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As the hot sun beat down on our shoulders and backs the last moments of our graduation workout was over. It had broken many, but I seemed to be in good shape. My hands were bleeding but my spirit unshattered. One thing that went through my mind, as well as the incredible pain during our final workout on the Russian Kettlebell Challenge course in Denmark, was where did the Kettlebell come from?
There are few resources documenting the very first use of the Kettlebell. But old strongmen such as Joseph Greenstein, Arthur Saxon, Eugen Sandow and alike all used a form of the Kettlebell which had similarities in appearance to today’s modern bells. Although the shapes and sizes varied and they probably didn’t do many of the exercise we know and love today, but they were essentially used for the same purpose, to condition the body to handle unexpected demands and forces.
Before I was introduced to Kettlebells I knew nothing of their history nor the brutal nature of the all round physical development these balls of iron can give you. The very first time I used Kettlebells I was hooked and I still am 7 years later. There is always something new to learn that can get you that last rep, that last snatch or jerk. But how did these curvilinear cannon balls get her?
The first recorded entry first appeared in a Russian Dictionary in 1704 which read girevik meaning ‘Kettlebell Man’ since then Russian weightlifters such as Vlasov , Vorobyev, Stogov and Alexeyev were using Kettlebells during their careers during the 1900.
During the 1980’s Vinogradov and Lukyanov from Lesgaft Physical Culture Institute in Leningrad began scientific studies as well as Voropayev. They ran research using control groups to test what strongmen of old already new. That Kettlebells are great for strength development.
Even Russian soldiers have been reported to take a Kettlebell with them when stationed in a remote out posts in Siberia. The Navy Seals also use them in their training. Celebrities, athletes, sportsmen and women have all benefited from improved bodies and muscular strength.
The popularity of Kettlebells is now truly global.
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