What is a Russian Kettlebell?

Kettlebells are great strength training exercises that can be done most anywhere. They require the use of a weight called a kettlebell. These weights are metallic and come with a handle at the top. The trick is to swing the kettlebell in a specific way to create an explosive motion that helps condition the muscles for various states of fitness. Most popular are the Russian and American swings, although the kettlebell itself comes from a Russian background, which is why Zero Gravity Fitness focuses on the Russian kettlebell.

Origins of the Kettlebell
The kettlebell is merely a cast-iron or possibly a cast steel ball with a handle at the top. It has become useful for ballistic exercises that use cardiovascular, flexibility, and strength training. The Russian girya, a borrowed word from Persian meaning “heavy,” is a metal weight that was used especially for weighing crops during the 18th century. The weights became useful for testing the strength of men in the circus during the 19th century. Before long, they spread into competition for lifting around the work. The English term of kettlebell began to appear in the 20th century, referencing the Russian girya. Although Russia is credited with the origin of this weight, there were similar weights used in Classical Greece known as the haltere. They used similar motions, as did the Shaolin monks and their own version that was used for centuries in China.

Types of Kettlebell Swings
The Russian kettlebell swing uses what is called a loaded position, something that resembles that of a deadlift position. The movement requires extension through the hips while engaging the abdominal muscles. It is considered a ballistic movement and uses a wide range of motions from the hips through the hamstrings. The movement is key for building on the strength needed for jumping, pulling, running, squatting, and various other human motions. The cyclical pattern of the swing itself is great for working on breathing, bracing, and other conditioning elements as well. The Russian kettlebell is similar to the American swing, but in the American method, the swing ends in an overhead position instead of the chest area where the Russian method ends. This requires much more motion coming from the scapular area of the body.

Benefits of the Kettlebell
With a Russian kettlebell, you are able to get a serious cardio workout, improve flexibility, and acquire the strength you want without having monotonous sets of isolated repetitions. Many people find the Russian kettlebell to be more fun and with varied poses that aren’t held too long, plus it is safe, easy to learn, and a compact piece of equipment that can be taken most everywhere. It is easy to workout with a kettlebell in the privacy of your own home. It also enables a full body workout that promotes better fat loss but which also doesn’t cause women to bulk up. It is the perfect solution for building lean muscle and is far cheaper than hiring a personal trainer!