Shaped like a cannonball with a handle, the kettlebell is a Russian hand weight typically made of cast iron. Via exercise sets of swinging, pulling and lifting, kettlebelling is an effective way to build strength. Kettlebellers claim that the exercises can build endurance, tone every muscle in the body, increase flexibility, help burn fat and even allow the body to take harder hits. Kettlebells come in a variety of sizes that range from 4 to 175 pounds.
The first historical mention of kettlebells was in a 1704 Russian dictionary. (In Russian, the kettlebell is called a girya, and the men who trained with them were called gireviks.) Kettlebell lifting was also a sport for the strongest men in local villages and towns to compete with each other. By 1913, kettlebells were recognized as a weight-loss training technique in the fitness magazine Hercules. A committee for the sport of kettlebell was created in 1985 in Russia, and 15 years later, Russian fitness instructor Pavel Tsatsouline introduced the kettlebell into the United States.
– February 21, 2012