Kettlebells have been used as a dynamic tool to develop strength and endurance for centuries. Some suggest that they date back to Ancient Greece, however, the first concrete evidence pins the kettlebell to the beginning of the 18th century, wherein 1704, the word ‘Girya’ (meaning kettlebell), was first published in the Russian dictionary. At that time, the kettlebell was used as a counter-weight in markets to measure grains and other goods; vendors started swinging and lifting these kettlebells to show their strength, and quickly recognised both the health and strength benefits related to this activity.
Kettlebells in North America and the UK were fairly non-existent in the later parts of the 20th century. In 1998, Pavel Tsatouline, considered 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, he was approached by a kettlebell manufacturer willing to produce kettlebells for him, providing that he agreed to teach people how to use them. This resulted in the first kettlebell certification programme and the subsequent worldwide explosion of kettlebell training. The rest as they say… is history!
The following infographic provides a timeline of kettlebell history and how these now popular strength training resources have become so prolific.