Kettlebells were first created in Russia in the 1700s, apparently farmers used to throw them around for fun. In the mid 1900s, kettlebells started being used for physical training and conditioning in Europe and the United States, but they really became popular around the year 2000. Since then really took off, especially with the CrossFit community.
Kettlebell training offers a fantastic combination of strength and cardiovascular training. The exercises that can be performed with them can help increase flexibility and explosiveness. Kettlebell training also makes it much easier to workout at home since you can have a great workout with just one pood (the unit of weight commonly used for kettlebells which is equivalent to 35lbs).
The principle exercise is the kettlebell swing. There are many variations of this exercise, but the most commonly performed swing is with both hands on the kettlebell handle. It begins from a slight squatting position with the kettlebell between the glutes and the floor and with one smooth swing, raising the kettlebell above the head. The swing then returns to the starting position in a controlled form. Both arms are extended through the entire swing and the back is straight. It’s best to start with very light weight until you are comfortable with the movement and increase the weight once you perfect your form.
The great thing about kettlebell training is that it’s a whole body workout. Most, if not all, muscles are triggered when performing kettlebells. Even the tiny little muscles and fibers that are rarely used when lifting with machines and barbells come into play helping to stabilize the weight. You may notice some shaking when holding certain positions initially. Dumbells are similar to kettlebells in this manner.
Kettlebell training offers many benefits and can be easily incorporated into any exercise routine. With a little creativity and imagination you can add a lot of interesting ways to burn calories and build lean body mass. If you run out of ideas, The Extreme Kettlebell Cardio Workout DVD is a great investment.