Kettlebell training has become one of the most popular exercise programs in the world. That’s because they’re incredibly versatile and easy to use. Most of the time they are not used exclusively, but are incorporated into other exercise programs.
But before you add them to your workout routine, it’s a good idea to have a little background knowledge.
In this article, we’ll walk you through fun facts about kettlebell training. We’ll also talk about the history and where the tool originated.
Kettlebells have been around for many years. So, let’s take a look at the history of the gear.
There are multiple accounts of the origins of kettlebells. Some people believe that they originated in ancient Russia.
Around the year 1700, Russia created a farming tool to weigh grain called girya. This was a metal weight with small handles on each side.
A few years later, circus strongmen began using the tool in their routines. They would perform tricks with the girya to prove how strong they were.
Soon after, people started using the ancient kettlebell for recreational training. By 1885, it was a staple in strength athletic competitions in Russia and Europe.
Other people believe that the kettlebell dates back to ancient Greece. Haltere was a stone version of the exercise gear.
Athletes used them to push themselves and travel greater distances in the Long Jump. It’s even plausible that sportsmen used halteres in the first-ever Olympics.
These are just two of many possible origin stories.
There are some other traces of kettlebells in a few different ancient civilizations. Those include China, Scotland, Iran, Turkey, and Japan.
Before you train with kettlebells, there are a few safety precautions you should be aware of. These will ensure that you don’t injure yourself, or anyone else, as you use the equipment.
- Start with smaller weights first, then work your way up.
- Always wear the appropriate footwear.
- Choose a large open space for your workouts.
- Only use kettlebells on floor surfaces with high friction.
Now, with the history and safety stuff out of the way, we can jump into exciting facts about kettlebell training.
1. Boosts Strength and Flexibility
Kettlebells quickly became a staple in every gym around the world. That’s because the tools can address three of the main aspects of training.
- Kettlebell swings can improve your strength. Working your way up to heavier kettlebells is just fun. It’s nothing short of amazing seeing someone go from total newbie to throwing up a 70-pound kettlebell over their head in a Snatch.
- It can help you build up your flexibility. You must be able to perform these movements with good form if you’re going to load heavy weights. Much of that process is building up a bit of flexibility in the hamstrings so that you can keep your back flat when picking it up, shoulder flexibility so that you can hold the weight straight over your head, etc.
In kettlebell training, you’re usually on your feet.
With the standard exercise being a kettlebell swing, you have to constantly adjust so that you aren’t too far forward on your toes or back on your heels.
Additionally, kettlebells are often used with just one arm. This makes you adjust your balance not just front and back, but left and right.
Then when you get into the really fun stuff, like single-legged exercises, you’re on a whole other level with your balance.
Many people don’t know that posture is one of the most important aspects of physical health. Kettlebell training helps strengthen your spine, which has many benefits.
For starters, proper alignment improves your overall blood flow. This, in turn, will rejuvenate your blood vessels and nerves. If you’ve got poor posture, you’re likely to have some pinched nerves and things just don’t work right when your spine is off.
Kettlebell training refines posture by improving the posterior chain. That includes the glutes, lats, rear shoulder muscles, erector spinae, calves, and hamstrings.
A lot of people find cardio boring.
Long, slow distance training has its place and is good to train every once in a while, but it isn’t the only way to do cardiovascular training.
Kettlebell training is an amazing substitute for cardio workouts. Just do some of the standard workouts and you’ll find that your heart is pumping hard.
When training with a kettlebell, you need to shift through many planes of motion while directing the force of the kettlebell.
As we age, we lose range of motion. Some joints lose more than others depending on our lifestyle. Luckily the basic kettlebell exercises force us to use quite a bit of range of motion.
If you train properly, slowly increasing the weight of the kettlebell and you keep at it, kettlebells can help you regain much of your lost range of motion.
Better range of motion = less chance of injury.
Another incredible benefit of kettlebell training is stronger hip muscles (gluteals). Not only will these help with balance and stability, but they can also improve overall power.
The hip muscles play a major role in athletic movements and training with kettlebells can enhance your jumping and running abilities.
An easy way to develop your hips is through the kettlebell swing. It’ll exercise the region, without placing too much strain.
There are many athletes that are after a lean, shredded look. This can be challenging to achieve.
With the high-intensity nature of kettlebell training, you can push yourself to the limit and boost your muscle growth.
High intensity training has always been correlated with results.
When working out, people will usually focus on building their biceps and triceps. However, they tend to forget about a crucial aspect, their grip.
I’ve even seen plenty of muscular guys fail on multiple pull ups due to a lack of grip strength alone. Their lats are huge, but they just can’t hold the bar.
Kettlebells force in your grip strength and after you’ve been working with them for a while, you’ll find that there’s nothing you can’t hold on to.
We briefly talked about the adaptability of kettlebells. With the right training, you can add them to any workout to increase the intensity.
That makes them one of the most versatile tools in the gym. Here are some of the common kettlebell moves:
- Pistol Squat
- Farmer’s Walk
- Goblet Squat
These are just a few of the available options and can be added to any training routine.
10. Enhances Core Strength and Stability
Kettlebell training can improve your core strength in a variety of ways. First off, to use kettlebells, you need to move in multiple planes.
You’ll have to shift the kettlebell in many pathways as you work out. For that reason, you’ll stretch and exercise your core from all directions.
Moving on, most kettlebell routines involve ballistic training. This improves your explosive power by increasing acceleration and decreasing deceleration.
That’ll significantly stimulate your core.
Most people think of their “core” as just their abdominal muscles. That’s not true. Your core muscles are all of the muscles that you use to stabilize your spine.
11. Excellent at Burning Calories
Many people only have one goal in mind when visiting the gym. Typically, they’ll focus on losing weight by burning calories.
If that’s the case, then kettlebells are an amazing tool to use.
Your potential for burning calories with kettlebell training is insanely high compared to jogging on a treadmill. The high-intensity exercises along with the muscle building aspects will have you burning many more calories than if you were to just do some cycling or jog on a treadmill.
12. Refines Your Technique
When working out with kettlebells, you have to be careful and aware of your surroundings. Since you’re carrying around more weight, you are more at risk of injuring yourself.
The amount of coordination, balance, strength, and accuracy needed for some of these movements is insane. You build up with them on a gradient, but they really, really pay off in the long run.
To avoid injuries, it’s always best to start working out with lightweight kettlebells. Then, when you have mastery over the exercise technique, you can move on to something heftier.
The basic moves are well worth your time and effort to master.
There are hundreds of fun facts about kettlebell training. The exercise regimen can help you improve grip strength and reinforce your joints.
On top of that, it’ll support lean muscle growth, boost endurance, and reduce training time.
You can either get with a trainer who can help guide you through it or just buy a kettlebell and learn at home. These are absolutely great little exercise tools.