History of the kettlebell

The origin of the kettlebell

It turns out that there are no clear historical facts about the origin of the kettlebell. However, there is an evidence of the existence of such a device for a dynamic workout, designed to develop strength and endurance even in ancient Greece. Many cultures have used some kind of form of free weight with an attached handle. Scottish tribes include similar in their games. The Shaolin monks used stone weights with wooden handles similar to the modern standard kettlebell. This type of training is called Shi-Suo Gong and preceded kettlebells with thousands of years.


The first official mention of the kettlebell was then under the name GIRA in 1704. It was published in a Russian dictionary, and its explanation is that it is a measure of the weight of grain and other crops. Vendors at the then market began to sway and swing the weight to demonstrate their strength. And then it started gaining popularity as something that develop strong and healthy body.

Introduction of the the kettlebell exercises

In 1870- 1880 the Russian doctor Vladislav Krevski, who is considered the founder of the heavy athletics, traveled through Europe collecting information about physical education and sports, with the intention of finding new ways to improve health, well-being and physical strength. After returning to Russia, the physician introduced the kettlebell exercises in favor of the Russian athletic community.


In the beginning of the 20th century, strong circus artists around the world, demonstrated their power by tossing the kettlebell from hand to hand. However, for some time the gira remains mainly known in Russia as part of a training program of the military and Olympic athletes. It is interesting to know that through the exercises with it the athletes have developed specific strength that wasn’t possible with other weight lifting equipment. In 1948 the Girevoy sport became a national sport of the former Soviet Union. Settings of the rules, categories and techniques are constantly evolving and finalize its final form in 1985 when the first national championship in Russia was conducted.

Kettlebell popularity  in America

In America the kettlebell became popular in the late 20th century. In 1998, Pavel Tsatsouline, Master of Sports and a former instructor in physical training at the elite Russian troops “Spetsnaz”, wrote an article in a popular American sports magazine for the kettlebell training. The article was titled “Vodka, Pickles, kettlebell lifting and other Russian entertainment” was extremely well accepted by Americans. The kettlebell manufacturing began and Tsatsouline was offered to teach people how to use them. In 2002. the “Rolling Stones” magazine announced the kettlebell “The Hot Weight of the Year”.


During his long 350 years time kettlebell change its shape and grip material, but has always been and remains functional device that allows you to develop body strength and its durability. Anyone grabbed a kettlebell in hand fell in love at first sight with it and hardly has fed him this love. The opportunities offered by it are many. Naturally, this unit has its place in many homes and gyms and serves well at all athletes who want to be healthy and strong.