Kettlebells: The “Oldest” Tool in Fitness History

Kettlebells: The “Oldest” Tool in Fitness History

Chiropractic Greenwood IN Woman with Kettle Bell

If you are an active member of the fitness community, by now I am sure you have witnessed or at least heard of the kettlebell, or Girya for the Russian speaking folks. These cannonball shaped weights with a handle date back at least 300 years as a tool used, supposedly, for weighing crops. The farmers began to notice an increase in strength and fitness while using these and the rest is history. It wouldn’t be until about 1960 that kettlebells were widely introduced to the US, and another 40 years after that until a nationally recognized certification program developed wide spread (re)interest in the primitive strengthening tool. However, its use is booming back into the public light.

What was at the core of Gerard Butler’s training program for the movie 300? The kettlebell.

Amid the recent fitness boom, we have witnessed countless “fad” diets and workouts promising practically instant results with little effort or time. Allow me to be blunt: physical fitness requires a commitment and raw, hard work. There are no shortcuts to creating habits. As the saying goes: “Old habits die hard.” This is the point where kettlebells become extremely relevant. I consider this raw tool superior in training not only strong movements, but functional movements as well. The reason is because of how well the kettlebell mimics everyday objects and how we manipulate them. When you pick up any object (a chair, suitcase, milk jug, etc.), the mass immediately behaves similarly to a kettlebell. What better way to train the basic function of carrying groceries than with a tool which will behave almost exactly as a sack of groceries? Apart from being profoundly similar to everyday objects, the other main benefit of this simple tool is its versatility. Virtually any movement that can be made with a dumbbell or barbell can be made with a kettlebell. In addition, it is much easier to incorporate a conditioning element into a kettlebell routine than into a typical resistance training program. By the same token, however, this variety of training still demands a high power output as the movements are typically performed extremely fast, just as an Olympic lift would be. A vast collection of research is compiling in favor of the kettlebell as a time saving fitness tool due to its versatility to incorporate into almost anybody’s existing routine.

part from becoming faster and stronger, the kettlebell can be incorporated into many different corrective exercises and rehab protocols. If you are under the impression that the kettlebell is unsafe and has no place in a rehabilitation environment, you may as well stop reading now. Any equipment, whether it be free weights, kettlebells, or machines, is only as safe as the education and expertise of the trainer or client. I have recently been working to incorporate this tool into many of our patients’ physical therapy protocols with exceptional results. While it is not difficult to improperly use a kettlebell and become injured, excellent results can be obtained under the proper guidance of a trained professional. Whether your goal is to develop core strength and stability, balance, coordination, or all three, the kettlebell is profoundly efficient tool for whatever your goals may be.

As we are just breaking into the new year, I assume many of us have made some vow or resolution to become healthier. Whether that consists of making healthier eating choices, exercising more, or both, I challenge you to turn that goal into a habit and eventually into a lifestyle. That being said, what better way is there to have fun and become more fit than to try something new like kettlebell training? Virtually anyone can benefit from using this method under the proper supervision. Are you an experienced weightlifter looking for variety? Let me throw some kettlebells into your routine and see how quickly you can burst through a plateau. Still not convinced? Check out the School of Strength at Center Grove High School with Marty Mills, the #1 ranked Russian Kettlebell Certified kettlebell instructor. I guarantee you will leave that workout more gassed than you have ever been. Start simply though, and we will be offering an introductory class if you would like an opportunity to learn more about kettlebells and participate in an entry level group. Check back soon for a 30 min full body kettlebell workout. Good day!


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Greenwood Health Center
450 South State Road 135 Suite B
Greenwood, IN 46142
(317) 889-8998