Century. The sport of kettlebells in Russia is where the popularity began, in the 1940s Russia made girevoy sport (kettlebell sport) their national sport and later on, in the 19th Century were the first country to hold kettlebell strength competitions.

Kettlebell training for the workers was made a requirement by the government in Russia in the 1980s to make them stronger and healthier.

Kettlebell sport was brought to America by Pavel Tsatsouline (some call him the father of the kettlebell) and he was pivotal in starting the popularity which has gained across the world today.

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