Strongmen in the Russian circus began lifting heavy metal weights for showmanship and competition in the late 1880s. The weights were crude and more often used to weigh farm crops. They were also the precursor to kettlebells, the versatile training orbs.
A round dumbbell or free weight with a flat base, a kettlebell resembles a cannonball with a handle. It’s named after its similar appearance to a spoutless English teapot. Unlike traditional dumbbells, a kettlebell’s center of mass is extended beyond the hand. It thus provides beneficial ballistic and swinging movements.
With its varied movements and uneven weight balance, kettlebell workouts provide multiple fitness components, including mobility, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength, speed and power.
Family workout clubs, private gyms and personal trainers in the greater Naples area regularly incorporate kettlebell training into fitness routines. Using basic movements such as the swing, snatch and clean and jerk, the entire body is simultaneously engaged. Experts often compare kettlebell workouts to farm or construction labor.
The workout combines aerobics with high-intensity interval training. While several muscle groups are simultaneously tested, strength and endurance follow. Shoulders, legs and the lower back are emphasized.
Pavel Tsatsouline, a Soviet Union immigrant, became a kettlebell instructor in the United States nearly 25 years ago. He’s written several books on the exercise form as a strength and fitness tool. He often mixes his commitment to fitness with an emphasis on fun, and he’s noted as the father of modernized kettlebell fitness.
“You are to do nothing else during this practice – only lift the kettlebell and move for active recovery,” Tsatsouline says. “There is no chatting, looking at members of the opposite sex, watching TV, fooling around with your phone (absolutely no phone), taking a drink of water or going to the bathroom. Just training. Your session is barely half an hour long; stay focused.”
As with any physical exercise, kettlebell training should begin with proper instruction and gradually advance in difficulty. As muscle and joint strength improve, injury potential wanes.
Like aerobics, free weights, cardio machines and other fitness club equipment, kettlebell workouts are varied. Beginning routines to intense heavyweight options abound. Many of the workouts can be accomplished with one or two kettlebells.
Girevoy (fluid), Hardstyle (power), Crossfit (part of Crossfit curricula), Juggling (catch and release) and Kettlebell (miscellaneous exercises) are the most well- known styles. Kettlebells have more than 25 different grips to provide variety or to increase or decrease workout complexity.
Many Naples fitness businesses offer kettlebell workouts, including these locations:
Core to Core Fitness, 5002 Tami- ami Trail N #100. (239) 649-5002; naplescoretocore.com
CrossFit Naples, 4110 Enterprise Ave #106. (239) 263-8122; crossfitnaples.com
CrossFit Real Fitness, 2650 Immokalee Road #3. (239) 325-8188; realfitnessnaples.com
Greater Naples YMCA, 5450 YMCA Road, #100. (239) 597-3148; greaternaplesymca.org
Naples Fitness Lab, 1110 Pine Ridge Road #204. (239) 272-5786; naplesfitnesslab.com