Kettlebells, which were developed in Russia in the 1700s, are being raved about on many a fitness blog and in many gyms around the country. First used by the Soviet Military they mimic many real life movements such as digging or other farming toils. They first became known as a great training and fitness device when Russian fitness magazine Hercules published an article about them in 1913 but it wasn’t until 1948 that the first kettleball competition was held. It later went on to become Russia’s national sport.
For those not in the know, kettlebells are free weight, cast iron balls used to perform ballistic exercises such as the clean and jerk, the snatch, lateral rays, overhead reverse lunge and the Russian twist. They differ from standard dumbbells as their centre of mass is extended beyond the hand to allow for all sorts of swing movements. Their handles allow for improved grip and safety.
There are many benefits of using kettlebells which is why they are gaining such popularity. Kettlebells are considered fun and varied which breaks up the monotony of other work-outs. They combine both cardio and strength training which means they are ideal for workers, busy mothers and others who don’t have much time. Plus you only need one kettlebell which is easily portable and very compact. They improve flexibility without the need for the long poses which you would find in typical flexibility improving exercises like Yoga or Pilates. One of the main benefits I find is that they negate the need for a gym membership which can be both costly and tiresome, whilst, providing a full body work out which improves strength in the back which can help improve back problems and you can do it in the privacy of your own home.
Kettlebells can be used for both sexes which is another reason for the sudden rise in popularity. Women can use them to target fat loss (or specific areas such as bums and tums!) without bulking up and they come in a variety of weights. Celebrity fans such as Jennifer Lopez swear by them and they are fast becoming a main stay of the health and fitness world.