Russian Kettlebells seem like they are only for the hardcore, but they are fantastic training tools that can help to reshape your physique and rev up your metabolism. Even if you are just a beginner.
A kettlebell is a cast iron weights that looks like a cannon ball with a handle. Known as a “girya,” kettlebells have been a traditional Russian tool for extreme all-around fitness since the beginning of the 1700’s.
In this century, Russian Master of Sport Pavel Tsatsouline has been the number one proponent of bringing this old school method of training back to the masses. Another great read is Pavel’s “purposely primitive” approach to strength training as detailed in his book “Power to the People: Russian Strength Secrets for Every American.”
Back to the kettlebells. The giryas come in all sizes big and small, starting with a 4kg (9 lb/.25 poods) cutie and going all the way up to a 40kg (88 lb/2.5 poods) behemoth. The benefits of kettlebell training are many. Used properly, kettlebell exercises will push you to higher levels of all-around fitness and make you more capable; ramp up your metabolism without the bother of the time-wasting pursuits of diet and aerobics; increase endurance; and develop a killer combination of strength-with-flexibility.
All this, plus train your body in a functional manner with the most portable and versatile equipment available.
The giryas offer a great change of pace and break up the monotony of a regular training regime featuring traditional equipment. The backbone of training with kettlebells is the two handed swing, but you can also perform hang cleans and snatches. You can squat with them, military press them, throw them and anything else that you can think of. There’s no limit to what you can do with a girya.
However, you must have an open mind and a commitment to hard work to get the most out of this style of training. And if you are a golfer, I guarantee that if used properly, training with a kettlebell will add more distance to your drives than any other method of training.
Everyone should buy Pavel’s instructional DVD “The Russian Kettlebell Challenge and/or “From Russia With Tough Love: The Women’s Guide To Kettlebell Training.” Women who are beginners should start with a pair of 4kg/8 lbs kettlebells, women who are currently training with weights and men who are beginners a pair of 6kg/13 lbs kettlebells and men who are currently training with weights a pair of 12kg/26 lbs kettlebells. You can add to your collection as you improve your technique, strength and conditioning. Kettlebells are one of the best fitness investments that you can make.