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Charles Vlasov
Charles Vlasov

Russian Kettlebell

Kettlebells have their origin in ancient Russia, where importance was placed on physical strength. The first recorded mention of the word girya, meaning a traditional Russian weight made of cast iron, was in a 1704 Russian dictionary. At that time kettlebells were used as counterweights to measure goods in the local markets of farming villages. Russian farm workers discovered that the girya could be used to swing and press in order to demonstrate strength. Contests were held as a pastime in villages and towns during festivals, fairs, and circuses.

russian kettlebell

In 1913 an article in a popular Hercules fitness magazine in Russia increased the recognition of kettlebells as a powerful tool for weight loss. In 1948 kettlebell lifting became the national sport of the Soviet Union. The champions from 15 Soviet republics competed in Moscow at the All-Soviet Union Competition of Strongman. Athletes competed in the double kettlebell jerk and the single-arm snatch. During the 1950s kettlebells were being used by Soviet Olympic weightlifters to improve strength on the nondominant side, and kettlebell competitions were held, although there were no rules, standards, or time limits. The winner was the athlete who lifted the most repetitions, irrespective of time or technique. Powerlifters, Olympic athletes, and military personnel all benefited from lifting kettlebells.

By the 1960s kettlebell lifting had been introduced in schools and universities. In the 1970s the sport became part of the United All-State Sport Association of the USSR, and a commission was created to develop unified rules, classifications, and a competition calendar. By this time there were athletes representing 20 regions of the USSR. In 1981 the USSR government created the Official Kettlebell Commission and mandated kettlebell training for all workers as an effective way to improve fitness and productivity of the workforce.

In 1985 a committee for the sport of kettlebell lifting was created, and kettlebell sport (known in Russian as girevoy sport) was officially a formal sport with formalized competitive rules and regulations. That year the first USSR national kettlebell championship was held in Lipetsk, Russia. In 1988 a new competition event, the long cycle, was contested at the First Cup of Girevoy Sport. In 1989 the last major rule revision was added with the introduction of the 10-minute time limit. The first world championship was held in 1993, and in 1999 women competed for the first time. In 2001 during the Russian National Championship, women competed in the snatch competition for the first time.

Today kettlebells are used all over the world throughout all realms of athletics, martial arts, and general fitness training. No accurate statistics exist that show exactly how many people are using kettlebells in homes, gyms, and sport clubs around the world, but we do know that the number is increasing.

Below is a list of organizations that promote, organize, and host kettlebell sport competitions within the United States as well as internationally. Since kettlebell sport is a young and growing sport, new organizations continue to form.

Kettlebell sport is competed along weight classes and follows the international metric system for weight categories and the weight of a kettlebell (1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds). Athletes within the same weight division compete against one another using the same weight kettlebell (e.g., athletes lifting 24-kilogram kettlebells compete against other athletes in the same weight class using 24-kilogram kettlebells). The weight divisions for adults and juniors (under 22 years of age) are the following:

This style of training uses time (duration) as the primary goal of the training set or sets, and it is primarily aerobic in nature. Kettlebell sport competition sets are 10 minutes long and require the lifter to perform as many repetitions as possible. Therefore, the training sets focus on 10 minutes, though they may be in the range of 7 to 12 minutes in most cases. The starting point for competition-style training is the weight of the kettlebell used and the duration of the set or sets; the speed of the set (repetitions per minute, or RPM) is adjusted accordingly to allow the lifter to be able to complete the time goal.

Trainers, athletes, and anyone interested in personal development: If you've been following the fitness industry lately, surely you're aware of the latest rage of Russian Kettlebells. There is no doubt as to the effectiveness of kettlebell training, as many top athletes have jumped on the bandwagon and rave about their athletic improvements brought on by KBs.But where would one start learning how to use KBs? Look no further. Dmitri Sataev of the US Girevoy Sport Federation has developed an instructional course in kettlebell training that will get you up to speed in no time.

Kettlebell training develops strength, power, endurance and balance. Working out with kettlebells will sculpt and tone the entire body because lifting and controlling a kettlebell forces the entire body, and specifically the core, to contract as a group, building both strength and stability at the same time. Kettle bell workouts engage multiple muscle groups at once, making kettle bells a great option for getting a whole body workout in a short time.

The K2 Kettlebell has been designed to provide a superior, more comfortable grip than any other kettlebells on the market. The handle has a smoother surface, just perfect amount of grip, to allow working out without irritation to your hands. Now you can use a kettlebell for a single or double handed swing, clean, snatch, dead lift, squat, hand stand push up, mounted pistol squats, lunge, or perform a Turkish get up and not have to worry about having to over chalk or losing your grip or balance due to sweat during your workout.

Over the past few years, we have seen an exponential growth in Kettlebell workouts for women, that is why we have focused so much on the feel of the kettlebell. We wanted both men and women to feel comfortable with a CFF K2 Kettlebell regardless if the exercise is a swing, snatch, clean, pistol squat, Turkish getup's, or training for your RKC Certification.

All of this attention to detail helps you when you walk in the door as a client. RKCs know kettlebell lifting inside and out because they have done thousands of repetitions themselves and made the exact same mistakes you will make. As such, they come equipped with a bag full of corrective drills.

The RKC system revolves around certain principles of lifting. Pavel has a unique way of taking a skill that an elite performer does naturally and boiling them down into something you and I can do. It just so happens that a kettlebell magnifies some of these drills and allows you to really focus on them.

Andrew Read is like that old guy in the Rocky movies - he has a funny accent, hates everyone, and no one ever knows if he's happy or sad. But just like Mickey, he knows training.Even back in grade school his teachers would complain he was spending too much time reading bodybuilding magazines or trying new exercises in the gym. These days nothing has changed and even after a lifetime of competitive martial arts and some time spent in special forces he still maintains that same passion for increasing human performance, especially that go all day, out run a zombie, live in an apocalyptic wasteland kind of fitness.Having been a Master RKC, Andrew is recognised as one of the best kettlebell trainers in the world.His specialty is elite performance and he has been involved with training three world BJJ champions.

How to Perform: Position your feet in a slightly wider than shoulder width stance. Grab the two kettlebells and get them moving in a pendulum motion. As the kettlebells move back between the legs, you have to bend the knees and absorb the momentum before reversing the movement with a powerful hip extension.

How to Perform: Perform a one arm kettlebell swing to get the kettlebell into a racked position. Once in place, drive the kb overhead and lock it out. Return the weight to the racked position and back down into the swing. Repeat.

The only difference between the American vs Russian kettlebell swing is how high up you swing the kettlebell. In the American kettlebell swing, you finish the movement with the kettlebell overhead, pointing straight up to the sky. With a Russian kettlebell swing, the movement stops somewhere around chest height.

In the Russian swing, you have to engage your lats more. This is because you have to stop the kettlebell sooner so that you can reverse its direction. With the American swing, you need better shoulder mobility and stability since the kettlebell is traveling farther. For the same reason, you also need to use your hips and glutes more, in order to launch the kettlebell higher overhead. The American kettlebell swing is going to demand more explosiveness and power than the Russian kettlebell swing.

Now that you know all about the American vs Russian kettlebell swing, which one will you tackle next? Let us know! And if you enjoyed this blog, you might like learning about banded kettlebell swings.

Interestingly, for all of the debate about which swing is superior, the movement pattern of each is identical except for the top position. Both start the swing with the kettlebell just below the groin, and, using a slight flexion of the knee and powerful thrust of the hips, push the kettlebell into its apex, all the while keeping the spine straight and neutral.

Quite a few folks following our Competition programming have been wondering whether kettlebell swings should be performed as American Swings, Russian Swings or a hybrid. I have procrastinated an answer for long enough, so here it comes . . .

The Russian Swing Must Come First!The first thing to understand is that the Russian swing must be the foundational movement. The American swing is a progression the builds from the foundation of the Russian swing. If you cannot perform Russian swings well, you will not perform American swings well. Attempting to jump straight to American swings without a solid understanding of the Russian swing often creates poor habits, like squatting through the movement or pulling up on the kettlebell with the traps and deltoids. So, we must start by mastering the short, concise, powerful Russian swing before attempting to move on to the American swing . . . or a hybrid. 041b061a72


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