Also known as the ball dumbbell, the kettlebell (kettle ball) has been experiencing a renaissance since the beginning of the 21st century, especially in the USA – the free weight with handle serves as a training device in the field of dynamic strength training.
There is no clear information about the exact date of the first kettlebells – originally today’s kettlebells were probably made from cannonballs that were fitted with a handle.
It is believed that such early forms of kettlebells already existed in the years 4000 to 3500 BC. They were used: for example by men who demonstrated their strength to the public for a small fee as an attraction in markets.
Today’s training device comes from Russia in its tradition. There, like later in the German Democratic Republic, it was used primarily in military training.
Training with the kettlebell is particularly suitable for training the muscles of the body base – the lower back and the hip region. Kettlebell training addresses whole muscle groups instead of individual muscles – this is why the training is also referred to as ‘functional training’. In addition to strengthening the general muscles and thus physical strength, the training is also suitable for expanding body coordination and endurance. Because of these effects, training is less often used by bodybuilders who often train individual muscles, but instead takes place, for example, in combat, strength or military sports.
According to expert statements, the training also promotes concentration and body fat burning.
In the type of training units, for example, so-called ballistic exercises differ from those of strength exercises; Ballistic exercises include, for example, swings or ‘swings’: Here the kettlebell is not lifted, but swung – for example between the legs (with two or one arms). On the one hand, such exercises promote stamina and metabolism, but due to the explosive use of force, physical strength also increases with the increasing cooperation between different muscle groups.
Another exercise is the so-called snatch: For its correct execution it is first important
To master turns in which the kettlebell is swung to head height. The force applied should come from the trunk and less from the arms. During the snatch, the kettlebell is held for a short time, among other things. Other exercises are moving (clean) or pushing (perk).
Since kettlebell training is not risk-free, beginners are advised to get started with the sport under professional instruction, or at least familiarize themselves beforehand with video material or manuals with the correct handling of the sports equipment. In addition to kettlebell courses, workshops are also offered – trainings can be booked both as group trainings and as individual trainings.
Kettlebell training is possible both outdoors and indoors – however, various safety precautions should be ensured for training in rooms: First of all, there should be a high ceiling height in order not to damage it with the training device. The floor should also be robust due to the fact that the kettlebell has been set down – training devices are also available for such cases, with a rubber floor attached to the underside.
In addition to versatile training goals, advantages of the kettlebell include its small space requirement, its durability and its low wear due to missing individual parts. Especially in the outdoor area, the kettlebell enables spontaneous use without time-consuming preparations.
Kettlebells are available in different weight units. Standard weight levels have evolved based on the Russian history of the kettlebell and are based on a Russian unit of measurement. The sports equipment is then often 16 kilograms, 24 kilograms or 32 kilograms; however, lower-weight models also exist.
With regard to its appearance, the kettlebell can vary depending on the intended use and preference of the user – in addition to the optical effect, the dynamic properties of the device also depend on its shape. If, for example, finger and hand strength are to be strengthened, kettlebells with a wide handle are suitable. The color of the devices can also vary as desired.