From Russia To Mexico With Kettlebells

By Ron Krayewski


kettlebellWhen you thought that the latest hi-tech exercise machine had arrived at your health club, the truth is that the best conditioning apparatus was in the free weight area, where the seasoned veterans congregate.

The kettlebell or girya, is a cast iron cannonball with an over-sized handle. It varies in weight from 10 pounds to 160 pounds with a pood being the old Russian measure of weight equalling 16 kilograms or 35 pounds.

Dr. Wladysaw Krajewski, known as the father of Russian weightlifting, was responsible for the introduction of kettlebells back in the early 1900s. It is the best single piece of exercise equipment for working the entire body that you will find.

Today, many manufacturers produce kettlebells, and although the form, for the most part, remains standard, colour, size and texture vary widely. Valery Fedorenko, chief instructor for the American Kettlebell Club (AKC) has designed what is recognized as the Rolls Royce of kettlebells, by standardizing the shape to one size and varying only the weight and matching colour.

As a side-note, coach Fedorenko set a record 19 years ago, by pressing (known as jerking) two 32 kilogram kettlebells over-head 130 times in 10 minutes. In his late 30s today, he continues to set world records.

Unlike other pieces of fitness equipment, kettlebells are compact, hence easy to store, relatively inexpensive, and great for a home gym. A kettlebell work-out can be completed within 20 minutes; it has both aerobic and anaerobic qualities. Giryas produce joint stability and endurance strength without the corresponding increase in muscle size.

Although virtually unheard of in Mexico, kettlebells’ popularity have increased world-wide, and are used by law enforcement agencies, professional athletes, pugilists of every type, week-end warriors and everyday people, men and women alike.

(The author, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, is also  certified as a kettlebell lifting coach by Agatsu in Canada as well as the American Kettlebell Club in the USA.)

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