History of Kettlebell

For centuries Kettlebells have been used to develop strength and endurance.  Whilst there is no certainty to their exact origin, there is some evidence of their use in Ancient Greece.

Kettlebells made their way to Russia at the beginning of the 18th century where they were initially used as a weight to measure grains and other goods. However, as the Russian wanted to show feats of strength, kettlebells were used during festivals and fairs.  It was then that the health benefits were realised. 

Toward the end of the 1800’s Russian doctor, Dr Kraevsky, introduced exercises with kettlebells and barbells to the Russian athletic community. He then opened a weight training hall with the focus of muscular development.

Early in the 20th century, physical culturists, strong men and circus performers from around the world trained with kettlebells in the traditional fashion of the Russian strongmen and athletes. This introduced kettlebells to a wider audience outside of Russia.  

In Russia, kettlebells are a matter of national pride and a symbol of strength .Unlike most national armed forces, which test their soldiers with push ups; the Russian armed forces test their soldiers using the high volume kettlebell snatches.
Kettlebells in the West
In 1998, Pavel Tsatouline, a fitness author and former Soviet Special Forces' physical training instructor, who was also known as the “modern king of kettlebells”, wrote an article discussing kettlebells in a popular American magazine for strength athletes. The article was extremely well received. As a result, kettlebells began to get manufactured in America. Following from that, kettlebell training certification was established.


Kettlebell exercises are still fairly new but is becoming more popular in recent years especially since the onset of corona virus pandemic. Many gyms and fitness centres were closed or experienced restrictions due to governments worldwide imposing strict lockdown regulations. Unable to exercise at their regular gyms, many people begun searching for alternatives and found kettlebells to be a great equipment for home gym.

Kettlebells have also been used in therapeutic rehabilitation programs and physiotherapies. Functional kettlebell exercises such as acceleration and deceleration movements is beneficial in helping athletes recover. Kettlebell swing includes many eccentric muscle contractions which may help improve muscular flexibility and reduce the risk of injury or re-injury.