A ‘kettlebell’ or girya (Russ.) is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle. “Not a single sport develops our muscular strength and bodies as well as kettlebell athletics,” wrote Ludvig Chaplinskiy in Russian magazine Hercules in 1913. In the Soviet times weightlifting legends such as Vlasov, Zhabotinskiy, and Alexeyev, started their Olympic careers with kettlebells. The Russian Special Forces personnel owe much of their wiry strength, lethal agility, and never-quitting stamina to kettlebells. Soldier, Be Strong!, the official Soviet armed forces strength training manual pronounced kettlebell drills to be “one of the most effective means of strength development” representing “a new era in the development of human strength-potential.”
Kettlebells deliver all round extreme fitness
Voropayev (1983) observed two groups of subjects over a period of a few years and tested them with a standard battery of armed forces PT tests: pullups, a standing broad jump, a 100m sprint, and a 1k run. The control group followed a typical university physical education program that emphasized the above. The experimental group just lifted kettlebells. In spite of the lack of practice on the tested exercises, the kettlebell group showed better scores in every one of them! Researchers at the Lesgaft Physical Culture Institute in Leningrad (Vinogradov & Lukyanov, 1986) found a very high correlation between the results posted in a kettlebell lifting competition and a great range of dissimilar tests: strength, measured with the three powerlifts and grip strength; strength endurance, measured with pullups and parallel bar dips; general endurance, determined by a 1000 meter run; and work capacity and balance, measured with special tests! Shevtsova (1993) discovered that kettlebell training lowers the heart rate and the blood pressure. Gomonov (1998) concluded that “Exercises with kettlebells enable one to quickly build strength, endurance, achieve a balanced development of all muscle groups, fix particular deficiencies of build, and they also promote health.”
Reality SDC, the RKC and Kettlebells
The Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) is the worlds pioneering and leading Kettlebell certification course. The list of amazing athletes and coaches that have been developed through Dragon Door and Pavel Tsatsouline’s RKC curriculum include Steve Cotter, Jeff Martone, Kenneth Jay and Mike Mahler to name a few.
No current Australian certification courses can even closely compare to the standard set by Dragon Door and the RKC.
Be warned. Most current martial arts clubs, gyms, outdoor based group fitness groups and personal training sessions using kettlebells in South Australia, along with most current Australian PDP accredited certification courses are taught by individuals
with no formal education or certification in this area. They have learnt from DVD’s and books just as we did prior to making the effort and taking the expense to travel and learn from the world’s leading coach.
Head Coach on the far left with Master of Sports, Pavel Tsatsouline of Dragon Door and the RKC and Expert level Krav Maga instructors Tommy Bloom and Amnon Dharsa on the RKC in Budapest, Hungary.
Who uses kettlebells?
The list is many and varied and includes hard-living comrades from all over the world. It’s growing rapidly as more and more people hear about kettlebells and want to experience this phenomenon, and achieve amazing physical and fitness results. This diverse group includes:
• The elite of the US military and law enforcement including the Force Recon Marines, Department of Energy Nuclear Security Teams, the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team, the Secret Service Counter Assault Team etc
The Kettlebell Body
Kettlebells forge their practitioner’s physiques along the lines of antique statues - broad shoulders with just a hint of pecs, back muscles standing out in bold relief, wiry arms, rugged forearms, a cut midsection, and strong legs without a hint of squat-induced chafing. Kettlebells melt fat without the dishonor of dieting or aerobics - losing 1% of body fat a week for weeks is not uncommon. If you are overweight, you will lean out. If you are skinny, you will get built up. According to Voropayev (1997) who studied top Russian gireviks, 21.2% increased their bodyweight since taking up kettlebell lifting and 21.2% (the exact same percentage, not a typo), mostly heavyweights, decreased it. The Russian kettlebell is a powerful tool for fixing your body composition, whichever way it needs fixing.