History of Kettlebells


The kettlebell, is known as the Girya in Russian. It is a strength and conditioning tool. It has been widely used for centuries in Russia by the police, military and the people to increase strength, power and endurance. It is used for both training and competitions to prove strength.

History of kettlebells

Kettlebells first appeared in a Russian History in the dictionary in the year 1704, there are lots of people claiming to know the history and origins of kettlebells and there are loads of theories surrounding them which causes a lot of confusion, this article discusses all the theories and forms a valid conclusion as to the history of Kettlebells.

The Traditional Russian kettlebell weighs 1 Pood this is approximately a 16 kg kettlebell (or 35 pounds).

Kettlebells were recognised internationally as a superb fitness tool when there was an article about them in the fitness magazine Hercules in 1913. The first kettlebell competition was held in 1948 in Russia. It later became Russia’s National sport. Russians were outstripping other nations in terms of explosive endurance and strength this led other nations to start training and finding the benefits of Kettlebells. A committee for the sport of Kettlebell lifting was created in 1985, with the first National Championship for Kettlebells held in Russia in 1985.

Theories of kettlebells history

Human culture has been inventing for thousands of years, we have also been competing for strength since the dawn of time. So it makes complete sense that we would begin training for these events and all intelligent cultures would add a handle to a weight to increase the amount of weight we can train with.

Throughout history Cultures have used some form of handled weights for strength training and this can be traced back thousands of years to the Shaolin Monks of China, they used stone padlocks to train similarly to kettlebell training. This training was known as Shi-SuoGuong. Ancient Greeks are also known to have trained for their Olympics so it is likely they would have used kettlebell style training.

Another theory for their history is that the kettlebell originated with the Russian artillery branch of the military, who added a handle to the cannonball in order to develop strength that they could apply to loading the cannonball in battle.

Some people believe Kettlebells origins are part of the Scottish Highland sporting history using curling stones as the principal model. Curling uses brooms to guide heavy gliding round stones across ice. Iron handles were attached to the stones to make them easier to handle. Farmers began using handled stones for their training sessions to prepare for the Highland Games. Scotland and Russia have a close relationship which dates back to the middle ages. Many Scots flocked to Russia over the ages because it was ripe with opportunity and potential for a better standard of living.

Conclusion – The history of kettlebells

As I discussed above many cultures used similar equipment to kettlebells in their training both before during and after the Russians started using kettlebells. But is important to state they used similar equipment it is however Russians who started using kettlebells specifically. It is a known fact that Russians farmers used a bell shaped weight to measure out quantities of grains and goods on balance scales. As I have discussed earlier, give a man a heavy weight and he will quickly want to show everyone he can lift it. So farmers and laborers were quickly competing for strength with the kettlebells.

So it can be concluded that kettlebells originated in Russia as a farmers weight.


Source by Duncan Boltt

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