KETTLEBELL – Russian Strength Training
Kettlebell is an old Russian training method, which generates flexibility, strength, speed, coordination, endurance and balance. A complete form of exercise!
Kettlebells is a relative new training method in Norway, however it can be traced back to 17th century Russia. The bells with handles, originally called Girya, were used to grind grain and as weights. The harvest in the fall was tough and lengthy and took its toll on the body. After a long day out in the fields, the farm people would use the kettlebells to loosen up painful muscles in the neck, shoulders and lower back, while strengthening them at the same time. That was the beginning of nowadays’ kettlebells training.
Kettlebells/Girya training is the form for exercise that is experiencing most growth at the moment. The ball itself looks like a canon-ball and exists in several sizes and kilos. When seeing a kettlebell, many people immediately thinks of hard-core bodybuilding, that is however not correct. The kettlebells can be used for many things including weight loss exercise, injury prevention and to improve performance. A fine example of this is for example Lance Armstrong who used kettlebells to supplement and optimize training before his come back. Liverpool and Chelsea have used kettlebells as a part of their training for years.
Former national boxer Allan Fallrø is one of the ones who introduced Norway to kettlebells.“I had started to get tired of the normal boxing training and the monotony exercise with different apparatus, so I was looking for something new. Partly thanks to my Russian mother in-law I ended up in Russia, where I was introduced to kettlebells. Ever since I have been addicted,” says the 49 year old who claims that he is in better shape now than during his glorious days as a competitive boxer.
Now he gives courses all over the country and runs a gym in Trondheim, which focuses on kettlebells
One of the reasons why Fallrø became interested in kettlebells was that he, as many other athletes, noticed how swinging the kettlebells automatically activates the weakest muscles first. Kettlebells are not weights that replace normal ones; they are distinctly different because they are meant to be swung in oscillating movements. The rotating movement mobilizes every small and weak muscle fibre in the body.
Lifting and controlling a kettlebell forces your entire body, especially your core muscles, to work in a dynamic way, which improves strength, endurance and flexibility, Fallrø explains. Kettlebells are user-friendly, and burns many calories. “You keep moving without stopping and consequently workout intensively and effectively.” Says Jason C. Brown, the founder of Kettlebellathletics.com
Brown has some god advice with regards to what to think of when using kettlebells:
- Do not use too heavy weights. That might lead to injuries.
- Keep your shoulders low and push them back- in that way you will benefit the most.
- Do the exercises in front of a mirror. In that way you can check if you are doing them correctly.
- Keep your own body-weight on your heals throughout the entire workout.
Learn the technique. Do you want to learn how to use kettleballs we recommend that you contact a gym near you. More and more gyms have group sessions with kettlebells and talented kettlebell trainers who are able to give you a proper introduction to the equipment. You can also find useful instruction videos at youtube.
According to American Institute of Exercise (ACE) kettlebell training burns in average 272 calories in only 20 minutes.
Kettlebells in Norway