History of the Kettlebell | KETTLEBELL TRAINING

Hello kettlebell world, we’re here with Steve Cotter today what’s up Taco, how you guys doing? want to talk with Steve about the history of kettlebells, where did the kettlebells come from and he knows a lot about kettlebell, so I’m going to give it to Steve. Great thank you so i’ll give you sort of a somewhat brief condensed history of some significant points in time related to the kettlebells from its origin to modern times 2016 i’ll just say in advance please forgive me if I leave any significant individuals out it’s not my intention i’m basically just going off of you know memory so we go back in time where we’re looking at 17th century Russia which later became Soviet Union now is Russia again so if we look at the origins of kettlebell they were official weights part of the official weights and measures of Czarist Russia and they were used on the scales they were actually used in the markets so for example you would put a bushel of grain on the scale and then you would put the kettlebell to balance the scale and these were called the official term is called the Pood which is basically 16 kilograms so one Pood is a 16 kilogram there’s also smaller increments called the Food which was like grams so 1 16 Food equals 1 Pood and probably my Russian pronunciation is not perfect so what we have today really came out of the Pood one Pood 16 kilogram one-and-a-half Pood 24 kilograms 2 Pood 32 kilograms and out of that environment began local competitions basically during festival times so the farming community would have festival during harvest season lots of food celebration possibly some Wodka involved with that point and there was sort of friendly competition let’s see who can lift this the most times and that was sort of the origins of using kettlebell for sport for competition and then in the early 20th century there’s a sports scientist from st. Petersburg so st. Petersburg we can say is sort of the the mecca of kettlebells, or it’s really where the early research and development of kettlebell created there’s actually a museum a credible Museum in st. Petersburg there was a sports scientists who started looking at the use of the kettlebell for conditioning specifically for the Russian military to essentially use in basic training to increase the fitness of the of the troops out of that there was research with which in which groups were measured in their performance in a certain battery of physical tests such as long jump broad jump, sprinting pull-ups and the research showed that that just by using kettlebells alone the group was able to show increase and all of those measures without training specifically in those measures in modern times Pavel Tsatsouline coined the terms of what the effect which basically describes this unknown phenomenon of why we can increase in many physical characteristics using kettlebells without training for those specific characteristics the origins of kettlebell sport really started in the 20th century there was various competitions among the different Soviet nations and they would compete against each other so for example Russia Ukraine Belarus Russia latvia kazakhstan kyrgyzstan so on the various former Russian states and there was no real systemization in the early competitions there was no time limit and so essentially it was a a game of attrition where it was basically the last person standing who did the most reps and this could take this could take hours would be snatching and whoever had the strongest gripping could last the longest would be the winner but though it wasn’t spectator friendly on those days the snatch was contested you would do a snatch they can lower to the chest rest in that that position as long as they wanted and then swing and snatch again the first what would call the all-russia the also Soviet championship was in the 1950s and this is when the sport began to be systemized and what we call the beginning of what is now known as the modern kettlebell sport era began in nineteen eighty-five so in 1985 was the first official kettlebell sport where it was modernized and what that means is that all the kettle bells were the same size the same shape the same dimensions and also it was a time limit now the lifts were contesting the 10 minute timeframe so you had 10 minutes to do as many reps as possible whoever did the most reps in that 10 minute time frame is the champion also the snatch there was no longer allowed to lower to the chest it had to be dropped from the top and so if we look at what we call the Russian kettlebell system it really all all evolved around the sport the sport of was for giri girevoy sport or giri sport ed would be the term to describe the kettlebell literally girivek means a strong man but the term google back is associated with a kettlebell sport athlete or kettlebell lifters getting back to the sport but first we’re going to do a little bit of a Segway and i’m going to point out some historical individuals that were very significant in what we can call the modern cattle dog not only cattle dolt sport but kettlebells in general we have to sort of start in the modern times with pod lsat saline papel and rightly we have to mention his his business partner at that time he was John Duquesne the founder of dragon or publication so essentially John UK nan province at Selene formed a partnership we could say that Pavel was the personality and jon was the marketing force behind that to promote it then they developed by bell system called the Russian kettlebell challenge otherwise known as rkc and so we can say that and that was early 2000 2001 and in 2001 the book was published Russian kettlebell challenge and that’s really one kettlebells started to be known in the modern Western world previous to that it was pretty much restricted to the Soviet Union Eastern Europe there was definitely some awareness in eastern Germany Russia former save Soviet states but no one really knew about this in the u.s. if we go back to say turn-of-the-century turn to twentieth-century didn’t have these traveling strong Mans that were performing in the circus some of the more famous names with the eugene sand now Arthur sacks on and some others and they would have kettlebells but they use them very large very heavy kettlebells and it was a different design a lot of times with the rotating wooden handle and usually they were with perform one called case of strength where they would pick up a very heavy kettlebell doing lifts like a and crafts or two hands any what we know now about kettlebells it’s more based on the kettlebell sport which is more based on endurance so it’s not necessarily a the heaviest kettlebell you can pick up one rep but rather a submaximal kettlebell using mostly ballistic lifts which are fast looks like the clean-and-jerk in the snatch and doing as many reps as possible so it’s more towards the endurance for power endurance rather than maximal strength getting back to papel in rkc he developed this program of the russian cup about challenge and developer certification myself I was one of the early adapters in we can say the Western world in the US and some of the other significant part of this early team of instructors that we’re supporting papel and helping him with this program besides myself that was steve Maxwell Mike Mahler there was a great Jones robbed Lawrence Andrew Kane Jeff mark tone and make Morrison so we were the first generation of what we called senior instructors that we’re helping papel to teach these Russian credible challenge horses that point of time rkc was the only show in town this is how people were we’re finding out about kettlebell and it was a different approach it was based more on general fitness not kettlebell sport so rightly as i like to say Pablo we can say is the godfather of the modern kettlebell movement where not-for-profit well I wouldn’t know about kettlebells most of us that know about kettlebells we wouldn’t know about LOL so he is a very significant historical figure in the the overall history of kettlebells it’s also important to mention another significant individual who is Valeri federate go Larry federico was really the first US Champion from the Soviet system is actually from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and he was a world champion in 1993 emigrated to the united states and Larry federico was really the first first person from the soviet union that was highly trained and highly skillful in skin care about sport to begin to share some of these methods with the Western world United States Europe Australia and so on and so the first people in the West that really started to learn some things about kettlebell sport methods which are very different than say the arc AC method most of them started learning from Larry federal co myself included and another important significant historical figure and again not not being arrogant but I’m being honest is myself steve Carter in 2008 i founded the IKF which is the International kettlebell and fitness Federation i should mention also federico he founded what was originally called the metal the American kettlebell club and then now is known as the world kennel club w kc so 2008 i founded the international kettlebell and fitness Federation which was really a blend you could say a holistic combination of methods from the fitness application combined with methods from kettlebell sport and then combined with my main background of internal Chinese martial arts so the chi-gong the meditation the mobility and i integrate these together and where I’m significant in the in the overall stories as i was really the first person to start bringing kettlebells all around the world introducing kettlebells too many different countries around the world now in 2016 i personally clock kettlebells in more than 60 nations in six continents and I continue to do so today and in more recent times since about 2010-2011 then we started getting more access to what we would call the real modern kettlebell sport which is over time the methods have changed because of continued research of his Soviet system another important significant contributor to what we understand as modern kettlebell sport is an exercise physiologist named dr. vladimir ticking off and not to take it off has been the the sports scientists who has been most responsible for testing the athletes and the Russian national team looking at such measures such as the effects of the effects of the on the physiology under load during kettlebell sport training and also at rest for example EKG or ECG electrocardiogram which measures the electrical heart the electrical activity of the heart looking at vo2max levels looking at blood lactate looking at respiration rates via desperate respirometer and his research has contributed a lot to the modern training methods that we choose to increase their performance to be able to get more reps in that 10-minute unit which means they have to move faster to get more reps as I was saying previously since about 2011 we’ve had other significant champion athletes and champion coaches from the Soviet system primarily from Russia and other places who have since about 2011 began teaching their methods throughout the world as well and again forgive me if I missed some important names we should certainly mention certainly sir gave her chin ski is one of the the Pioneers we can say many times champions trained many champions Sergei routine f is another great coach has contributed a lot then especially of multiple time world champion great great teacher great person as well as others live in or even nice off the the absolute champion super-heavyweight owns most of the World Records it’s also important to mention John even is a wednesday i may be saying its name incorrectly he’s probably the most impressive coefficient because he’s a light about 60 kilograms but what’s up incredible numbers Sergei merkulov 16 or 17 time world champion in the long cycle many others for women as well kristinia ksenia I won’t say her last name because I will butcher it continues probably known by her first name she’s a absolute champion for women as well and and there’s many others but these are some of the significance of teachers and coaches and athletes that a problem from the Soviet system and the Russian system and shared their experience and knowledge with the rest of us around the world and we’ve all benefited from that and so what we have today is we have sort of a a mixture of kettlebell sport modern kettlebell sport which are for people that are really interested in the competition aspect of kettlebell and that really is what comes from the Russian system it’s a fixed weight and the progress is based on increasing repetition so it’s known as a endurance sport and really a power endurance because you’re doing as many repetitions as you can in a fixed unit of 10 minutes which is means you have to go faster and that’s where the power comes in so it’s really known as a power endurance sport and then we have sort of the fitness aspects which is for kind of the general population that isn’t necessarily interested in competing they want to just get in basic shape the technical level is not as high it’s not as precise but if you just want to look good feel good lose some weight tone your muscles it’s certainly very effective for that you don’t necessarily need to learn kettlebell sport also we have systems such as the rkc strong first isn’t is a newer system which is essentially the same system as rkc that’s again under the direction of valve obviously I kff i can map here in all aspects kettlebell sport general fitness working with all populations and we have many other systems such as WK the IKS fa in certainly others that are maybe more regional in certain parts of the world i’ve named sort of the more known well known and most most longest longer established organizations and another important point about the history is that there’s different categories of kettlebell so there’s what’s known as the classical also known as the competition and that’s basically the kettlebell sport and the basic lifts that make up the sport of the training so that would consist primarily of CLEAN&JERK snatch but also will include foundational live such as press swing squatting as well as supplementary lifts for conditioning the body such as jump squats and various exercises for the grip we also have a different category which is general fitness is for everybody and that’s basically lower reps doing a lot of different movement patterns there you’ll see other exercises that are popular such as Turkish getup such as windmill things like one legged dead lift around the body pass halos lots of alternative movement patterns there the third category is known as kettlebell juggling which is basically throwing-and-catching spinning the kettlebell in different patterns and that’s actually strongest in Ukraine Ukraine is sort of the you could say the hub for the mecca for what’s called power juggling which is a competitive sport and the competitors are judged not only on routine also presentation States presence costume and the certain competitive compulsory news with the must demonstrate in these in these sequences I kaff is the International kettlebell and fitness Federation we provide high-level kettlebell and fitness education all around the world where United States based company but we provide courses in Europe Africa Australia South America North America Asia you can go to I kaff dot-com if you’re interested in attending a seminar workshop please hit the con

Comments 9

  • A pood was the average size of a Russian shit hence the word poo!_

  • I have a 2 pood kettlebell from 19th century Imperial Russia at home. It's still in a pretty damn good condition. The window of the handle is a bit too small to properly snatch that kettlebell. Thanks for the history Taco and Steve.

  • Russian pound was ~405 gr, so 1 pood = 40 russian pounds ~= 16 kg


  • Remember the Chinese martial arts who used kettlebell with diferent shapes and creates.the systematic which kettlebell grew as a interchange between the Mongol empire after the three kingdoms period of the Chinese history.

  • Taco Fleur 🌮!

  • Dr. Vladislav Kraeyvsky who introduced Kettlebell to the Russian wasn't a russian. He was born in Poland – dr Władysław Krajewski.

  • I read onec that KB was known and used by Greeks but with a little bit deferent shape….later it was used by Turkish or ottomans as a training tool for the soldiers…..one of the Ottoman Sultans used to swing his 104 KG KB for an hour so no wonder if you hear the word Turkish get up exercise….some of these KB is still kept at Taqseem museum in Istanbul but there grip is not comfortable as todays KB

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